1001 Albums You Must Hear (and Blog about) Before You Die

My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die

983. At Mister Kelly’s – Sarah Vaughan

Brief Background: The album was recorded at Mr. Kelly’s in Chicago over three nights in August of 1957 and released that same year. Vaughan is backed by a piano, bass and drums. The original album was released as nine tracks, the link from Rdio is the expanded twenty track version released in 2007.

What I liked: This is probably one of the most interesting live albums I’ve ever heard. There are imperfections and flubs all over it, but instead of detracting from the music, they add to the mood. In “Willow Weep for Me” it is easy to hear something being dropped (or perhaps Vaughan bumps into her microphone), followed shortly after by her thinking the song is completed, with the band continuing on. When all is said and done she comments about how the record company will probably use that song…. and they did. In “How High the Moon”, Vaughan makes it clear that she doesn’t know the words and then tries to sing it as Ella Fitzgerald would with pretty entertaining results. To me the stand out tracks for this album are “Be Anything, But Darling be Mine” and “Honeysuckle Rose”, for their romantic sentiments.

What I Didn’t Like: The band was too subdued for me. Most of the time the bass and drums are barely audible, while the piano barely tinkles away. While this was likely done on purpose to allow Vaughan to shine, I like the band to be a larger part of the experience.

My Overall Thoughts: I’ll admit, I had never heard (or even heard of) Vaughan before listening to this. I’m glad I did, as it was a great introduction to her music and while the flubs are entertaining I think they will cut down on my ability to listen to the album in a regular rotation.

Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? I’m really on the fence about this one, but I think I come down on the side of it being justifiably included. It is such a unique record and unlike any other live album I’ve heard.

Rating (Out of 5): 4

Amazon Review (Out of 5):5

Is this my first time hearing this album? Yes (18/19)


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This entry was posted on January 9, 2014 by and tagged , , .

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