Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Bell Sisters

I was introduced to The Bell Sisters from the movie "Those Redheads from Seattle." They were pretty fun in that movie. I was impressed with their singing. This is cute vocal music before rock n'roll came and changed everything. Their best song is Bermuda which was written by Cynthia. There's also some duets with Bing Crosby. There are a number of novelty songs but I generally like stuff like that as long as it's not overdone. This release from Jasmine Records is now out of print although you can buy it used from Amazon.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Here come the girls

Various Artists - Here Come the Girls, Vol. 1: British Girl Singers of the Sixties This is a good collection of British music done by females in the 60's mostly obscure artists. We get to hear Sandie Shaw's As long as you're happy which she sang when she was 17. I loved Samantha Jones' version of this but it was unfortunately unreleased. Anita Harris' Something must be done is fun and catchy. The song that really got my attention was Dark Shadows and Empty Hallways. It was done by Tammy St. John. I wish that someone would put out a collection of her but I'm afraid that she's not known enough. Anyway the song was haunting. I just watched this crappy old Boris Karloff movie "The Sorcerers" and I heard a person from this cd on in this movie. Antoinette (aka Toni Daly) did a pretty good job in that movie. (She kind of sounds like Lulu.) I was happy to find that I already had a cd that had a selection of hers.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Little Peggy March

Peggy March - I Will Follow Him Peggy March's first album is classic girl group sound. The uptempo numbers are really catchy and make up for the slower ones. I wish I were a princess should have been a hit. Other numbers that I like are Teasin' and Oh Oh I'm falling in love again, along with the hit I will follow him. I actually got to know Peggy March first from her German material. (She moved to Germany when she became popular there.) I didn't know Oh Oh I'm falling in love again was covered first in English as I have heard the German version a number of times. I need to investigate her Japanese material.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Helen Merrill Dream of You

Helen Merrill - Dream of You This is my favorite Helen Merrill album. The word "dream" is used in the title and it definitely implies to the album as the whole thing just has a dreamy atmosphere to it. I was indifferent to Helen Merrill until I heard this album. The song Dream of You has a lovely atmosphere and is just simply gorgeous. The best song on here is Troubled Waters. Wow does she do a good job with this song. It's the best song she recorded and she belts it out meaning every word of the song. This is perfect for night driving which is when I usually listen to jazz. It doesn't work as well during the daytime especially in 110 degree Arizona weather. Gil Evans arranged this album.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

The Midnight Oil Barbara Mandrell

Barbara Mandrell - The Midnight Oil / Treat Him Right I had heard some negative things about Barbara Mandrell before I decided to take a chance on her earlier work. I bought a best of record for a buck at a thrift store and was surprised when I listened to it how much I liked it. I found out that the album just focused on her first two albums The Midnight Oil and Treat him Right. There's a traditional country sound to these albums with some R & B as well. Some songs like Show Me have both. The best song though is the leading track The Midnight Oil which is an awesome cheating song. Of course, you may say it's country they're all cheating songs, but you can feel her guilt on The Midnight Oil. There's also the truck driving song Tonight my baby's coming home. I have a fondness for truck driving songs, even though this one is about a woman waiting for her man to come home. I think I'm going to give Barbara Mandrell's later stuff a try.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Shangri-Las

The Shangri-Las - Myrmidons of Melodrama I've treasured this cd for years. It's an excellent collection of The Shangri-Las, my favorite girl group. Growing up the only track I heard from them on the oldies station was Leader of the Pack which I got sick of real fast. I love the girl group sound but I was always putting them off. When I finally got it I was surprised by how talented they were and how many good songs they performed. There are a number of melodramatic songs like Leader of the Pack, for example, my favorite I can never go home anymore and Give us your blessings. (The mama outburst in I can never go home anymore made me laugh the first few times I heard it. It's very over the top and melodramatic.) There are also other good tracks that aren't dramatic like Right Now and Not Later and Sophisticated Boom Boom. They could sing live real good too. Mary Weiss was a beautiful talented lead vocalist, one of the best singers the 60's had to offer.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Reparata and the Delrons

Reparata and The Delrons - The Best of Reparata & The Delrons This is the collection of Reparata and the Delrons to get. It gets in 30 tracks. The other collections for around the same price have less. Allmusic gives this an indifferent review stating that they weren't one of the girl group greats but I disagree. Saturday Night didn't Happen and Weather Forecast are classics, songs that have a bit of a late 60's vibe to them, more than just the typical girl group sound. I also liked Captain of your ship, Panic, and Boys and Girls. I lost this cd and just bought it again last week. It was like revisiting an old friend. I completely forgot about Panic and the overall quality of their material. I just listened to Shoes for the first time, a song Reparata released on her own in the 70's, and it was pretty cool.

Saturday, October 7, 2017


Birtha - Birtha / Can't Stop the Madness I discovered a youtube of them the other day. I was shocked. I was surprised that this female rock band had footage. I was so happy. I bought the Birtha cd that had this album and Can't Stop the Madness years ago when it was in print. I recommend both. This one though has their best song Free Spirit. I made a female band mix once for my older sister and she said this song rocked which made me happy. Too Much Woman for a Hen Pecked Man is also catchy. This features Rosemary Lane (aka Rosemary Butler) who was also part of Daisy Chain, whose Straight or Lame I recommended years ago. She was a good singer. If you like Fanny (another cool 70's female band) you might like this.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Dream Babes: Am I dreaming?

Various Artists - Dream Babes, Vol. 1: Am I Dreaming? This collection was done by Bob Stanley of Saint Etienne who has made many excellent compilations. This cd which I bought years ago introduced me to Samantha Jones and Jackie Lee. Years afterward Jackie Lee would get on cd. The Jackie Lee song featured here The Town I live in is an amazing song about the drudge of Suburbia. Patsy Ann Nobles' Sour Grapes and Peanut's I didn't love him anyway are great too. It's too bad that Peanut didn't have a big recording career as I like her voice. Alma Cogan's Snakes and Snails is really fun. I also liked the Lesley Duncan inclusion. She would become an awesome singer-songwriter in the 70's. If you are into the 60's British girl sound this is a good cd to pick up.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Bonnie Dobson

Bonnie Dobson - Good Morning Rain Bonnie Dobson was a folk singer in the 60's and by the end of the 60's she was doing more of a folk pop sound. (I like the albums I own of her especially For the Love of Him which is collected on Bear Family's Vive La Canadienne cd.) She wrote a couple of songs here. (She's most famous for composing Morning Dew.) There are some catchy songs here like Light of Love, Sweet Man, and Factory Girl. I used to own the out of print cd of this that came out in 2007 but unfortunately damaged it. That's ok. I got it on vinyl now. Her folk albums were her best but I found Bonnie Dobson and Good Morning Rain grew on me.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Flo Bennett Half Past Lonely

Obscure jazz album from the 60's. Flo has nice phrasing and goes through a series of standards well. I like Out of Town and her covers of Don't get around much anymore and Saturday Night the best.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Johnny Paycheck Nowhere to Run

Johnny Paycheck - Nowhere to Run: The Little Darlin' Years 1966-1970 I was introduced to Johnny Paycheck through his early years. Although Take this job and shove it is fun, this is his best material. His Little Darlin' stuff was dark and excellent. Johnny sang a bit like George Jones. He has a great voice and really gets to the meaning behind the words, which some country stars just gloss over. Sadly his song A-11 is not here. However, there's enough good stuff that can be overlooked. Don't Monkey With Another Monkey's Monkey is a really funny stupid song. Pardon me I've got someone to kill and If I'm Gonna Sink (I Might as Well Go to the Bottom) are my favorite songs here, disturbing and beautiful. Unfortunately, this is out of print but worth looking for.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Parchment Light up the Fire

Parchment - Light Up the Fire I found out about this album from the Folk is not a Four letter word volume 2 collection. It had the number "Son of God", a haunting religious number which is the best track on this album. This is like Fairport Convention/Pentangle just with a Christian message. This album is pretty likable. I also enjoyed Roundabout and Light up the Fire. This should get on cd or digital.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Peggy Connelly

Peggy Connelly - In the 50's there were a number of vocal artists who only made one or two albums and vanished. Peggy Connelly was one of them and her album with Russ Garcia is awesome. She scats a bit but it's not in an annoying way rather she has fun with it. She does a really neat version of "I got plenty of nuttin'", actually it's my favorite rendition of the song. Apparently, she went on to do two albums with The New Christy Minstrels. (I used to own albums of them but stupidly threw them away.) This is her own solo shining moment though. There are serious moments sometimes but overall this is a pretty delightful album.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Susan Raye One Night Stand

Susan Raye - One Night Stand Susan Raye just has some best of cds on the market so I decided to review an album of hers. This was her first. I didn't care for the title song but the other songs were all right. Susan was Buck Owens' protege in the 70's. They even did some duet albums together. He wrote some of the songs on this album. Susan usually got perky material. Although this album does have some perky songs like an ok cover of Put a little love in your heart what surprised me most about this album was how rural Susan sounds. She kind of sounds like Kay Adams, a Bakersfield artist as well, who recorded in the 60's. Kay was on The Buck Owens show sometimes so this comparison is not too surprising. Susan would make more of a sound for herself as the albums went by but this is a pretty good debut.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Lynn Anderson How can I unlove you

Lynn Anderson - How Can I Unlove You This is one of Lynn Anderson's best albums from the 70's. The title song was the hit but Don't say Things you don't mean is just as catchy. I bought a best of recently and expected to find that song on the cd. It wasn't a hit which surprised me. It's pretty catchy. All Day Sucker was written by her mom Liz Anderson and it reminds me of Lynn's Chart material. There's actually a good cover of "You've got a friend" too.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Barbara Russell

Barbara Russell - Swing With Me Obscure 50's jazz vocal singer. This is arranged by Don Costa, who did Eydie Gorme's early albums. He's one of my favorite arrangers so I knew I would like this album. The woman has a brassy voice. Her phrasing is very good. My favorite song is Misty which I like to play in my car during the night time. It gives a cool mood. There is a nice mixture of uptempo numbers and slow songs. Fresh Sound Records combined both of the two albums she did. It's too bad jazz isn't what it used to be.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Lynn Anderson Definitive Collection

Lynn Anderson - The Definitive Collection This replaces the Chart years cd that I recommended years ago. This collects Lynn Anderson's best material from the Chart and Columbia labels. I thought that Lynn only had one hit with Rose Garden. The liner notes informed me that she also made the country charts a number of times. So I'm glad I learned this. I think Lynn is better than one hit. My twin sister likes her Columbia material more which was slick and geared more towards the pop market than the country one. How can I unlove you? and You're my man are indeed slick but catchy. I like the early stuff she did in the 60's with the Chart material more. It's more country and there's charm to them. A number of her songs were written by her mother Liz Anderson, who has yet to have an anthology available. I own a couple of her LPs. In fact, she sings a duet with her daughter on Mother May I? This collection made me regret the albums I threw away of Lynn. I told myself that all I needed was a best of which it turns out isn't true. There are a few songs that I liked from Lynn's albums that turned out not to be hits. So I guess that's what eBay is for.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Country Hill Parade Goldie Hill

Goldie Hill - Country Hit Parade Goldie Hill was a successful 50's country girl singer. She was a pioneer in that she was the second female to have a hit which was "I let the stars get in my eyes", an answer song. In the 60's she stopped touring which may be the reason why she is forgotten today. She continued to make records in the 60's though. Jasmine Records put out a collection recently where they put two of her 60's albums on cd. This one isn't on cd which is why I'm recommending it. It's mostly covers. It was a common practice in the 50's and 60's for female country singers to sing covers of other country songs on their albums at the time. I like to hear covers sometimes but I'm glad that artists today pretty much sing new material. She co-wrote Say Big Boy though. The songs I like the most are Talk back Trembling Lips and her husband Carl Smith's Hey Joe.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Suzy Bogguss

Suzy Bogguss - Aces / Voices in the Wind / Something up My Sleeve Beat Goes on Records released this collection of three of Suzy Bogguss' albums. I'm not really a fan of modern country. I like Kacey Musgraves and Ashley Monroe but there's not a whole lot more. So I was surprised when watching the Drive South video on youtube and how much I liked it. This is 90's country which I rarely listen to. Suzy had a way of getting a traditional and contemporary sound down though. Her voice is gorgeous especially on Someday Soon, originally an Ian and Sylvia song. That was a hit. There are also other good songs here like Aces, Eat at Joe's, and of course Drive South. I'm curious about the albums earlier in her career especially her take on I want to be a cowboy's sweetheart.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Madeline Bell

Madeline Bell - Bell's a Poppin' When I first got into British girl singers of the 60's I thought that this collection was from a Brit. RPM Records is a British label that reissues past music mostly from UK artists. Then I learned that Madeline Bell was an American who went to Britain and made it there. She even sang back up to Dusty Springfield. Anyway, I love this collection. It is mostly from her 1967 album Bell's a Poppin' with some bonus tracks. There are a number of tracks that stick out like Picture me Gone, Beat the Clock, and You don't love me no more, which was featured on the Girl Group Sounds: One Kiss Can Lead to Another boxset. That was one of the best collection of girl group sounds ever put out. Not that many of Madeline Bell's old albums have been reissued. In fact, this collection is regrettably out of print but it is a nice cd of soul mixed with the girl group sound.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Heaven's Just a Prayer Away Norma Jean

Norma Jean - Heaven's Just a Prayer Away This is one of my favorite Norma Jean albums. It's a gospel one. It has uptempo numbers too like I'm Gonna Walk and Talk With My Lord. My favorite number though is Precious Memories. It has a personal meaning to me. I had been listening to this album a bit years ago then my mother died of breast cancer. Precious Memories stuck with me. So when I was asked to sing a song for my mother's funeral I chose this one. Norma Jean, of course, has a better voice than me but I think I did all right. Years later I also sang it in a voice class at community college. I love the song because it reminds me of my mother. Norma Jean has turned into a footnote in country books. She's the girl singer on The Porter Wagoner Show before Dolly. However, she is much more than that. She is a sincere country singer, traditional, not flashy. There's a digital best of Norma Jean collection on Amazon. I recommend it. This is one of her albums that deserve to be restored.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Crystal Gayle I've cried the blue right out of my eyes

Crystal Gayle - I've Cried the Blue Right Out of My Eyes Loretta Lynn had two sisters who tried to make it in the music business, Peggy Sue and Crystal Gayle. Peggy Sue did two fabulous albums but faded into obscurity. Crystal would have done the same thing if it had not been for changing to United Artists. This is a collection of the material she recorded for the Decca label. She sounds a bit like Loretta Lynn here and that was the problem with Peggy Sue. Loretta wrote the lead track which was a hit and it is a very good song. I think my mother owned this album because I remember Everybody Oughta Cry which is a good song as well. Crystal was fortunate to get on another label and come up with a sound of her own. I love her Somebody Loves you album which she would make a few years later. This is worthwhile for curiosity factor and also it has a few good songs.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Ella Logan

Ella Logan - Swingin' Scots Lassie 1932-1941 This is the best cd of Ella Logan. Sepia Records also put out a collection but this contains her best material. I was introduced as a child to Ella from her appearance in the Broadway version of "Finian's Rainbow". Her singing was so magical there. She was a Scottish singer who sang jazz before Finian's Rainbow. That material is featured here. The music's fun. My favorite songs are I wish I was twins, Doin' the Uptown London and Dinah. The cd from Retrieval Recordings is now digital on Amazon for a reasonable price. Interesting note she was jazz singer Annie Ross' aunt. She also sings a number here "Two sleepy people" with Hoagy Carmichael.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Linda Ronstadt

Linda Ronstadt - What's New My late mom used to play this all the time growing up. Lately, I've bought artists like Johnny Mathis that my mom loved that I never thought I would purchase. I like this album of Linda Ronstadt doing standards. My favorites are What'll I do and I don't stand a ghost of a chance. Some people are snooty to this album online saying that she's not a jazz artist like Ella Fitzgerald and Peggy Lee. But then who is? For a rock artist who decided to do a standards album, Ronstadt does this very well. It brings back good memories of my old home. There are good arrangements by Nelson Riddle too.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Fran Jeffries

Fran Jeffries - Fran Sings of Sex and the Single Girl The title song is just meant to shock. Actually, it is a vocal album with some tunes from then recent Broadway shows. "Sex and the single girl" and "Anniversary song" were sung by Fran in the Natalie Wood movie "Sex and the single girl." Fran has an interesting voice and the arrangements have a 60's vibe. My favorite song is "What are we waiting for."

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Wild West Dottie West

Dottie West - Wild West I admit Dottie West's traditional country is her best. Yet I like her later country pop period too. It's cheesy and flashy but it's fun. I lost this album and bought it recently again. I remembered most of the songs. "I'm gonna put you back on the rack" is very catchy and my favorite here. I even like the Kenny Rogers' duet "What are we doin' in Love". Dottie West made a ton of albums but barely any of them are available now. I think this one should be available as it one of her better later albums.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Wanda Jackson The Very Best of the Country Years

Wanda Jackson - The Very Best of the Country Years Wanda Jackson's best and most remembered material is her rockabilly period. Yet her country music in the 60's was pretty good too. The problem is there were a lot of female country artists at the time like Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynn for example. Wanda's country music gets overlooked because of this. Yet it's this period was where she hit the charts more often. There are a lot of good songs like Memory Mountain, Tears will be the chaser for your wine, and This Gun don't care who it shoots. A Girl don't have to drink to have fun is pretty fun. I love this cd so much that I bought the Bear Family box set of her country years. Yet this cd really gets the best out of this period.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Jackie Ross

Jackie Ross - Jerk & Twine: The Complete Chess Recordings I'm a huge Evie Sands fan. All I knew about Jackie Ross was that Chess records stole Take me for a little while from Evie. Evie Sands went through this experience more than once. I wrote off Jackie because of this. (Wikipedia says that Jackie wasn't aware of the duplicity though.) My twin sister got Jackie Ross from the library and I was surprised. I liked it enough to buy it. It includes her Full Bloom album, A and B sides, and unreleased material. My favorite songs are Selfish One and Take me for a little while. It's a different approach. It's more subtle than Evie Sands version. I like both versions. It's just a good song. The back of "Jerk and Twine The complete Chess Recordings" describes Jackie as "honey-voiced". That is an excellent description.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Beverly Kenney

Beverly Kenney - Sings for Playboys I love Beverly Kenney. She's one of my favorite vocalists. She would make one more album after this before her suicide. It's tragic because I imagine that her voice really would have suited the bossa nova craze. I've said that before on the blog but she would have sung The Boy from Ipanema very well. There is one amazing song on this album, "A Woman's Intuition". It's incredibly dreamy. Her voice was really interesting. It was vulnerable but she could swing pretty well. Real Gone Music has been all of her albums together making it inexpensive.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Golden Years of Dutch Pop Music Bojoura

Bojoura - Golden Years of Dutch Pop Music I'm so glad that someone has finally put a collection of this Dutch singer's two albums and A and B sides. A person from described Bojoura as an exotic Marianne Faithfull. She had a lovely voice. She had two hits Everybody's Day and Frank Mills (from the musical Hair.) Earlier I reviewed her Nightflight Nightsight album which I really loved. I bought this collection right when I heard about it. Bojoura made music that was a unique combination of folk and pop. This collection is affordable. I was afraid I was going to have to buy her singles and her second album The Beauty of Bojoura. If you like music from the 60's and 70's give it a try.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Susan Jacks I thought of you again

Susan Jacks - I Thought of You Again Susan Jacks was a member of The Poppy Family, a band from the late 60's and early 70's. It was a neat mix of folk and pop also featuring her husband at the time Terry Jacks. Terry Jacks would later sing a great song popular on oldies station Seasons in the Sun. This was her first album. It was arranged and produced by Terry. I don't know if this was after their separation or before. He wrote a couple of songs here. They're the best on the album with the title song being the best. Susan Jacks' voice is in great form here.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Rozetta Johnson

Rozetta Johnson - A Woman's Way: The Complete Rozetta Johnson 1961-1976 My soul collection is rather pitiful. I saw this on Amazon and listened to "Who are you gonna love (your woman or your wife)" on youtube. (There's a few songs about that topic.) That song is fantastic. So I knew I had to get it. The other really great song is "Mama was a bad seed." This is a solid cd. It's definitely a good cd to listen from the beginning to the end. It's a good beginning for a soul collection

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Growin' up too Fast

Various Artists - Growin' Up Too Fast: The Girl Group Anthology I bought this more than ten years ago and had to replace it this month. It was one of my introductions to the girl group sound. There are many gems on this. First you get artists like Diane Renay and Ginny Arnell who only did one album. Then there's two songs of Connie Francis doing the girl group sound. She does them pretty well. Leader of the Pack and It's my Party play too often so I wasn't a Shangri-Las or Lesley Gore fan until I got this collection. I realized they made much more music, pretty amazing music as well. This also shows The Pixies Three, a really talented group that needed a producer like Phil Spector to make them big. 442 Glenwood Avenue is so catchy. If you're looking for an introduction to the girl group sound I recommend this collection.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Wanda Stafford In Love for the very first time

Wanda Stafford - In Love for the Very First Time This is an obscure jazz vocal album from the 60's. The person is obviously influenced by June Christy but it's cool to listen to "I feel pretty" and "I enjoy being a girl". You can imagine them as if June Christy had covered those songs. Wanda made some other albums many decades later. This album's neat and worth looking for.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Fine and Dandy Debbie Reynolds

Debbie Reynolds - Fine and Dandy After Debbie's recent death I decided to try another one of her albums. I own the cd that has Debbie and Am I that easy to forget? albums. However I like this album more. She has more fun in this one. The arrangements are joyful and there's a lot of perky songs such as Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah, I want to be happy, and Ain't we got fun. She sings in a very lighthearted manner.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Edie Adams

Edie Adams - Behind Those Swingin' Doors I don't know much about Edie Adams other than she was Ernie Kovacs' wife. I'm not familiar with his tv show either as it was before my time. Still I've been curious about her and was happy to buy this off Ebay. The album is full of standards, the usual ones like Bill Bailey and Frankie and Johnny, then the not so typical ones. Don't let the sun catch you cryin' is not the pop song on the oldies station. It's sad because I imagine she would have sang that well. The best song here is her rendition of Good for Nothin' Joe. She sings it sincere.