Randy (born Veronica Crawford) is a brilliant American soul singer who had a UK top five hit (Street life) as un-credited vocalist with the Crusaders in 1973, then had two UK top five hits (One day I'll fly away, Almaz) in the eighties as a solo singer. Randy never achieved this level of success in her homeland. Apart from those three major hits, Randy had two other UK top twenty hits (You might need somebody, Rainy night in Georgia) and several minor hits, three of which (Imagine, Secret combination, One hello) are included here. Most of the songs here are originals but, with her outstanding voice, Randy is a great interpreter of other people's songs, as this collection shows. This collection truly is the very best of Randy Crawford, one of the finest soul singers there has ever been.
Why aren't there more recordings like Fly Away Little Bird? Perhaps it's because there aren't more musicians of this stature. The studio reunion of the legendarily experimental Jimmy Giuffre 3 in 1992 was reissued in 2002 on the French Sunnyside label and is a radical departure from anything the trio had done in the past. These studio apparitions of the band are their most seamlessly accessible while being wildly exploratory. In addition to the consummate improvisations and compositions by Giuffre (title track, a redone "Tumbleweed"), the tender meditations by Steve Swallow ("Fits" and "Starts"), and the bottom-register contrapuntal improves by Paul Bley ("Qualude"), this is a trio recording that uses standards such as "Lover Man," a radically and gorgeously reworked "I Can't Get Started," "Sweet and Lovely," and "All the Things You Are" to state hidden textural possibilities inside chromatic harmony. There is never the notion of restraint in the slow, easy, and proactive way these compositions are approached.
An excellent budget compilation of the wonderful Bethlehem Records label - what a roster of artists they had. Very good sound too. The Bethlehem label focused on jazz releases, and this set collects some great examples of jazz–vocally and instrumentally–between the years 1958-62. One look at the artists on this 60 track 2 CD set shows how many fine artists released music on the label. Like other collections from One Day Music, there's no booklet, only a short paragraph about the label and a few of the featured artists. The digitally remastered sound is good overall within the limits of recording styles of the era.