CD REVIEWS

SONGS FROM THE FLOATING WORLD

THE OBSERVER ★★★★★ 14/9/14
SONGS FROM THE FLOATING WORLD
‘Cool, elegant, immaculate’

Together, Sarah MouleSimon Wallace and Fran Landesman made a perfect trio of talents – and still do, even though Fran died three years ago. Wallace’s music exactly echoes her unsettling but deceptively simple lyrics, and Moule’s cool voice brings them both to elegant life. Among the seven Landesman songs here I particularly liked Scars and Did I Break Your Heart? There’s also Lots of People Do, with a lyric that sounds remarkably like Fran but turns out to be by Julie Burchill, together with several intriguingly recast standards. Wallace’s arrangements are immaculate.
Dave Gelly

SUNDAY TIMES CULTURE MAGAZINE 14/9/14
SONGS FROM THE FLOATING WORLD
She doesn’t scream she doesn’t pout.  Sarah Moule is an introverted jazz-cabaret singer who believes in putting the lyrics first.  You can’t quite imagine her in the company of the motor-mouthed Julie Burchill, but it is the acerbic writer who provides the words on the bittersweet Lots of People Do. Typically shrewd material by the late poet Fran Landesman looms large in  a first-rate set arranged and produced by the pianist Simon Wallace.  The guitarist Nigel Price etches sharp lines, and Moule turns bluesy, too, on Willie Dixon’s evergreen  My Babe.
Clive Davis

ALLABOUTJAZZ.COM ★★★★★ Bruce Lindsay 20/4/15
SARAH MOULE – SONGS FROM THE FLOATING WORLD

Class will out, as they say. It’s certainly true on this album—class bursts out of Songs From The Floating World. From Sarah Moule’s sophisticated, cool, vocals and the stylish playing of the cream of British jazzers, through to Simon Wallace‘s music and arrangements and Fran Landesman’s inimitable lyrics, everyone involved with this fine album is a class act.Moule is a leading interpreter of Landesman’s songs: her understated approach heightens the impact of the lyrics and ensures that every nuance and subtlety is communicated. Wallace (who is married to Moule) is Landesman’s most prolific collaborator, working with her until her death in 2011 at the age of 83. His arrangements add depth and richness to the melodies through the use of bass clarinet and shakuhachi as well as the more usual piano, guitar, bass and drums.It’s not all Landesman: songs by other writers include an atmospheric reading of Crolla and Prevert’s “Cri De Coeur” and a torch song take on Cole Porter’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.” There’s also “Lots Of People Do”—music by Wallace, lyrics by writer and journalist Julie Birchill who was once Landesman’s daughter-in-law. However, Landesman’s lyrics are at the heart of Songs From The Floating World—funny, romantic, satirical, cutting or dramatic, they’re never dull or clichéd. Ten of the songs on this album are co-written by Landesman and Wallace: the best of them, such as Landesman’s own favorite “Scars,” are deservedly achieving the status of standards.There’s a blues feel running through much of Songs From The Floating World—not just on the obvious tracks, such as Willie Dixon‘s “My Babe,” but also on “Lord I Wanna Be Good,” “Lots Of People Do” and “Don’t Fall In Love With Me.” Much of the credit goes to Nigel Price, whose guitar playing is always a joy—Wallace’s Hammond playing also captures the feel.Six of the Landesman/Wallace songs are receiving their debut recordings. “If You Believe That” swings slinkily and still manages to make a few salient points in a humorous way. “Lord I Want To Be Good” offers a short, pithy, philosophy that might well be close to Landesman’s own—Moule sings three times, with heartfelt sincerity, “Lord I wanna be good,” before adding the caveat “not right away.”

“Did I Break Your Heart?,” a piano and voice ballad, is beautiful—and as heartbreaking as the title suggests. It may well be one of the finest of all the Landesman/Wallace songs, another standard in the making, Moule’s superbly-judged vocal giving the tale of a long-ended relationship added poignancy.

“Everybody’s got scars” sings Moule on Landesman’s favorite song, …”it’s the way we keep score.” Album reviews, on the other hand, got stars. Songs From The Floating World gets five.

Track Listing: Lord I Wanna Be Good; Men Who Love Mermaids; Lots Of People Do; Scars; Cri Du Coeur; I’ve Got You Under My Skin; My Babe; Hell’s Angel; Don’t Fall In Love With Me; Love’s Eyes; Looking For A Boy; Stranger; I Need A Little Sugar In My Bowl; Noir; If You Believe That; Did I Break Your Heart?

Personnel: Sarah Moule: vocals; Simon Wallace: piano, Hammond organ, accordion; Mick Hutton: bass; Paul Robinson: drums; Nigel Price: guitar; Gary Hammond: percussion; Clive Bell: shakuhachi; Yori Silver: bass clarinet; Tim Hodgkinson: bass clarinet; Warren Zielinski: violin (5); Mark Hodgson: bass (7).

JAZZWISE MAGAZINE OCT 2014 ★★★★
SARAH MOULE – SONGS FROM THE FLOATING WORLD

Red Ram Records RAM002

Sarah Moule (v), plus various personnel including Simon Wallace (p, org, acc), Mick Hutton (b), Paul Robinson
As on her previous album, A Lazy Kind of Love, vocalist Sarah Moule’s artistic focus remains firmly fixed on the oeuvre of (husband) Simon Wallace and the late Fran Landesman – of the album’s 16 tracks, 10 come from the songwriting duo’s pens. Seven of them receive their debut recording here, including the impressionistic, floating ‘Hell’s Angel’ – a dream in which a visiting angel recounts a celestial jam session with ‘Jimi, John and Mama Cass, and all of them could fly’. There are superb interpretations of the classic ‘Scars’ and ‘Noir’. Other material includes the wildly romantic ‘Cri Du Coeur’, a sensual, slow-mo take on ‘I’ve Got You Under My Skin’, plus a suitably suggestive ‘I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl’. Taking on arrangement, production, recording and mixing duties once again, as well as contributing piano, Hammond organ and accordion, Wallace leads a terrific band. Moule really finds the soul of her instrument on this outstanding collection.
Peter Quinn

 

JAZZ JOURNAL November 2014 ★★★★
SARAH MOULE: SONGS FROM THE FLOATING WORLD (Red Ram)

Sarah Moule’s fourth album finds her once more investigating the considerable legacy of lyricist Fran Landesman, who died in 2011. Ten of the 16 songs are Landesman’s, with music by longtime collaborator Simon Wallace. Moule is a fine interpreter of Landesman’s lyrics, her clear intonation, unhurried pacing and subtle note placement ideal for the wit and wisdom of the words. The accompaniment is classic, late-night club jazz, supportive without ever being demonstrative, evocative of the floating world of ambiguity and decadence the songs conjure up. A classy and intelligent set.
 Simon Adams 

JAZZWAX.COM 29/9/14
Sarah Moule, Songs From the Foating World (Ram002).
 In 1994, lyricist Fran Landesman (Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most) met British composer Simon Wallace and collaborated with him on nearly 300 songs until her death in 2011. Vocalist Sarah Moule takes on 10 of those late-period ballad works with great affection here. She deploys a warm, rich sound on selections while retaining in her voice Landesman’s word-play whimsy. Sample If You Believe That.
Marc Myers

CRYMEATORCHSONG.COM  Video Review February 2017

GIRLSINGERS.ORG 12/4/15

Sarah Moule - Songs From The Floating WorldSarah Moule – Songs From
The Floating World (Red Ram)

Released – September, 2014

‘I sometimes get nagging little notes – “Did you receive the disc?” or “What did you think? Will you review it soon?” Then something clicks, and I hear a song, or an entire album about which I must tell people. 
Fran Landesman was a lyricist, and what one might call a free spirit. In her 2011 obituary (She died at 83), the New York Times said she “made her life into an art form — not least because of the exuberantly public extramarital sex life she delighted in sharing with London tabloids.”

For years, BBC Radio has featured a program called “Desert Island Discs,” inviting guests to pick their favorite records, and the one luxury item with which they’d want to be stranded. In a 1996 episode, Ms. Landesman caused a bit of a stir when she said her luxury would be cannabis seeds.

The Times obit goes on to say, “…her lasting footprint was the mordant, biting, yet strangely tender lyrics she used to chronicle the world’s lovers, lunatics and losers.” Probably the two most-recorded from her body of work are “Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most,” and “The Ballad Of The Sad Young Men.”

Fran LandesmanLyrics by Ms. Landesman. Music by Simon Wallace. Unforgettable interpretation by Sarah Moule.

My introduction to Ms. Moule came in an email: “I am married to Simon Wallace and have been recording his and Fran’s songs since 2002….I wonder whether you would be interested in a CD of mainly Fran Landesman and Simon Wallace songs.”

The disc opens with echoes of St. Augustine in “Lord, I Want To Be Good,” one of six Landesman-Wallace tracks getting their recorded debut here, and this track hooked me for the rest, a very pleasant (if somewhat melancholy) trip through titles like “Don’t Fall In Love With Me,” along with “Did I Break Your Heart,” and “Scars,” which is more tender than the title would suggest:

Don’t be ashamed | Everybody’s got Scars,
From our various wars | On the way to the stars
Don’t try to hide | Everybody’s got scars,

From crash landing on Mars | With these egos of ours

Sarah MouleAnd yet, if I had to choose a single track, it would be Cole Porter’s “Under My Skin,” delivered with such longing that it took me a little while to exit my own reverie, remembering my own tales of little romantic infatuations. These songs aren’t for kids. Ms. Moule isn’t just technically perfect, she proves that one needs more than a few life experiences to instinctly deliver these lyrics the way they were written. She’s not only revealing her own soul – she seemed to be looking into mine.

It’s good that I don’t have to pick just one. Neither should you. Highest recommendation for this handcrafted set – this work of art.

Highlighted tracks have been added to the playlist at 62ndStreet.com.
Doug Boynton

 

BLUES MATTERS 28/7/15
SONGS FROM THE FLOATING WORLD

The album title is perfect for this jazz infused album that floats and is full of subtle threads
and simple lyrics where every word is held and is there for a reason. The album is full of different tempos that so suit Sarah’s vocal range and perfect diction. Men Who Love Mermaids has a flute intro that sets a watery misty scene for this track which is full of sea side mystery. Then for me the most powerful track on the album Scars, the piano and vocals work so well where the lyrics are the central core of this track that we can all relate to. Then with a deft clever but light touch the mood is changed with accordion and the sounds of a Parisian walkway with Cri Du Coeur. There is some blues with Willie Dixon’s My Babe where her voice
is husky and full of the blues and Williams/Small I need A Little Sugar in My Bowl given Sarah’s treatment with a laid back considered version that you just want to chill and listen to.

This album has sixteen gems tracks that you want to close your eyes, shut out the world and let the music float on over you in this musical massage for the soul. LIZ AIKEN

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