Albums

$25.49

Crossover - Released December 8, 1989 | Rhino Atlantic

$4.99

Crossover - Released February 14, 2006 | Rhino Atlantic

$11.49

Crossover - Released May 17, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

In the summer of 1957, when Bobby Short went into the studio to record his fourth 12" LP for Atlantic Records, the label hired an orchestra for one of the dates, and Short cut a total of 27 songs for what was supposed to be a two-record set. Atlantic seems to have reconsidered the economics of such a package, however, and the resulting album, Sing Me a Swing Song, was a conventional single disc, with the rest of the tracks going into the vault. It was only much later that Short persuaded Atlantic to go public with the remaining material on this album, Nobody Else but Me. But from a musical standpoint, it didn't make that much difference whether this album appeared in the late '50s or the early '70s. Great changes may have taken place in the world of popular music in general, but not in the classy nightclubs of Manhattan. Beginning with two songs on which he's joined by his rhythm section of Ismael Ugarte on bass and Sonny Rivera on drums, and ending with three songs featuring the orchestra conducted by Phil Moore, with seven songs in the middle on which he accompanies himself on the piano alone, Short turned to his usual favorites for song choices (i.e., the great songwriters of the interwar period) including composers Harold Arlen, Noël Coward, George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, and Arthur Schwartz, with the likes of Coward, Porter, Howard Dietz, Dorothy Fields, Ira Gershwin, Oscar Hammerstein II, Lorenz Hart, and Ted Koehler providing the words for him to sing. The trick here was that, while the names of the songwriters are familiar, most of the song titles were not. Short rummaged around lesser Broadway and Hollywood musicals for forgotten songs that had much of the melodic and lyrical sparkle one associates with the great songwriters, but none of the overuse. He sang them in his usual forthright style, never leaning too hard on meaning or sentiment, but moving along to the next witty phrase or catchy bit of melody. This is an album that sounds like it's full of classics, even though most listeners won't have heard most of the songs before. ~ William Ruhlmann
$11.49

Crossover - Released May 17, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

$10.49

Crossover - Released May 17, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

My Personal Property is Bobby Short's album of songs written by pop and show composer Cy Coleman, all of them except the title track with lyrics by Carolyn Leigh. Short is a longtime musical friend of an earlier generation of similar writers such as Cole Porter, Noël Coward, George Gershwin, and Rodgers & Hart, but he proves just as compatible with Coleman, if not more so. Coleman got his start in Tin Pan Alley, penning standards like "The Best Is Yet to Come" and "Witchcraft" before moving to Broadway with the musicals Wildcat ("Hey Look Me Over") and Little Me. His jazzy, upfront style and strong melodies are perfect for Short's forceful interpretative style, and Leigh's sly, witty lyrics are equally appropriate to a singer used to wringing every humorous nuance from Cole Porter. Short has learned to vary his approach over the years, not playing and singing flat out on every number, and that allows him to be delicate and precise on "I've Got Your Number," for example, without any loss of power. The piano-bass-drums arrangements are augmented by a couple of conga players here and there, to good effect. Coleman has had some important interpreters, including Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett, but Bobby Short is worthy of such company, and he demonstrates that Coleman is worthy of the company of the classic songwriters he usually covers. ~ William Ruhlmann
$10.49

Crossover - Released May 17, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

Bobby Short went five years without recording in the mid-'60s as the British Invasion swept all before it. But his Town Hall concerts with Mabel Mercer in 1968 led to live duo albums that brought him back to record stores, and his residency at the Cafe Carlyle in New York gave him renewed cachet. Thus, he returned to the recording studio for Jump for Joy, which he performed with the usual trio of himself on piano and vocals, Beverly Peer on bass, and Richard Sheridan on drums. For once, the purveyors of the Great American Songbook were absent: no Porter or Gershwin or Rodgers. Instead, Short performed a combination of recent songs from Broadway and old, bluesy numbers. The latter seemed to draw the greatest enthusiasm from him as he revisited some tunes he might have played in Midwest roadhouses back in his youth, songs like "Romance in the Dark," "I'm Confessin' That I Love You," and the newly trendy "If You're a Viper," an ode to marijuana use. The inclusion of such a song was a sort of backhanded acknowledgement of the times, and like other middle-of-the-road entertainers during the '60s, Short also sifted through the work of contemporary writers for suitable material. He found it in Randy Newman's "Simon Smith & the Amazing Dancing Bear" and Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "Whoever You Are I Love You," the latter drawn from the Broadway musical Promises, Promises. Short also drew from other recent stage shows, plucking "I'm Glad to See You've Got What You Want" from Celebration by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt of The Fantasticks fame, as well as "I Cannot Make Her Jealous" and "Just for Today" from Ervin Drake's Her First Roman. Of course, the title song was taken from Duke Ellington's 1941 musical. This was not material on a par with the songs Short had sung on past albums and that he was known to play every night at the Cafe Carlyle, and his singing had begun to take on a huskier tone after decades of nightclub work. But even second-drawer Short on record was welcome after so many years away. ~ William Ruhlmann
$20.49

Crossover - Released May 17, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

Distinctions Stereophile: Record To Die For
Bobby Short is the Frank Sinatra of the supper clubs. Like Sinatra, Short is a consummate entertainer, a true professional. But the distance between Caesar's Palace and the Café Carlyle is approximately equal to the distance between Hoboken and uptown Manhattan, and Short's style is absolutely uptown. He has none of the hardscrabble swagger that infused Sinatra's work with pathos. If ever there was a time when Bobby Short was not invited to all the right parties, he doesn't let on, not for a note. The complete absence of angst makes Bobby Short Celebrates Rodgers & Hart easy listening indeed, but in the most wonderful way. His voice is unruffled and mellifluous, his phrasing spirited without ever being quite over the top. His articulation of Lorenz Hart's superb lyrics rests upon his witty and urbane piano playing like a marcelled starlet draped across a chaise lounge. His music is lovely without being too sweet, coquettish without being coarse, droll without being camp. Debonair, cosmopolitan and utterly self-possessed, Bobby Short is the just the man for the classic show tunes of Rodgers & Hart. Throughout this recording, he sustains a fantasy of New York that exists only on the big screen, and only in black and white. The national anthem of this magical dreamland is the "Hollywood Party" medley. This song is itself a delightful little movie -- a rousing start; drama, action, and intrigue in the middle; culminating in one big, big finale. ~ Jessica Jernigan
$11.49

Crossover - Released May 17, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

$15.49

Crossover - Released June 30, 1975 | Rhino Atlantic

In a sense, Bobby Short was only doing what he'd been doing for decades when he recorded a double LP of Cole Porter songs in 1971. But somehow, the reaction was different. The album actually spent a couple of months in the pop charts in the late winter and early spring of 1972, and its comparative commercial success "made me think for a moment that I'd actually become a recording star," he later noted. He hadn't, but he had consolidated his status as the premiere cabaret performer of his time, holding forth every season from the elegant Café Carlyle on New York's Upper East Side. Porter had always been a constant in his shows and recordings, but this album was something special, a collection largely made up of the songwriter's more obscure efforts, including three unpublished songs -- "By Candlelight," "Once Upon a Time," and "Why Don't We Try Staying Home" -- as well as the usually unperformed introductory verses to many songs, such as the witty compendium of historical figures that introduced "Just One of Those Things." Of course, not all the songs were winners, but they all had the sparkle of Porter's wit, which was brought out effectively by Short's smooth tenor, well-placed emphases, and precise pronunciation. Porter was the voice of wealth and sophistication in interwar show music, and Short's interpretations rendered his sentiments with just the right combination of zest and humor. Thus, the public may have responded more to this Short album than to others just because he had played to his strengths more than on any other effort. ~ William Ruhlmann
$12.99

Crossover - Released April 19, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

After three albums of piano trio music with only the occasional added instrument, Bobby Short was given a somewhat expanded budget for Sing Me a Swing Song by Atlantic Records. The label paid for a six- or seven-piece horn section, along with a four-piece rhythm section, for two-thirds of the tracks. That still wasn't a big band by swing era standards, but it made the album the most musically varied of Short's career so far. Phil Moore's arrangements didn't make extensive use of the extra musicians, restricting them mainly to background color, but the fuller sound allowed Short to step back a bit as a vocalist. On earlier recordings, he often sounded like he was still in a club trying to bellow over noisy diners, but here he often sang more smoothly. The selection of material also added to the set's diversity. There was the usual complement of Cole Porter titles, but also the bluesy Duke Ellington songs "I'm Checking Out, Goombye" and "Rocks in My Bed," and the Marx Brothers novelty "Lydia." As usual, Short sold the lyrics unabashedly, but instead of competing with the horns, he worked with them well, especially on Porter's "For No Reason or Rhyme," which really made use of them for expressive purposes. It was enough to make you wonder what Short might accomplish with strings. ~ William Ruhlmann