Catherine Howe What a Beautiful Place

Rainy days are beautiful with Catherine Howe, who created her jazzy, orchestral, British folk album at the ripe age of 20, working with jazz pianist Bobby Scott of "He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” fame. Who is she and why hasn’t she graced the cover of every music rag on the planet? Perhaps she would have, back in 1971, if her label, Reflection Records, hadn’t folded and left her to toil in obscurity for the next few decades. Luckily for Howe, her brand of rattling, youthful, breezy folk jazz numbers is just the thing that would appeal to someone today who is listening to Judee Sill or Patty Waters. The album is marked by "Prologue,” "Interlude” and "Epilogue,” three spoken word pieces put to music that set the stage for brooding, elegant pieces such as "It’s Not Likely” and the honky-tonk stateside jazz of the title track. Even writing these songs at a young age, Howe demonstrated knowledge of some of life’s darkest truths and set them to song. For this we should listen and move her to the top of the ever-increasing pile of reissued "lost gems.” (Numero Group)