Songs from the Heart

by: Johnny Hartman

Johnny Hartman's album debut is a set of tender ballads, each word of which is treasured by Hartman's expansive, evocative voice. The ballads appear not only especially chosen, but practically written with Hartman in mind. He shines on highlights like "I Fall in Love Too Easily," "We'll Be Together Again," "Moonlight in Vermont," and "I See Your Face Before Me," often transforming midtempo songs into completely downtempo ballads and shifting the emphasis on different beats with his phrasing. The backing -- from drummer Ralph Sharon, trumpeter Howard McGhee, bassist Jay Cave, and drummer Christy Febbo -- is soft, spare, and completely supportive. A CD reissue by Bethlehem Archives adds six bonus tracks, alternate takes of tracks from the original LP. ~ John Bush

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