Liner Note Author: Alec Palao.
Photographers: Don Peake; Edan Epstein; Albeth Paris Grass; Alec Palao.
Most familiar to listeners as the lead singer for the Paris Sisters, Priscilla Paris went on to do some solo recordings that remain obscure even to many collectors. This CD combines her 1967 album Priscilla Sings Herself and her 1969 LP Priscilla Loves Billy onto one disc, adding a 1968 single and four previously unreleased late-'60s tracks. Priscilla Sings Herself (produced by Charlie Greene and Brian Stone, also noted for being involved in the management and/or production of Sonny & Cher and Buffalo Springfield) was fairly different from the Paris Sisters' material in a couple respects. Priscilla wrote all the songs, and the arrangements (by Don Peake) favored a more updated form of orchestrated Hollywood pop. Paris retained her exceptionally sultry, wispy vocal delivery, which had a contained air suggesting someone determined to look into her deep emotions but afraid of falling off a precipice if she went too far. It was an unusual style for that period or any other, sometimes suggesting a hipper Vikki Carr and sometimes faintly echoing the work of one-time Paris Sisters producer Phil Spector (as on the opening track "He Noticed Me"), with "My Window" recalling some of Neil Diamond's moodier early tunes. The four late-'60s outtakes (all but one penned by Paris) are in a fairly similar style, though the track that found release on 1968 single was a decent cover of "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," the lyrics reworded to a woman's point of view. In contrast to the first 15 tracks, Priscilla Loves Billy [sic] is a disappointment, with Paris devoting the entire LP to covers of songs associated with Billie Holiday. Though her idiosyncratic singing remained intact, the arrangements were mild jazzy without a hint of the rock-influenced pop of her prior work, and not of much interest to either Holiday or Paris fans. The liner notes give a thorough and abundantly illustrated account of her solo career, with quotes from her sisters, Peake, and Clancy Grass, who produced or co-produced everything on this compilation postdating Priscilla Sings Herself. ~ Richie Unterberger