segunda-feira, 30 de agosto de 2010

Dinah Washington - Fantastic

  1. Manhattan
  2. Ain't Cha Glad
  3. After You've Gone
  4. Backwater Blues
  5. Somebody Loves Me
  6. Ain't I Misbehaving
  7. Stormy Weather
  8. Love Letters
  9. Invitation
  10. Dream
  11. Makin' Whoopee
  12. All of Me
  13. Jailhouse Blues
  14. I've Got You Under My Skin
  15. T' Ain't Nobody's Bizz-ness If I Do
  16. Our Love Is Here to Stay
  17. If I Could Be with You One Hour Tonight
  18. Blues in the Night
  19. Sometimes I'm Happy
  20. Perdido
Dinah Washington was at once one of the most beloved and controversial singers of the mid-20th century -- beloved to her fans, devotees, and fellow singers; controversial to critics who still accuse her of selling out her art to commerce and bad taste. Her principal sin, apparently, was to cultivate a distinctive vocal style that was at home in all kinds of music, be it R&B, blues, jazz, middle of the road pop -- and she probably would have made a fine gospel or country singer had she the time. Hers was a gritty, salty, high-pitched voice, marked by absolute clarity of diction and clipped, bluesy phrasing. Washington's personal life was turbulent, with seven marriages behind her, and her interpretations showed it, for she displayed a tough, totally unsentimental, yet still gripping hold on the universal subject of lost love. She has had a huge influence on R&B and jazz singers who have followed in her wake, notably Nancy Wilson, Esther Phillips, and Diane Schuur, and her music is abundantly available nowadays via the huge seven-volume series The Complete Dinah Washington on Mercury.

Born Ruth Lee Jones, she moved to Chicago at age three and was raised in a world of gospel, playing the piano and directing her church choir. At 15, after winning an amateur contest at the Regal Theatre, she began performing in nightclubs as a pianist and singer, opening at the Garrick Bar in 1942. Talent manager Joe Glaser heard her there and recommended her to Lionel Hampton, who asked her to join his band. Hampton says that it was he who gave Ruth Jones the name Dinah Washington, although other sources claim it was Glaser or the manager of the Garrick Bar. In any case, she stayed with Hampton from 1943 to 1946 and made her recording debut for Keynote at the end of 1943 in a blues session organized by Leonard Feather with a sextet drawn from the Hampton band. With Feather's "Evil Gal Blues" as her first hit, the records took off, and by the time she left Hampton to go solo, Washington was already an R&B headliner. Signing with the young Mercury label, Washington produced an enviable string of Top Ten hits on the R&B charts from 1948 to 1955, singing blues, standards, novelties, pop covers, even Hank Williams' "Cold, Cold Heart." She also recorded many straight jazz sessions with big bands and small combos, most memorably with Clifford Brown on Dinah Jams but also with Cannonball Adderley, Clark Terry, Ben Webster, Wynton Kelly, and the young Joe Zawinul (who was her regular accompanist for a couple of years).

In 1959, Washington made a sudden breakthrough into the mainstream pop market with "What a Diff'rence a Day Makes," a revival of a Dorsey Brothers hit set to a Latin American bolero tune. For the rest of her career, she would concentrate on singing ballads backed by lush orchestrations for Mercury and Roulette, a formula similar to that of another R&B-based singer at that time, Ray Charles, and one that drew plenty of fire from critics even though her basic vocal approach had not changed one iota. Although her later records could be as banal as any easy listening dross of the period, there are gems to be found, like Billie Holiday's "Don't Explain," which has a beautiful, bluesy Ernie Wilkins chart conducted by Quincy Jones. Struggling with a weight problem, Washington died of an accidental overdose of diet pills mixed with alcohol at the tragically early age of 39, still in peak voice, still singing the blues in an L.A. club only two weeks before the end. ~ Richard S. Ginell, Rovi

sábado, 28 de agosto de 2010

Connie Francis - The Best of Connie Francis

  1. Stupid Cupid
  2. Where the Boys Are
  3. Follow the Boys
  4. Who's Sorry Now
  5. Malagueña
  6. Besame Mucho
  7. Aquellos Ojos Verdes
  8. Nosotros
  9. Vaya Con Dios
  10. Al Di La
  11. Torero
  12. Tango Italiano
  13. Mama
  14. Havah Nagilah
Connie Francis is the prototype for the female pop singer of today. At the height of her chart popularity in the late '50s and early '60s, Francis was unique as a female recording artist, amassing record sales equal to or surpassing those of many of her male contemporaries. Ultimately, she branched into other styles of music -- big band, country, ethnic, and more. She still challenges Madonna as the biggest-selling female recording artist of all time. Like Madonna, Concetta Rosemarie Franconero came from an Italian-American background. Francis started her music career at three, playing an accordion bought for her by her contractor father, George. Her father's dream was not for his daughter to become a star, but for Francis to become independent of men as an adult with her own accordion school of music. At age ten, she was accepted on Startime, a New York City television show that featured talented child singers and performers. The show had no one else who played an accordion. Its host, legendary TV talent scout Arthur Godfrey, had difficulty pronouncing her name and suggested something "easy and Irish," which turned into Francis. After three weeks on Startime, the show's producer and Francis' would-be manager advised her to dump the accordion and concentrate on singing. Francis performed weekly on Startime for four years.

After being turned down by almost every record label she approached, 16-year-old Francis signed a record contract with MGM, only because one of the songs on her demo, "Freddy," also happened to be the name of the president's son. "Freddy" was released in June 1955 as the singer's first single. After a series of flop singles, on October 2, 1957 she undertook what was to be her last session for MGM. Francis had recently accepted a premed scholarship to New York University and was contemplating the end of her career as a singer. Having recorded two songs, she thanked the technicians and musicians, hoping not to have to record the third song her father had in mind, an old tune from 1923. After a false start, she sang it in one take. When Dick Clark played "Who's Sorry Now?" on American Bandstand, he told the show's eight million viewers that Connie Francis was "a new girl singer that is heading straight for the number one spot."

"Who's Sorry Now?" was the first of Francis' long string of worldwide hits. By 1967, she had sold 35 million worldwide, with 35 U.S. Top 40 hits and several number ones ("Everybody's Somebody's Fool," "My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own," "Don't Break the Heart That Loves You," and "Stupid Cupid") to her credit. Released in 1963, "In the Summer of His Years," written as a tribute to the assassinated John F. Kennedy, remains one of the earliest known charity records, with proceeds donated to dependents of the policemen shot during the incident.

Francis had an affinity for languages and was one of the first pop singers to record her songs in other languages; 1961's title song from the movie Where the Boys Are was recorded in six languages. She starred in four (nondescript) films, sang voice-overs in movies for actresses who could not sing, and was a guest star on innumerable TV shows. Music critics who didn't take kindly to Francis' pop music years were eventually won over by her versatility. Her Italian and Jewish albums transformed Francis from a teenage idol to a mature performer at leading nightspots around the world. She has also had a long history being a composer's first choice to interpret songs that went on to become major hits for other artists, including "Somewhere My Love," "Strangers in the Night," "Angel in the Morning," and "When Will the Apples Fall."

While the recording of "Who's Sorry Now?" in 1957 was planned to be her final session for MGM, she actually ended that relationship in 1969, choosing not to renew her contract when MGM was taken over by Polydor. She opted instead for domestic life with her third husband. Francis didn't return to the recording studio until 1973 when the writers of "Tie a Yellow Ribbon," longtime friends, wrote "The Answer" especially for Francis. In 1974, her husband encouraged her to return to the stage, with disastrous consequences. After her third performance, she was raped at the hotel where she was staying. Ultimately, this incident contributed to the end of her marriage. During 1975, nasal surgery temporarily robbed her of her voice. She was on the comeback trail in 1981 when her brother, George, was brutally murdered. It took seven years to determine that through all of those events, she was also a manic depressive. She finally made her return to the stage and recording in 1989, and Connie Francis has continued to sing to sold-out audiences into the new millennium. She has recorded more than 70 LPs. ~ Ed Nimmervoll, Rovi

quinta-feira, 26 de agosto de 2010

Nancy Wilson - Yesterday's Love Songs - Today's Blues - with the Gerald Wilson's Orchestra

  1. The Song Is You
  2. The Very Thought of You
  3. Satin Doll
  4. Bewitched
  5. Sufferin' with the Blues
  6. Someone to Watch over Me
  7. The Best Is Yet to Come
  8. Never Let Me Go
  9. Send Me Yesterday
  10. All My Tomorrows
  11. Please Send Me Someone to Love
  12. Blue Prelude

terça-feira, 24 de agosto de 2010

Shirley Bassey - O Talento de Shirley Bassey

  1. Something
  2. Yesterday I Heard the Rain
  3. The Shadow of Your Smile
  4. If
  5. Don't Cry for Me Argentina
  6. My Way (Comme D'Habitude)
  7. If You Go Away (Ne Me Quite Pas)
  8. Days of Wine and Roses
  9. And I Love You So
  10. What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?
  11. Love Is A Many Splendored Thing
  12. This One's for You
  13. Goldfinger
  14. What Now, My Love? (Et Maintenant)
  15. Yesterday, When I Was Young
  16. Can't Help Fallin' in Love
  17. How Insensitive (Insensatez)
  18. One Less Bell to Answer
  19. Feelings
  20. The Fol on the Hill
  21. Sunny
Known to Americans most for her belting rendition of the theme to Goldfinger, the 1964 edition in the James Bond series (as well as 1971's Diamonds Are Forever and 1979's Moonraker), Shirley Bassey was one of the most popular female vocalists in Britain during the last half of the 20th century. Known as Bassey the Belter and also the Tigress of Tiger Bay, her early career in touring shows and cabaret brought her a recording contract with Philips by the late '50s. After reaching the top of the British charts in 1959 with "As I Love You" and later "Reach for the Stars/Climb Every Mountain," Bassey was tapped to swing the theme song to the third James Bond vehicle. Her voice, brassy and sexy, conveyed the James Bond myth perfectly and became a big hit in America. Though later chart placings in the U.S. were few, she continued to do well in Great Britain, France and the Netherlands into the mid-'70s.

Born in January 1937 in Tiger Bay, Cardiff, Wales, Shirley Bassey was the youngest of seven children. Her parents, a Nigerian sailor and an English woman, divorced before she was three years old, but they kept the family together for the most part, and Shirley was able to sing duets with her brother at family get-togethers. After finishing school, she found a job at a local factory, and earned extra money singing at men's clubs after-hours. Bassey traveled around the country in revues during the early '50s, and made her big breakout in 1955 at a London Christmas show given by comedian Al Read (though it was promoted by bandleader Jack Hylton, who had caught Bassey's act at the nearby Albany Club). Soon after, Shirley Bassey began appearing in Read's revue, Such Is Life. The show ran for over a year, and gained her a recording contract for Philips Records. "Banana Boat Song" hit the British Top Ten in early 1957, followed by her number one hits, 1959's "As I Love You" and 1961's "Reach for the Stars/Climb Every Mountain." A 1962 pairing with arranger Nelson Riddle increased her prestige in America, and a vaunted live show gained her headlining spots in both New York and Las Vegas during the early '60s. Popular recognition in the United States came in early 1965, when "Goldfinger" hit number eight in the American charts, instantly becoming her signature song across the Atlantic. (Strangely though, it missed even the Top 20 in Great Britain.)

Bassey's hits in the U.K. continued into the mid-'70s, led by Top Ten entries such as "Something," "For All We Know" and "Never Never Never." After the crowning achievement of her career, a 1977 Britannia Award for Best Female Solo Singer in the Last 50 Years, Shirley Bassey gained her own highly rated BBC-TV show in the late '70s, but gradually slowed down her busy schedule during the next decade. Semi-retired to Switzerland by 1981, she nevertheless emerged quite frequently, spurred by the recording of several television specials and LPs, including a 1987 date with the synth-pop group Yello. Bassey became much more visible during the '90s, opening a nightclub in Cardiff, and touring the world several times. ~ John Bush, Rovi

domingo, 22 de agosto de 2010

Do You Remember? - Vol. 2

  1. When A Man Loves A Woman - Percy Sledge
  2. Here It Comes Again - The Fortunes
  3. Wooly Bully - Sam the Shaw & The Pharaohs
  4. I'll Be There - Gerry & The Pacemakers
  5. Blue Moon - The Marcels
  6. Let's Twist Again - Chubby Checker
  7. Stand by Me - Ben E. King
  8. The Twist - Chubby Checker
  9. Corrina, Corrina - Ray Peterson
  10. Burning Bridges - Jack Scott
  11. Volare - Bobby Rydell
  12. My Special Angel - Bobby Helms
  13. Walking in the Rain - Johnny Ray
  14. Tutti Frutti - Little Richard

sábado, 21 de agosto de 2010

Do You Remember? - Vol. 1

  1. Love Will Keep Us Together - Nino Tempo and April Stevens
  2. Feelings - Dobie Gray
  3. Satisfaction Guaranteed - Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes
  4. Sugar Baby Love - Rubettes
  5. Superman - Dona Fargo
  6. My Special Prayer - Percy Sledge
  7. Oh, What A Night - The Dells
  8. Baby Come Back - The Equals
  9. Everlasting Love - Love Affair
  10. Hooked on A Feeling - B. J. Thomas
  11. The Dock of the Bay ("Sitting on the Dock of the Bay")
  12. Baby Now That I've Found You - The Foundations
  13. Can't Take My Eyes off You - Jay Black
  14. There Goes My Baby - The Drifters

quinta-feira, 19 de agosto de 2010

Do You Remember 1967 - Various Artists

  1. The Letter - The Box Tops
  2. This Is My Song - Petula Clark
  3. Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart - Gene Pitney
  4. Bend Me, Shape Me - The American Breed
  5. Gimme Little Sign - Brenton Wood
  6. Soul Man - Sam & Dave
  7. Darling Be Home Soon - The Lovin' Spoonful
  8. Silence Is Golden - The Tremeloes
  9. Happy Together - The Turtles
  10. It Takes Two - Frankie Gaye & Kim Weston
  11. Can't Take My Eyes off You - Jay Black
  12. Give It to Me - The Troggs
  13. I Say A Little Prayer - Dionne Warwick
  14. Judy in Disguise with Glasses - John Fred & The Playboys
  15. Let's Go to San Francisco - The Flower Pot Men
  16. I Take it Back - Sandy Posey

quarta-feira, 18 de agosto de 2010

Do You Remember 1966 - Various Artists

  1. Sunny Afternoon - The Kinks
  2. A Groovy Kind of Love - Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders
  3. When A Man Loves A Woman - Percy Sledge
  4. Sorrow - The Merseybeats
  5. Summer in the City - The Lovin' Spoonful
  6. Guantanamera - Trini Lopez
  7. Hold on! I'm Coming - Sam & Dave
  8. What Becomes the Broken Hearted - Jimmy Ruffin
  9. Winchester Cathedral - New Vaudeville Band
  10. Lana - Roy Orbison
  11. The More I See You - Engelbert Humperdinck
  12. My Love - Petula Clark
  13. Single Girl - Sandy Posey
  14. Knock on Wood - Eddie Floyd
  15. Wild Thing - The Troggs
  16. Message to Michael - Dionne Warwick
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