Synopsis by Nathan Southern
One of the most revered interpreters of the Great American Songbook, Mabel Mercer (1900-84), failed to achieve the name recognition of her contemporaries Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Dinah Washington, but earned the sobriquet "musician's musician" for her ability to appeal to music "insiders" such as Nat 'King' Cole, Frank Sinatra and Cole Porter. Born in England, Mercer began as a dancer, touring the vaudeville and music hall circuits of Britain from age 14 onward, but ultimately shifted gears to focus on vocal performance. In that role, she celebrated a unique and inimitable "cabaret" style of singing at such U.S. clubs as Tony's, the Byline Room and Le Ruban Bleu. This 1979 concert finds then 79-year-old Mercer interpreting a host of tunes, including "Clouds," "Experiment," "Being Green," "The Times of Your Life," and "Get Well Soon."