glowing, finely delivered
Michael Quinn 2008-10-17
Carol Kidd's first album in eight years also marks the 25th anniversary of her relationship with the Glasgow-based Linn Records. And what a partnership it has been – Kidd a faultless vocalist of impeccable stylistic credentials, and Linn a beacon of artist and audiophile quality for independent British labels.
A tellingly bittersweet and plangent affair, Dreamsville is a long overdue return to the fray after the death of her partner in 2003 and subsequent trauma-induced loss of voice. Although now into her 60s, Kidd's voice remains full of character and colour, an emotionally alert and expressive instrument she puts to perfectly-phrased, beautifully-pitched use with a crafted, lightly-worn elegance that continues to astound as it delights.
Two songs are new and self-penned (with guitarist Nigel Clark): There Goes My Heart is a soft, lilting leave-taking, and Do You Believe a hymning lullaby to love and second chances. A heartfelt cover of Harold Arlen’s Happiness Is A Thing Called Joe is offered as a tribute to the late Humphrey Lyttelton and benefits from Paul Harrison's softly measured piano accompaniment.
Indeed the four-piece band assembled here – Mario Caribe on double bass and Alyn Cosker on drums ably partnering Clark and Harrison – prove to be a crack outfit who seize a fabulous opportunity in Cole Porter's adrenalin-fuelled It's Alright With Me to show off their virtuosic wares. Illustrating a more sensitive side, Stars Fell on Alabama glints and sparkles with a hushed loveliness that makes much of Kidd's eloquent ability to hold and extend a note.
Familiar standards How Deep is the Ocean?, A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square and Can’t We Be Friends? are set down with consummate and engaging ease while Kidd’s signature song, When I Dream, newly arranged by Nigel Clarke and producer Graeme Duffin, brings things to a glowing, finely delivered conclusion.