Albums from Nancy Sinatra, Etta James et al

ETTA JAMES Tell Mama — ‘Tell Mama’; ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’; ‘The Love Of My Man’; ‘I’m Gonna Take What He’s Got’; ‘The Same Rope’; ‘Security’; ‘Steal Away’; ‘My Mother In Law’; ‘Don’t Lose Your Good Thing’; ‘It Hurts Me So Much’; ‘Just A Little Bit’ (Chess MONO CRL 4536).

One of the world’s best female soul singers, Etta’s powerful voice is always welcome. Her albums are infrequent and always good: this one is no exception. The absolutely searing soul ballads like ‘Love Of My Man’ and ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’ are emotionally superb, and rockers like ‘Security’ and ‘Tell Mama’ leave you shattered — or thoroughly invigorated. I liked her ‘Steal Away’ too, and despite the basic earthiness and direct compelling drive, there is a quality of projection and arrangement which is great. ****

NANCY SINATRA AND LEE HAZELWOOD Nancy And Lee — ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling’; ‘Elusive Dreams’: ‘Greenwich Village Folk Song Salesman’; ‘Summer Wine’; ‘Storybook Children’; ‘Sundown, Sundown’; ‘Jackson’; ‘Some Velvet Morning’; ‘Sand’; ‘Lady Bird’; ‘I’ve Been Down So Long’ (Reprise MONO RLP 6273).

Quite a potent album here from two people who once couldn’t sing. Nancy’s voice is good and Lee’s Dark Brown tones blend nicely, ranging from the poignant ‘Lovin’ Feeling’, through the slow burning sex of ‘Summer Wine’, the corny ‘Storybook Children’ and the hit ‘Jackson’. Nice arrangements, quite simple really with good guitar work and the inherent country flavour still evident in them. Could be a hit LP. ****

SAMMY DAVIS JNR. Greatest Hits — ‘What Kind Of Fool Am I’; ‘If I Ruled The World’; ‘Gonna Build A Mountain’; ‘As Long As She Needs Me’; ‘Once In A Lifetime’; ‘Hey There’; ‘The Shelter Of Your Arms’; ‘The Birth Of The Blues’; ‘Talk To The Animals’; ‘On A Clear Day (You Can See Forever)’; ‘Yes I Can’; ‘Bee-Bom’ (Reprise MONO RLP 6291)

Like the title says, his greatest hits. Not necessarily his best, because the biggest-selling don’t mean the best. But for a bunch of swinging well-arranged and adult material, try this bunch. A lot is owed to Tony Newley, but everything is in Sammy’s own bag especially numbers like ‘If I Ruled The World’ and ‘On A Clear Day’. Good stuff for those who like Sammy, but haven’t bought any of his records so far. ****

CLIFF RICHARD In Japan — ‘Shout’; ‘I’ll Come Runnin”; ‘The Minute You’re Gone’; ‘On The Beach’; ‘Hang On To A Dream’; ‘Spanish Harlem’; ‘Finders Keepers’; ‘Visions’; ‘Move It’; ‘Living Doll’; ‘La La La La La’; ‘Twist And Shout’; ‘Evergreen Tree’; ‘What’d I Say’; ‘Dynamite’; Medley — ‘Let’s Make A Memory’; ‘The Young Ones’; ‘Lucky Lips’; ‘Summer Holiday’; ‘We Say Yeah’ (Columbia STEREO SCX 6244)

An entertaining LP of a concert recorded live at the Shibuya Public Hall in Tokyo last year, with Cliff singing many of his world-wide hits. He sounds happy, and so do the audience and the variety is good, ranging from the lurid Isley Brothers sex songs ‘Shout’ and ‘Twist And Shout’, to Tim Hardin’s delicate ballad of broken romance ‘Hang On To A Dream’. He still can’t quite recapture the original mean quality of ‘Move It’ but maybe that’s just as well. The recording quality is superb, and Norrie Paramor’s orchestra is great, except on a couple of beat items where one would prefer the Shadows. ****

BO DIDDLEY Hey, Bo Diddley — ‘Hey Bo Diddley’; ‘I’m A Man’; ‘Detour’; ‘Bo Diddley’; ‘Hush Your Mouth’; ‘My Babe’; ‘Road Runner’; ‘I Know’; ‘Here ‘Tis’; ‘I’m Looking For A Woman’ (Marble Arch MONO MAL 814).

A Marble Arch re-issue of the twister LP — if you listen to this you’ll see just how the rock and R & B scene evolved and just what it owes to Diddley. Some of his best material is on here including ‘Bo Diddley’, ‘Road Runner’ and ‘I’m A Man’. Good solid R & B that has often been imitated but never equalled. ****

LITTLE WALTER Little Walter — ‘My Babe’; ‘Sad Hours’; ‘Last Night’; ‘Blues With A Feeling’; ‘Cant Hold Out Much Longer’; ‘Juke’; ‘Mean Old World’; ‘Off The Wall’; ‘You Better Watch Yourself’; ‘Tell Me Mamma’ (Marble Arch MAL 815).

I’m not too fond of Pye’s habit of re-issuing these classic R&B LP’s at a cheaper price and leaving a couple of tracks off — why? It can’t make much difference to the pressing costs. Pop-art cover on this one, which contains some echo-filled harmonica wailings of Walters, plus a few cool vocals by him. Relaxing in places, and often stimulating. But too often predictable.***

VARIOUS ARTISTES More Rhythm And Blues (MAL 81S).

Pye have re-released all of these R&B classics many times, and now they are REALLY cheap (about 13/11) I think. Ten tracks of solid harmonica-ridden gutsy music, with artistes like Sonny Boy Williamson (‘Don’t Start Me To Talkin”), Little Walter (‘Juke’) etc. Great for those who missed the R & B revival of some four years back. ***

1910 FRUITGUM CO. Simon Says — ‘Simon Says’; ‘May I Take A Giant Step Into Your Heart’; ‘Keep Your Thoughts On The Bright Side’; ‘Bubble Gum World’; ‘The Story Of Flipper’; ‘Pop Goes The Weasel’; ‘The Year 2001’; ‘Magic Windmill’; ‘(Poor Old) Mr. Jensen’; ‘Happy Little Teardrops’; ‘Soul Struttln” (Pye Int. STEREO NSPL 28115).

The tracks on the LP are not in the order as listed on the LP. The LP is full of happy vibrant sounds, with ‘Simon Says’ as the outstanding track. It’s nicely recorded and the stereo is effective but this really does represent the lowest common denominator of pop music — the album should garner sales from the hit single though. Best tracks are the pensive ‘Mr. Jensen’ and the amusing ‘Story Of Flipper’, while the worst is ‘Bubble Gum World’. Also I don’t give much for the chances of their next single, included here, and titled ‘May I Take A Giant Step’ — it’s too much like a weaker ‘Simon Says’. ***

EDDIE COCHRAN My Way — ‘My Way’; ‘Little Angel’; ‘Eddie’s Blues’; ‘Love Again’; ‘I Almost Lost My Mind’; ‘Jam Sandwich’; ‘Little Lou’; ‘Blue Suede Shoes’; ‘Lonely’; ‘Hammy Blues’; ‘My Love To Remember’; ‘Milk Cow Blues’; ‘Guybo’; ‘Long Tall Sally’ (Liberty MONO LBL 83104).

The reissue of one of the later Cochran LP’s, containing a varied selection of rock ballads, beaters and instrumentals. This is much more of a souvenir album for already-established Cochran fans rather than something to introduce new devotees. Good sleeve notes too, and luckily Cochran was a good enough artiste so that these sides, probably not intended for release while he was alive, still sound entertaining and often exciting. Try the title track or his blues ‘Milk Cow’ or almost any of the excellent beat instrumentals here. ****

© Peter Jones, Norman JoplingRecord Mirror, 11 May 1968

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