jueves, 25 de febrero de 2010

Lynne Randell: Dynamic Lynne Randell - Ciao Baby (1965-1967)

During the mid-'60s, singer Lynne Randell reigned as Australia's first teen pop star. Dubbed "Little Miss Mod" for her trendy fashions and hair, her brief stay in the limelight was derailed by a lifelong addiction to diet pills. Born in Liverpool in 1950, Randell was five years old when her family emigrated to Murrumbeena, Australia. By 14, she was apprenticing in a local styling salon, and was often called upon to sing while on the job. In time client Carol West, who managed a number of Melbourne-area bands (most notably the Spinning Wheels), hired Randell to sing at a party. Radio personality Stan Rofe was sufficiently impressed to request a demo, and the resulting recording was enough to earn a contract with EMI. Randell issued her debut single, 'I'll Come Running Over,' in early 1965, soon after becoming a regular on the Australian television pop showcase The Go!! Show. The singles 'A Love Like You' and 'Be Sure' followed, and in early 1966 Randell signed to CBS Records to issue 'That's What Love Is Made Of.' During the singer's CBS tenure, her music adopted a Motown-inspired ebullience that would later make singles like 'Going Out of My Head' and flip side 'Take the Bitter with the Sweet' a favorite on Britiain's Northern soul club circuit. At home, 1967's 'Ciao Baby' vaulted Randell to national superstardom, and she spent the summer on tour with the Monkees, sharing bills with the Jimi Hendrix Experience, the Who, and the Ike & Tina Turner Revue. However, the demands of life on the road played havoc with Randell's health, and prior to a television appearance, manager West criticized her weight. In response, she secured some diet pills from a friend, beginning a struggle with methamphetamine abuse that spanned decades. After scoring a minor Australian hit with 'That's a Hoedown,' Randell relocated to Los Angeles in 1969, issuing the Capitol single 'I Love My Dog' before retiring from performing, marrying Atlantic Records executive Abe Hoch and writing for the Aussie music magazine Go-Set. With Hoch she moved to London in 1976, but her addiction spiraled further out of control and the marriage ultimately dissolved. In 1980, Randell returned to Melbourne, spending six years as the personal assistant for music journalist and TV presenter Molly Meldrum. During the mid-'80s, she also worked for a time under Sire Records head Seymour Stein. In 2004, Randell went public with her amphetamine addiction, but it was too late. The damage inflicted on her brain, nervous system, and adrenal glands was extensive, and she died May 8, 2007, at the age of 57. http://www.answers.com/

A clip of Lynda Randell's hit from 1967, 'Ciao Baby':

Lynne performing Flatt & Scruggs' 'It Won't Be Long':

jueves, 11 de febrero de 2010

Nancy Holloway: Bye Bye ... plus / Hello Dolly (1964-1969)

America's loss is France's gain. Nancy Holloway migrated to France primarily because of a sour, premature marriage and has remained a resident for more than 40 years, enjoying success as a recording artist and actress. Holloway's fame hasn't extended far past French borders, where she continues to record, sing, and appear in plush jazz nightspots. Though born and raised in America, she's virtually unknown in the United States. Born Nancy Brown in the '40s, and raised in Cleveland, OH, she was the only sister among three brothers: Walter, a retired Cleveland police officer; Joe, a retired career military man; and the youngest, Charles (aka Chuckie), who worked for a railroad in California. Holloway's half sister, Mary Holt, was Cleveland's first African-American female radio personality, popular in the '50s and '60s. The Browns lived at 7300 Wagner Avenue; Holloway attended Rawlings Junior High and East Technical High. She married a man with the surname of Holloway, who was controlling and abusive, after high school; Nancy Holloway left Cleveland to get away, first to New York, then Paris. In France she became popular recording French versions of pop and soul hits in the '60s; an Lp from this period, Bye Bye, depicts a young, beautiful Holloway on the cover. I included here a '90s reissue of that album which contains several bonus tracks (I added a few more myself). The selections include 'My Guy,' 'Sealed With a Kiss,' 'That's How Heartaches Are Made,' 'Don't Make Me Over,' the Contours' 'Do You Love Me', 'Désappointé' and the Charles Aznavour composition 'Prends Garde à Toi'. There are terrific takes on Marvin Gaye’s 'You're a Wonderful One' ('Le Plus Bel Amour') and Tammi Terrell’s pre-Motown 'If I Would Marry You' ('Je Suis Yé-Yé'). She pays homage to the Beatles too with 'Elle T'Aime' ('She Loves Me'), and 'Je Veux Prendre Ta Main' ('I Want to Hold Your Hand'). The songs included on Bye Bye represent Nancy Holloway's pop/soul side. They lose nothing in the translation thanks to Holloway and the arrangements. Marking her move away from pop, her final album of the decade, issued in 1969, was a collection largely of American show tunes and some soul hits. 'Hello Dolly' became the title track, and it also included 'Mame', 'Hurts So Bad', 'As Long As He Needs Me', 'Light My Fire' and great version of Betty Everett's hit 'You're No Good'. Although there were plenty of homegrown yé-yé girls singing French versions of US hits, Nancy represented the real thing – an American singing American songs in a highly American accent. http://www.readysteadygirls.eu/, http://www.allmusic.com/.
'Dum Dum Twist' perfomed by a young Nancy Holloway:

Nancy singing live 'It's Over' in 1964:

And, finally 'A Quoi Ca Sert Les Pleurs':

sábado, 6 de febrero de 2010

Marion Williams: The New Message / Standing Here Wondering Which Way to Go (1969/1971)

Generally considered one of the most influential Gospel singers of all time, Marion Williams sung with a full-body growl so intense that anyone who wants to dispute her right to the title had better bring along a megaphone and some throat lozenges. The other side of her style, soul-shattering falsettos and anointed, exclamatory whoops, had a direct effect on Little Richard, for one, as well as countless others in both Gospel and secular music circles. From 1948 to 1958 she was the central figure in the ever-touring Ward Singers, stunning audiences with the high-test stage-show/revival meeting and a larger-than-life presence that has made her a legend. A stint with the short-lived Stars of Faith followed, and in 1965 she launched a solo career that was marked by comeback after comeback until her death in 1994. Her recordings, as group member and soloist, are legendary, especially Prayer Changes Things, Gospel Now and The New Message, although it is generally agreed that they don't do justice to the emotional force or dazzling imagination that characterized her live performances. Regardless of where she was on the charts or in her personal life, Williams' singing was never less than spectacular and her commitment to Christ was downright inflammatory. I have included here a pair of of the late gospel diva's finest moments: New Message and Standing Here Wondering Which Way to Go, both originally issued on Atlantic in 1969 and 1971, respectively. Several traditional gospel hymns are interspersed with reflective hits of the times including 'He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother,' 'My Sweet Lord,' 'People Got to Be Free' and three from the pen of Bob Dylan, 'I Shall Be Released,' 'Wicked Messenger,' and 'I Pity the Poor Immigrant.' Along with the majestic background vocals of the Sweet Inspirations and the Dixie Hummingbirds, several stellar jazz musicians are present including Keith Jarrett, Hank Jones, Ray Bryant, Bernard "Pretty" Purdie, Junior Mance and Joe Zawinul, making these thoughtful and passionate sessions highly recommended.
A historic event: probably the first black gospel concert ever in the Netherlands, 1962. Marion Williams sings 'Mean Old World':

Marion singing 'Live the Life I Sing About in My Song' from her heart and soul:

An inspiring performance of 'Packin' Up', with Billie Preston on the Hammond Organ:

miércoles, 3 de febrero de 2010

Mary Hopkin: The Apple Years (1968-71) ... plus

It was the British supermodel Twiggy who alerted Paul McCartney to the Welsh singer Mary Hopkin when Apple Records was looking for talent in 1968. The waifish soprano scored a huge, worldwide smash with her first Apple single, the melancholy but rabble-rousing ballad 'Those Were the Days,' in late 1968; it actually knocked the Beatles' own 'Hey Jude' out of the number one position in the U.K. Paul McCartney lent Hopkin a further hand by producing her first album and writing her second single, 'Goodbye,' which was also a hit. Besides 'Days', the highlights on Post Card, her debut Lp, are Donovan's 'Lord of the Reedy River' and 'The Honeymoon Song,' which McCartney himself had sung with the Beatles way back in 1963 on the BBC. Also on board is a rather nice composition, 'The Game,' by Beatles producer George Martin, who contributed some piano and orchestra conducting to the album. The reissue included here contains George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin's 'Someone to Watch Over Me', as well as 'Turn! Turn! Turn!' and versions of 'Those Were the Days' that Hopkin sang in Italian and Spanish. More folk-oriented than her first effort, on her beautiful second album Earth Song, Ocean Song, Mary Hopkin's lilting voice soothes the listener like hot tea with honey. Included in this set, which was produced by Tony Visconti, are her interpretations of Ralph McTell's 'Streets of London,' Cat Stevens' 'The Wind,' and Gallagher & Lyle's 'International.' In my opinion this one is undoubtedly her best album ever. Ms Hopkin is allowed to do what she does best and to perform material that's far better suited to her. It's a beautifully simple and acoustic affair - guitars, strings, harmonium, flutes, etc. - which comes over in the emotion and love that's clear in her voice. Also here is Caneuon Cynnar, a collection of ten songs Mary recorded circa 1965, when she was just fifteen. Although all sung in Welsh, you will recognise some of the tunes, as they are covers of songs already made famous by others. With Mary's distinctive high soprano and sparse musical backing, they sound different from usual, but fresh. The English titles of the songs covered include 'Turn Turn Turn', 'Tammy', 'Morning of My Life', 'Something Stupid' and 'Can't Help Falling in Love'. There are also covers of 'Plaisir d'Amour' and 'Guantanamera', so it's not only English language songs that were translated into Welsh for Mary to sing. Finally, I added a Bonus Tracks folder which is, more or less, the 1995 Those Were the Days compilation (without the duplicated files and with some more I added). It contains many of Mary's best known songs, precisely those which weren't originally included in her two Apple albums, such as 'Temma Harbour', 'Goodbye', 'Think About Your Children', 'Knock Knock, Who's There', 'Jefferson', 'The Fields of St. Etienne', 'Que Sera Sera', 'Heritage', 'For All My Days' and 'Sparrow'. All in all, you got here 57 Mary Hopkin's songs to enjoy!! http://www.amazon.co.uk/, http://www.allmusic.com/ BTW: you'll find all the cover arts you need here.
The single Goodbye, released on 28 March 1969; it reached #2 in the UK singles chart:

'Knock Knock, Who's There', written by John Carter & Geoff Stephens. Good Eurovision performance from Mary in 1970:

lunes, 1 de febrero de 2010

About the playlist.

This is just to let you know, once and for all, that if you want the music from the playlist on this page to stop - to be able to listen to the sample songs on each post, for instance -, all you need to do is PRESSING THE PAUSE BUTTON ON THE iPod!! It is quite easy, isn't it? I want the playlist on autoplay simply because I like it like that, especially when it is possible for you to stop it any time you want to. That's the way it is going to stay; so, PLEASE, don't bother asking me to change that... ;-)