It wasn’t until I finished listening to Lydia gray’s ‘In My Eyes’ that I read that she is the daughter of Betty Johnson, an accomplished singer from the mid century and was one of Johnny Carson’s favorites. I wonder if my opinion of Ms Gary would have been different had I known that fact. But then Gray’s style is very much different from her mother’s. You can clearly hear that as Gray songs the one old-fashioned standard in the album, Irving Berlin’s ‘What’ll I Do?’ I would imagine Johnson singing this with a big band, resplendent with all the instruments. Gray’s version is more confessional, intimate, and achieves quite the opposite effect.
That intimacy is prevalent in this whole album, which is a collection of 60s pop songs – it has an armful of Beatles songs, and of artists of the same area. Gray loves these songs and it shows. While the whole aura of the album is a little bit saloon, it is high end saloon. It’s a step more modern than cabaret, but adapting its sensibility. I listened to this on a lazy summer afternoon and it was relaxing – and her version of Elton John’s ‘Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word” is indeed on point. I wished I remembered everything else, though. Her singing is fine, but that may be its biggest problem – it’s just fine. The air-conditioning made me feel asleep, and when I woke up, this whole album became just a memory.