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Album Review

Faye, Francis – “Sings Folk Songs ” – [Bethlehem Records]

Rococo   7/5/2005   A Library, CD

Pop singer Francis Faye was reaching for a new audience when she cut this album of jazz-inflected folk songs in the late 50’s. Arranged by Russ “Fantastica!” Garcia, the album is apparently a one-of-a-kind entry in the Faye catalog, and perhaps a one-of-a-kind effort in all regards. The orchestral arrangements are incredibly vibrant, especially on the jazzier cuts “Frankie and Johnny” and “St. James Infirmary.” I’ve always been partial to “John Henry” and it’s also given a swell treatment here, complete with steel drivin’ and engine chuggin’. Faye’s vocals are husky but strong, and easily hold their own against Garcia’s powerful orchestra. An unusual but very successful album.

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