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Georgie Fame: Lost in a Lover’s Dream

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Thanks to the million-selling success he achieved with “The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde” in 1967, British vocalist and keyboardist Georgie Fame is often misbranded as yet another pop star who turned to jazz when the hits stopped coming. In fact, Fame’s jazz leanings date to the beginning of his career (“Night Train” was the lead track on his 1964 debut album). He’s toured with the Basie band, recorded with Annie Ross and paid tribute to Mose Allison alongside Ben Sidran and Van Morrison. Allison’s influence on Fame has been tremendous. His loping, drawling style is eerily similar. Indeed, anyone unfamiliar with Fame’s history might, upon hearing Lost in a Lover’s Dream, be easily fooled into thinking he grew up with Allison in Mississippi.

Recorded in Slovenia with just guitar (Primoz Grasic) and bass (Mario Mavrin), the album is split fairly evenly between standards and Fame’s own compositions. Most of the original tunes have appeared on previous discs but sound fresh against such beautifully minimalist backing. Fame opens with “Wide-Eyed and Legless,” a paean to unconquerable bad habits worthy of Tom Waits; revisits his witty “Skiing Blues,” the mountainside littered with double entendres; and reprises “Blossom,” the sweet bouquet to Blossom Dearie he first recorded in 1969 (two years earlier, Dearie ignited their musical flirtation with “Sweet Georgie Fame”). As for covers, Fame proves a sublime balladeer across “Don’t Blame Me,” “My Foolish Heart” and “Cry Me a River,” and sprinkles a marvelous “I Can’t Get Started” with references to his multifarious jazz history.

Originally Published