Search Manic Mark's Blog

Monday, April 8, 2024

What's Am Uggams? - Leslie Uggams


Some Cats Know

What's An Uggams?
Cover Photo: Jacques Bonnet
Cover Design: Boring Eutemey
Recording Engineers: Phil Ramone & Adrian Barber
The recordings of The Wrong Man & Just For Today were supervised by Nesuhi Ertegun
A Leiber-Stoller Production
Atlantic SD 8196

From the back cover: An Uggams is a girl named Leslie whose life has miraculously blossomed since as a fifteen year old on the Harry Salter's "Name That Tune" show she thrilled a nationwide TV audience with her rendition of He's Got The Whole World In His Hands. A few years later that little girl matured into a star of the first magnitude, and today Leslie literally has the whole world in her hands.

The kind of spectacular success that was to come was predicted by Mitch Miller when he signed Leslie for his "Sing Along With Mitch" TV show. "She's indescribably beautiful and unbelievably talented," said Mitch. "With the public and Leslie it's just a case of love at first sight and first sound." His protege won all the polls as Best Female Singer on Television two years in a row.

Mitch's prediction met its first stern test when Leslie moved out of her teems and made her night club debut at the Plaza Hotel's Persian Room in New York. Variety reported, "The whole room responded to her vocal efforts with a standing ovation. "Leslie became the youngest night club star in the country, moving form one top spot to another: the Flamingo in Las Vegas, the Cocoanut Grove in Los Angeles, the Copacabana and the Waldorf in New York, El San Juan in Puerto Rico, etc.

An Uggams at that stage was winning friends with amore than just great talent. Her personality and charm lay in her complete naturalness with people and an almost oblivious disregard of the fame and fortune coming her way in leaps and bounds. Every TV variety show appearance zoomed her popularity as a singer. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, Leslie Uggams the actress appeared. It started with straight dramatic roles on TV shows "I Spy" and "The Girl From U.N.C.L.E." A complete Leslie Uggams appeared for the first time in 1966 when she played the lead, singing dancing and acting, in "The Boy Friend," the role which also started Julie Andrews on the road to fame. Stanley Eichelbaum of the San Francisco Examiner, reviewing the show, summed up what an Uggams was to him: "Champagne will do. That's the kind of mood Leslie put in me last night during her bubbly and utterly bewitching debut."

Every time a new facet of Uggams appeared new adjectives followed. In 1967 critics called her "brilliant, radiant, remarkable, irresistible, thrilling, a singer-dancer-actress of extraordinary skill. The biggest star since Streisand." The occasion was "Hallelujah, Baby," her first starring role on Broadway. It surprised no one when her monumental critical reception, combined with the unanimous adulation of New York audiences, brought her the most coveted award of the legitimate theater, a "Tony," for the "Best Musical Comedy Actress of 1967." And 1968 over the ABC-TV network, turned out to be one of the year's most acclaimed TV specials.

The most sought after role of the 1968 season on Broadway was the part of Cleopatra in "Her First Roman," the musical version of George Bernard Shaw's "Caesar and Cleopatra." (This album contains two of the songs from "Her First Roman, "The Wrong Man and Just For Today.) "She is Cleopatra," the producers said of Leslie when they signed her to co-star with Richard Kiley as Julius Caesar. Is this the pinnacle from an Uggams or are there even greater things in store?" Most certainly there are," say Mitch Miller. "A talent like Leslie's comes along once in a lifetime. I'm glad it happened during mine." Amen!

What The World Needs Now Is Love - Arrangement by Pat Williams
Any Old Time Of The Day - Arrangement by Pat Williams
In The Land Of Make Believe - Arrangement by Pat Williams
Let The Music Play - Arranged by Jack Cortner
River Deep, Mountain High - Arranged by Jack Cortner
Is That All There Is - Arrangement by Pat Williams
Flying - Arrangement by Pat Williams
Some Cats Know - Arrangement by Pat Williams
The Wrong Man - Arrangement by Peter Matz
Just For Today - Arrangement by Peter Matz

No comments:

Post a Comment

Howdy! Thanks for leaving your thoughts!