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Natasha Miller: Don’t Move

Long story short: All but forgotten, septuagenarian San Francisco-based songwriter Bobby Sharp, whose only real success was the long-ago Ray Charles hit “Unchain My Heart,” happens to hear a radio interview with local singer/violinist Natasha Miller. He gets in touch and offers to send her some songs. She cautiously accepts and finds herself with a trove of undiscovered treasures. Recording for her own label, she releases an entire album of Sharp tunes. The response to the 2004 album, I Had a Feelin’, is terrific. And so Miller heads back into the studio for this equally estimable companion.

The songs–some new, many decades old–are uniformly delightful, with Sharp’s work variously echoing the laidback sophistication of Bobby Troup (“Prisoner of the Blues”), the countrified whimsy of Roger Miller (“Stolen Love”), the saucy pep of Peggy Lee (“Don’t Move”), the midtempo sweetness of Rodgers and Hammerstein (“Once More”) and the playful bounce of the Sherman Brothers (“Doin’ the Impossible”). Nor does it hurt that all 11 are respectfully, intelligently framed, with Miller’s clear, cool voice wrapped in top drawer arrangements interpreted by the sort of top-drawer players (on most tracks, a nine-piece band that somehow sounds big enough to fill the Hollywood Bowl) even Cole Porter or Frank Loesser would be proud to share their words and music with.

Originally Published