Friday, February 27, 2009


Artist: Raja
LP: Disco Balady
Song: "Give Me Disco"
[ listen ]
Song: "Baby"
[ listen ]

According to reliable sources, this 1980 LP from Lebanon's Raja is a favorite among Hezbollah Party leaders. In fact, the very tracks I've posted here have been used to drive Israeli forces out of south Lebanon and back across the border into Israel.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Liz Anderson

Artist: Liz Anderson
LP: Cookin' Up Hits
Song: "Never, Ever"
[ listen ]

I'll never never ever ever ever never ever never get this song out of my head today. Liz must've dumped about two tablespoons of heartaches into this one. You can read all about Liz Anderson [here] and find notes and pictures from the back of this 1967 record below.

Liz Anderson — The Perfect Recipe for Superb Songs

Liz Anderson is an extraordinary singer and songwriter. She possesses
unlimited talent as a writer and has the ability to sing her songs in a
style that is refreshing to hear. She cooks up some of the greatest
sounds and her delivery is unlike anyone in her field

[ warming up for the next take ]

The songs in this album are a cross section of Liz's outstanding
writing ability. If I Kiss You (Will You Go Away?), Ride, Ride Ride
(made popular by her daughter Lynn), I'm a Lonesome Fugitive
and Behind My Back are but a few examples

Liz's gentle voice and way with words are appealing to everyone.
This quality is evident in her versions of Grandma's House and
Never Is a Long, Long Day
. I think you'll agree that Liz Anderson
is one of the finest artists to come along in many a day.

[ Liz enjoying a moment of clowning with recording engineer Jim Malloy ]

If this sounds like I'm a little prejudiced... well it's possible... even
though I'm trying not to be. I'm proud and happy to say that Liz
Anderson is my wife. --Casey Anderson

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Los Tres Caballeros

Artist: Los Tres Caballeros
LP: 7" single
Song: "El Reloj"
[ listen ]

Los Tres Caballeros is probably my favorite Mexican trio from the '50s & '60s; this song is from a 4-track single I picked up in Guadalajara a few years ago. While looking for some pictures of Los Tres Caballeros, I found plenty of strange and interesting things like this and this and this and this and this. and... well, this. But I did finally find one nice photo of the group.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Artist: Yulya
LP: Journey Into Russia
Song: "White Nights (Belyie Nochi)"
[ listen ]

As my mother always used to say, "When the chips are down, a Russian woman is willing to give up just about everything but her hat—for she would be naked without it." According to my translator, the song I've selected here outlines the entire plot of this [1985 Taylor Hackford film]. Here are some notes and review quotes from the back of the record:

"...Russia spreads out widely..." — this is a line from the popular
Soviet song, Far Away, Far Away, that opens this album. Yulya
takes you as your personal guide on an exciting musical
journey through Russia.

You will start your journey from Moscow where Yulya herself was
born after the revolution and spent the biggest part of her life.
And in the song, Love In Moscow, with words and lyrics written
by Yulya herself, you will walk with her in the Gorky Park of Culture
and Rest, down Gogol Boulevard, and in other places well known
to Muscovites. The broad and fertile Ukraine will be your second
stop and there Yulya will take you back to the troubled times
of the civil war and you will watch together the mad ride of a
young machine gunner with his red-maned horses as Yulya sings
Tachanka, a famous Russian song arranged by her in a rhythm not
unlike the twist. Odessa—fabulous seaport on the Black Sea, home
of some of the greatest musicians of the world, will welcome you
next with the tender and wistful ballad, Golden Lights. And from
there you will board a ship and sail across the Black Sea while
listening to an old and famous Russian sailor song in waltz
rhythm—Broadly Stretches the Sea

Your first port of call on this voyage will land you in the country
of the Kuban cossacks—the North Caucasus—where you will be
entertained by a famous Soviet humorous love song from the postwar
cinema, The Kuban Cossacks. The song's title is Such As You Were

And then—with the first song of the second side of the album—
you will proceed on to legendary Georgia where Yulya will introduce
you to the story of the young Georgian lover who is seeking his
beloved—the song Suliko.* From warm and sunny Georgia you
will fly all the way across Russia to Lake Baikal to follow the
musical story of the lucky escape of a young prisoner from exile
in the mountains of Akatui—a folk song entitled Holy Baikal which
dates from prerevolutionary times, outstanding for its beautiful
melody line. And, next, on to Western Siberia where you will
proceed on a slow and painful march beside a column of pre-
revolutionary Russian exiles led by prison guards and chanting
their mournful song, Clink-Clank, in a rhythm to the clinking of
their chains. Then comes a complete change of pace—a fast
joking song about a lovesick girl from the northern Urals,
entitled Beyond the River Kama

Further west again you will find yourself on the famous Volga
River—at the city of Gorky where a beautiful waltz called On the
Broad Volga will carry you away on its wings

And the last stop before you leave Russia—mysterious and
romantic Leningrad, where you will wander in the white nights
beside June lovers along the rolling Neva River and through
the slumbering summer garden of the Tsars, a popular public
park. This song, for which Yulya herself wrote both music
and lyrics, is entitled White Nights

Yulya chose the repertoire of this album from among hundreds
of Russian popular and folk songs beloved by all the people of
Russia written about those places to which she takes you in the
course of this record. It is her own very personal choice—intended
to leave with the listener a vivid impression of the rich cultural
variety and musical heritage of the Russian land. Yulya's arrangements
for this particular album blend, like Yulya herself, East and West.
They combine the depth and richenss of the Russian soul with the
dymamic, rhythmic style of modern Western European
and American popular music

The exciting story of fascinating and provocative Yulya, in private
life Julie Whitney, is told in the recently published book by her husband,
Thomas Whitney, entitled Russia In My Life (
Reynal and Co.).

Yulya was born in Moscow after the Bolshevik Revolution, raised
under the Stalin regime, got a thorough musical education in the
Soviet capital, and achieved early recognition in Russia during
World War II as a young and talented composer and singer. Her
musical career in Russia was cut short when she met and
married her American foreign correspondent husband. It took
nine years for the Russian-American couple to get permission
for Yulya to leave her own country. Their romance and plight
had become an international cause-celebre. The news of their
release, after Stalin's death, at the insistant urging of the U.S.
Embassy in Moscow, was a frontpage story

Though Yulya spent all her life in Moscow until 1953, when she
first came to the United States, she is now a thoroughly sophisticated
New Yorker and declarees she feels as if her beloved Manhattan
had always been her home
[ *"Suliko" is a Georgian word meaning darling. ]

* * * * * * *

"Yulya is superb; her husky, intimate voice...raises visions of small,
smart sad little boites. This record is solid and highly satisfying
entertainment." --High Fidelity

"...An excellent voice spiced with an exotic flavor..."

"Yulya is a real discovery..." --Hugh A. Mulligan, AP

"...relaxed assurance... She sings in a low-keyed, slightly
breathless manner that is effectively expressive and quite
winning in its simplicity and directness."
--John S. Wilson, The New York Times

* * * * * * *

This recording will never be obsolete. You may play it on all
33 1/3, long-playing phonographs and high-fidelity systems,
regular or stereo.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Tammy Faye Bakker

Artist: Tammy (Faye Bakker)
LP: In the Upper Room
Song: "In the Upper Room"
[ listen ]

It's been a while since I've been to church, but I'm pretty sure "the upper room" is the smoking lounge.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Antonello Venditti

Artist: Antonello Venditti
LP: A Misura D'uomo
Song: "Campo De' Fiori"
[ listen ]

Italian singer Antonello Venditti is known for his politically-themed songs and is still making music nowadays according to Wikipedia, as you can see for yourself [here]. The LP I have isn't listed in the Antonello Venditti discography on Wikipedia, but I think it's from 1976. There are some notes in Italian on the back of the record, which I've included here—along with a horrible English translation from Babelfish.

Che canti della vita, della gente, dell'amore, di sé o della
sua città, Antonello Venditti lo fa con uno stile robusto, san
guigno, aggressivo e provocante, personalissimo... L'uso
frequente del dialetto non è gratuito, né una limitazione regionalistica,

ma un modo per essere maggiormente a contatto con la realtà. L'unità
di misura della sua poetica e della realtà che in essa si rispecchia
è l'uomo, nei cui confronti non ha né illusioni né indulgenza, ma che
osserva con accorata partecipazione... Questa capacità di partecipazione,
il costante impegno umano e sociale, la sincerità di accenti, assieme
ad una musicalità fresca e vigorosa, sono le costanti della sua

produzione, che in questo disco è rappresentata da alcune delle
sue canzoni più riuscite e più note.

* * * * * * * * *

That songs of the life, people, dell' love, of himself or its city,
Antonello Venditti ago with sturdy, saint guigno, aggressive the
style and provoking, most personal... L' frequent use of the
dialetto is not free, neither a regionalistica limitation, but a way
for being mainly to contact with the truth. L' unit of measure of
its poetica and the truth that in it rispecchia is l' man, in whose
comparisons do not have neither illusions neither indulgence, but
that he observes with wounded deeply participation... This ability

to participation, the constant human and social engagement, the
sincerity of accents, together to a fresh and vigorous musicalità,
is the constants of its production, than in this disc it is repre-
sented from some of its songs more succeeded and more notes.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Melina Mercouri

Artist: Melina Mercouri
LP: L'œillet Rouge
Song: "L'Orgue De Barbarie"
[ listen ]
Song: "Maxaipi Maypomaniko"
[ listen ]

Here's another album I picked up in the little town of Snohomish two weekends ago. The photo on the back of the LP looks like it could be a publicity still from a 1964 Merlina Mercouri horror film:

Mercouri was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar for her role in one of my favorite films of the 1960s, "Never On Sunday," directed by her husband, Jules Dassin. Most of the songs on this LP are in French, but the last track sounds like Greek to me. I've included that one here, along with one of the nice French songs. You can read about Melina Mercouri's life and career [here] and [here] and see a complete list of her films [here]. Mercouri's first film, Michael Cacoyannis' "Stella," is available on DVD and lots of fun to watch. The "L'œillet Rouge" LP folds out to reveal lyrics to all the songs and two nice pictures of Melina Mercouri recording in the studio.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I saw some ducks yesterday, spring must be around the corner. On this one I've mixed in songs from some of the relatively recent releases I've been enjoying.

side one:
01. All Last Night - Peter Skellern
02. Physic - Benoît Pioulard
03. Bluish - Animal Collective

04. Una Poltrona, Un Bicchiere Di Cognac, Un Televisore, 35 Morti Al Confini Di Israele e Giordania - Lucio Battisti
05. Night People - War
06. Fantaisy - Rêvel

07. Guajira Boogaloo - Coco Lagos y sus Orates
08. Rock Me Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again (Six Times) - The Human League

09. Get Happy - Leslie Uggams
10. The Handshake - MGMT
11. So Long Old Bean - Devendra Banhart
12. A Man's Castle - Michel Legrand

[ listen ]

side two:
01. Babys - Bon Iver
02. Stolen Car - Bruce Springsteen
03. Black Saddle - Bud Wattles & His Orchestra
04. La Mer M'a Donné - Georges Moustaki

05. Afternoon Son - Sukpatch
06. Don't Rain On My Parade - Nancy Wilson
07. Melodia (iii) - Jóhann Jóhannsson
08. The Mountain - PJ Harvey
09. Sand Covered Angels - Sammi Smith

10. New Day - Jackie Lomax

11. Here Comes My Hand - Bodies of Water

12. Hey Hey Baby - Ben Sidran
13. I Don't Want to Be a Lone Ranger - Johnny Guitar Watson
14. Her December - Van Hunt
15. As Long As I Live - Stan Getz
[ listen ]

Monday, February 16, 2009


Artist: Pilita
LP: Pilita In Tokyo
Song: "Blue Night In Tokyo"
[ listen ]
Song: "Akasaka After Dark"
[ listen ]

Two interesting bits of trivia about Filipino singer Pilita (aka. Pilita Corrales): there's a street named after her somewhere outside Melbourne, Australia and she was the first singer from the Philippines to perform at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas! You can find more fascinating info about the singer known as "Asia's Queen of Songs" on Wikipedia [here]. Some songs on this 1972 LP are in English, others in Japanese; I've included a sample of each.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Gary Buck

Artist: Gary Buck
LP: Gary Buck's Country Scene
Song: "Jeannie's Last Kiss"
[ listen ]

Here's another record I picked up in Snohomish last weekend; this particular track is in the vein of some of my favorite Marty Robbins tunes. Gary Buck was born in March of 1940 in Thessalon, Ontario, Canada and played semi-pro baseball before hitting home runs on the country music charts in the early 1960s. He was named Top Country Male Singer in 1964 and '65 by a Canadian music industry publication called RPM and was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001, just two years before his death in October of 2003. You can read more about Gary Buck in the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada [here]. His "Gary Buck's Country Scene" LP was released in 1967; here are some notes from the back of the record:

When you think about it, the country scene takes in a lot of
territory: Southern songs, Western cowboy songs, folk songs
from the hills, brokenhearted love songs and laments, railroad
ballads, and a diversity of other songs are all classified as country
music. Many singers and entertainers specialize in one, or at
most two kinds, and build their reputations around these. Gary
Buck has shown from the start that he's big enough to stride
across the entire country landscape, with talent to spare

Smooth, golden, warm, and mellow, Gary's voice can handle a
lament of a broken heart ("That's Why I Sing In a Honky Tonk"),
move right on into a romantic country love song ("I'll Be Watching
You"), tackle a hilariously humorous ditty, and then suddenly turn
to steel in a ballad about a no-good trifler-with-a-lady's-affections.
Gary has also revived a kind of song that's been too much neglected
of late, that is, the oldtime country ballad that tells a story. There
are two outstanding examples of these in this album: "Elrod," about
a little boy lost; and "Jeannie's Last Kiss," about a fateful mis-
understanding in a fatal love affair

Gary picks his songs with care, often favoring the compositions
of the finest writers in the country field. Such great talents
as Bobby Bare, Neal Merritt, Harlan Howard and Ned Miller are
represented in this album. And still another fine songwriter is
represented also, with a new hit that has become a great
favorite with country listeners everywhere. The song is
"Stepping Out of the Picture," and the composer (who
also wrote the words) is none other than Gary Buck!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Beverly Laine

Artist: Beverly Laine
LP: Organ Favorites [10" EP]
Song: "Stumbling"
[ listen ]

Happy Friday the 13th! Here's one of a bunch of neat old records I found on a day-trip to the small town of Snohomish last weekend. There's not much info on organist Beverly Laine on the internet as far as I can tell, but if you find her playing "rapturous," you can buy your very own copy of this record from the Senior, Elder Speciality Shop [here]. Tops Music Enterprises Corp. includes a special message to listeners on the back of the record:

On this TOPS Masterpiece Record you will hear selections of the
best loved music of all time. You'll thrill to these lilting melodies
played with exceptional beauty and emotion by some of the
world's most outstanding artists. The brilliant performance of
each selection transforms every note into rapturous listening.
You'll enjoy the enduring richness of this remarkable record for
many, many hours of wonderful enjoyment.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Paul Jabara

Artist: Paul Jabara
LP: De La Noche: The True Story — A Poperetta
Song: "Entraete/De La Noche (Woman of the Night) (reprise) / The Search (Find Them!)"
[ listen ]

Paul Jabara is an American composer/singer/actor of Arab descent who wrote Donna Summer's hit, "Last Dance, " among other things. Sadly, Jabara died in 1992 from an AIDS-related disease. You can read all about Paul Jabara on Wikipedia [here].

Jabara's 1986 "Poperetta" concerns (according to the cartoons on the back of the LP) a set of female octuplets that were stolen from a hospital at birth. Now they're all grown up and of course they've landed in the sex industry. The octuplets' names all begin with the letter "D" and they've gravitated toward cities and towns that also begin with a "D"... well, sort of: "De Bronx?" From a poster on the back of the album: "A devious scheme divided each tot from city to city, a "D" marks the spot. 8 million dollars, that's the reward—deliver the daughters and the money is all yours. FIND THEM!" Good luck. the song I've posted above should provide some leads.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Banana Has a Peel

I'm afraid I can't wholeheartedly recommend this mix, since it was the result of an experiment. I've got a pretty big collection of 7" singles (started collecting when I was 11, in early 1982) so thought I'd make a mix by closing my eyes and randomly plucking singles from the bins. That's how tracks 1-11 on each side were selected, though of course the order on the mix isn't random. The last two tracks on each side are also from 7" singles, but I picked them with my eyes open to get songs that fit well into the mix and didn't run off the end of the tape.

As you might expect, my experiment revealed some surprises and raised a few questions: Why did I used to think that Heart song wasn't boring? I had no idea that terrible Wham! song was in my collection. I'd forgotten all about The Art of the Noise! Was it really necessary to be a completist when collecting the Loverboy singles of the '80s? And who stuck that Dreamboy song in my stuff?

side one:
01. Dog and Butterfly - Heart
02. I Get Excited - Rick Springfield
03. This Could Be the Night - Loverboy

04. Ashes to Ashes - David Bowie
05. This Must Be the Place - Talking Heads
06. Hole In My Heart (All the Way to China) - Cyndi Lauper

07. The Edge of Heaven - Wham!
08. I Promise (I Do Love You) - Dreamboy

09. Human - The Human League
10. Local Girls - Graham Parker and the Rumour
11. Another Day (Another Girl) - The Lambrettas
12. Nervous Breakdown - Black Flag

13. Philip Glass - Colourbox
[ listen ]

side two:
01. Only Time Will Tell - Asia
02. I Honestly Love You - Olivia Newton-John
03. Eye of the Zombie - John Fogerty
04. When Your Heart Is Weak - Cock Robin

05. Cars - Gary Numan
06. Positive Thing - Mandrill
07. Keep Smilin' - Bunny Sigler
08. Deep Sleep - The B-52s
09. Legacy - The Art of Noise

10. Love On Your Side - Thompson Twins

11. Grandaddy [Part 1] - New Birth

12. Searchin' [Part 1] - The Imaginations
13. When the Lights Go Out - Naked Eyes
[ listen ]

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Blossom Dearie [1926-2009]

Artist: Blossom Dearie
LP: Blossom Dearie
Song: "Comment Allez Vous"
[ listen ]

Yesterday morning a friend told me he was feeling blue because Blossom Dearie had died over the weekend, and she was one of his favorites. Well, that made me sad too. I've loved Ms. Dearie's singing even before I really knew who she was, when I'd hear her cute little voice on episodes of [Schoolhouse Rock] when I was a kid. You can read about Blossom Dearie's life and career [here], and [here] you'll find her obituary from the New York Times. The 1956 self-titled Blossom Dearie LP has some great notes on the back that I've included below, and after that I've copied text from a 1974 interview from the Seattle P.I. newspaper that someone had clipped out, folded and tucked inside the LP.

Blossom Dearie—the name has the ring of a drawled endearment
from a play by Tennessee Williams. But the name, once the facts
are known, also happens to have the ring of truth, for Blossom
Dearie is indeed the true name of a talented, attractive, young
singer with—as you will hear—extraordinary appeal. To put these
clarifying facts in order as quickly as possible, Miss Blossom Dearie
was born with the name she now bears in East Durham, N.Y., a
village nestled in the Catskill Mountains roughly 150 miles out of New
York City. Miss Dearie is the daughter of Harry A. and Margreta Dearie;
her father is of Scottish descent, her mother Norwegian. The name
Dearie itself is, according to Miss Dearie's rather extensive research
into the subject, a common enough one in Scotland but hardly so
common elsewhere. As for the name of Blossom, this was her
father's notion, Miss Dearie adds, and as you might expect, the
result of this combination of names has been almost a lifelong series
of misunderstandings and lame attempts at humor to which Miss
Dearie is by now fairly well resigned, if not numb

But it is quite genuine, the name of Blossom Dearie, and the voice
that goes with it is also genuine. Miss Dearie doesn't have a big
voice, but it is a firm, fresh well-controlled voice with a good
deal of humor and, where she wills it, tenderness and warmth.
It is, moreover, an intimate voice, at once smoky and girl-next-
door feminine, and—the facts must be faced squarely—sexy. Once
you have heard it, Miss Dearie's voice is not one you'll confuse
with anyone else's. Apart from the voice, Miss Dearie interprets
the lyrics with a very special feeling for their—in the full sense
of the term—lyric quality. And in a number of instances, where
appropriateness is the reason, the words are sung in French—not,
one feels obliged to add, in the self-consciously mannered style
of the supper-club chanteuses, but with a direct,
compelling kind of homegrown charm

About this business of singing French, a word of explanation: Miss
Dearie, once having ventured down from upstate Sleepy Hollow
country to New York City, sang for a time with such vocal units
as the Blue Flames with Woody Herman's band and then the
Blue Reys with Alvino Rey, also playing—in her phrase—a spot of
cocktail piano. By 1952, Miss Dearie was in Paris where she sang
in a successful nightclub act with Annie Ross, scoring triumphs in
the Mars Club and the Club de Paris along the Paris nightclub
circuit. Remaining in Paris several years, she earned praise from
and, more pertinent to this album, was heard by Norman
Granz, head of Verve Records, who promptly arranged for a
recording session once Miss Dearie hit these shores. But how did
Miss Dearie learn to sing in French? She used the time-tested
system—she studied first at Berlitz and, alone, by a method known
as "French Without Toil." While she was in Paris, Miss Dearie recorded
with her own group, known as the Blue Stars, and turned out a
piano album, but with the exception of an eight-bar vocal on a King
Pleasure record and playing piano accompaniment for Annie Ross,
this is the first time she has been recorded in her home country.
Miss Dearie, since her return in the summer of 1956, has appeared
at such New York clubs as the Chantilly and the Show Spot. At
the moment, her ambitions extend understandably to television,
an intimate medium which would seem just the thing for
Miss Dearie's intimate style.

As for the songs in this album, they would seem to be a blend of
the durable standard—Rodgers and Hammerstein on one, and
Vincent Youmans, Jerome Kern and Burton Lane one apiece—and
the rarely heard, offtrail melody. The team of Haymes and Clark—
he's Bobby Haymes, who wrote "That's All" and happens also
to be Dick Haymes' brother—wrote three of the songs, Haymes
providing some new French lyrics added to "I Won't Dance" and
"It Might As Well Be Spring." Also in the French vein there's Murray
Grand's "Comment Allez Vous" (meaning "How Are You?") and Jean
Mercadier's "Tout Doucement" (or "Very Softly"). A six-voice
chorus backs Miss Dearie on these two in addition to
"It Might As Well Be Spring."

Since it is from listening to jazz artists here and abroad that Miss
Dearie acquired many of her ideas on phrasing a song, it is fitting
that she can be accompanied here by such accomplished jazzmen
as Ray Brown, bass; Herb Ellis, guitar, and Jo Jones, drums.
The piano throughout is Miss Dearie herself.

* * * * * * *

Rep-Partee with Miss Dearie: She Finds The Climate Just Fine
by Maggie Hawthorn, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Thursday, August 15, 1974

Blossom Dearie peered out the hotel door at the overcast Seattle
sky and smiled. "I like northern climates," she said. "New York in the
summer is just too much to take; the pollution, the humidity, the heat
all make me feel sick. It feels so good to me here."

The singer-pianist-songwriter is in town to perform this evening at
Rep-Partee, the annual fundraising party of the Seattle Repertory
Theater. She will spend a few weeks on the West Coast at her
leisure but tending to business as she visits Portland, San Francisco
and Los Angeles. "I'd like to work a few days here, too," she smiled,
"if I could find the right place."

Blossom Dearie is the sort of entertainer who has an underground
following, a band of dedicated and sometimes vociferous supporters
who follow her career seriously, ferret out her hard-to-find
recordings, and savor her delicious, wide-eyed,
sunny approach to music.

She has no agent or manager, preferring to make her own decisions
about when and where to exercise her absolutely individual style.

A compact, calm woman of early middle age with a round, pleasant
face and a mass of blond hair falling gently to her shoulders, she is
at ease in comfortable clothes, without pretension and at
home all over the world.

Hardly the stereotype of a nightclub entertainer, she talked about
her life and her career yesterday over mid-morning coffee and melon.

"I'm not a night person, really. In fact, I don't like night clubs much
at all. In New York, I have worked out a time slot for myself that
suits me perfectly. From 6 to 8 or 9p.m., when most places aren't
very crowded, they welcome anything that will bring in new business.
So I do a little concert in those early hours. There are no drinks
served while I'm working, and I can take an intermission. It works
out so well, and I don't have to stay up late. I started that schedule
last year at a club called Three, and lately have been doing
the same thing at Reno Sweeney's."

Miss Dearie works all over the world and has a coterie of fans in
Stockholm, Paris and London. She now has her own record company,
Daffodil Records, which she runs with the aid of a
brother and sister-in-law.

They issued their first LP last fall and it has sold about 5,000 copies,
mostly by mail order. "But it's as much trouble as if it were RCA."

The songs, recorded in London and New York, are all written by
Blossom, with lyrics by various collaborators including Johnny Mercer
and Len Saltzberg. As it says on the label, "all compositions, vocals,
keyboard instruments and arrangements by Blossom Dearie."

And, they might add, bookkeeping, publicity, typing, mailing, and
coordinating pressing orders with the factory. "It doesn't leave me
enough time for composing," she says.

The record was produced by her long-time friend Bob Dorough, who
was a member of the Blue Stars of Paris, a vocal and instrumental
group Blossom formed during the early 1950s. Their French language
recording to "Lullaby of Birdland" was a hit, and the Swingle Singers
were an outgrowth of the group.

Miss Dearie (it's her real name; her father was Scotch-Irish) made
several records for Norman Granz and a couple for Fontana,
none, alas, available any longer.

Her choices of material range from the best on the older ballads
and show tunes (Noel Coward, Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hart)
to the utterly contemporary (Michel LeGrand, Johnny Mandel,
Leiber and Stoller), from the wistful ("When The World Was
Young") to the witty ("Peel Me A Grape").

Her next album, again on her own label, will include some of her
newer songs as well as those by other writers. She admires Stevie
Wonder's tunes as well as those of Mac Davis and lyricist Paul
Williams. "I don't think you can get away with writing about
moon and June any more.

"I listen to the radio all the time, to keep up with the latest. Mostly,
I'm not pleased with what's coming out in the new shows. I think
there's more in what's on the pop charts. Rock has introduced us
to new rhythms; it's nice to put melodies on top of them."

Blossom, who once told the New Yorker's Whitney Balliett, "I'm not
a show business person," talked some more about her family home
in upstate New York, about rising in Seattle at 6 in the morning
to take a walk, about finding more time to write music, and about
living the way she wants to live.

Tonight at the Seattle Center Playhouse, 250 people will be
privileged to hear her light, clear voice and her delicate but
forceful jazz-tuned piano, and to share for a while the company
of the lady called Blossom Dearie.

Blossom Dearie
[April 28, 1926 - February 7, 2009]
We will miss you, Blossom.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Eduardo Davidson

Artist: Eduardo Davidson
LP: Le Chien—El Perro/The Dog
Song: "The Boy From G.U.S.T.O."
[ listen ]

I have Sñr. Mexicant and his terrific [Mexicovers] blog to thank for turning me onto this incredible and unusual record. My only complaint is that a mental image of Olympia Dukakis pops into my head whenever I look at the LP. I did a quick Google search this morning to see if I could figure out why this was happening... and the mystery was solved:

I wasn't able to find any info on Eduardo Davidson (his place of birth, his discography, his makeup artist) during my brief morning web search, so if somebody out there can fill me in, it would be much appreciated. "Le Chien" is from 1968 though, so I'm assuming Mr. Davidson is probably related to "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." and that all information about him is highly classified.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Otto Serge and Rafael Ricardo

Artist: Otto Serge and Rafael Ricardo
LP: Muy Nuestros
Song: "Señora"
[ listen ]

Here's a light little ditty from Colombia to help get your weekend off to a pleasant start. That's Rafael Ricardo playing accordion, with Otto Serge handling the vocals. and here's a pretty incredible music video of Otto Serge singing to his... daughter?

Otto Serge on YouTube:
[ "Dejame Amarte" ]

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Peppino Gagliardi

Artist: Peppino Gagliardi
LP: Vagabondo Della Verità
Song: "Ancora Più Vicino a Te"
[ listen ]

Here's a pretty song from Italian singer Peppino Gagliardi, who was evidently most popular in the 1960s and '70s (this LP is from '74). There's a little Gagliardi info on Wikipedia [here] and an Italian fan site with some cool pictures of the singer [here].

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The InTrade Harmonites

Artist: The InTrade Harmonites
LP: This Land
Song: "Love Theme"
[ listen ]

It's a '70s steel drum band from Antigua covering Barry White. There's really nothing more to be said. Here are the notes from the back of the LP:

In Antigua, the steelband is rapidly proving itself to be the most
dynamic contributor to the world of musical art. This is due mainly
to the success of the island's top steelband, "Intrade West Side
Harmonites." During the past eight years, this group has compiled
the most impressive record in the history of local steelband
competitions: Five 1st Place and two 2nd Place honors. This
was accomplished through the inspiration of men like—George
Weekes, bandleader; Rupert (Teela) Parker, Kenroy Watkins,
Leroy Gordon, and the brilliant arrangers: The Honorable Sidney
Prince, Minister of Tourism and Finance, and Paul Campbell

"Harmonites" first entered the local steelband competition in 1967,
one year after they were founded, but failed to place. However,
with sheer determination and hard work they came back in 1968,
were tied for First Place honors, and won the "Bomb" competition
with their rendition of "For a Few Dollars More." In 1969 they won
by a wide margin. They played Sparrow's "Cock Fight" and Bach's
"Air on a G String." In 1970 they placed second. However, in 1971
they reclaimed their number 1 spot by winning the competition
with "Prospect Test" and their mellow rendition of Francis Ali's
"Where Do I Begin" (Theme from Love Story). In December that
same year, the St. John's Cathedral gave permission for the
"Intrade Harmonites" to perform at a church service. In 1972 they
retained their championship title with their selection of Von Souppes'
"A Light Cavalry L'Overture" and Sparrow's "Winer Gal." In 1973 they
placed second and again in 1974 they won the championship by
playing Short Shirt's "Fighting" and Kitchiner's "Tourist Take Over."
They have recently begun touring the neighboring islands and are
planning a tour of the U.S.A. in 1975.

Through the cooperation of members of the band, their sponsors
INternational TRADing Center, their producer Basil C. Hill, you can
now discover some of the delightful sounds from this musical
souvenir entitled "This Land," which, it is hoped, will be
trasured and savored by all

I can't be the only one considering the erotic potential for the "Air On a G-String" music video. and in case you're wondering where Antigua is, here's a map:

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Artist: Bahara
LP: 7" single
Song: "Adri Adri"
[ listen ]

Here's a neat little single from a record label in Paris, but I'm willing to bet nobody in Bahara goes by the name Pierre or Jean-François. My brief morning search for info on the group only turned up a few alternate Baharas—like this one, this one and this one.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Pat Thomas

Artist: Pat Thomas
LP: Desafinado
Song: "Could Be"
[ listen ]

Here's a song with a relaxing bossa-nova beat for the first thing on a bleary-eyed Monday morning. Pat Thomas' "Desafinado" LP was released in 1962, after the album's title track reached #78 on Billboard's Hot 100 Singles chart. I wasn't able to find much information on Pat Thomas on the internet, unless she went on to pursue a career as linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs (the LP's liner notes say she excelled in sports). Anyway, this wonderful album was produced by [Creed Taylor] with "Exciting Bossa Nova stylings" arranged and conducted by [Lalo Schifrin], and here are notes about both Schifrin and Pat Thomas from the back of the record:

Lalo Schifrin, who arranged and conducted this album, is the brilliant
30-year-old Argentinian whose work with the Dizzy Gillespie group,
both as an arranger and a pianist, has carved him a major reputation
in jazz. With this album, his reputation grows into the more general
area of popular music. He studied at the Paris Conservatory of Music
for three years, and has been active as composer, arranger or
player in many areas of music—popular, jazz, and classical. In 1958
he won an Academy Award for his score for "El Jefe," a Spanish
motion picture. His writing is particularly fresh in its use of exciting
rhythms and broad harmonies

* * * * * * *

Someone once said that the function of the novelist is to make us
see. Is this not true of all gifted artists? To persuade us to seek
the beauty in their works—and thus to enable us to better appreciate
the world around us—is the sign of a truly talented artist

Pat Thomas is such an artist.

She sings with warmth, clarity, feeling, and a confidence and control
that belies her tender years. Her approach is direct, but subtle in
sound. She maintains a genuine respect for melody, the meaning
of a lyric, and the feeling of a song.

She produces a sincere feeling for the blues without being either
"funky" or in a "gospel" groove. Pat Thomas sings her way, and the
proper shades of meaning and feeling always manage to be there.

Musicians may be considered a strange breed by people from night
club owners to disc jockeys, jazz critics to radio listeners. But
in one area, they are considered authorities. And that's in the
recognition of real talent. They are usually the first to discover
new talent and to spread the word about an exciting
sound or a brilliant voice.

Pat Thomas was discovered by musicians. They first spread the
word about her remarkable singing. In Chicago, where Pat was
born and raised, she was the girl singer most sought after by
local musicians as well as by out-of-town musicians who were
appearing at the Chicago clubs.

Norman Simmons, long considered among the handful of bright
young arrangers and coaches in popular music, helped Pat gain
recognition. She sang with his highly successful
"Experimental Jazz Band."

So despite her lack of formal musical training, she has compiled
an impressive record of musical experience.

Pat's musical talent is inherited from her parents who sang in
church choirs. While not professional singers, the parents have
seen three of their children embark on musical careers. Pat's sister
Mildred sings, and her brother Earl Teddy sings and plays drums.
There are five other children.

When Pat attended Dunbar Vocational in Chicago, she made up her
mind to become a dress designer, while pursuing her studies, she
became a summer Red Cross Swimming Instructor.

In school she displayed great versatility as a girl athlete. She was
an accomplished baseball and basketball player, and she also
mastered badminton and was quite a figure roller skater.

It is perhaps as an athlete she developed the confidence and
cool assurance she projects in her singing style.

The critical test of whether Miss Thomas has arrived, to use
the show biz expression, is being proven with the overwhelming
acceptance of her single record Desafinado. Pat may be classified
as a pop-jazz vocalist but disc jockeys playing jazz, rock and
roll and pop, are giving the record exposure on their programs
throughout the country proving that good music defies
classification but demands to be heard.

Through this new album, her first on the MGM label, Pat will add
many admirers to her growing list. Those who will be exposed to
her talents for the first time will discover a pleasant sound of
firm control devoid of gimmicks, and crystal clear in delivery.

Those who have had the pleasure of hearing Pat before will find
that she adds a new dimension to the bossa nova movement with
her swining interpretations, and adds new lustre to her reputation
as one of the bright new stars in the world of music.
-- Del Sheidls, WDAS-FM—Philadelphia, PA