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Music Review

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Complete Album Series


Artist: Pat Suzuki
Label: Stage Door Records
RRP: £9.99
STAGE 9055
Release Date: 20 April 2018

I have always been a fan of female vocalists. As I think I’ve said before, my collection (after cast recordings) shows a heavy bias towards the ladies, and I have CDs by most of them. One of the ones who has escaped my collection up until now (although I’ve heard a couple of her albums over the years) is Pat Suzuki. "Who?" I hear you ask. Yes, granted she’s not perhaps that well known, but if you haven’t heard of her, or have for that matter, then Stage Door Records have made it very easy to get acquainted with her with their latest releases. Not only have they released a collectors CD of her Singles and Rareties, they have also released her entire back catalogue on the Complete Albums Series.

American actress and popular singer Pat Suzuki is best known for her role as Linda Low, the brassy nightclub singer, in the original Broadway production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Flower Drum Song (1958). The show, in which she sang 'Grant Avenue' and 'I Enjoy Being a Girl,' made Suzuki a star, and the latter song became her signature. The musical, featuring a mostly Asian cast and dealing with the difficulties between clashing cultures in the American West-Coast immigrant community, made a splash on the cover of Time Magazine in December 1958, when the faces of Pat Suzuki and Miyoshi Umeki were superimposed in front of an American flag. Two years later Suzuki was to sing at President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration.

Flower Drum Song ran for 602 performances on Broadway, and brought Pat Suzuki a Theatre World Award for her debut. In 1959, Suzuki released a solo album called Broadway ’59, which opened with the three most popular songs from Flower Drum Song alongside numbers from the then current Broadway shows Redhead, The Music Man, My Fair Lady, Bells Are Ringing, West Side Story and First Impressions. The album was a critical and commercial hit and brought her a nomination for a Grammy Award in the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance category in 1960.

Looking first at the Complete Album Series - for the first time ever, all four of Pat Suzuki's solo albums The Many Sides Of Pat Suzuki (1958), Miss Pony Tail (1958), Broadway '59 (1959) and Looking At You (1960) now make their debut on CD, presented as the Deluxe 2CD set Pat Suzuki - The Complete Album Series. The retrospective collection features 50 tracks including Suzuki's haunting interpretation of 'How High The Moon' (later featured in the 1988 film Biloxi Blues) and her solo recording of 'I Enjoy Being A Girl' which became a Top 50 hit in the United Kingdom when issued as a single in April 1960.

This is a great set, and it’s great to have all of these albums in one place. There are numerous gems on here as I mentioned above, and some surprises. Porter’s score to Jubilee is probably one of his least know, and it’s great to hear the standard ‘Just One Of Those Things’ here, along with another much loved Porter classic ‘From This Moment On’. Both of these numbers really impress, and show Suzuki’s vocal talents off extremely well. As a complete contrast, her handling of ‘I’ve Grown Accustomed To His Face’ from My Fair Lady is equally outstanding, as is the other My Fair Lady track ‘On the Street Where You Live’.

This is an excellent show case of Suzuki’s work, and Stage Door have done a great job. Sound quality is pretty good. A worthwhile investment.


Ian Gude

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