Maryann Price

The Real Deal (Catfish Jazz)

Texas Platters

Maryann Price

The Real Deal (Catfish Jazz)

By rights a reflective affair – Price's husband, manager, and local music historian Tary Owens passed in 2003 – The Real Deal is hardly a somber one. Tracking the Austin swing dowager's career from Baltimore's Peabody Conservatory to freshly minted "Nothin' Dries Sooner Than a Tear," these 14 songs draw on sources as diverse Ray Davies and Johnny Mercer, but Price's bewitching vocals always hold center stage. Racing like Ella on "Cool as a Breeze" or taking her own sweet time on "Pretty Boy," Price conjures white dinner jackets and spring dances in city-park pavilions. Ray Benson bops by for the Coasters-like "Mr. Bassman," one of several tracks enhanced by the careful woodwind work of Price's Peabody classmate Harry Kleintank, who passed shortly after recording the album. Kleintank's gentle, intricate interplay with guitarist Rick McRae, bassist Terry Hale, drummer Steve Schwelling, and above all Maryann Price is a graceful epitaph all its own.

***.5

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