Saturday, July 16, 2011

If Anyone Can Sing, Les Mc Can

Since the inception of this sporadic blog of mine, I've advertized my desire to track down one of the early albums by Les McCann called simply, "Les McCann Sings". I believe my familiarity with this recording came from an old 8-track I had of it back in my college years in the 70's. Some of the beautifully rendered ballads on this album provided just the right sort of fodder for those heart broken moments of my early relationships. I can remember sitting in the stairwell of the Computer Center on the Storrs campus at UCONN just singing a couple of those songs inspired by Les McCann's easy vocals and gentle piano playing. I can still hear my voice echoing up that stairwell into the emptiness of late nights waiting for my computer programming cards to finish running in the busy room outside the stairwell. I'd listen for any signs of life so I could quickly shut up to avoid any embarrassment with passers by. McCann's timing is so true and real, his delivery so perfect yet relaxed and comforting. So I wanted to recapture these tracks, so long OOP except for a few cuts on the later collection called "More or Les McCann" released much later (and also OOP). And out of nowhere came Rick with a friendly offer to deliver the tracks in their entirety so I could enjoy them fully once again and share them with you here. This is the kind of thing that makes a blog like this of value to me. Making priceless music available to the discerning listener when it is otherwise dead to the commercial world. I'm very happy to be able to post this beautiful work that ranges from Les' soulful side to his most melancholy. Not entirely different from most of his usual fine work, but perhaps one of the more elemental examples of Les' rare talent that bridges so many feelings and colors. Never a show off, just a man to capture emotions and deliver them to your ears and to wherever you want them to go. I've said too much. Just enjoy it and remember to thank Rick!

Les Sings

Les McCann - "Les McCann Sings" (1961)
Pacific Jazz # PJ-31 / ST-31 (LP) 

1.  Wonder Why (Nicholas Brodsky/Sammy Cahn) 2:58  
2.  It's Way Past Suppertime (Les McCann/Vicki Arnold) 3:06  
3.  'Deed I Do (Walter Hirsch/Fred Rose) 2:54  
4.  Since I Fell For You (Buddy Johnson) 3:37  
5.  But Not For Me (Ira Gershwin/George Gershwin) 2:58  
6.  I Cried For You (Gus Arnheim/Abe Lyman/Arthur Freed) 2:24

(side 2)

7.  Sweet Georgia Brown (Kenneth Casey/Ben Bernie/Macio Pinkard) 2:27 
8.  Please Send Me Someone To Love (Percy Mayfield) 2:32
9.  Next Spring (Marvin Jenkins) 3:21 
10.Love Letters (Edward Heyman/Victor Young) 3:16 
11.On The Street Where You Live (Alan Jay Lerner/Frederick Loewe) 3:10
12.Bye Bye Black Bird (Ray Henderson/Mort Dixon) 2:07

Aug. 1961 at Pacific Jazz Studios, Hollywood, CA (except track 9)
Mar. 1961 at Pacific Jazz Studios, Hollywood, CA (track 9)

Les McCann (piano, vocals)
Herbie Lewis (bass)
Ron Jefferson (drums)

Gerald Wilson (conductor, arranger) (tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8 & 10)

(tracks 1, 4, 6 & 8)
Harold Land, Teddy Edwards, Buddy Collette, Jack Nimitz, Charles Lloyd (reeds) Jimmy Zito, John Audino, Ray Triscari, Charlie Meeks, Bob Edmondson, John Ewing, and Kenny Shroyer (brass)

(tracks 2, 5 & 10)
Dolo Coker (rhythm piano) Jerome Reisler, Dan Lube, Carl Kalash, Darrel Terwilliger, Myron Sandler, Bobby Bruce, Edger Lustgarden, George Poole, Charles Gates (strings) (track 9) Richard "Groove" Holmes (organ) Ben Webster (tenor sax) Lawrence "Tricky" Lofton (trombone)

Richard Bock (producer, audio engineering)
Woody Woodward (cover design, back photos)
Chester Maydole (cover photo)
Vicki Arnold (liner notes)


    WOODY said...

    Listening to this album I believe Les also could fly...!
    Thanks for the effort, great artist Les still is - very much appreciated!

    Anonymous said...

    Thanks for this and also for "Django".
    I was desperately looking for these two lps !!
    I am a great french fan of Les.

    Durge & The Oldies said...

    I'm glad you found them here Anon! Enjoy.