by Amad Franaquer Hassan
Annette Hanshaw’s recording of “We Just Couldn’t Say Goodbye” sounds sweet, swinging and sincere. Maxine Sullivan’s reading of the same song a half-century later was also warm, lilting and convincing.
Similarly, Peggy Lee’s superb update of “There Ain’t No Sweet Man…” had a contemporary, yet timeless feel. Peggy got to the guts of the song, mining its blues and jazz roots fully, yet she seemed to be testifying about an incident from her own life. You believed her; you felt the pull of her varying emotions and her resolve.
Diana Krall hits the notes but does not seem to be relating real experiences; she comes across as being uncommitted to the lyrics, and her versions fall flat.I applaud Ms. Krall for trying to acquaint new audiences with material that deserves to live on, but she does not make the songs come to life; she seems uninvolved and unenthused.
In precise terms, she seems like a bored clerk in a record store, telling a customer about a song on an album she has in stock. She belts out an impromptu performance, to give the customer a rough idea of what the album contains, but she neither tries nor has the capacity to convey the emotion and the excitement of the recordings she’s trying to sell.