The duo’s best album, and the place to start beyond the hits compilations. Up to the release of A Song for You, the Carpenters’ success had seemed an awesome if somewhat fluky phenomenon, built on prodigious talent, some beautifully crafted pop sensibilities, and a very fortunate choice of singles — their albums Close to You and Carpenters, though they were top-sellers, both seemed just a bit thrown together.
Pianist/vocalist Diana Krall pays tribute to the Nat King Cole Trio on her Impulse! set. In general, the medium and up-tempo tunes work best, particularly such hot ditties as "I'm an Errand Girl for Rhythm," "Frim Fram Sauce," and "Hit That Jive Jack." Krall does not attempt to directly copy Cole much (either pianistically or vocally), although his influence is obviously felt on some of the songs. The slow ballads are actually as reminiscent of Shirley Horn as Cole, particularly the somber "I'm Through With Love" and "If I Had You." Guitarist Russell Malone gets some solo space on many of the songs and joins in on the group vocal of "Hit That Jive Jack," although it is surprising that he had no other opportunities to interact vocally with Krall; a duet could have been delightful. Bassist Paul Keller is fine in support, pianist Benny Green backs Krall's vocal on "If I Had You," and percussionist Steve Kroon is added on one song. Overall, this is a tasteful effort that succeeds.
Over the years, the music world has seen its share of over-70 singers who kept performing even though they didn't have much of a voice left: Peggy Lee and Frank Sinatra are among the names that come to mind. But when B.B. King entered his 70s, the veteran blues singer/guitarist could still belt it out with confidence, and he does exactly that on Makin' Love Is Good for You, which was recorded when King was 74…
When Joe signed with Vanguard as a solo artist in-late 1969, after the Woodstock Festival, it was apparent that Vanguard wanted an album release as soon as possible. Joe had always wanted to do an album of Woody Guthrie songs he and Sam Charters worked out a schedule that got Joe to Nashville for the recording.