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Deanna Storey: Sometimes I’m Happy

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: there’s something in the Seattle air that does wonders for female vocalists. The latest addition to the Northwest’s phalanx of splendid songbirds is Deanna Storey. In the liner notes for Storey’s Sometimes I’m Happy (I’m So Pretty), brilliantly quirky screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (of Being John Malkovich and Adaptation fame) likens her to a 1940s torch singer. He’s off by about a decade. Storey’s sound is solidly mid-’50s, combining the rhythmic power and purity of Doris Day with the thundering energy of Rosemary Clooney and carefree sway of Keely Smith. Working with bassist Michael Zisman (who doubled as the album’s producer and arranger, with help from pianist Dena DeRose), Storey navigates 11 standards with lipstick-smeared maturity. Her “Angel Eyes” is the sort of bold, been-there-done-that interpretation you’d expect from a no-nonsense dame like Gunsmoke’s Miss Kitty. Likewise, her bluesy “You Don’t Know What Love Is” is obviously the work of a woman who knows where her next T-bone is coming from. Two brooding ballads-“When Sunny Gets Blue” and “Where Are You”-are refitted as uptempo larks, complete with bump-and-grind arrangements worthy of Hef’s Playboy Club circa 1960. To round out this distinctly saucy affair, Storey connects with her inner kitten, unraveling the title track in pouty Ann-Margret style, then meandering through a “Can’t Get Out of This Mood” that’s as teasingly transparent as a filmy negligee. Somewhere Julie London is smiling.

Originally Published