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My Heart Sings

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All Music Guide - Dave Nathan
This album helps to commemorate Betty Johnson's return to the jazz singers' fold after a "short" layoff of 30 years to raise a family. Prior to her self-imposed hiatus, Johnson had a stellar career. As a young girl, she sang with the Johnson Family Singers, one of the more prominent and successful family singers of religious songs. She also performed at the Grand Ole Opry, recorded classic American folk songs -- represented here by "I Love You" -- and performed at such top venues as the Blue Angel, Copacabana, and Coconut Grove. She gained fame as part of Don McNeil's popular "Breakfast Club" show broadcast daily from Chicago. This is, however, a rather unusual recording. ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Dave Nathan
This album helps to commemorate Betty Johnson's return to the jazz singers' fold after a "short" layoff of 30 years to raise a family. Prior to her self-imposed hiatus, Johnson had a stellar career. As a young girl, she sang with the Johnson Family Singers, one of the more prominent and successful family singers of religious songs. She also performed at the Grand Ole Opry, recorded classic American folk songs -- represented here by "I Love You" -- and performed at such top venues as the Blue Angel, Copacabana, and Coconut Grove. She gained fame as part of Don McNeil's popular "Breakfast Club" show broadcast daily from Chicago. This is, however, a rather unusual recording. None of the tracks are much longer than two minutes with an average length of just about a minute, for a total of only 38 minutes of music. The CD is more like a sampler or precursor of things to come rather than an album that stands on its own. It's a shame to have given such short shrift to these great tunes and the contributions of the excellent musicians who came to the studio with Johnson. Performing as the Metropolitan Jazz Group are the brothers Lou and Frank Garisto on piano and guitar, respectively, bassist Pat Merola, and on several cuts the ubiquitous multi-reedist both single and double Phil Bodner. Bodner also plays trumpet on "Gone With the Wind" and "Lullaby of the Leaves," although not listed as doing so in the credits and "Lullaby of the Leaves" is also not listed in the CD notes. Despite Johnson's lengthy absence from performing, her voice sounds as bright, sparkling, flawless, and filled with infectious enthusiasm as ever. However, given the changing background noise and fluctuations in the sound of My Heart Sings, it's clear that this album's contents are a hodgepodge of sets from a variety of sources, including some radio transcriptions. With just these short snippets of well-established standards, the listener ends up feeling unfulfilled. Soft Lights & Sweet Music, the later CD by Johnson with her daughter Lydia Gray, is more generous with its time. Hopefully, additional recordings in the not-too-distant future will also follow the pattern of Soft Lights & Sweet Music, offering more than the small taste of Betty Johnson's homecoming represented by My Heart Sings.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/21/2002
  • Label: Cd Baby
  • UPC: 769386122224
  • Catalog Number: 5637221849

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Betty Johnson Primary Artist, Primary Artist, Vocals, Speech/Speaker/Speaking Part, Spoken Word
Phil Bodner Clarinet, Woodwind
Frank Garisto Guitar
Lou Garisto Piano
Pat Merola Bass
Technical Credits
George Gershwin Composer
Vernon Duke Composer
Ira Gershwin Composer
John Latouche Composer
Herbert Magidson Composer
Allie Wrubel Composer
Charles de Montebello Mastering
Ted Fetter Composer
Wayne Wesley Johnson Producer
Bart Howard Composer
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