Donna Drake & Paula Haliday – Donna Sings Dinah / Haliday Sings Holiday


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The Best Voices Time Forgot - Collectible Albums by Top Female Vocalists
Collector’s Edition - 2 Original LPs on 1 CD - Original Cover Art, Liner Notes

Donna Sings Dinah
Donna Drake was born in Wheeling, West Virginia and came to Detroit at the age of 3. The eldest of four daughters, she attended Northern High School in Detroit, where she first sang with the school choir and participated in variety shows with fellow schoolmates Paul Chambers, Donald Byrd, and Barry Harris. Around 1952, after having won a talent show in Windsor, Ontario, she received a contract on a television show, where she sang supported by the Kenny Burrell Quartet. As she recalls it, this was the moment that inspired her to become a professional singer. We don’t know much about her artistic career, although it is said that for a time she worked with the great Charlie Parker. She recorded her only album in 1968 —Donna Sings Dinah — a kind of homage where she reimagined some of the songs made famous by Dinah Washington. Supporting Donna we find the Wynton Kelly Trio, the same group that worked with Miss Washington for so long, and so the tribute is complete. Donna Drake is as close as anyone can get to Miss D, an uncanny resemblance that goes beyond mere imitation.

Haliday Sings Holiday
Paula Haliday was born in North Carolina, in the town of Hobgood, where she graduated from the Andrew Jackson High School as an ambitious seventeen year old, whose aspirations led her to becoming a jazz-singer. She acquired the gospel-like quality of her versatile voice singing in the church choirs of her hometown as a soloist. The recognition she received gave impetus to her already powerful desire and driving ambition to emulate her heroine and idol —“Lady Day.” Even though she never tried to imitate Billie, Paula does sound a great deal like her. In this, her first and only album, recorded in 1960, Paula Haliday freed her voice from every inhibition and emotional restriction. Accompanied by an excellent quintet, she projects, she croons, she swings. There are some noteworthy solos sprinkled through the set, particularly by pianist Don Abney —which make ‘Haliday Sings Holiday’ a veritable musical experience as well as a tribute to the great Lady Day.

Track Listing:
Donna Drake: 1. Dream - 2:55   2. Evil Gal Blues - 2:55   3. What a Difference a Day Made -2:24   4. I Could Have Told You So - 3:06   5. Blow Top Blues - 2:59   6. Don't Go to Strangers - 3:32   7. Trouble in Mind - 3:23   8. For All We Know - 3:31   9. Who Can I Turn To? - 3:25   Paula Haliday: 10. What Is This Thing Called Love - 2:54 . Until the Real Things Comes Along - 3:06   12. I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues - 3:24   13. Love Me or Leave Me - 4:02   14. When a Woman Loves a Man - 4:29   15. But Beautiful - 3:41   16. God Bless the Child - 3:29   17. I Cover the Waterfront - 3:38   18. Gloomy Sunday - 4:23   19. If It's the Last Thing I Do - 3:57   20. Girls Were Made to Take Care of Boys - 2:53

Tracks #1-9, from “Donna Sings Dinah” (Alma DD-1)
Tracks #10-20, from “Haliday Sings Holiday” (Addit ALP-1481X)


Personnel on “Donna Sings Dinah”:
Donna Drake, vocals, accompanied by the Wynton Kelly Trio
Wynton Kelly, piano; Keter Betts, bass; Jimmy Cobb, drums.
Recorded in Los Angeles, June 1968

Personnel on “Haliday Sings Holiday”:
Paula Haliday, vocals, accompanied by the Don Abney (piano) Quintet
Recorded in New York City, December 1960