Jerry Lee Lewis-Touching Home

Keepin it rolling with country or at the very least country-esque with this release from Jerry Lee Lewis.  This was $1.00.  Insanely low.

This record, released in 1971, was made during the Killer’s foray into country music.  Rock and roll audiences had shunned him since his marriage to his 13 year old cousin and by that point, he had basically either grown out of rock and roll or the scene grew out of him.  Take your pick.

How would the marriage scandal play out today?  That is a good question.  I am sure there would be tons more media coverage of it today for sure.  Other than that, I am not sure how people today would act.  Anyway, that takes away from the fact that Lewis’s sound played great into country music.  This album went to #11 on the country charts.  It also yielded a #3 country single, “Touching Home”.

Off the bat, the one thing I did not like about this album is that the piano is really in the background on most of these tracks.  I mean, I get it, this is an album of musicians, but Lewis’ signature piano sound is what he is known for.  Why would you not want to capitalize on it?  Well for what ever reason, this deficit 1s made up for by the number of good session musicians on here including Bob Moore, Buddy Harman. Kenny Lovelace, and on steel guitar, Pete Drake.  Lewis is also backed up on vocals by The Nashville Sounds and the Jordanaires. Not too shabby.

Despite of my beef with the piano, this is a pretty decent album.  I was leaning towards “Help Me Make It Through The Night” as well as a couple others on side 2, but when I heard “Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone”, I knew my choices were over.  This is the most piano driven song on the album.  It has a call out to Drake as well as Lovelace.  Finally, the Killer’s vocals go crazy in the song.  So here it is as a sample.

Satisfactory record. There are enough really good tunes to make up for the diminished piano role.

Norma Jean- Sings A Tribute To Kitty Wells

Man oh man.  Kicking off yet another month of Donkey Show.  In two days we are all ready done with January.  Where does time go?  Ask me that question in 10 months.  Anyway, here is a nice little pick up of a tribute to one of my favorite country artists, the Queen of Country, Kitty Wells.  Technically speaking, there are a couple “Queens of Country” but Wells has a good stake on the title as well. This was $3.00.

On a side note, I saw and was amazed by John Adams’ Nixon In China last week.  The opera, which premiered 30 years ago at the Houston Grand Opera, returned to the HGO last week for an anniversary run.  It was awesome.  Modern music, a lot of conceptual stuff, good chorus, and a lot of movement, especially in the hands.  You don’t see that much in the classical operas.   That is a key gripe of mine.  Anyway, the actress scheduled to play the role of Chiang Ch’ing(Mao’s fourth wife and Gang of Four member) fell ill and was replaced by Audrey Luna.  I thought she hit it out of the ball park.  The video above is of her big number which closes Act 2.  Again, it was amazing. It had all the elements I listed above in one number.

Back to this album, Norma Jean, (born 1938 in Wellston, OK) gained fame in the country music world in the 60’s.  She started on local radio and television, before she met Porter Wagoner.

She became a regular fixture on the his show for six years.  She was so popular that when she left, fans went crazy and initially expressed their disapproval of her replacement, sometimes by chanting “Norma Jean” during performances.  Luckily enough, Dolly Parton stuck with the job. Norma Jean is still alive today, although doing what, I do not know, other than being inducted to the Oklahoma Music Hall Of Fame.

This album came out in 1966 and was her fourth record.  The sixties were good to Norma Jean and she released some good stuff accordingly.  This album, in particular, is pretty good.  It as some great interpretations of the legend Kitty Wells’ catalog.  At the same time, Norma Jean is able to put her own stamp on the music.  Wells’ most famous number ” It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” captures this duality of paying respect to the original and personalizing the tune as her own.  I also really liked ” I Heard The Jukebox Playing”.

However, it was the steel guitar of “You Don’t Hear”, co-written by Johnny Cash, that made me pick it as this post’s sample.

Good record.  Satisfactory. Very female driven post today transitioning from the Queen of the Cultural Revolution to a tribute to the Queen of Country.  I did not think of that when I wrote this but here we are.

 

The Revillos- Tell Him 45

Ending this week’s theme of Scotland as well as this month’s theme week with a rocking number from Edinburgh’s own the Revillos.  Although I enjoyed doing theme week, I found it really took away from the diversity of sound which is this blog.  Well to make up for that, there is this, which I bought for $5.

The Revillos were formed in 1979 out of the ashes of the Rezillos.  Led by Rez singers Eugene Reynolds and Faye Fife, the band expanded on their former sound with some space age/ new wave flare.  Does that even make sense or am I just rushing to get this post done?  Well since it is Saturday, I would suggest the latter.

Oddly enough, this is not the first time I have used the group to punctuate a rather somber week of music.  I posted the Rezillos’ “Destination Venus” previously when I need to jazz the site up.

So then, there is this which was released in 1982.  Both sides have the Bert Bern penned track, which was first popularized by the Exciters in 1962.  The original 1982 release shows a different B side so I am not sure what the story is nor am I inclined to research it much further.

So here it is.  Satisfactory record.

Andy Stewart- A Scottish Solider

Scottish Week on the blog is winding down and here is another album by Andy Stewart.  I got this the same day I got the last Stewart record I posted.  Paid $3 for this.  

One of Stewart’s most memorable performance was also his last.  Suffering from ill health over the years, Stewart arose from his sick bed to perform at Usher Hall in Edinburgh, for a Gala Benefit for The Children’s Hospice Association- Scotland in 1993.  The next day, at age 59, he suffered a fatal heart attack. 

I loved this album, which is very strange as it is a variation of the album I posted earlier this week.  It is basically the same album with a few different songs, released in 1961.  Whereas I found the last album slow and lackluster, I found this one arousing and spirited.  Again, I am not sure why, as most of the songs are the same.  I guess it is merely on the strength of ” A Scottish Solider”, “The Battle’s O’er” and “Come In, Come In”, all of which were hits for Stewart.  For the record, I also really liked “The Bonnie Lassie O’ Dundee”, “Oh Kate”, and “McGinty’s Meal and Ale”.

For a sample, I went with the three songs that drove this album, again ” A Scottish Solider”, “The Battle’s O’er” and “Come In, Come In”. Very patriotic and awe inspiring stuff.

I really liked this album.  Top Rated.

Moira Anderson- Moira Anderson’s Scotland

Keep Scottish Week going with another artist’s interpretation of their land.  Here is Moira Anderson.  This album was $3.  I think I got it the same day as the Andy Stewart albums.  Most have been on a Scottish kick that day.  Have you notice this week that the pictures have gotten bigger while the text has gotten smaller?  Not a coincidence, just been real busy as of late.

Moira Anderson, born in Kirkintilloch in 1938, is a successful Scottish singer who was active on radio, television, and stage from 1968 to 2010.  This included her own show on the BBC as well as appearances on Andy Stewart’s White Heather Club.  She also appeared frequently appeared with Kenneth McKellar which was spoofed by the Two Ronnie’s below. She currently lives in retirement today in the Isle of Man.

Where are they Now story from 2016

This album, released by Decca in 1968,  is a collection of traditional Scottish songs, mostly by the poet Robert Burns.  I got to believe this is among her first recordings. Sound-wise, it kind of falls in the middle of the Jean Redpath record I posted yesterday and the Andy Stewart records I am posting this week.  Great voice and good songs.  I liked a lot of it including “The Keel Row” and “Think On Me” as well as the two sample songs I picked.

First off is the Burn’s classic “Charlie is my Darling”.  I posted a version of this last year on Burn’s Night.  I like hearing different interpretations of folk songs.  You kind of get a new point of view.  I also went with another Burn’s classic “Comin’ Thro’ The Rye” which also serves as the basis for the title of the book, Catcher In The Rye, which I read too late in life and found too juvenile for my liking.

Satisfactory Record

Jean Redpath/Serge Hovey- The Songs Of Robert Burns Vol 2

Today is Burn’s Supper or Burn’s Night, smack in the middle of this week’s Records of Scotland theme.  Burn’s Night is in tribute to Scotland’s most famous poet, Robert Burns.  I did a post explaining Burn’s Night last year and I used Vol 1 of this record series.  So when I saw this record, I though it would be perfect for this year’s celebrations.  I bought this during Memorial Day at Half Price so with discount, it came out to $4.80, just under my range.

Link to last year’s Burn’s Night post which is more informative.

This was the second of what was to be a long series of records by Jean Redpath and Serge Hovey, honoring the work of Burns.  However, his death in 1989 from Lou Gehrig’s Disease limited the planned 22 volumes down to 7.  At the time of this record, Hovey was being assisted by Drake Mabry.  Still Hovey managed to research and arrange 324 of Burn’s works.

This album features some good numbers and has a bit of a back story in the notes.  I had to think a bit about what I wanted to sample as there were several good choices.  Oddly enough, when I was recording songs from this album, Braveheart was playing on TV.  When it came to the scene where the noblemen betray William Wallace, “A Parcel Of Rogues for A Nation” was playing.  It made for a real powerful scene.  I have posted this song before on thsi blog, but I really liked this album’s version.  I also posted “Auld Lang Syne” which maybe is Burn’s most famous number outside of Scotland.

Finally, I posted “Sae Flaxen Were Her Ringlets”, a pretty song based on an earler Irish song, “Oonagh’s Waterfall”.  I believe Burns intention was to take a beautiful yet bawdy song and put lyrics to it that could be sung in front of women.  Since the title of the Irish song referred to the act or urination, Burns wrote a new set of lyrics that could be enjoyed by all.  And since pee was very much in the news when I wrote this post, I could not resist posting it.

Anyway, good album.  Satisfactory.

Jim Cameron’s Scottish Dance Orchestra- Folk Dances of Scotland

This week, if it isn’t Scottish, it’s crrr-rap. Here is a 10″ a got for a dollar.  I got it to expose myself to a wider range of Scottish music, which at the time of purchase I knew little about.  I almost felt guilty that I had leaned more towards the music of Ireland as opposed to the land of my heritage.

I could not find much of Jim Cameron and his Scottish Dance Orchestra other than he was from Kirriemuir (also the birthplace of Peter Pan creator, J.M. Barrie), was on the biggest star of Beltona Records during the post-war years, and was at least active from 1949 to 1951, which I believe this record falls around. A closer inspection of the record shows it was indeed 1951.

The songs are pretty straightforward.  They are a collection of numbers grouped around dance styles, including Broun’s Reel, La Russe, Dundee Reel, as well as the Pride of Erin.  The songs are all right.  Probably would be better with dancers.

For a sample, I went with a collection called The Glasgow Highlanders featuring “The Glasgow Highlanders”, “The Sherwood Rangers”, and “Phil the Fluter’s Ball”.

Overall, it is a decent enough album considering the price.  Satisfactory.

Andy Stewart- Andy Stewart’s Scotland

As I have been doing themes all month (and year for that practical matter) long, this week, in anticipation to Burn’s Supper, this week’s theme is Scotland, the land of my peoples. Before I did this blog, I had really no concept of Scottish folk music despite having a comprehensive knowledge of the Irish’s. Now, I have at least some basis on the songs and can even sing a few.  Not an expert by any means but hey, that’s progress. Oh yeah, I paid $3 for this.

Andy Stewart (1933-1993) has been described as the Englishman’s image of Scotland.  Born in Glasgow, his gift for imitation at a young age lead him to the business of show.  His music hall style along with his kilt made him an international star in the 1950’s and 1960’s.  He had several hits all over the world.  He also was known for imitating famous singers during his shows as well as letting loose a little Elvis in his first big hit “Donald, Where’s Your Trousers”.

Link to an awesome home page with a lot of music for Andy Stewart

This album, released in Full Dimensional Stereo by Capital Records, came out in 1962 and was a US variant of his first album, released in the UK a year prior.  In the UK, it would go to #13 on the charts,

For some reason which will appear more absurd later in the week, I did not like this album much.  I thought it was a bit to slow.  But it did have some decent songs such as “Nae Sae Bad” and “Bonnie Lass O’Fiyvie” . The Scottish music is a bit less polished than the Irish.  There is a bit more gruff to it but I do not think that is a bad thing.

For a sample, I went with “The Heart Of Midlothian”, based on the mosaic that adorns a section of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.  In a previous life, executions used to take place at that point and it was common for people to spit on the heart.  Now, it is seen as a gesture of good luck.

As far as this album goes, it was really meh which come Friday will sound strange.

The Shadows- Dance With The Shadows

Bringing Dutch record week to a close with an English band and the record which convinced me to buy records while on vacation despite not having the proper luggage to carry records back to the US.  As with the rest of the albums this week, this was one Euro.  However, since it is a double record, it is technically a half Euro per disc.

For some reason, this record had a poster of Danny De Monk in it.  He was a Dutch child actor and singer from the 80’s who still gets around today.

The Shadows were a UK band who were successful both in their own right and as the backing band for Cliff Richard.  Between the two incarnations, the band would have 69 UK charting singles.  Lead by lead guitarist Hank Marvin, their biggest solo hit was the instrumental “Apache”.

Read more about the group here as I am lazy on Saturday

 

This was a double album, released sometime after 1973, is a combination of two earlier albums: 1964’s Dance With The Shadows, which went #2 in the UK, and The Sound of The Shadows, released in either ’64 of ’65.  It would go to #4. These albums were their third and fourth respectively. Both were recorded during the bands classic period.  Both albums are pretty decent.  I was surprised when more than a couple had vocals as I thought the band was strictly instrumental.  A lot of popular songs on here as well.  Because I hyped it up a bunch, I was a bit let down when I heard it.  However, it is still pretty good stuff.  I was just hoping for a more Venture-y sound for more of the record.

But again, they had some good songs.  One of which was their version of “Zambesi”. The Bert Kaempfert version is on this blog if you use the search function.  I also liked their version of “Temptation” also previously on this blog although by whom I forget.  Finally, because I always post it, “Brazil”.

Satisfactory Record.

 

George McCrae- Rock Your Baby

This week I have been posting records I bought in Amsterdam for a Euro.  On the surface, this album may seem strange selection.  Well, before I bought it, this record cover was posted on the wall of one of the bars, cafes, or restaurants I was in while on vacation.  However, I can not remember which one. When I saw it, I bought it and originally thought it was a Dutch artist.  

But George McCrae is from West Palm Beach Florida.  Born in 1944, McCrae has one of the first big hits of the disco era with this record and the self titled single.  It sold eleven million copies and was voted the song of the year by Rolling Stone in 1974.  It also was #1 overall in the US singles chart as well as in the UK, Norway, Sweden, Germany, and the Netherlands.

In the 80’s, he moved to the Netherlands where he still remains popular.  He has released around a dozen records or so. 

As stated above, this was the first and biggest hit for McCrae.  I never really thought about it in disco terms until I did some research on it. The title track has some disco elements but overall, I thought it was a good R&B/ soul album.  “I Can’t Leave You Alone, “You Got My Heart” and “Make It Right” stuck out when I listened to this as well as the title track and reprise. All these quality songs considered, “I Get Lifted” is the sample I stuck with.

Satisfactory Record