Happy Songs

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - William Pearl
Starting a family has put Audra McDonald in an up mood, and all her optimism spills out on the appropriately titled Happy Songs. Gathering, for the majority of the recording, songs made famous in the 1930s and 40s, McDonald brings her exquisite voice and unimpeachable taste to bear on such judiciously chosen material as “I Wish I Were in Love Again,” “He Loves and She Loves,” “Ill Wind,” and “More than You Know.” She even dares to go where such vocal icons as Billie Holiday (“I Must Have That Man”) and Ethel Waters (“Supper Time”) have famously gone before, and does both songs proud. McDonald also pokes into such delightful if offbeat material as Duke Ellington’s “On a...
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075597964523 All contents are included and intact. No stickers or residue on the case. Some cracks/scratches are apparent on the jewel case but it is fully functional. Disk(s) are ... near flawless with some minor surface scratches. CD is in stock and ready to ship same or next business day. Select Expedited shipping and receive your CD within 3-5 business days. Buy with confidence! Please leave feedback after your purchase so that others will know that we are a reliable seller! Thank you! Read more Show Less

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - William Pearl
Starting a family has put Audra McDonald in an up mood, and all her optimism spills out on the appropriately titled Happy Songs. Gathering, for the majority of the recording, songs made famous in the 1930s and 40s, McDonald brings her exquisite voice and unimpeachable taste to bear on such judiciously chosen material as “I Wish I Were in Love Again,” “He Loves and She Loves,” “Ill Wind,” and “More than You Know.” She even dares to go where such vocal icons as Billie Holiday (“I Must Have That Man”) and Ethel Waters (“Supper Time”) have famously gone before, and does both songs proud. McDonald also pokes into such delightful if offbeat material as Duke Ellington’s “On a Turquoise Cloud” and Jay Leonhardt’s “Beat My Dog,” a contemporary anomaly that nevertheless works in terms of the album’s concept. It’s a commonplace to state that this multitalented singer-actress can seemingly do anything she sets her mind to. The classic material on Happy Songs becomes just one more hurdle she leaps easily over.
All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
Audra McDonald's third album may be called Happy Songs, but the cover -- on which she is depicted in sepia tone, inserted into a photograph from the 1940s, dolled up in period getup, and looking like she's waiting for a train -- suggests that the title is intended ironically, a suggestion further documented by a perusal of the songs on the back cover, which include Irving Berlin's anti-lynching ballad "Supper Time" and Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler's "Ill Wind You're Blowin' Me No Good." The former song is associated with Ethel Waters and the latter with Aida Ward, while the leadoff track, "Ain't It de Truth?," was introduced by Lena Horne, and "I Must Have That Man!" was first sung by Adelaide Hall, all predecessors of McDonald as a black female musical theater star. By singing their songs, she embraces that heritage, and by singing so well, she demonstrates that she is their equal. But she also addresses the work of white female stars like Dinah Shore, who introduced "Tess' Torch Song," and Judy Garland, whose arrangement of Rodgers & Hart's "I Wish I Were in Love Again" is updated here, and she holds her own with them, too. Happy Songs is an affectionate look back at a more extravagant era of entertainment when women's emotions as written for them by men were expressed powerfully, and these songs explore the range of those feelings. The choices are sometimes daring, such as the wonderful, but long-forgotten Freddy Martin hit "I Double Dare You" from 1937, which McDonald handles with frenetic energy, and, stepping out of the long-ago past into the recent days of nightclub novelty, Jay Leonhart's song of comic romantic complaint, "Beat My Dog." Such numbers demonstrate that these can be "happy songs," even when the sentiments are less so.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/17/2002
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • UPC: 075597964523
  • Catalog Number: 79645

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Audra McDonald Primary Artist
Walt Weiskopf Clarinet
David Engel Vocals
Lawrence Feldman Clarinet, Flute, Alto Saxophone
Steve Freeman Vocals
Willie Hayes Percussion, Drums
Cecilia Hobbs Violin
Kevin Kuhn Banjo, Guitar
Larry Lunetta Trumpet
Lee Musiker Piano, Celeste
Brian O'Flaherty Trumpet
Suzanne Ornstein Violin, Concert Mistress
Dave Ratajczak Percussion, Drums
Clay Ruede Cello
Jack Schatz Trombone
Debra Shufelt Viola
Chris Komer French Horn
Richard Heckman Clarinet, Flute, English Horn, Oboe, Tenor Saxophone
Belinda Whitney Violin
Leo Daignault Vocals
Grace Paradise Harp
Ted Sperling Piano, Celeste, Conductor
Xin Zhao Violin
Adam Grabois Cello
Laura Oatts Violin
Peter Donovan Bass
Mark Thrasher Clarinet, Bassoon, Bass Clarinet, Baritone Saxophone
Michael Nicholas Viola
Paul Sundfor Clarinet, Flute, Piccolo, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Michael Boschen Trombone
Mark Patterson Trombone
Technical Credits
George Gershwin Composer
Les Brown Composer
Jack Cortner Orchestration
Bruce Coughlin Orchestration
Don Sebesky Orchestration
Ira Gershwin Composer
Robert Hurwitz Executive Producer
Tommy Krasker Producer
Kevin Kuhn Arranger
Joel Moss Engineer
Lee Musiker Arranger
Rack Godwin Arranger
Eadie Griffith Arranger
Scott Hull Mastering
Ted Sperling Arranger, Vocal Arrangements
Larry Hochman Orchestration
Peter Donovan Arranger
John Vachon Original Photography
Gregg Schaufeld Editorial Coordinator
John Ryle translation
Michael Gibson Orchestration
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