Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Uptown Lounge [The Right Stuff, 1999]
Rarely have more black singers I dislike been gathered in one place. Billy Eckstine and Arthur Prysock, Lena Horne and Carmen McRae, Nina Simone and Sarah Vaughan, Lou Rawls and Nancy Wilson, Bobby Short and Sammy Davis Jr.--the grand and the genteel, the expressionistic and the arty, the smarmy and the pop pop pop. But after dozens upon dozens of hi-fi "lounge" comps, at least three of which I tried my damnedest to get through, they all do justice to old songs worth hearing. It's a credible, likable, and enjoyable rendering of the pseudosophistication young ginheads have been promoting since the second coming of Esquivel. The secret is that for once even Short and Horne sound comfortable in their bodies. This is not something I'd ever say about Esquivel or most ginheads. And comfort, ladies and gents, is supposed to be what lounging is about. A-