I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Spot on. If I’d been Karen (or Richard for that matter), I’d have felt embarrassed having to explain to Ella that I was going to mime in her presence. From a technical standpoint, the end of the medley always jars with me because they’re out of sync with each other on the last line “don’t get around much anymore!”. And that’s not Ella’s fault. It’s because Karen is locked into the pre-recorded vocal and there’s nothing she can do about it. Had she been singing live, she and Ella would probably have sparred off one another and been in time. As it stands, Karen’s performance doesn’t have the soul and authenticity that Ella’s does because it’s not of the moment. Karen nailed the pre-recorded vocals in one go on March 2, 1980. What was stopping her from doing the same live? Richard even says in the liner notes for ATGB, “They might as well have been live as she got them all in one take”. I don’t buy the “studio animals” argument for a second. Karen was every bit as good as Ella and could have easily held her own live in that environment. Sometimes studio-quality perfection isn’t always necessary or what’s important for the piece.This duet just never moved me the way it should have considering the legendary singer significance, and it took me awhile to finally figure out that the lip-syncing is the cause. I agree it was a huge opportunity lost. I wonder if Richard looking back feels that way now?