Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Telly Savalas - Telly (1974)

Time for another celebrity vocal - from none other than "Kojak" himself, Telly Savalas! And can you believe that I found this in the dollar bin at HPB?! Telly Savalas?! What were they thinking to put him in the dollar bin?! This is priceless! I mean, this is almost as good as any Mrs. Miller album (I have all four of her albums). And Telly was The Man! What charm - what masculinity - what a nice shiny head! Actually, I was a big "Kojak" fan back in the day - used to watch it every week with my father. They made a new "Kojak" show a couple of years ago with Ving Rhames - should never try to make new versions of hit TV shows. I like Ving Rhames, but there just isn't any other "Kojak" except for Telly.

Now, this is the first of four albums that Telly recorded. As you listen to this album, a question may come into your mind - "why?". Sometimes I wonder what agents or producers (or whoever these people are) are thinking when they suggest that a celebrity NOT known for his/her singing should record an album. Yeah, I know they're just trying to make more money off the celebrity because they know that people like me will buy the album! So, really - thank goodness that there are so many celebrity albums like this! The liner notes on this album say it best:
Telly describes himself as "the only virgin recording artist there is". He also has a fairly simple philosophy for making a record. He presents himself honestly. "People know that singing is not my bag, but if I say 'Hey, this is how Telly feels about this or that song,' I can't make mistakes. I can only make mistakes by pretending to be a great singer." First, you'll ask, what is an actor doing making a record? Well, when you hear Telly's dramatic interpretation of "You're a Lady", "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'", and "Rubber Bands and Bits of String", you'll stop asking those silly questions and fall in love. Telly answers this question by modestly stating, "I was asked to make a record."

Track listing for Telly Savalas - Telly:

Side 1:
1. Rubber Bands and Bits of String
2. A Song for You
3. You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'
4. How Insensitive
5. You're a Lady

Side 2:
1. If
2. You and Me Against the World
3. Something
4. Without Her
5. Help Me Make It Through the Night

Here's a video of Telly "singing" his hit from this album - "If". It kinda brings a tear to my eye - sniff...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Peter Ricardo and His Calypso - Hi-Fi Calypso (1957)

Yesterday, my friend, Bradley, and I went to Half-Price Books and had a very productive afternoon! I came away with two of the Retro series cookbooks ("Retro Diner" and "Retro Pies"), and fifteen records! Of course, I will share these albums with y'all on this blog!

Today I am sharing another gem from the HPB bargain bin (but not one of yesterday's finds). I bought this one some years ago for the album cover, and had it framed and hanging on my wall until recently. I just love that cover! And, the music is pretty good, too. According to the liner notes, Peter Ricardo was a "true 'calypsonian' - geographically because he was born on the island of Grenada in the British West Indies; musically because he composes his own calypsos, unlike the artist who is known simply as a 'calypso singer' and sings the songs of others exclusively." Well, this album was recorded in England, and I think this was England's idea of calypso music. Personally, I prefer Harry Belafonte's style of singing calypso, but this is still a fun album to listen to. You'll recognize several of the songs, too!

Track listing for Peter Ricardo - Hi-Fi Calypso:

Side 1:
1. Let's Go Calypso
2. Grenada (Land of Spice)
3. Mama Look a Booboo (Shut Yuh Mouth - Go Away)
4. Dohbi Day-Oh (The Native Washerwoman)
5. Caribbean Love Song (Ramona and Ricardo)
6. Rum and Coca Cola

Side 2:
1. Marianne
2. Capullito de Aleli
3. The Banana Boat Song
4. Calypso Beat
5. Don't Ever Love Me
6. Jamaica Farewell

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Patti Page - The Waltz Queen (1955)

Today's post is by one of my favorite female vocalists - the Singing Rage, Miss Patti Page! The very first song I heard on my favorite Dallas radio station, 770 KAAM, when I discovered it by accident in 1987 (it was 1310 KAAM then), was "How Much is That Doggy in the Window" by Patti Page. It brought back so many childhood memories, and I can honestly say that it is my favorite of all the songs Patti ever recorded. But, I love all her songs. I even got to see Patti perform back in the late 1980s at the Venetian Room at the Fairmont Hotel here in Dallas. (Unfortunately, the Venetian Room no longer showcases talent that performs this kind of music.) It was a fabulous show - reminiscent of the shows that you see in old movies, where people would go to a nice club for dinner, dancing, and a show. Patti was absolutely wonderful, singing all her wonderful hits. Then she wove her way among the tables, greeting some of the audience as she sang. I even got to shake her hand while she sang "Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte"! It was fabulous!

Patti Page is probably known for singing so many waltzes, so this album is aptly titled "The Waltz Queen". I actually have two versions of this album - this stereo one from 1955 that I'm posting, and a mono version from 1957. It appears that when the album was re-released in 1957, there were two songs that were different from the original 1955 version. The mono version that I have has "Whispering Winds" and "That's All I'll Ever Ask of You", whereas this 1955 stereo version has "While We're Young" and "You Will Find Your Love (in Paris)". If anyone out there would like the two songs from the 1957 mono version, just post a comment and I'll upload them, too. But, for now, here is the original 1955 version of the album for you to waltz by.

Track listing for Patti Page - The Waltz Queen:

Side 1:
1. What'll I Do
2. Memories
3. Till We Meet Again
4. While We're Young
5. Remember
6. Now is the Hour

Side 2:
1. You Always Hurt the One You Love
2. The Boy Next Door
3. Falling in Love With Love
4. Let the Rest of the World Go By
5. You Will Find Your Love (in Paris)
6. Wondering

Here's Patti singing my favorite, "How Much is That Doggy in the Window":

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Reg Owen and His Orchestra - Coffee Break (1958)

Here's a real gem I found in the HPB bargain bin - and, once again, I bought it for the album cover - it's just so 1950s! The music is really great, too - very soothing and melodious. I'd never heard any of the songs before, but I like all of them.

The liner notes on this album are pretty long (talks a lot about coffee breaks), but I thought the following really describes this album:
The selections chosen for this recording were hand-picked especially for your coffee break. Of course, the musicians who made the record also took time out for their coffee breaks. That accounts for the little blank parts you'll note on the recording between selections.

There are songs here for every coffee break mood. Some are just right for vigorous stirring. Others are perfect for languid stirring, or for pouring sugar out of a container on a damp day. There are some songs absolutely incomparable for taking first sips by. There are even several songs by which you can ask for seconds, or rinse out your cup, if you happen to be through.

Now, hasn't that pot perked about long enough?

Track listing for Reg Owen - Coffee Break:

Side 1:
1. Oh But I Do
2. Ask Anyone Who Knows
3. Was That the Human Thing to Do
4. Every Day
5. Please Don't Talk About Me
6. Twenty-four Hours of Sunshine

Side 2:
1. When Hearts Are Young
2. Keep Smiling at Trouble
3. Have a Little Faith in Me
4. Love Will Find a Way
5. A Little Kiss Each Morning
6. Suddenly

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Wayne Newton - The Best of Wayne Newton (1967)

How about some early Wayne Newton tonight? I LOVE Wayne Newton - especially his early stuff, before his voice changed. I like his singing now, too, but being the nostalgic that I am, I prefer listening to him when he was just a young lad. (BTW, how old was he when his voice finally changed?) Well, by 1967, Wayne had already had several hits and had recorded several albums, so this is his first "greatest hits" album. It's great because it's got all the early favorites, including his signature song "Danke Schoen". (Of course, every time I hear this song, I think of Ferris Bueller.) I love how the liner notes describe Wayne as "an apple-cheeked young fellow with a big, wide grin". What a great description! And, you gotta love the photo on the album cover - the hand up by his face and the perfectly coiffed hair! And Wayne still has the perfectly coiffed hair! I'm one of the few people on this earth who has yet to go to Las Vegas, but when I do go, I definitely plan to go see Wayne! I've heard he puts on the best show. But, for now, I will just have to listen to "the great songs by the great young singer known as MR. EXCITEMENT!"

Track listing for The Best of Wayne Newton (1967):

Side 1:
1. Danke Schoen
2. Bill Bailey
3. Laura Lee
4. I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover
5. After the Laughter
6. Wiederseh'n

Side 2:
1. Summer Wind
2. Days of Wine and Roses
3. Apple Blossom Time
4. Games That Lovers Play
5. You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You

Here's a fun video of a very young Wayne Newton with the Newton Brothers:

Sunday, August 03, 2008

George Maharis - Just Turn Me Loose! (1963)

Time for another celebrity vocal! This time around it's an album by George Maharis, one of the stars of the television series "Route 66". Not only was he a handsome man, but he was also a good singer (unlike many of the other celebrity vocals). George is in his seventies now, but I'm sure he's still a fine-looking man, and probably can still croon a tune or two! Speaking of tunes, this album has some familiar ones - and you won't be disappointed at George's take on them. My favorite is "Don't Fence Me In", which has a line in it that says "Just turn me loose" - which is where this album's title came from! Anyway, give this album a listen and enjoy!

Track listing for George Maharis - Just Turn Me Loose!:

Side 1:
1. Don't Fence Me In
2. Little Girl
3. I Remember You
4. I Can't Believe That You're in Love With Me
5. Take Me in Your Arms
6. Alright, Okay, You Win

Side 2:
1. I Wanna Be Loved
2. Laughing on the Outside
3. What Kind of Fool Am I?
4. Baby Has Gone Bye Bye
5. Little White Lies
6. All of You