Kenny Rogers and The First Edition- Rollin’

Starting another month of Donkey Show with this record I got for $2.40.  A lot of good songs on this.  So we are into September. Plus it is Labor Day, so when you read this, I am at home doing nothing (or perhaps getting even further ahead in writing this blog).  That is if we still have a country when this post comes out.  Let’s see how this month plays out. I am good and ahead of the game as far as post writing goes.  However, still erring on the side of brevity so if you have any questions, I would suggest Google.

This record is from The First Edition, a band formed in 1967 from members of The New Christy Minstrels who wanted more freedom from a constricting repertoire .  Led by Kenny Rogers, who played bass and vocals, and Terry Williams, guitar and vocals, as well as Mary Arnold on vocals and occasional actor Micky Jones on drums, the band had some decent hits including “I Just Dropped In” and ” Ruby” blending the worlds of psychedelic pop and country together.    I did not realize this but when the band disbanded in 1976, there was some doubt as to if Rogers could maintain a solo career.

Well, during the height of their fame, they had their own TV Show, Rollin, produced by CTV in Canada.  As a counterweight to the Sonny and Cher Show with decidedly more rocking acts, the show began to paint the band as TV personalities rather than musicians, to the ire of certain band members.  Anyway, it ran from 1971 to 1973 with generally good ratings.

This album, released in 1973, features songs from the show as perfromed by the group.  There are songs that feature individual vocal performances by Rogers, Williams, Arnold, and guirist Jim Hassell, as well as an instrumental rocking piece on keyboards by Gene Lorenzo, Bach’s “Joy (Jeso, Joy Of Man’s Desiring), an arrangement that had been a hit for Apollo 100.  Pretty decent stuff.  A whole lot of Beatles’ content.

Well, from this record, here is the band with “Get Back”.  Also, might as well give Kenny some spotlight with “The Long And Winding Road”.

Probably could have done with some original content, but this perhaps defeats the purpose of this record, which is satisfactory.

Rod McKuen- Love’s Been Good To Me

dscn5288-800x789This was $3.00.  I was aware of McKuen’s work before buying this but it also had a few songs that I really like as well.174009348

Rod McKuen, born in Oakland in 1933, was a writer, singer, songwriter, and poet.  Survivng a tough upbringing that included physical abuse from his stepfather as well as sexual abuse from his aunt and uncle, he became one of the leading poets of the 60’s.  Although he got his start in the 50’s reading along side Kerouac and Ginsberg, he was not really part of the Beat Generation.  Rather, he filled the gap between that movement and the New Age movement that would follow. It least that is what his obituary in the New York Times said. I am not in the mood to dig any further so I am going with that claim. Overall, McKuen sold over 60 million copies of his books of poetry. Critics were not always on board , but his work sold well.

NY Times Obit

McKuen’s Webpage

McKuen was also a prolific songwriter as well as a decent singer.  He wrote over 1,500 songs which sold over 100 million records according to Wikapedia. He was nominated twice for Oscars (for “Jean” from The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and for his work from “A Boy Named Charlie Brown”).  His work was covered by many but he also performed on his own as well.   McKuen would die last year (2015) from respiratory arrest.  He was 81.dscn5289-800x765

This album is a Pickwick compilation, the kind I always gripe about but end up buying anyway.  It came out in 1970 from previously released material. Kind of a mini greatest hits kind of deal based on whatever songs Pickwick could get.

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The title track of this album is one of his better known tunes.  It became a standard of sorts for Frank Sinatra.  It was also covered on a bootleg my Nick Cave and Shane MacGowan who incidentally has new teeth now.

Early in McKuen’s career, he received fame by translating the works of Belgian singer Jaques Brel into English.  One of these songs was Brel’s “Le Moribond” which McKuen turned into “Season’s in the Sun”.  Terry Jacks would gain fame with a more upbeat version of this song.  McKuen’s version, however, is adapted from the original which was more a backhanded way of saying goodbye on one’s deathbed. Definitely more bitterness in the original version.

Anyway, here they are as samples; “Love’s Been Good To Me” and “Seasons in the Sun”.ct-rod-mckuen-perspec-jpg-20150203

Satisfactory record.  The songs are pretty good.

 

The Rosy Singers- ST

dscn5282-800x796Today is the start of Oktoberfest.  In keeping with the German theme, here is another record from Germany.  I got this recently, not with Oktoberfest in mind.  Half Price Books in Montrose had quite the amount of international records that day and I bought quite a few.  Anyway, this was $3.00.  I am sure the woman on the front of the record helped solidify the sale. This could be Rosy, I am not sure.It looks close.a-1572495-1428337973-1579-jpeg

The Rosy Singers were a German vocal group, founded in 1964 by Rosy Rohr (Google Translate calls her Rosy Tube).  They made several albums, numerous TV appearances, and a few entries into the Euro Vision Song Contest which after a year of doing this blog, I still do not officially understand. On this album, Rosy, a soprano, is joined by Angelika, (second soprano), Zsa Zsa (alto), Fredo (light baritone), and Rolf (bass-baritone).

This record is part of the Philips International series, released in 1965.  It features the singers backed up by various what I assume are German orchestras.  The band leaders include Horst Hartman, Willy Hoffman, and Steffen Thomas.

The songs are mostly English standards including “What Now My Love”, “All Of You”, “Edelweis”, and “Greensleeves”.  The singing is ok. It is mostly done in German. The songs are also ok. dscn5283-800x796

For a sample, I went with their version of “Ave Maria” which I feel is really good.  It is backed by a slightly reverbed guitar and is unlike any version I have heard. I also really liked “I Believe” as well.rosi

As far as this record goes, it is Saturday.  Satisfactory.  Why not?

Oliver-Good Morning Starshine

DSCN4637 (800x785)This was $1.00.  It had enough songs that I knew and liked to warrant a purchase.20124_1458248496

I would have thought the lead singer was British, but low and behold, William Oliver Swofford, known professionally as Oliver, was born in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina in 1945. He began singing as an undergraduate at UNC-Chapel Hill, performing with two popular groups.  His tenor voice and good looks  led him to record “Good Morning Starshine” from the musical Hair, in 1969.  This single would become a hit, selling over a million copies and reaching #3 on the charts.  His next single, “Jean” from the film, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and written by Rod McKuen, would go up to #2. Modest success would follow over the next years.  However, while Oliver preferred simple folk arrangements, his producer, Bob Crewe felt otherwise.  If you know Crewe, his style called for elaborate productions. So the two parted ways ad Oliver continued to work  until 1977.  At this point, he stepped away from the music industry and pursued a family life.  Oliver would die from I believe complications from Non-Hogkin’s Lymphoma in 2000 at the age of 54.

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

This was Oliver’s first and most successful record, reaching #19 on the charts.  Aside from the top singles mentioned above, this album also has the Stones’ “Ruby Tuesday”, the Beatles “In My Life”, Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now”, two songs from the musical Oliver! and a handful of originals.  The songs are well sung.  Oliver did have a very strong and rugged  voice.  Also, Bob Crewe’s production style is on display as well. This is an all right album.DSCN4638 (793x800)

For a sample, I decided to go with a track from the musical Oliver!, “Who Will Buy”. In a fit of foreshadowing, if you like the movie Oliver!, I would check out the blog again in two weeks.OLIVER_jpg_opt343x248o0,0s343x248

Satisfactory record.

Rosemary Clooney & Perez Prado- A Touch of Tabasco

TabascoThis was $4.50. Rosemary Clooney was singer of the 1950’s and probably best remembered today as George Clooney’s aunt.  Perez Prado was a Cuban band leader known as King of the Mambo.  He also wrote “Mambo #5”.73385068_-1_991755a

This album, released in 1959, was Clooney’s first effort for RCA after leaving Columbia and it is her only collaboration with Prado.  Apparently, bottles of tabasco were used from promotion of this album.  Also, the husband of Clooney, Puerto Rican Jose Ferrer, wrote the liner notes. It is said that he helped her with pronunciation on this album as she initially struggled with it.Jose_Ferrer_and_Rosemary_Clooney_in_Deep_In_My_Heart

The album itself is pretty good although I would say that there should be more Prado.  I felt compared to his other works. the music on this album is more subdued.  But that being said, it is still a good album combining Clooney’s cabaret style with Prado’s Cuban rhythms, complete with his trademark arrangements and percussion.DSCN4543

For samples, I went with the swinging, “Mack the Knife” as well as “I Got Plenty O’ Nothing”.  Both really good numbers.

Photo of Perez Prado
Perez Prado

This is a top rated album despite the scant criticism I gave it.

Huey Lewis and the News- Sports

DSCN2489This was a dollar. Maybe I am a jerk for posting this but it was a huge album of the 80’s and of the last century for that matter.101374-huey_lewis_and_the_news_617_409

Before the forming the News, Huey Lewis got his start in a Bay area pub-rock band called Clover. Clover is best known for backing Elvis Costello on his first album, minus Huey. The band did open for Thin Lizzy and Huey played harmonica on the track “Baby Drives Me Crazy” from their live album Live and Dangerous. I also tracked this video down from Phil Lynott’s solo period.

Sports was released in 1983. It was the band’s third album. Along with the single “Power of Love from the Back to the Future soundtrack, this catapulted the band to worldwide fame. The album itself would reach #1 on the Billboard charts and would spawn four top ten hits. Going Platinum seven times, it has established itself as one of the bigger albums of the 80’s in what was an era of big albums.DSCN2490

It should be noted that according to Patrick Bateman, this is the album where the band “really come into their own, commercially and artistically”. However, it should be noted that this is coming from a guy who thinks Genesis got better with the departure of Peter Gabriel. What a pyscho.

Which led Huey to make his own take on it complete with Weird Al.

For a sample, I went with “Bad is Bad” mainly because when it came out, I was unaware what it meant to find a strange pair of shoes underneath the bed. At the time, I thought it was an odd expression.Huey-Lewis-And-The-News

Satisfactory record. I know.  Haters got to hate.

 

 

Annette- Hawaiiannette

DSCN2393This was $5.00. I got it at the August Infinity Record Convention at the SW Hilton.

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I know it has been discussed in detail in other forums, but notice how modest Annette Funicello (1942-2013) is on the cover. On one picture, she is even wearing a Muu Muu. It is well known that Walt Disney wanted to preserve the pure image, asking her not to expose her navel in her beach movies and such. Compare this to the fact that I have seen Brittney Spears’ privates. How times have changed.

 

annette-surfboard

This is a fun album of Annette singing Hawaiian songs. The songs on this album range from traditional to new songs written by the Sherman Brothers. Highlights include the title track, “Blue Hawaii”, “Date Night in Hawaii”, “ Blue Muu Muu”, and “Aloha Oe”. The album was released in 1960 and it produced one of Annette’s best singles, “Pineapple Princess” which charted at # 11. The album itself charted at # 38. From what I can tell, it was her third album.

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For a sample, I went with the Sherman Brother’s “Pineapple Princess” and the standard “My Little Grass Shack”.

A photo session featuring Annette Funicello from the set of the made-for TV movie, A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes: The Annette Funicello Story. Image dated September 4, 1995. Copyright © 1995 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. Credit: CBS Photo Archive.

This is a pretty fun record. I am going to give it a Top Rating.

 

The Cowsills-In Concert

DSCN1284This was another dollar find.  Had a good track list.

This late 1960's photo, location unknown, provided by the Cowsills, shows the Cowsills, a popular group of singing siblings and their mom. Surviving members of the group, which got its start playing frat parties and other local gigs in Rhode Island, are scheduled to perform Wednesday evening, Aug. 10, 2011 evening in Providence after the premiere of a new documentary about the band. (AP Photo/The Cowsills)

The Cowsills are a Newport, Rhode Island family band who were the inspiration for The Partridge Family.  Formed by three brothers in 1965, the group would expand to six siblings and include their mother, also referred to as “Mini-Mom”. The group would find success with their hit “The Rain, The Park, and Other Things” as well as their version of “Hair” cleaned up without the third verse and also included on this album.

COWSILLS-4

Family squabbles would lead to their dissolution in the seventies but the members would reform from time to time..  The patriarchs would pass on as well as three of the siblings (Barry drowned in Hurricane Katrina).  However, the surviving members still perform to this day.

The Cowsills Web Page

This album, I imagine, was hastily released to capitalize on the bands popularity.  Released in 1969, it would be their best charting album  coming in at #16.  Except for “Hair” and “Good Vibrations”, the rest of the songs are live.  All the songs are covers.  On one hand, listening to songs such as “Sunshine of Your Love”, you are reminded pretty quick that this is not Clapton and Bruce (this perhaps is an unfair comparison). On the other hand,  the band does a real good job in terms of tackling a diverse catalog of pop.

DSCN1285For a sample,  I went with the Motown staple, “Reach Out (I’ll Be There)”.cowsills

 

I went back and forth with this but decided to give it a satisfactory record.  I like pop music. Sorry.