Saturday 29 August 2009

Here's Jo ...

There seems little excuse for any household not possessing a copy of the Dusty Springfield Live At The BBC DVD. But just in case there are any lapses that was the great lady referring to another great lady. The Jo Stafford version appeared on an LP of American Folk Songs which is incredibly beautiful. It also fits neatly in with the Folklore theme of the tenth issue of Your Heart Out (which can be downloaded for free in the library on your left). Among the songs perfectly performed by Jo, with Paul Weston's orchestral accompaniment, are Shenandoah, Barbara Allen and The Nightingale. A couple of the other selections, which are related to the remarkable John Jacob Niles, wander into the territory of are they traditional, are they adaptations, appropriations, and does it really matter? These include the ballad Black Is The Colour Of My True Love's Hair. There have been many lovely versions of this song, but this is a particular favourite.

It seems absurd to make a case for Jo Stafford as an overlooked singer because in her time she was spectacularly successful. And wonderfully defied categorisation in those post-WW2 pre-rock 'n' roll years. She seems to have been particularly strong-minded too. Sadly little survives of the TV shows she hosted in the UK in the early '60s but this is an intriguing glimpse at the sort of strong supporting cast she attracted.

Unless I'm missing something not even our old reliable YouTube resource has many clips of Jo in performance but this one is pretty special. So here's Jo ...

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