Pearl Bailey and Cootie Williams Orchestra – Tess’s Torch Song
This EP was something that Erica and I had to purchase, and it was a good thing because it’s our only single by Pearl Bailey. I thought that we might have had at least one track from this legend, but unfortunately no. I love 7 inch EP’s so much, especially if they’re in a cardboard sleeve and really old. This is no exception.
Pearl’s voice is so damn sultry and has a slightly raspy range of sass and spunk. Cootie Williams’ music is a little bit sad and definitely moody. So on the B-side, when Pearl finally comes through the speakers on the second track her lyrics seem almost like a cathartic release. Cootie Williams Orchestra truly emote the feelings that come with the end of a relationship, even if it is kind of all over the place. Jazz is a great source of this freedom musically. Even if Cootie Williams Orchestra sets up the background and climax with the first three tracks, Pearl Bailey sings the story home. “Tess’s Torch Song” is a classy nod to a loss that almost broke a soul.
Check her out if you’re not familiar, especially if you like Sarah Vaughn or Nina Simone.
– Mr. Richard
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