Good grief, a year has passed, Ms. VerPlanck is now 81, and her latest, I Give Up, I'm in Love, is a good deal spunkier than last year's Ballads…Mostly (here). Let's see if Robert Plant can do this same sort of gig when hits that age (hell, he can't even do it now!). I think Marlene discovered that age-reversing grail William Saroyan sought in vain, either that or, as I noted in 2013, she tracked down Ponce de Leon, flirted him to distraction, took a few mouthfuls as he blushed and stammered, then took to her heels so that he never knew what happened, she dashing away giggling. Proof of that is rendered by none other than Johnny Mandel (who newly wrote the title tune with Morgan Ames, the two giving Marlene the first shot at it here), who, upon hearing this CD, said "Marlene is truly an incredible singer". Who better than he would know?
This time around, the chanteuse snagged Warren Vache on cornet, Harry Allen on tenor, and Glenn Franke's (small) Big Band along with a number of sessioneers and once again has appeared on the Audiophile label, where what you get is 100% real music, no pantloads of synthesizers, racks of soundboard gimmickry, or stacks of filters. That's why it sounds like you're right there in the ballroom at a front table instead of having the Valkyries crashing through the roof and flying saucers whirligiging in the venue, the Third Fleet disembarking right outside the front door. Just instruments 'n singing, that's all, just instruments 'n singing.
And there's a return of ballads here, as predominated in last year's disc, Where Can I Go without You the most mellifluous, Vache's cornet perfect accompaniment to VerPlanck's clear wistful refrains. My favorite cuts are the three big band numbers, especially I Didn't Know What Time It Was, arranged splashily by Drew Zaremba so that the event sounds as if Marlene's back singing with Frankie……except that he's, as we know, gently sidelined while applauding from the clouds every time the cut is played. The closer, though, So Many People, winds things up romantically, soft and glowing, a paean of gratitude in finding just the right love, and just the right way to bring the curtain down on her 23rd album. Take your time listening, sit back, sigh, and smile in reverie 'cause that'll lead you right up to her 24th, 25th, and 26th releases, I have no doubt. There's just no stopping this singer nor would you want to.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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