Saturday, September 30, 2006

We're the Banana Splits (1969)

How many of you remember "The Banana Splits"? It was a Saturday morning show, and they were made up of Bingo (a gorilla), Fleagle (a beagle), Snorky (an elephant), and Drooper (a lion). They sang, clowned around, and introduced cartoons - "The Arabian Knights", "Danger Island", and "The Three Musketeers".

Well, after years of looking for this LP, I finally bought in on eBay a few years ago, and it was in MINT condition! The record label says it's a "promotional copy - not for sale", so I was even more excited about finally finding it (don't ask me how much I paid for it - I try not to think about how much money I've spent on my various collections). The only song I really remember is "The Tra La La Song", and it's my favorite on the album. I don't remember the rest of the songs, and they sang a little rougher than I remember - not as bubblegum as I thought. But, it brings back pleasant memories of my childhood - sigh. So, here's the entire album for your listening pleasure!

Track listing for We're the Banana Splits:

Side 1:
1. We're the Banana Splits
2. I'm Gonna Find a Cave
3. This Spot
4. Doin' the Banana Split
5. Toy Piano Melody
6. Soul

Side 2:
1. The Tra La La Song (One Banana, Two Banana)
2. Wait Til Tomorrow
3. You're the Lovin' End
4. In New Orleans
5. Two-Ton Tessie
6. Don't Go Away - Go-Go Girl

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Leo Addeo & His Orchestra - More Hawaii in Hi-Fi (1960)

I found this little gem in the 50-cent clearance section at one of our local Half-Price Books stores! I am currently obsessed with anything Hawaiian (check out my Luau Compilation in one of my previous posts), so every time I see an album of Hawaiian music, I just have to buy it. It doesn't matter that I may already have umpteen million versions of the same songs - as long as it's someone different performing them, I'll buy them!

Here's some info about Leo Addeo, courtesy of Space Age Pop:

Leo Addeo - Born October 14, 1914, New York City, New York; Died May 1979, Long Island, New York

Addeo was one of RCA's key house arrangers for most of the 1950s and 1960s. An Italian American from Brooklyn, Addeo's specialty was Hawaiian music. He studied violin as a child, but switched to clarinet and saxophone in his teens when he noticed these instruments were in greater demand for local dance bands. He gradually moved from performing to arranging, working with Gene Krupa, Larry Clinton, and Frankie Carle.

Hugo Winterhalter hired Addeo as an orchestrator and brought him along when he moved to RCA in the early 1950s. Addeo was a steady producer for RCA, backing vocalists such as Vaughan Monroe and Don Cherry, arranging and conducting on numerous credited and uncredited instrumentals, and writing an occasional song. Addeo held down the marimba band corner for RCA's "Living" series, producing a respectable knock-off of Julius Wechter's Baja Marimba Band.

Track Listing for Leo Addeo and His Orchestra - More Hawaii in Hi-Fi:

Side 1:
1. The Sheik of Araby
2. Isle of Paradise
3. Near You
4. Song of India
5. Harbor Lights

Side 2:
1. Third Man Theme
2. Moon of Manakoora
3. To You, Sweetheart, Aloha
4. Song of the Islands
5. Red Sails in the Sunset

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Patty Duke Sings Songs from Valley of the Dolls and other selections (1968)

Patty Duke has been one of my all-time favorite actresses for as long as I can remember. You could say that I went through a period when I was pretty much obsessed with her - recording all her movies and her TV show when they came on TV, buying her old record albums (I'm only missing one), and buying various memorabilia such as the Patty Duke Board Game, paper dolls, etc. In trying to decide what to post next, a friend of mine requested that I post this album. So, Bradley, this one's for you!

Liner notes from the album:
What you will hear in this superb collection has been hailed as 'the excited voice of Patty Duke,' which is not, as it sounds, a misnomer, but which is a deliberate way of suggesting that Patty Duke's lustrous, range-rich and expressive voice displays the very essence of excitement itself. Of course, Patty is an exciting singer, but precisely because her voice is excited and emotional and full of action.
The songs themselves are diversified, in keeping with Patty Duke's own wide and considerable talents. The numbers demonstrate the subtle nuances of character, of mood and of motivation, of deep human understanding of the troubled soul who sings them. This is the personality of 'Neely O'Hara' in "
Valley Of The Dolls", the destroying and self destructive, self-centered and eruptive singer which Patty Duke portrays with such power and verisimilitude.
The combination of singer and actress is a rarity in show business, as the long history of the musical stage has so often attested. Patty Duke combines both talents in a stirring and striking blend of rare accomplishment. Her achievements as a stage and motion picture actress, crowned with a coveted and much deserved Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Oscar Award for her unforgettable performance as young Helen Keller in 'The Miracle Worker' are well known. If it were at all possible, Patty Duke surpasses herself as Neely O'Hara in "Dolls", and one detects the magic of her talents in the warm modulations of her voice, in the heart-touching airs, the nostalgic themes, and above all, the deeply moving arias which come through.

What impresses above all is the diversity and range of Patty Duke's performance. Here gathered together are different songs which express the gamut of emotions which charge through vibrant and dynamic Neely O'Hara. And different they are, for they exhibit the changing moods of a woman alternately in ecstasy and anguish‹self-pity and romance, bitter cynicism and bright hope, yielding softness and brassy harshness. There are few performers who can offer this gamut of human emotions with such clarity and with such controlled power. Patty Duke has added to her laurels, and added to your entertainment pleasure.

Liner Notes By GENE KELLY

Track listing for Patty Duke Sings Songs from Valley of the Dolls and other selections:

Side 1:
1. It's Impossible
2. Come Live with Me
3. Give a Little More
4. I'll Plant My Own Tree
5. Theme from "Valley of the Dolls"

Side 2:
1. My Own Little Place
2. Half Hearted Kisses
3. Roses are Red (My Love)
4. A Million Things to Do
5. Forever Young
6. Learn to Live with Your Heartbreak

Saturday, September 16, 2006

You Are My Sunshine

"You Are My Sunshine" is my very favorite song in the whole wide world. My mom would sing it to me when I was a little kid, and it's one of the first songs to which I learned the words. I had a kids version on Peter Pan Records - a little plastic yellow record, smaller than a 45 but played at 78rpm - that eventually broke or was tossed away. It was a pleasant surprise several years ago when, on an episode of "Star Trek: Voyager", the Doctor and Seven of Nine sang it (if anyone has a copy of their version, I sure would like a copy of it!). It was revived in the 2000 movie "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" (although the movie takes place during the Depression in the 1930s, and the song wasn't actually recorded until about 1940). Most recently, a really cool version by Stine J was played at the end of an episode of "Queer as Folk" and on the soundtrack of "Mr. and Mrs. Smith".

So, because I love this song so much, I decided to create a compilation of just this song sung by as many different artists as I could find. This compilation includes versions by the original, Jimmie Davis (who was later Governor of Louisiana), country versions, jazz versions, children's versions, live versions, and even a punk version by Screaching Weasel. Who knew? Well, I came up with 46 different versions, so I split it up evenly into two zip files to be able to burn them to a couple of CDs. You may be wondering (or not) about the picture I chose. I'll tell you anyway - Stinkerbelle was my adorable little tabby that died in June of liver cancer (I have two other geriatric cats). I always sang "You Are My Sunshine" to her, and I sang it to her as she died. So, I am dedicating this compilation to her, because she was, and forever will be, "my sunshine".

Artists who perform on You Are My Sunshine 1:
1. Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings
2. Ames Brothers
3. Bert Kaempfert
4. Bing Crosby
5. Bob Dylan (with Johnny Cash)
6. Bryan White
7. Burl Ives
8. Disneyland Children's Sing-Along Chorus & Larry Groce
9. Firehouse Five Plus Two
10. Gene Harris & Scott Hamilton Quintet
11. Jimmie Davis (the original)
12. Johnny & The Hurricanes
13. Kevin Devine
14. Mills Brothers
15. Mississippi John Hurt
16. Nat King Cole
17. Neil Diamond
18. Norman Blake (from "O Brother, Where Art Thou?")
19. Pete Seeger
20. Ray Charles
21. Rick Nelson
22. Slim Whitman
23. Stine J (from "Mr. and Mrs. Smith")

Artists who perform on You Are My Sunshine 2:
1. Anne Murray
2. Boxcar Willie
3. Carl McVoy
4. Collins Kids (joined by Rosemary Clooney and others)
5. Countdown Kids
6. Delbert McClinton
7. Elizabeth Mitchell
8. Gene Autry
9. Heidi Hauge
10. James Morrison
11. Kitty Kallen
12. Les Elgart
13. Mac Wiseman
14. Mitch Miller
15. Ruby Murray
16. Sara Gazarek
17. Sara Hickman
18. Screaching Weasel
19. Tom Petty
20. Tommy Hunter
21. Trini Lopez
22. Wilf Carter
23. Willie Nelson (with Leon Russell)