Sunday, December 9, 2018

Helen Merrill John Lewis

John Lewis | Helen Merrill - John Lewis | Helen Merrill When my sister went to Arizona State University she got a bunch of jazz albums from their LP collection. They owned A Shade of Difference (which I need to buy) and this. I have to admit I rarely listen to an artist past their prime. I know it's something I need to stop. They could still make good music. Since I wasn't familiar with Helen Merrill's excellent earlier period maybe I was more open to it. Anyway, I just bought this because I have good memories of this record. She does a wordless vocal on "Django." Her cover of "Angel Eyes" is the best thing on this album. John Lewis provides the piano and there's also a good flute player Hubert Laws who does a good job on "Close your Eyes."

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Ella Fitzgerald Christmas album

Ella Fitzgerald - Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas I'm not much of a Christmas music fan but I liked this album. When I was 20 I listened to Ella Fitzgerald and didn't care for her. Now I'm 35 and I like what I'm hearing. She has a unique warm inviting voice. Most of the songs are uptempo. This album doesn't drag. My favorite moment is Sleigh Ride. I watched the documentary "Ella Fitzgerald Something to live for". It showed her as a humble person always willing to give money to relatives. Despite being one of the greats of jazz she was insecure about her appearance. The documentary made her human and inspired me to listen to her again. I can't wait to try her songbook material.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Bonnie Koloc

Bonnie Koloc - Bonnie Koloc I'm beginning to like Bonnie Koloc a folky female songwriter from the 70's. This is my second album. I already recommended the first I bought of her. I think that all of her albums should be available digitally. The best song on this collection My Aunt Edna was available on the Folk is not a Four Letter Word collection which introduced me to her. I also liked Sunday Morning Movies which showed that her voice had a lot of range. There's still a lot of albums from the old days that haven't made their way to cd or digital. It's why I'm glad I started collecting vinyl seventeen years ago.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Many sides of Abbe Lane

Abbe Lane - The Many Sides of Abbe Lane Abbe Lane was a really fun vocalist from the 50's and 60's. She was the vocalist for Xavier Cugat's band. I already recommended two of her albums on this blog. This album, unfortunately, doesn't have Spanish numbers but it is pretty good. The only dud is Thank Heavens for Little Boys as the lyrics are awkward changed to another sex. But that's ok. I never liked the song anyway. "Some of these days" is fun. "I left my heart in San Francisco" surprised me. I didn't know that she could do a ballad so well. She was pretty much a versatile singer. I wish that someone would make a collection of redheaded vocal singers from the past like Ann Margret, Ann Richards, Rhonda Fleming, Gwen Verdon, Ann Gilbert, and Abbe Lane kind of like Music for a Bachelor's Den Vol. 7: Sex Kittens in Hi-Fi - The Blondes - only that was blondes. That would be fun.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Baby Washington

Baby Washington - The Sue Singles Baby Washington was one of Dusty Springfield's favorite singers along with Evie Sands. Dusty had excellent taste. I didn't buy this though it was a present from a friend and it was a treat. Baby Washington was a soulful singer and Dusty covered a number of her songs including "I can't wait until I see my baby's face." There are a number of great songs in this collection. "The Ballad of Bobby Dawn" is a great prison story song. "That's how heartaches are made" is spectacular as well as Doodlin'. She does a magnificent cover of "You and the Night of the Music", breathing new life into a standard. I love it when people take a standard song and turn it into something else kind of like what The Flamingos did with "I only have eyes for you." Definitely recommended.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Bernadine Read

Bernadine Read - Bernadine This is a nice obscure jazz album from the 50's. I felt like I was watching a Broadway show listening to it. The arrangements by Nick Perito are perky and nice. The opening song "Rhode Island is famous for you" is the best. It's adorable. I discovered about her in the "Music for a Bachelor's Den Vol. 7: Sex Kittens in Hi-Fi - The Blondes" collection. For some reason "Mean to Me" was chosen. Although she does well on ballads her uptempo numbers are what get your notice. Albums like these are why I collect female jazz vocal albums from the 50's where a person only did an album or two.

Friday, September 28, 2018

For the first time Shelley Moore

Shelley Moore - For the First Time... This is a nice obscure 60's jazz album. She wrote some songs but mostly it's standards. The highlights are Twilight and For the First Time. Like with a lot of jazz vocal artists who only did an album or two in the 50's and 60's it's only available as a Japanese import.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Ghosts Susan Jacks

Susan Jacks - Ghosts I'm a huge fan of The Poppy Family which Susan Jacks was a member of. This is the second solo album I own from her. Her solo career is not as good as The Poppy Family material nevertheless I am still curious about it. The review on rateyourmusic was right when they described this hideous cover. This is a good album though. I like All the Tea in China, Ghosts in your mind, and her cover of Elusive Butterfly. She redoes Beyond the Clouds which she did with The Poppy Family. Her ex-husband Terry Jacks (member of The Poppy Family too) who sang the hit Seasons in the Sun produced and arranged this album.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Cheryl Poole Cheryl

Cheryl Poole - Cheryl Ignore the awful cover. This is a good obscure country artist. The prices on Ebay are outrageous. $200? I bought mine on Musicstack for $30 so I suggest you shop around. She's a pretty sassy singer. I like Three Playing Love the best and that was the hit. The Skin's gettin' closer to the bone is the second best song. She writes a number of the tunes here. I wonder what happened to her.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Julie is her name Julie London

Julie London - Julie Is Her Name I've read jazz books put down Julie London saying people just bought it for the pin-up covers. True Julie London was gorgeous and the covers were fun. However Julie was a talented singer. She didn't belt out her numbers. She caressed them. This was her debut and one of her best. Cry me a River is the best song here, written for her by a friend. It was covered by many other artists in its time. Some were entirely different like Marie Knight's R & B version. (I reviewed her cd earlier.) Julie's rendition of I should care is also amazing. I remember when I was in my early 20's and just discovering old vocal jazz. I was playing Julie London on the turntable and my dad said impressed, "Julie London! That's from my time." Good memory. Anyway, this record is worth checking out.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Skeeter Davis The Pop Hits Collection

Skeeter Davis - The Pop Hits Collection I've been hearing this collection for years and it's really a great cd. It looks at Skeeter Davis' girl group sound. She's been on a number of girl group compilations. Skeeter Davis was a country singer and even with this material she still maintains that for example her cover of Hank Williams' I can't help it if I'm still in love with you. The highlights are My Sweet Loving Man, Ladder of success, the silly If I had wheels, and Sunglasses. It's interesting that Skeeter was in her 30's when she recorded this material but she managed still to pull it off. It's one of the best collections of Skeeter on the market.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Left Banke Too

The Left Banke - The Left Banke Too I love the first album from The Left Banke, best known for the classic Walk Away Renee. Although this isn't as great as their debut it still has its moments. It's mostly because Michael Brown, the teenager behind the first album had left the group for the most part. Despite that, this is one gorgeous song, "There's gonna be a storm." I recommend the album solely on that. Michael Brown would contribute to the self-titled Montage which I've reviewed earlier on this website

Friday, August 10, 2018

Peggy Sue All-American Husband

Peggy Sue - All-American Husband Peggy Sue was Loretta Lynn's sister and she had a similar voice. This is Peggy Sue's second album. Loretta Lynn and Peggy Sue write some of the numbers. Peggy Sue wrote with Loretta Don't come a drinkin' and sure enough, it's here. I would have preferred it to be less slow though. The numbers that stick out are All American Husband and Apron Strings. Peggy would later be a background singer for her sister Crystal Gayle. Someone like the excellent Morello Records label should release her first album and this on cd. If you're looking for solid country music that has been forgotten this album matches that description.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Pure Connie Smith

Connie Smith - Pure Connie Smith I got her Monument album "New Horizons" and it was tacky. I got this earlier album hoping it would be better and it's a great album. I'm glad I gave her Monument material more of a chance. There's only one number I didn't care for and that was "Scrapbook." I wondered if Connie's voice would match with late 70's country music. It took me a song to get used to but yeah she was a great artist who could transform herself with every decade. My favorite numbers are Coming Around, Don't treat me like a stranger, and I don't want to be free. It would be great if someone could put more of her Columbia material on cd.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Bonnie Koloc

Bonnie Koloc - You're Gonna Love Yourself in the Morning I just bought Here's Jody Miller where she sang Roll me on the Water. Then I got this album and found out that it was penned by Bonnie Koloc. Her version's better although I like Jody Miller's. Bonnie's was also a minor hit. Anyway, it was all a strange coincidence as I listened to them days within each other. Bonnie Koloc was a folk singer-songwriter from the 70's. For some reason, all of her albums aren't on cd. I found out about her from the "Folk is not a four letter word" collection. The best song is Roll me on the Water but I also liked You're gonna love yourself in the morning. The album is actually pretty solid with only one clunker Guilty of Rock n'Roll which still found a way to get into my mind.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Here's Jody Miller

Jody Miller - Here's Jody Mary A. Bufwack and Robert K. Oermann's "Finding her voice" (an excellent book on the history of women in country music) said "her best late-period LP was 1977's Ronstadt-influenced Here's Jody Miller." It does like Ronstadt a bit but it's mostly Jody. The highlights on this album are Roll me on the Water, the hit When the new wears off our love, and surprisingly a nice cover of the Louvin Brothers' I don't believe you've met my baby. This would be one of the final albums Jody Miller did for a while. I think all her albums are worth collecting. I like her fusion of pop and country.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Shelly West West by West

Shelly West - West by West Yes, Shelly had a music connection with her mother Dottie but she was talented in her own right. Besides she made albums with David Frizzell before going solo so she worked hard for her success. Her voice is interesting. It's deep and husky. There are two great songs on this album Flight 309 to Tennessee and Jose Cuevro. I normally do not like songs promoting drinking but it was very catchy. The other songs are mostly ballads which she does well.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Lawanda Lindsey

LaWanda Lindsey - This is LaWanda Lindsey This was produced by Buck Owens. Buck Owens and his son Buddy Alan wrote some songs for this album. It also produced a hit Hello out there which is the best song on the record. I own Lawanda's album, "Swingin' and Singing my Song" she made when she was a teenager. Her voice has become more husky and mature. It almost sounds like Susan Raye, who was a protege of Buck Owens so that makes sense. There is a perkiness about this album that I really like. Top of the Morning to you and Sunshine Feeling are cute. There are clips on youtube from Hee Haw of her singing songs from this album. It's worth a watch.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018


La Costa - La Costa I have a soft spot for Lacosta, Tanya Tucker's older sister who made 5 albums and then vanished. Tanya had more edge and better songs but still, Lacosta was pretty good country pop. My favorite song on this album is the story song Jessie and the Light. There's a pretty cool youtube video of her singing it. This album is full of some covers like Honky Tonk Woman and Play me. There is a small digital collection on Amazon of her stuff. only song chosen from this album was Even cowgirls get the blues which was ok but I didn't think it was the best song.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Peggy Little

Peggy Little - A Little Bit of Peggy This country artist made two albums and then went into obscurity. Still, this album is pretty cute. The woman has a perky voice with an interesting quiver. She made two hits off this album: Son of a Preacher Man (No one sings it like Dusty. I'm biased.) and Sweet Baby Girl, which is the best song of this album although I also liked Come on Home. As with the usual country albums of the time, she does some covers. Some of them are You ain't woman enough, D-I-V-O-R-C-E, and Make the world go away, which I thought was the best cover on this record. If you are looking for forgotten country singers of the past Peggy Little is worth investigating. Loretta Lynn wrote the back of the record.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

The Cookies

The Cookies - The Complete Cookies They had a hit with Chains, which The Beatles covered. The Beatles' version is more famous but this has the classic girl group sound. My favorite song is Only to other people, a great pity song that goes on about how love only happens in the movies, only in fairy tales and only to other people. Gerry Goffin and Carole King wrote most of the tracks here. Earl-Jean, a member of The Cookies, has four solo songs included on the cd as well. It's interesting how her rendition of I'm into Something Good is completely different from the hit Herman's Hermits did. Sometimes covers sound like completely different songs.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Jacques Dutronc

Jacques Dutronc - Et moi et moi et moi : Jacques Dutronc 1966-1969 Jacques Dutronc has been Francoise Hardy's husband for years so I had to check this out anyway. I really wish I knew French because I've heard that the songs are funny. I liked Et Moi Et Moi Et Moi. However, the song I really like is the last one Le Responsable. It's pretty catchy. I'm not really into male French singers but this was pretty cool.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Jill Corey

I was introduced to Jill Corey on a compilation record called Pop Hit Party. I also found out about another good singer Jennie Smith that way. Jill Corey was a perky singer from the 50's. I used to own her only album Sometimes I'm Happy...Sometimes I'm Blue before I purchased the cd. One side was happy and one side was blue. She's better on happy but she does all right with the sad stuff too. My favorite song is Ain't we got Fun. I also recommend the Jasmine release Love me to Pieces - The Complete Singles. It has a lot of novelty stuff but it's cute. My favorite number is Big Daddy. If you want to listen to standards go with the album. If you want 50's pop I suggest the Jasmine Records cd. They're both good.

Friday, May 11, 2018

The Pixies Three

The Pixies Three - Our History This is an example of a girl group that should have been bigger. Their songs are catchy and perky. They're actually pretty fun, nothing existential here. The cd includes their whole party album, "Party with the Pixies Three". The best songs are Birthday Party, Gee, 442 Glenwood Avenue, Cold, Cold Winter, and Summertime USA. I discovered them on the excellent girl group collection Growin' up too Fast. I wanted more.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Cameo Dusty Springfield

Dusty Springfield - Cameo This is one of the most neglected albums of Dusty's catalog but I like it. It could possibly be because of the horrible cover art. This is a solid soulful album. My favorite songs are the sexy Mama's Little Girl and The Other side of Life. My interpretation of that song is that she's telling her friend or lover that they are missing out by always wanting more of life, that they should enjoy the moment. I also like Breakin' up a happy home and Who gets your love.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

The Feminine Complex

The Feminine Complex - Livin' Love This Tennessee band is rumored to be false, simply someone to fake a 60's band. However, I've read people online who have said they bought their music at the time and saw concerts of them. So who knows? Yet when it comes down to it, The Feminine Complex's music is just good. I've been listening to this for ten years now. My favorite song is Are you lonesome like me? I find it dreamy. There are a number of uptempo song that are good like I won't Run and Run that through your mind. It's a girl group band and I have a fondness for that genre. If you like that genre you should give The Feminine Complex a try.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Yvonne Elliman Night Flgiht

Yvonne Elliman - Night Flight I was introduced to Yvonne Elliman through her number "If I can't have you" in Saturday Night Fever. That was an excellent soundtrack and it is easily her best song, featured on this album as well. This is just a solid album all around. I really like her cover of "Sally 'Go Round the Roses" and "Prince of Fools" is catchy too. This was recently reissued with her album Yvonne on cd. I hope that more get reissued. She's better than just a best of. Also, she was in the movie Jesus Christ Superstar. It's worth a watch.

Monday, April 2, 2018

This is Ethel Ennis

Ethel Ennis - This Is Ethel Ennis My twin sister went to ASU and would request records all the time. The librarians seemed amused by it. This was one of the albums I remember and like. Ethel Ennis is a good singer. She has good pronunciation and a feel for jazz. The Moon was Yellow is easily the best song, an interesting ballad. There is the right mix of uptempo and slow songs. It makes good night time listening. I like her version of Who will buy? Her earlier albums are worth investigating too. I'll review one another day.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Wednesday's Child Patty McGovern

Patty McGovern & Thomas Talbert - Wednesday's Child This is a nice obscure jazz vocal album from the 50's. It makes nice night listening music. It's gentle and not too overbearing. Patty's voice kind of reminds me of June Christy or Beverly Kenney. The best song here is the one she wrote "I like Snow". It's charming and fun.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Mose Allison

This collection is even better than the seven album collection that I bought. This just focuses on his vocals from 1957-1962. I didn't know that he wrote Parchman Farm. I was introduced to it by Bobbie Gentry's version, which by the way was fantastic. I also like his cover of Eyesight to the Blind. Mose was a jazz singer who relaxed and didn't overdo the vocals. I find it charming. He's one of my favorite male jazz vocalists.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Judy Clay/Marie Knight Scepter and Musicor Recordings

Judy Clay / Marie Knight - The Bluesoul Belles Vol. 4: The Scepter and Musicor Recordings This cd that my sister bought years ago is out of print but pretty awesome. This is good R & B material. Marie Knight is more known for her gospel career so it's worth listening to another side of her. She does both genres well. Judy Clay's You busted my mind is pretty catchy as is Marie Knight's You lie so well. Marie Knight's version of Cry me a River is completely different than Julie London's whispery version. It's loud but fantastic, just different.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Valerie Carr

Valerie Carr - Song Stylist Extraordinaire Jasmine Records recently released a 2 for 1 collection of this obscure 50's singer. She has an interesting voice, kind of like a deeper Timi Yuro. I loved her versions of I'm glad there is you, Somewhere over the Rainbow, and They didn't believe me. Two songs of hers made it on the Billboard charts but they aren't included here.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Marion Morgan

Marion Morgan is not as remembered as she ought to be. Along with Helen Forrest and Kitty Kallen, Marion also worked for Harry James. Here she does a stunning job on ballads. There are a few uptempo numbers as well. My favorite is Love and the Weather. The liner notes irritated me. They said that Marion was offered a movie contract but Joan Crawford convinced her to turn it down. Marion Morgan admits it was a mistake. Perhaps her music would be more remembered today otherwise. I'm a fan of big band music. I recently made my older sister a mix, picking popular singers like Peggy Lee and obscure ones like Peg Lacentra. I think she liked it. I love playing jazz when I'm driving in my car at night. There's a quality about it that doesn't work as well during hot Arizona afternoons but is simply magical at nights.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Tony Perkins On a Rainy Afternoon

Anthony Perkins - On a Rainy Afternoon I got this jazz album a couple of years ago out of curiosity and was surprised by how much I liked it. (One person on the internet said that he just wanted to be Chet Baker with his short singing career. But then that's not a bad thing.) Tony Perkins had a nice voice. The best numbers are I remember you and Have you met Miss Jones? Tony Perkins is one of my favorite actors. He was stereotyped as a psycho early on. He was just too good at that role. Actually, he was in a tv musical called Evening Primrose, an early start from Stephen Sondheim. It's worth watching and he sang and acted well in it too.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Mose Allison

Mose Allison - Seven Classic Albums My twin sister got a collection of him at the library when she was a teenager. She's insisted that Mose Allison sang the best version of "Don't get around much anymore." I was curious so I bought this box set. Yes, it's an excellent version, full of wit. The thing that strikes me about Mose Allison's vocal skills is how laid back he sings. He taps into the lyrics but doesn't overdo it like so many jazz artists. I also like his cover of Willie Dixon's Seventh Son. Of course, throughout my life, I've known the famous Johnny Rivers' fun cover of that song. Yet I like Mose's take on it too. "I've got a right to cry" is pretty good too. Mose Allison was a pianist so much of the material is instrumental. I have to admit that's not my thing but I definitely love the songs he sings here.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

The Dixie Cups

The Dixie Cups - The Complete Red Bird Recordings Growing up I heard "Chapel of Love" on the oldies station way too much. Maybe I liked it once upon a time but I got sick of it. I got this at the library (later purchased it) and realized The Dixie Cups had other things to offer too. Most of their songs were written by Jeff Berry and Ellie Greenwich. ( I love the group The Raindrops they formed.) My favorite track is Iko Iko. The girls co-wrote it. It was a hit as well and it's interesting because it is not the typical girl group number you expect. "People say" is pretty cute. Actually, with Lesley Gore and many other acts in the girl group sound, I've realized that these people had more to them than just a hit. I wish that the radio would feature their other material as well.