Archive for the ‘Brenda Lee’ Category

Wanda Jackson & The Party Timers

Monday, December 21st, 2015

Listen: A Girl Don’t Have To Drink To Have Fun / Wanda Jackson & The Party Timers

Fresh off a seven hour flight, my blood was sizzling to stop by the Brooklyn Record Riot at The Warsaw Theatre yesterday. Even I couldn’t believe I had the energy, but something was telling me: go, go. Sure enough, that little bell in my brain rang true. Despite being late in the day, around 4:30 and with the threat the place theoretically had been picked, as those of us possessed would tend to describe it, there were boxes of 45′s just waiting to be hoarded.

I’m speaking mainly of a fellow with hundreds of clean, still in the original company sleeves, most without a crease, early 60′s country promos, primarily Decca and Capitol 7′s. Country in the loosest sense that is. Luckily the radio station from where they came clearly kept anything remotely associated with country, like former rockabilly greats whose stars had long ago faded as in Carl Perkins. Bluesy bar room crying in your drink songs from guys influenced by the great guitar pickers, like Hoyt Axton, Leo Kottke and Albert Lee. To rock acts that dressed like farmers describing themselves as tasty even then, such as Goose Creek Symphony, Joy Of Cooking, Joe Crane & The Hoodoo Rhythm Devils and The Grease Band.

Praise be, there were loads of gems. Fantastic Merle Haggard & The Strangers various red neck hater songs, Buck Owens & The Buckaroos, Sonny Burgess & The Southern Gentlemen, Ferlin Husky & The Hushpuppies and Conway Twitty 7′s. Chunks of Loretta Lynn, Kitty Wells, Tammy Wynette, Dottie West, Brenda Lee, Wilma Burgess and even Patsy Cline singles, many in picture sleeves.

Amongst my favorite scores were a sizable stack of Wanda Jackson releases. Who can pass up anything by her, especially one titled ‘A Girl Don’t Have To Drink To Have Fun’, a #22 Country chart hit in ’67, from her flawless CREAM OF THE CROP album. My feet barely touched the ground leaving despite being armloads of records heavier, yet a wallet only $25 lighter. The whole 10 for a dollar experience and especially this single, made my day.

The Paradise Island Trio / Owen Bradley

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Listen: Adventures In Paradise / The Paradise Island Trio & Owen Bradley
The Paradise Island Trio / Owen Bradley

Patsy Cline, Brenda Lee, Loretta Lynn, k. d. lang. Now that’s some serious lineage. Well Owen Bradley produced them all. Why is he not recognized more often? I guess the ghetto of country music creates a constant oversight.

Although the handful of recordings he made as steel guitar player with The Paradise Island Trio don’t on the surface appear to have historical value, in actuality, their ambience in sound and tonality very much do. Completely typical of the clean, electric hollow body picking prevalent during ’62, ‘Adventures In Paradise’ most likely benefited from Owen Bradley’s producing and/or engineering skills. His mic technique alone is difficult to mistake.

I believe the island of paradise in question here is Nashville by the way, where combining stereophonic sound with Hawaiian tropics was a license to print money. The Three Suns were a must for every Noguchi knock off coffee table and Don Ho was right around the corner.


Friday, December 25th, 2009

WizzardJiveUKA, Wizzard, Roy Wood, Harvest, United Artists
WizzardJiveUSA, Wizzard, Roy Wood, Harvest, United Artists, The Move

Listen: See My Baby Jive / Wizzard WizzardJive.mp3

This isn’t the first time SMRSLT has celebrated Roy Wood’s mere presence on this earth. Thankfully, he was awarded an honorary doctorate for his contribution to music by the University of Derby as recently as January 18, 2008. After all, the guy mastered guitar, bass, sitar, cello, double bass, saxophone, clarinet, trombone, tuba, recorders, oboe, French horn, banjo, mandolin, bassoon, drums, percussion, vibraphone, bagpipes and keyboards. And as a songwriter, well he’s an international treasure.

As much as The Move played a vital building block in my musical preferences, Wizzard contributed equally. For one thing, I’d finally gotten the 50′s RnR humor that had before passed me by. In the looks department, I was crazy about his multi-colored hair extravagance that, during the height of Glam in ’73, seemed commonplace. Luckily, when I landed in London that June, ‘See My Baby Jive’ was everywhere, on every pub jukebox, on every radio station.

WizzardAngel, Wizzard, Warner Brothers, Roy Wood, Harvest, United Artists, The Move

Listen: Angel Fingers / Wizzard WizzardAngel.mp3

‘Angel Fingers’ raced to #1 that fall, and if you can believe it, I loved it even more. I could never understand why no one in the US cared about Wizzard. How could anyone seriously prefer The Marshall Tucker Band or Wet Willie (yes, ‘Keep On Smilin’ is great) to this bunch? Still baffling.

WizzardChristmasWB, Wizzard, Warner Brothers, Roy Wood, Harvest, United Artists, The Move

WizzardChristmasPS, Wizzard, Warner Brothers, Roy Wood, Harvest, United Artists, The Move

WizzardChristmasUKA, Wizzard, Warner Brothers, Roy Wood, Harvest, United Artists, The Move

Listen: I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday / Wizzard WizzardChristmas.mp3

Of equal amazement at the time was the complete US musical disinterest in anything Christmas. Now, from Thanksgiving onward, we’re bombarded with seasonal music. Not so in the 70′s, bar maybe the Brenda Lee classic. Roy Wood had just signed to Warner Brothers, and in their haste, mistakenly pressed copies of what was clearly about to be a seminal record (see above – now how did they get those masters?). Harvest adamantly maintained ownership to ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’, and so (most) of the WB vinyl was scraped, but the sleeves (in possibly the label’s first attempt to be green) were saved and passed on to Harvest, who proceeded to use them for their release despite the Warner Brothers catalog number still present on the packaging.

So some 36 years later, on December 24, 2009, as the single’s yearly re-entry sat at #45 in the UK chart, what do I hear in Bed, Bath & Beyond?: ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’. Finally, and I lived to witness it. Despite my excitement, no one else flinched. Still, a joyous moment.


Thursday, December 25th, 2008

Christmas On Riverside Drive / Kid Creole & The Coconuts

Listen: Christmas On Riverside Drive / Kid Creole & The Coconuts KidCreoleChristmasOnRiversideDrive.mp3

Christmas in B'Dilli Bay / Kid Creole & The Coconuts

Christmas in B'Dilli Bay / Kid Creole & The Coconuts

Christmas Wrapping / The Waitresses

Listen: Christmas Wrapping / The Waitresses WaitressesChristmasWrapping.mp3

Christmas Wrapping / The Waitresses

I couldn’t resist jumping on the Christmas bandwagon, even as I swore I wouldn’t. I guess I’ve been hearing The Waitresses’ ‘Christmas Wrapping’ so much lately. You’d have thought it was given it’s deserved airings when released in ’81, but that was not the case. Seems it’s just oozed into the mainstream, which is just fine. Flawless song and delivery, and some classic lyrics (“Let’s get this winter over with” comes to mind). Like everyone, I have some real holiday favorites: Wizzard, Brenda Lee, The Ramones, The Phil Spector album and Eartha Kitt’s ‘Santa Baby’, but the one nobody mentions is ‘Christmas On Riverside Drive’. Kid Creole & The Coconuts had a perfect two year run back around ’81/’82. The UK ate them up, several singles bobbing in and out of their Top 40, with side projects selling as well (Coati Mundi/Dr. Armando’s Second Avenue Rhumba Band). The whole living color filled tropical sand and palm trees allure was too much for England not to buy into. The live show back then must have been absolutely perfect for the moment. Their seasonal song is unfortunately way below the radar, but captures the greatness of NYC around the holiday to a T. Both singles are from the Ze release, A CHRISTMAS RECORD.

Brenda Lee

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

Is It True / Brenda Lee

Listen: Is It True / Brenda Lee

Several months ago, I noticed someone on eBay selling six nice, clean Brenda Lee UK Brunswick singles in the original company sleeves for about $5 and figured, you can never have enough Brenda Lee. I’ve always really liked her, even though I don’t listen too often. The great news is she still sounds like a fireball kid with a monster voice to this day. So I went for it, they arrived and I was quite pleased to find when playing through them, that I just loved this one.

‘Is It True’ immediately sounded English to me. On closer examination of the label, I saw the track was written by Carter/Lewis, a pretty famous UK team who wrote many hits in the 60′s and even released records as The Ivy League and The Flowerpot Men to name a few. Google them.

I have now probably played this a few hundred times, faithfully converting the single to an mp3 on my turntable device (this year’s Christmas present from my dear brother-like friend Howard Thompson) and putting it onto my shuffle.

It came up on the subway yesterday and I just repeated it about a dozen times. So here it is.

A funny footnote, when filing away my new UK copy, I discovered I’d had a US pressing (I did admit I don’t listen enough), and it’s additional label copy indicates ‘Recorded In England’. My guess is she was steered toward jumping on the British Invasion train in ’64. Thank you to whoever suggested it.

Coincidentally, the single peeked at #17 in both the UK & US charts in Sept/Oct ’64 respectively.

Brenda Lee will be 64 in December. She’s still a baby, so hopefully she’ll play New York soon and I’ll get to see her.