Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Della Reese

One of my all time favorite singers died a few days ago. 

Della Reese, probably more well known today as the actress who played an angel on the television series "Touched By An Angel."  But I will always remember Della from my youth in the Fifties as one of a handful of female singers that I so thoroughly enjoyed. Of course my favorite female singer of all time was Dinah Washington. But Della, along with Dakota Staton and Sara Vaughn were also there in my select group of female singers who gave me comfort whenever they sang.

I especially liked Della because of her strong voice and clear enunciation, something that is all too often sorely lacking with many of today's singers. I don't know but is it me who just doesn't understand what Mariah Carey is singing other than screeching at the top of her lungs?  I know Beyonce and Mary J. Blige are all the rage today but I can't understand them either.  

I guess you can put me in the Old Fogey bin because I like the "old time" singers like Della.  

Below is the one song, "Don't You Know?",  of Della's that is my very favorite. Every time I hear it I tear up. 

Songwriter Bobby Worth borrowed Puccini's "Musetta's Waltz" melody from his opera "La Boheme" and created a smash hit for Della Reese. This song was Della's biggest single hit ever. The extraordinarily talented Ms. Reese started in show business as a singer (discovered by Mahalia Jackson), and later branched out into acting ("Touched By An Angel", "Chico And The Man", "The Royal Family", etc.). This wonderful performance by Della was featured in the film "A Bronx Tale". Produced by Hugo and Luigi. Orchestra under the direction of Glenn Osser.

Rest in peace dear Della. You have brought so much happiness to so many in this world. You have your angel wings now.


JeffinChicago said...

I never saw her in concert, but based on just this one song she would have been something to see!

Ron said...

Wish I could have seen her in concert!

Ron said...

Just played "You've Come a Long Way From St. Louis", fabulous! I've never heard this before. Thanks for sending the link.

Raybeard said...

Her name is only just floating around in the recesses of my awareness - I wouldn't have been able to put a name to the voice. But I can see what you say about her enunciation. Every word as clear as a bell, as it was with most singers from around that era. Even with Sinatra you knew what he was singing about, whereas these days - yuk! They may as well be warbling away in Polish for all the sense it makes! But for some reason the audience and their fans don't seem to care, though God knows why!
Two of my own favourites from the 50s were Peggy Lee and, of course, Ella F. Both a bit obvious, I suppose, but there you are.

Ron said...

Della Reese was always one of my favorite singers. She didn't do too many albums though. Don't know why. Ella Fitzgerald is a good singer but for some reason I never really connected with her like I did with Della and Dinah Washington. And I do LOVE the clean enunciation. I also liked Peggy Lee. Today I like Adele but as for most of the rest of the current singers, I'll take a pass.

Raybeard said...

'fraid I just cannot understand the hullaballoo and adulation for Adele, Ron. I know she attracts admiration the world over, but I can't see it. For me she's another 'yeller' and just 'cos she can sing loud we're supposed to be gobsmacked at her 'talent'. I also can't make out what she's singing about.
But I respect your differing view.

Another singer I liked from the era we were discussing, one with a unique delivery and one of whom we hear and heard so little - Blossom Dearie.