Once Upon a Summertime...

Once Upon a Summertime...

With a list of songs hand-selected and arranged by Blossom herself, Once Upon a Summertime is the most seductive of the singer’s early albums for Verve. She continues to use her squeaky-clean voice to maximum effect, but there is increasingly self-assurance to her delivery. She still sings like a teacher’s pet, but “Moonlight Saving Time,” “Teach Me Tonight” and “We’re Together” are surprisingly sexy, albeit in the slyest, subtlest way. Though her persona is pure innocence, Blossom has clearly had a lot of experience in the relationship department. Every song — whether the drowsily delirious “Once Upon a Summertime” or the bouncy, sassy “Down With Love”— finds a new way to express the workings of male-female fancies. Her version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Surrey With the Fringe On Top” is a career performance, and arguably the song’s finest reading. The song requires an equal order of whimsy and sincerity. It’s an unusual combination that escapes most singers, but happens to be Blossom’s essential formula.

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