Thursday, December 13, 2018

Nancy Wilson: Goodbye: 1937-2018 A Lot of Livin' To Do

I'd like to thank Horace Wee and Stephen Han for their constant contribution to this blog. Without them and other contributors, this blog would go off track.

Goodbye Nancy Wilson:

My sister-in-law introduced me again to Nancy Wilson in the 1980s. Her stacks of Wilson's vinyl albums kept me agog for a long time.  Later when she moved out, she gave them away, unwilling to lug heavy-duty paraphernalia.  I was in shock, seeing Wilson's best selections gone to the karung-guni man (rag and bone guy).

Ms. Wilson has passed away at 81 years on 13 December 2018 and we all send our condolences to her family.

She likes to be known as a song stylist although she has other labels pinned on her like a torch singer (a very classic term indeed), the baby, Honey-Coated Voice or a jazz singer. But she is a stylist because, with 70 albums recorded in 50 years, that's a lot of special music by Nancy Wilson.

If I can connect myself to one song, just one, it will be: A Lot of Livin' To Do (Bye, Bye, Birdie: 1960) because it's when I first heard her in a record shop a long time ago in the mid-sixties, way before I remember her again afterward. Not her own original but a lovely song so vibrant and vigorous.

Horace Wee, famed hot rod guitarist from the '60s and afterward has this to say about her when he relayed the message of her passing:

"I saw her in the early years when she broke into the scene. Still, remember she was young and gorgeous in a white frock/dress highlighting her ebony tones. It was a jazz gig (long before her entry into pop) and showed off how good her jazz 'chops' were. I don't remember where it was but only a small jazz club.

The consensus at the time was that she had the potential to follow in the steps of jazz great female vocalists like Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn. She remained elegant in her late years, unlike a lot of African-American women who bloat up as they get older." 

Stephen Han, a pop 60's local music enthusiast, who also writes for this blog has witnessed many performances all over Singapore. He writes: "I was head over heels when I was treated to the Nancy Wilson Concert at the National Theatre in the '60s. 

She was a young and budding singer then, specializing in jazz and pops. Ms. Wilson sang beautifully and I enjoyed every moment of her performance.
RIP Nancy Wilson, you still got a lot of living up there with the other music greats. So a temporary goodbye then. 

Images: Google. 

YouTube Videos.

Blog poster showing Nancy Wilson appeared at the National Theatre Singapore 1960's which was torn down because of structural defects. Stephen Han attended her show.

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