Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Barbara Ruskin A Little Bit of This



This is a treat for people who like singer-songwriters and British female singers. I like to hunt out for British female singers of the 60's. I love Dusty Springfield and Cilla Black for example and Barbara Ruskin is a great inclusion to my pile. Barbara Ruskin was most known for her song Come into my arms again. A Little of This and a Little of That and Pawnbroker, Pawnbroker are excellent examples of the upbeat British 60's sound. My favorite song is Echoes in my Mind which to me sounds kind of indie.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Glenda Collins



Glenda Collins was produced by the legendary Joe Meek. She had a good throaty voice. She had the disadvantage of her being better than her material. This is worth recommending though. There are a couple of good songs like Head over Heels in Love and Everybody's got to fall in love. It's a shame that she didn't have a hit because Baby it hurts, the best song on the cd, really should have been one.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Chicas Ye Ye Vol. 2



This is an excellent collection that puts together four Spanish ye-ye singers and their eps from the 60's. Out of the four Franciska has the most different voice but my favorite artist here is Li Morante. There are a number of good songs here Tafetan, Hasta el final del dia, and Que Suerte. Kinita is a good artist. It's a shame she gets so much covers though. The Spanish ye-ye movement has been one of my favorite musical discoveries over the past years.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Miyoshi Umeki



Miyoshi Umeki is remembered most for her Oscar nominated work in Saynoara and her performance in Flower Drum Song. (She was in the movie too.) Here she does standards, half in Japanese and half in English. It flows well and she has a nice gentle voice. I like "Slowly go out of your mind" most.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

France Gall Tout pour la musique



This was one of my greatest thrift store finds. I found it in the middle of nowhere in mint condition. This is one of France Gall's best albums from her later period where she collaborated with her husband Michel Berger. This is different from her teeny bopper period. Although I like that period more I confess, this is more mature. The title track grabs you. The real standout in this album though is La Priere des petits humains.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bonnie Lou Doin' the Tennessee Wig Walk


I learned about Bonnie Lou from the fine Finding her Voice: the Illustrated History of Women in Country Music. That book is a good source to also find a bit about Bonnie Lou and has a beautiful picture of her not featured in the linear notes.
Bonnie was not rockbilly in terms of a Janis Martin/Wanda Jackson type style. But she was a fun artist targeted more towards the teen market. The country sound with Bonnie Lou is more with the twang in her voice than her music though there are some exceptions throughout.
My favorites in the cd are the silly tunes especially "Dancing in my Socks", where to compensate for her boy's shortness, she'll make him feel better by dancing in her socks. Also Barnyard Hop is pretty catchy too. Her "Daddy O" is good but was covered even better later by the Fontane Sisters. The only sad thing is Bonnie Lou's best rockabilly performance "Friction Heat" was on another label and therefore not on this disc. :(

Friday, November 7, 2008

Patti Page 1949 with Lou Stein's Music



This is an interesting cd. It features radio recordings from early in Patti Page's recording career. It's just her, not the usual multi-track that she's known for. It shows that behind the studio trickery there was a nice voice. In here she sings standards accompained by piano. Goody Goodbye, the last track, is most reminiscent of her later period. She sings my favorite rendition of Exactly like You here. It sounds like she really means the words.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Paris Sisters sing everything under the sun



This is an album from the group that made one memorable oldie, "I love that you love me." Priscilla, the lead singer, had a wonderful breathy voice. This album was made after they left Phil Spector. There a number of good songs here like My Good Friend and one of the best takes of Long after tonight is all over. I'm hoping that someone will release their hard to find record "The Paris Sisters Sing from the Glass House." Also I would love to hear, "Priscilla sings herself."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Marion Maerz Er Ist Wieder Da



This is pretty good German pop from the 60's. The downbeat Er Ist Wieder Da is the best song on the cd but the B-side Blau, Blau, Blau is almost as good. Paul McCartney even praised it. Other than that I like Liebe auf den ersten blick and Mister Boyfriend, cute songs. It's sad that one of her biggest hits I go to sleep isn't featured here. The youtube video of it is pretty cool.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Raindrops


Before doing two solo albums, songwriter Ellie Greenwich formed this band with her husband at the time Jeff Berry. The songs were originally done as demos for songwriting. Due to their quality they were released otherwise. The other female shown is Ellie's sister who was not part of the group. She was just included in the pictures for the group.
There's a lot of catchy songs here "The Kind of Boy you can't forget" and "When the boy's happy". Ellie Greenwich and her husband wrote many great songs Be my Baby, Chapel of Love, and River deep, Mountain High. Great talent.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Conchita Velasco's Singles Collection


Conchita Velasco was the girl who started the Spanish ye-ye genre. The genre is more connected with the French with the likes of Sylvie Vartan and France Gall. However the Spanish had talent to share too with the likes of Marisol, Karina, and Conchita Velasco.
Conchita Velasco had more of a husky voice. There are normal pop songs here like Oh John. But the songs that I really liked here were the funky ones such as Sinceridad and Una Oportunidad.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Jacqueline Boyer


The daughter of Lucienne Boyer was most famous for her Eurovision winner Tom Pillibi. But this two cd set shows there was more to this artist. She had a nice voice and accent, did chanson material well. Actually Tom Pillibi isn't even the best song here. La Mer, La Plage and Cou-Couche Panier are fantastic. Her cover of Blue Moon is pretty good too.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sue Thompson



When I played this in the car my brother said, "This sounds like a 16 year old." I can't blame him. She sang like one and did teenage material. But no Sue Thompson was around her 30's by the time she made it in the pop scene. (It was part of her odd appeal.) This cd collects the material she did for the Hickory label. It includes the hits like the wonderful Paper Lion and James Hold the Ladder Steady. I also like some of the filler songs like True Confession.
Sue later went on and did country in the 70's. Her duets with Don Gibson aren't featured on this cd but I'll probably collect those albums in the future.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Jackie DeShannon's Are you ready for this?



This is one of Jackie DeShannon's best albums. You can tell that she spent way too much time listening to The Supremes before this. She does her best Diana Ross imitation. A number of catchy songs here especially with Love is Leading Are you Ready for this? Fun album.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Annie Philippe



This two cd collection is of French ye ye singer Annie Philippe. Vocally she sounded squeaky like France Gall although Annie had more of a grown up persona. There are a number of good songs here. I love the ballad Ticket de Quai and upbeat numbers like Pas de Taxi, C'est La Mode, and On m'a tonjours dit. If you're looking for something beyond Francoise Hardy and Sylvie Vartan, Annie is worth a shot.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Crusaders


Make a Joyful Noise with Drums and Guitars 1966. Sole upbeat Christian rock album. It's pretty consistent and fun to listen to. It also includes charming lame lyrics "we think of him when we're playing, it's just as though we were praying". The group later reformed as The Love Exchange with the inclusion of a female singer.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Candy Coated Goodees



Most known for their minor hit "Condition Red", a death threat like Leader of the Pack song, this album is worth discovering too. They have an awesome cover of Double Shot. I never understood that it was about a hangover until their version. Jilted is a cool song where a girl is stood up at her wedding. Their covers of He's a rebel and My Boyfriend's Back are weak though. Their turn on Worst that could happen is interesting. I don't know a girl singing this song? Anyway this should be reissued.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Dale Evans



Most remembered for her western movies with Roy Rogers, Dale also was a singer. Her voice wasn't really country. It was more like Jo Stafford than Patsy Montana. Her songs were western themed but I'm sure a jazz listener could like this. This cd released by the British Archive of Country Music releases these singles. You can tell she is having fun with "His hat cost more than Mine". She can also sing a pretty good ballad such as in "When the white roses bloom". Collector's Choice Music also released a cd of her radio broadcasts with Ray Noble Sweetheart of the West which I also recommend.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Nightly Yours on the Steve Allen Show Jennie Smith



A very nice vocal album from the 1950's. Jennie Smith's voice sounds like a combination of Eydie Gorme and Joni James. She knew how to belt out a song but to leave some vulnerability behind. Her version of "In other words" on this album is pure magic, sincere. The album starts out great on both sides with upbeat numbers like "This could be the start of something". Jennie made a few records and although I also recommend "Love among the Young", this is the one to go for. Great arrangements and keeps your interest throughout.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Anna Moffo's One Night of Love



Opera singer Anna Moffo goes through movie/stage standards. It's nicely arranged and she has a beautiful voice, good background music. Generally I collect albums where opera singers decided to go "pop" like Dorothy Kirsten and Rise Stevens attempts. This is good enough for a reissue.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Caroline Peyton's Intuition



Although Caroline Peyton's voice bore a resemblance to Joni Mitchell, she had her own persona. This '77 album which was released on an independent album is interesting. It's all over the map but strangely works together. It combines country, jazz, and even disco! Highlights include the country Together and the fabulous disco number Party Line. It's a shame Caroline didn't produce more albums for this shows that she was a vertasile performer. Later Caroline Peyton used her voice for Disney. Her most famous sample being Beauty and the Beast

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Jackie DeShannon Don't Turn your back on me




This Beat Goes on reissue captures Jackie DeShannon at her early best. I have to admit I prefer the pop Jackie side before the "Put a little love in your heart" period. (Although that song is a guilty pleasure.) I think "Don't Turn your Back on Me" is one of her best albums. It's consistent and full of memorable pop tunes. She shows her songwriting skills effectively on WHen you walk in the Room and Don't turn your back on me. Jackie also shows that she can do a cover effectively to with Just like in the Movies. There is also You won't forget me which Sandie Shaw recorded later on. Both versions are pretty good.
The second album that is included on this release is "This is Jackie De Shannon" and it has a more folky sound.
This cd shows that with Jackie a best of just isn't good enough.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Connie Francis Do the Twist

This was released during the twist phase. Although it produced no hits for her it's one of Connie's best albums. If you like her hits, you'd probably like this as it reflects her bubblegum side. Not all of the songs are about the twist but they all flow together and are swinging. The standout on this album is "Telephone Lover." The cover isn't really exciting as it just says in big letters Twist.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Karina Grandes Exitos



Karina was a sweet young singer from the pretty much undiscovered Spanish ye ye genre of the 60's and 70's. The music sounded similar to the French ye ye genre but had a definite Spanish flavor.
Grandes Exitos starts with some pop flavored songs and moves into more easy listening where Karina's voice matures. There are some covers here (Will you love me Tomorrow, I'll never fall in love again, Be my baby) but they aren't weak. My favorite song is the fun La Fiesta. The downside to this cd is there aren't any liner notes.
For more information on this genre the wonderful website Cha Cha Charming has an excellent article.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Sonia Rosa



At 18, Sonia came out with her first record A Bossa Rosa de Sonia. In it she wrote six of the songs which was quite remarkable for her age. Her sweet distinctive whispery voice was already present.
When Brazil wasn't showing any promises, Sonia moved to Japan where I think she did her greatest record Spiced with Brazil. It's a blast. It appears that she just had fun with the album and it includes scatty versions of The Girl from Ipanema and Secret Love. In The Sensitive Sound of Sonia Rosa (available through dustygroove) she redid these songs and some others on a serious level with another composer. So that's worth picking up too.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Joey Heatherton



I put up the image of the 1972 album instead of the nude Hip-o-Select edition although I recommend the later. Joey had a nice brassy voice. The cd starts out with the album. Joey goes through good renditions of songs at the time like God only Knows and classics like Crazy. My favorite part of the cd though are of her 60's singles like When you call me Baby and Live and Learn, fun catchy stuff. Movie wise I don't think Joey Heatherton really reached her potential. I mean one of the main highlights of that career was The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington, which by the way was a piece of crap.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Very Thought of You Jeri Southern


Jeri Southern was one of the few singers that my mother and I both loved. Usually my mom was indifferent to my music collection but Jeri was different. Since my mom's passing Jeri's music has become even more special.
Jeri Southern was one of the many jazz vocalists in the 50's. But she had her own distinctive touch. Jeri not only had a deep smoky voice, she also was an accomplished pianist. She tried to add both to her music. Her version of "When I fall in love" is the ultimate version, vulnerable and romantic. She also tried with songwriting. "I don't know where to turn" sounds like it could have been written by a professional. This is an excellent collection of her music.
I discovered Jeri at 18 and she's still one of my favorite singers.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hey look me over Susan Maughan



Susan Maughan was one of Britain's many female singers of the 60's. She was known mostly for her cover of "Bobby's Girl." (Sorry I prefer the original Marcie Blaine.)
This album that she did is solid. It has swinging arrangements and fits with her brassy voice.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Twistin' the Rock Gillian Hills


Gillian Hills was a great talent who managed to maintain a minor film and musical career in the 60's and early 70's. She is best remembered as the Brigitte Bardot want a be in the fun British cult film Beat Girl where she played a bratty bad girl. But she also made a number of EP's in the ye ye genre and if you like France Gall and Sylvie Vartan you'd probably like Gillian. In her short singing career she tackled a number of different styles from jazzy (Jean-Lou) to rock (Oubile) to folkie (Rien N'est Change).
Gillian also wrote a number of her songs, the strongest of which is Rien N'est Change, where she managed to successfully emulate Francoise Hardy. My favorite song though is strangely enough a cover. Usually I'm lukewarm to covers but Rentre Sans Moi is every bit as good as The Zombies' Leave Me Be. She adds her own touch. It's just not a carbon copy. Gillian also collaborated with other artists like Les Chaussettes Noires with C'est Bien Mieux Comme Ça and Serge Gainsbourg. Unfortunately the later is not included in this package. Both of these videos can be found on the internet and are a joy to watch. After her entertainment career, Gillian continued on with another artistic profession illustration. She proved to be excellent in this as well.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Hello I'm Dolly



Dolly Parton's first album was on the independent label Monument. This was before she had met Porter Wagoner and developed the Dolly look. The cover alone is worth a look. The music inside however shows promise. It isn't surprising Dolly became the superstar she is today. There are clunkers since this is a first time definitely "I don't wanna throw Rice" but overall it's pretty good. She shows herself as a talented songwriter here. "Dumb Blonde" and "Something Fishy" are catchy numbers too. There's really only one downsize to this album, the liner notes. It sounds like the writer didn't give a listen to the album. It isn't even really about Dolly.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Introducing Linda Lawson


Linda Lawson originally started out in Las Vegas singing for two years before she was able to make this album in 1960. This album is wonderfully arranged by Marty Paich and it's not hard to see why the original album is a collector's item.
The loungy album is mostly full of standards like You Don't Know what Love Is and But Beautiful. The best number on the set is Like Young which takes the beatnik craze for all it was, even throwing in Kerouac's name. I love the up tempo "Up pops Love" just as much.
Afterwards Linda Lawson put her music career aside for a film one, which resulted in her role as the mysterious mermaid in the noir thriller Night Tide. She brought an alluring charisma to the screen as well. But her name was seldom heard again. Despite that she briefly gave the entertainment industry a great star.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Girls in the Garage series



Someone needs to put this past lp series on cd. It's a collection of 45's from obscure girl garage groups from the 60's. There were enough discovered to make 11 volumes. Unfortunately nowadays these records aren't easy to come by which is a shame because they're fun and well chosen. Since this collection a few of the groups like The Luv'd Ones and The Cake have got on cd. The French and the Oriental also get their own lps in the series.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Honey Ltd.


I was fortunate enough to buy a bootleg of this expensive album on Ebay. It's a girl group that Lee Hazlewood produced and it lives up to his oddball persona. It starts off well with a bizarre Vietnam song The Warrior with a chorus that states "it's so good" inappropriately. The weird thing is short with only eight songs. If it's ever released on cd their singles like Eli's Coming (which came out before Three Dog Night's and I'd love to hear) should be included as well. Speaking of Laura Nyro their Silk n' Honey, the second best song on the album, sounds a bit like her. Tomorrow your Heart is pretty neat too. It starts off unexpectedly like a Mary Ford song and then builds up to something else. Honey Ltd. renamed themselves Eve and did an album called Take it and Smile. It can be found at a reasonable price and is worth discovering as well. It has a different sound though and is more gospel oriented. If you like The Feminine Complex you might like this as it's similiar sounding.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

June Stearns River of Regret


A good record by an one time artist who should have made more albums. Before this album June Stearns was one of Roy Acuff's girl singers. For a first timer she already had a style. Her voice was husky like Melba Montgomery (also worked for Roy I guessed he liked those types of singers) but easier to listen to. The Future Ex-Mrs. Jones is the best thing in this album. There are a few songs that don't work in the mix like her version of Flower of Love. This is worth a listen if you can find it.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Mitzi


Mitzi Gaynor's first album was a fun attempt. This was done after the success of South Pacific. Granted Mitzi wasn't a great singer but she knew how to work to the best of her abilities. She works best on the up tempo songs like "I won't dance" and "Do it again." It mostly succeeds because of Pete King's playful arrangements. Her second album, "Mitzi Gaynor sings the lyrics of Ira Gershwin" isn't as good. Her voice was more polished and she took the music more seriously. Even though it had mixed reviews I would like to her "The I don't care girl". The clip featured from the A and E biography on her looked fun.