Loretta Lynn- Woman of The World/ To Make A Man

Welcome to yet another month of Donkey Show despite the fact that June started 5 days prior.  Since the last post I wrote, I begrudgingly bought about 50 or so records from the Half Price Books at Veteran’s Memorial, quite fittingly on Memorial Day during the 20% off sale.  They have the most discount records but low and behold, they are mostly priced in the $2. range as opposed to the $1 range they were two years ago.  The moral of this story is that I just have too many records.  Anyway, I got this one earlier this year for , with no discount.

Loretta Lynn is a favorite of this site and as you may have heard, is recovering from a stroke suffered last month.  She has been moved into a rehab facility and is doing well according to her website.  Some shows in the interim have been postponed.  Not sure what is happening with the Houston show this August.  Lynn also has a new record coming out this fall as well.

This gem was released in 1969, was Lynn’s 13th album.  It went to #2 on the Country Charts and #148 on the overall charts.  The title tracks also served as the two singles reaching #1 and #3 on the Country single charts respectively.

This album also contained a cover of “Stand By Your Man” which of course for done by Lynn’s biggest rival at the time, Tammy Wynette.  And for this reason, I am using this as a sample.

Pretty good album.  That is the beauty of the old country records.  You pretty much know what you are getting into.  Satisfactory record.  Here is hoping to a good recovery to one of the true Queens of Country.  As a side note, I will be performing my tribute to her and some of the other big women of early country at Dan Electro’s Talent Show this month of the 25th.  It is similar to the country act I did at the Maple Leaf in March but less focused on the Hanks and more female-centric.  More details to follow.

Connie Francis- Live At The Sahara In Las Vegas

This was one dollar.

Concetta Rosa Maria Franconero, born in that beautiful part of the world that is known as Newark, New Jersey in 1938, became a pop star in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. I believe she was one strike away from giving music for medicine when she scored a hit with “Who’s Sorry Now”.  Despite not liking the end result, the song eventually became a hit and Francis became an international star. Her career has been marked by several tragedies as well as Francis’s ability to bounce back from them. She is still relatively active today with an autobiography coming out this year.  She also works with various US Veteran groups.

Connie’s Webpage

This album came out in 1966.  Recorded at the Sahara Casino,  this was oddly enough released by MGM.  The Casino was one of the last Rat Pack Casinos in Las Vegas and closed briefly in 2011 before reopening as the SLS Hotel & Casino. They had a real cheap steak and lobster combo there for a while.  I went one year with friends and we walked all the way down their from our hotel until we got there and found it was closed.  I had been talking about the combo for some time and my friends did not have the heart to tell me it was closed. I wish they did.  It would have saved me the walk.

But here is this record, which is a pretty decent collection of tunes.  Francis’s skill is pretty evident on this disc, both singing and ad-libbing between songs.

For a sample, I went with something that details both of these with “La Bamba”.

Decent album.  Satisfactory.

Barbara Mandrell- The Midnight Oil

This was one dollar.  Back to reasonable prices this week.  I got it for the country music. This and one more post and I am done for the week.  Trying to gun thru this but I am getting a lot of red marks for misspelling. Apparently from a story I read over the week, the current White House also struggles with spelling.

This was a young Barbara Mandrell’s third studio record and the most successful one she released for Columbia, coming out in 1973.  It would go to # 8 on the US Country charts.

The record is a bit strange for me as it is clearly before her breakout success in the late 70’s. Produced  by the legendary Billy Sherill, the record (and her time with Columbia) is more country-soul. a sound more in tune with the late 60′ country, and one that I do not associate with Mandrell. Columbia continued to press Sherill as to why he was sticking with an artist who wasn’t selling records.  This question became moot when Mandrell jumped labels in 1975 and developed a more pop-country sound, which would ultimately make her a great success. That being said, it is a good album and she was clearly a rising star in country at the time.  The record yielded five singles, the most successful being the title track.

For a sample, I went with one of those singles, “Tonight My Baby’s Coming Home”.

Despite not being representative of Mandrell’s sound, this is still a pretty good album and shows the beginning of her rise in Country.  Satisfactory.

Nirmala Devi & Lakshmi Shankar-Thumri

This was $4 and came from my favorite place for international records, the Half Price Books in Sugar Land.  I obviously got it for the international flare.  On that note, I was approached via the internet by two international folks last week.  One fellow, from the Netherlands, wanted some information on an exercise record as his wife collects 1980’s fitness memorabilia. Another person, a music journalist from Serbia asked me for some tracks from a bassoon album featuring a prominent Serbian musician on backup guitar.  Quite honestly, I was really hoping never to listen to either album.  But being the good host that I am, I complied with their requests.  On that note, I do love hearing from people, especially from different parts of the world than me and I do encourage folks to reach out.

Back to this album, it was released by the Gramophone Company of India Limited, a subsidiary of EMI.  It came out in 1968.  Nimrala Devi, born in Benares (now Varanasi) in 1927, was a Hindustani-classically trained vocalist.  She also acted in film before her death in 1996. Lakshmi Shankar, born in 1926, started life as a dancer before turning to the same vocal style.  She trained under Ravi Shankar, who was also her brother and law.  Lakshmi died in 2013 in California.

The dominate musical style on this album is the thumri.  It is a classical Indian form of music that highlights dance, dramatic gestures, romantic prose, and folk staples.  An important staple of North India music, it’s origins began in the 15th century with the genre as it is known evolving in the 19th.

So here is this album with four songs of the thumri style.  Musical direction, I believe, was provided by Khan Saheb Abdul Rehman Khan, the three Octave singing master who mentored Devi.  Nizamuddin Khan also accompanies the singers on Tabla. Two solo pieces and two duets. Overall, it is a good album.  Real interesting stuff that diverts from the normal stuff I post.

For a sample, I was torn as I thought all tracks were good.  But I must choose so here is this track, “Chain Kahan Se Paoon” which features both women singing.

Good album. Satisfactory.

OST- Wildcat

I had seen this record over and over during the years and I am not sure why I finally bit on it this January.  I mean besides the obvious tie in to oil and gas, why now? And why at $4.  On a related note, the HGO’s season closed out for me on Saturday with a performance of Mozart’s Abduction from the Seragilo. Overall it was a very good performance (most notably the singer who played Osmin) but it came to close on the heels of the last opera I saw.  So it was a bit of an adjustment to go from epic German opera with fire, swords, and magic helmets to a Viennese Rom-Com.  Interestingly enough, at the time of the original production, the Ottoman Empire and the Turks were to European entertainment what the Australians were to the US in the 1980’s.

Back to this record, this marks Lucille Ball’s first and only foray into Broadway, at the ripe age of 48.  With the book by Richard Nash, music by Cy Coleman, and lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, this was largely a Ball driven vehicle.  Nash had originally envisioned his lead, “Wildy” Wildcat Jackson to be in her 20’s.  But when Ball showed interest in staring as well as financing the production, the rewrite took place.  It opened on Broadway and ran 171 performances due to lukewarm reviews and the illness of Ball.  The crowds clearly came to see her and when when fell ill, the production had to be suspended.  When she was able to return, the musician’s union demanded payment for the time spent idle and as a result, the production was permanently shelved.

Broadway Database for Wildcat

The story was set in 1912 at the border town of Centavo City.  Wildy and her sister try to take advantage of the recent discovery of oil, navigating a world normally reserved for rough  men.  Along the way she meets Joe Dynamite and the two fall in love in the Broadway sense of the word.  By that I mean, at first, he rejects her but after some musical numbers and some exposition to the story, Joe realized he loves her as well and by the time the final curtain falls, Wildy gets her man as well as a gusher from her well.  The musical also stars Edith King, Paula Stewart, Clifford David, Keith Andes, and Swen Swenson.

The songs are ok.  The big number that seemed to have a life after the production was “Hey Look Me Over”.  I am not sure if it was my set up but Ball’s vocals on the first side seem to be a bit muffled.  Besides that, the music is ok and there are some decent numbers in the show.

For a sample, I went with “El Sombrero”, sung by Ball and the various people at a fiesta.  I also went with “Corduroy Road” which is sung at the erection of the derrick, which in some ways is much different today and and others, not so much so.

Eh.  It was a bit pricey, but decent enough record.  Satisfactory.

Caterina Valente- Cosmopolitan Lady

I liked the last Caterina Valente album I bought so I decided to pick this one up.  At $3, it seems a bit pricey considering the cover is falling apart in all directions and there was no record sleeve.

Caterina Valente, the Italian bred, French born singer, made a career out of her international style.  I wrote a bit about her on the last album I posed of hers.  Well, not much, but it is more than I will write today. As the clips show below, she knew how to work early television.

Link to Earlier link

This seems to be, according to discogs.com,. a South African release from 1958 from Polydor.  It is a collection of her early hits, including “Malaguera” and “The Breeze and I”.  In regards to the latter, I found this album’s version of “Breeze” to be quite tempid compared to the last version I posted.  Anyway, she sings in five languages on this album (Spanish, Italian, French, English, and German).

For a sample, I went with “Malaguera”.  I also went with “Bravo Caterina” as I think it takes a pair of brass ones to name check yourself in a song.

Great little album that is falling apart on me.  Satisfactory.

Loretta Lynn- One’s On The Way

This was $4.00.  A bit later in years than I like my country, being from the seventies and all, but there were a couple songs I liked on this.  Kind of all over the place with these posts this month.  At first I complain about doing these too much in advance and not being able to keep posts fresh.  Then I complain about having to write these on the fly.

This was the first of three albums that Loretta Lynn put out in 1972.  That is what makes singers like Lynn an icon.  Country music changes but her sound remains constant.  This record went to #3 on the Billboard country chart, and the lead single, written by creepy child author, Shel Silverstein, spent two weeks at #1.  According to Bill Monroe, the song helped Lynn become “the spokeswoman for every woman who had gotten married too early, pregnant too often and felt trapped by the tedium and drudgery of her life”.

Pretty good album, again, considering the era in which it came out.  I really enjoyed it.  A lot of good songs including covers of “Blueberry Hill” and “He’s All I Got”.  This album could easily been weighed down with string sections.  Instead, steel guitars do reign supreme on this.

For a sample, I went with the title track and the dark “I’m Losing My Mind” which is pretty racy for Lynn.  Not that she did not already flirt with adult themes in her work.

Good album.  Again, I was surprised by it. Satisfactory.

Judy Collins- In My Life

With April coming to a close, we are still keeping a spotlight on thise artists who frequently pop up on this site.  Judy Collins fits this bill perfectly.  I got this not only for the artist, but for the high number of songs on this album which are among my favorites; “Pirate Jenny”, “Liverpool Lullaby” and “In My Life”.  This was only 80 cents with discount.

This was Collins’ sixth album (her fifth studio effort) and marked a transition from folk to more of a pop vein.  Released in 1966, the album also featured more orchestration compared to the more simpler folk style of previous releases.  There are a lot of great song writers on this album including Dylan, Farina, Brecht-Weill, Newman, Cohen, Donovan, and Lennon- McCartney.  As stated above, the song selection as well as the interpretation of these tunes makes this album something special, although quite truthfully, I prefer to folk sound of the earlier efforts. But back to this, it is a completely diverse selection of works which I feel does quite well for itself.

For a sample, I had many choices to chose from but for some reason, decided to go with a song I had not heard until I bought this record.  From the 1963 play/ musical The Persecution and Assassination of Jean Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade, of Marat/Sade for short, here is a collection of 4 songs from the effort. The play, which features music in a Brecht manner, takes place in the days after the French Revolution and is a play with in a play with the Marquis de Sade directing inmates from an insane asylum as the title would suggest. Apparently, Sade used to really do this.

It premiered in 1964 in West Germany and soon found its way to London and Broadway.  It would win a Tony for best play in 1966. A film version was released in 1967 staring Patrick Magee in the lead role of Sade, a role he performed in the London production. Anyway, it is an ambitious work for Collins to tack on this album and I think she does it quote well.

Excellent album. Top Rating.

Mireille Mathieu- Fidelement Votre

When I was putting together records for this Anniversary month, I noticed I had no French female singers in the lineup.  Well , this omission could not stand so here is a frequent visitor to this blog, Mirelle Mathieu.  This record was $3.

As is the case with many French female singers who put out great swinging music in the 60’s, later output is generally less appealing and a reflection of musical tastes at that time as well as general aging. Frances Gall’s records of the 1980’s come to mind for me.   This record, released by Phillips in 1978, reflects a more adult contemporary sound for better or for worse.  I mean, one can’t make young, hip records forever.

This record is decent enough but obviously not among my favorite eras of the genre.  A decent collection of slower adult songs done in French with the inclusion of “A Blue Bayou”.

For a sample, I went with “Un peu de bleu” or “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” which was an earlier hit for Crystal Gayle.

Eh,  there are better Mathieu albums on this blog.  I have not gone meh this month so here is the first.



Steeleye Span- All Around My Hat

I sort of cheated with this album.  I asked the clerk to take a dollar off this and apply it to one of the dollar albums I was getting the same day.  After explaining how I needed to buy this record for under $5, he agreed to help.  This was therefore, $5.

I have posted about  4 or 5 Steeleye Span records to this site.  They are among one of my favorite groups.  There 1970’s electric take on traditional English folk music still makes them unique today.

This album represents the high water mark for the band, at least commercially.  Released in 1975, it was their eighth and highest charting album in the UK.  It was also the first album to chart in the US.  The title track with the B-side “Black Jack Davy” became a #5 single in England.

The album features a weird peek-hole insert, used to give some normality to the portraits on the cover.The decide is known as Anamorphic projection.  I thought it was pretty stupid the first time I looked at it but after a few stares, I have backed off that statement some.

Anyway, this is the pure rock-folk music that the band was known for.  Real good album.  For a sample, I went with the second single from the album, “All The Hard Times of Old England”. It dates from around the Napoleonic Wars.  A Newfoundland variant, “Hard, Hard Times” has also existed since the Great Depression era. Either way, Steeleye Span’s version hit home with 1970’s England.

Top Rated Record