a l l s o r t s
Kate Westbrook Recordings
a l l s o r t s
Kate Westbrook
Mike Westbrook
Available From
Westbrook Records
1   Stormy Weather
2   London Song
3   Limehouse Blues
4   Wasteground and Weeds
5   September Song
6   Surabaya Johnny
7   Pirate Jenny
8   A Poison Tree
9   Lush Life
10   Is That All There Is?
11   You Leave Me Breathless
12   The Moon’s Our Home
13   On the Beach
14   Honest Love
15   You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To
Kate Westbrook voice
Mike Westbrook piano
asc cd 112
Recorded between 1991 and 2009 by Jon Hiseman at
Temple Music Studios, Sutton Surrey, UK
more information about a l l s o r t s
As anyone who caught their superb September 2008 Vortex performance (part of the ASC piano festival) will already know, a duo gig by Mike and Kate Westbrook is a rare treat, intimate and intensely personal, wide-ranging (taking in material from the theatre and film worlds as well as standards, original songs and settings of European poetry) yet pleasingly informal. Many of the songs they performed on that occasion are collected on this album, which brings together recordings made at Jon Hiseman's Temple Studios between 1991 and the present, only one of which ('Surabaya Johnny') has been issued in its present form before (on Kate's Goodbye Peter Lorre album). The material has been arranged (roughly) thematically, so that Blake's 'London Song' is followed by 'Limehouse Blues' and the Westbrooks' own 'Wasteground and Weeds' (sparked by Sunday walks round their then London base in Bow, before Canary Wharf and associated developments); three Weill songs ('September Song', the aforementioned 'Surabaya Johnny' and the gripping narrative piece 'Pirate Jenny') form a sequence; two expressions of sophisticated world-weariness, Billy Strayhorn's 'Lush Life' and the Leiber/Stoller curiosity 'Is That All There Is?' are programmed together; and Friedrich Hollaender's heart-on-sleeve love songs, 'You Leave Me Breathless' and 'The Moon's Our Home' also come one after the other. For the rest, there are highly affecting versions of two standards/show tunes ('Stormy Weather' and 'You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To'), a rare version of a Theodorakis/Sefaris song, 'On the Beach' and two Westbrook settings (Blake's 'A Poison Tree' and short-story writer Helen Simpson's 'Honest Love'). Such an apparently heterogeneous collection needs confident handling in order for it cohere; Allsorts succeeds courtesy not only of Kate Westbrook's consistently intelligent approach to a lyric (adopting what amounts to a dramatic persona where appropriate, as in 'Limehouse Blues' or the grippingly acerbic 'Pirate Jenny', rendering the straight-from-the-heart sincerity of 'September Song' or 'You'd Be So Nice.' all the more touching), but also of Mike Westbrook's subtle, perfectly judged but robust piano playing. A fine memento not only of a great live act, but also of a wonderfully fruitful, long-lasting collaboration between two highly original artists and a sympathetic and sensitive studio.
Chris Parker VORTEX



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