Shirley Bassey – Let´s Face The Music (1962)

OriginalFrontCover1Dame Shirley Veronica Bassey, DBE (/ˈbæsi/; born 8 January 1937) is a Welsh singer, whose career began in 1953, well known for her expressive voice and for recording the soundtrack theme songs to the James Bond films Goldfinger (1964), Diamonds Are Forever (1971), and Moonraker (1979). In January 1959, Bassey became the first Welsh person to gain a No. 1 single.

In 2000, Bassey was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for services to the performing arts. In 1977 she received the Brit Award for Best British Female Solo Artist in the previous 25 years. Bassey is one of the most popular female vocalists in Britain.

Let’s Face the Music is the sixth Shirley Bassey studio album, released in 1962, and arranged by Nelson Riddle. Kenneth Hume, Shirley Bassey’s husband and manager wrote the sleeve notes for this album, in which he gives an insight into how this album came to being: “When Vic Lewis booked Nelson Riddle for a tour with Shirley, we were all very excited; being great fans of Nelson Riddle’s from way back…so when someone suggested them doing an LP together, we thought that this would not be possible, remembering that Nelson was under contract with another recording company.” Nelson Riddle was under contract to Capitol Records at the time, so Bassey’s producer Norman Newell went about to secure his services for an album. While on the tour, Bassey, Riddle, and Bassey’s music director Raymond Long discussed what form the album should take. Shortly after the tour was completed, the recording sessions began.

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This album was issued in the US as Shirley Bassey Sings The Hit Song From “Oliver!” on the United Artists label, with a slightly different track listing and alternative recordings. “I Can’t Get You Out of My Mind” was replaced by “As Long As He Needs Me”, and “Imagination”, “All of Me” and “All the Things You Are” appear on Oliver! in alternative versions. The alternative versions have not yet been released in the UK and are still not available on CD.

The album entered the U.K. album chart in December 1962 and spent seven weeks on the charts peaking at #12  and was re-issued in 1971 as What Now My Love on the EMI Music For Pleasure (MFP) label, when it peaked at number 17 in a five week run.

The original album was issued in mono and stereo. The stereo version of this album was released on CD in 1999 by EMI. The album was reissued on CD (7243 4 732226 2 4) by EMI in 2004 as part of the “60s 2on1” series – featuring 2 albums on 1 CD. The album was paired with the 1961 album Shirley. However, for this reissue, due to the time restrictions of placing 2 albums on a single CD, “I Should Care” and “The Second Time Around” from Let’s Face the Music were omitted. (wikipedia)

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Bassey’s fourth EMI/Columbia album is regarded as the magnum opus of her pre-Goldfinger career, bringing her together with conductor/arranger Nelson Riddle. (Ironically, it was Riddle’s still being under contract to Capitol Records which prevented him from working with Sinatra on Reprise at the time, that made this record possible). Riddle approached this album from the standpoint that less is more, providing elegant and subdued accompaniment that emphasized the strings. Bassey’s voice comes across with a delicacy of nuance that is startling to hear, achieving new levels of subtlety on this album. One may disagree with the order of the songs — the moodily expressive “I Should Care,” reminiscent of Judy Garland at her best, would be the ideal opener — but not with the overall content of this album.

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Throughout Let’s Face the Music, one almost gets a sense of Bassey slipping inside these songs, becoming part of them and they her, rather than merely performing them. The interpretations are fresh in other respects as well, with works such as “Let’s Fall in Love” or “The Second Time Around” given unexpectedly slow tempos that work beautifully. Riddle is so careful and measured in his every orchestral nuance of this record, that he leaves us open to surprises at many points, perhaps most startlingly the sudden appearance of a harp glissando on “Spring Is Here,” after we’ve been lulled into the expectation that no part of this orchestra will play full-out.(by Bruce Eder)

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Personnel:
Shirley Bassey (vocals)
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Nelson Riddle Orchestra conducted by Nelson Riddle
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Geoff Love & His Orchestra (on 13.)
The Rita Williams Somngers (on 13.)

Alternate frontcovers:
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Tracklist:
01. Let’s Face The Music And Dance (Berlin) 3.04
02. I Should Care (Cahn/Stordahl/Weston) 3.52
03. Let’s Fall In Love (Arlen/Koehler) 3.02
04. The Second Time Around (Cahn/Van Heusen) 4.27
05. Imagination (U.K. Version differs to U.S. Version) (Burke/Van Heusen) 3.57
06. All The Things You Are (U.K. Version differs to U.S. Version) (Hammerstein/Kern) 3.04
07. I Get A Kick Out Of You (Porter) 2.45
08. Everything I Have Is Yours (Adamson/Lane) 3.11
09. Spring Is Here (Hart/Rodgers) 3.56
10. All Of Me (U.K. Version differs to U.S. Version) (Marks/Simons) 2.42
11. I Can’t Get You Out Of My Mind (Lewis) 3.37
12. What Now My Love (Bécaud/Leroyer/Sigman) 2.52
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13. As Long As He Needs Me (Bart) 2.55

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More from Shirley Bassey:
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