Jackie Cain & Roy Kral -- Double Take (Columbia 1961)

Originally published in "Los in the Grooves" by Kim Cooper and David Smay

Routledge 2005

One of the most enduring (and endearing) partnerships in show business began in the late 1940's when Roy Kral met "girl singer" Jackie Cain. Her crystal clear voice proved the perfect complement to Kral's deft arrangements and smooth baritone, and in 1948 they embarked a musical and personal collaboration that spanned over fifty years. Like Glenn Miller's classic sound of clarinet over saxophone, Kral sang his vocals a full octave above Jackie's. This parallel harmony created the irresisitible, optimistic feeling that is at the center of their signature sound.

On Double Take accompanied only by bassist Ted Snyder and Stan Harris on drums, Kral weaves a surprisingly full-sounding tapestry of standards, cabaret and jazz. Whimsically, Snyder switches instruments in the final number, Sondheim/Stein's "Together Wherever We Go" and provides us with what is surely the only three part harmony with tuba.

This delicious sense of play infuses the entire album with fun and sets it apart from all other Jackie and Roy endeavors. Song by song, Jackie and Roy joke, banter, argue, kiss and make up. By turns droll, wry, charming and sarcastic the couple poke fun at modern relationships and one another. Cain and Kral's own composition, "Glasses and Ashes and Bottles and Cans" is the quintessentially perfect party post-mortem.

Fresh and appealing, light and lively, Double Take is a triumph of harmony and wit, substance and style. Never before or since have two people created such unmitigated joy on vinyl. From the opening "Cheerful Little Earful" to the masterwork of vocalese called "Daahoud" by Clifford Brown, Jackie and Roy embark on a musical journey on which one is thrilled to be a stowaway.