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Keely Smith

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Keely Smith


The wonderful Louis Prima lived up to his leering stage persona by discovering the teenage, swimsuit-clad Keely Smith. Luckily for us, Smith had a voice as beautiful as anything seen on the beach that day. She played "straight man" to Prima during his wild stage shows and was given plenty of solo opportunities to spellbind audiences with her pure but swinging voice -- comparisons to the hipper side of Doris Day or a non-scatting Ella are apt. When Prima signed with Capitol records, Smith started on her solo career. Capitol gave Smith the full glamour treatment without exploiting her Native American heritage like other labels did. Smith sailed to the top of the charts by recording excellent albums with Sinatra's main Big Band arrangers Nelson Riddle and Billy May. "I Wish You Love," a French tune she liked, became a smash and went on to become a standard. While a couple of her post-Capitol albums are beneath her, Keely has started recording and performing again with sterling jazz and big band backing.
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