Bitchtapes: The Standards Edition

Kjerstin Johnson
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Kjerstin Johnson is a writer and editor in Portland, Oregon. She is the former editor in chief of Bitch. She tweets at @kajerstin

Covers are one thing–artists re-interpreting the work of other for homage to irony and everything in between. Standards, I feel, are something else. Beyond the ability of musical reproduction, jazz standards are meant to be continually interpreted and stylized, with little rules outside of a fakebook, plus they seem to stand the test of time–hokey or cliche lyrics that continue to appeal for the very reason that they simplify emotions so well to the point that everyone can relate. Throw in the unique stylings of an artist and it never gets old! Here are some of my favorite female vocalists singing some standards!

1. The Boswell Sisters - I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter
These sisters from the thirties know a thing or two or three about harmonizing! Count how many times they switch tempos!

2. Ella Fitzgerald and the Ink Spots - It’s Only a Paper Moon
Ella recorded a few songs with the Ink Spots, a male quartet who just add just that much more magic to this little gem!

3. June Christy and the Kentones - I Can’t Give You Anything But Love
We’re in a recession ya know!

4. Etta James - Stormy Weather
I like this one cause it makes you feel real good when you feel real bad!

5. Jo Stafford - The Gentleman is a Dope
Ever been hooked on (a) dope? The ever-classy Jo Stafford knows how it feels!

6. Nina Simone - My Baby Just Cares for Me
Nina Simone never fails to bring it with her snappy pianah-playin,’ smoky vocals, and that knack for filling every note full of personality!

7. Dinah Washington - I Get a Kick out of You
Riding in planes and substance abuse has nothing on my sweetie! And…..trumpet solo!

8. Sarah Vaughn - They Can’t Take That Away from Me
Sarah Vaughn’s light vocals and humor cheer up this Gershwin tune and make saying goodbye a little easier!


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