Posts Tagged ‘Rev-Ola’

Various Artists: Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth, Vol. 1

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

Expanded reissue of legendary bubblegum compilation

Originally issued by Buddah in 1969, and reissued in expanded form by the UK Cherry Red label in 2010, this historic collection of bubblegum music is now available for domestic digital download through Sony’s Legacy imprint. The fourteen tracks of the original LP were pulled together from the biggest hits of Buddah’s Kasenetz-Katz production team, including the 1910 Fruitgum Company’s “Simon Says,” the Ohio Express’ “Yummy Yummy Yummy” and the Lemon Pipers’ “Green Tambourine.” Brilliant melodic hooks, crisp studio productions and child-like lyrics combined to produce songs that were instantly likeable (except, of course, to self-righteous rock fans who’d long-ago lost track of music’s simplest pleasures) and more importantly, memorable. Though aimed at the pre-teen crowd, the songs’ surface-level innocence often harbored erotic and psychedelic allusions that were sufficiently camouflaged to escape AM radio’s gatekeepers.

Though Buddah didn’t corner the bubblegum market (the song of the year for 1969, “Sugar Sugar,” was on Don Kirshner’s Calendar label, for example), their output is easily the largest concentration of the genre’s exemplars. Cherry Red’s (and now Legacy’s) enhanced reissue drops two tunes by the Kasenetz Katz Super Circus (“We Can Work it Out” and “I’m in Love With You”), and adds seven titles, including the 1910 Fruitgum Company’s “Indian Giver” (which post-dated the compilation’s release), Salt Water Taffy’s “Finders Keepers” and the Shadows of Knight’s swampy “Run Run Billy Porter.” This is both a good place to start a bubblegum collection and a terrific spin for those who are already fans. To reach beyond the Buddah stable, try a single disc set like 25 All-Time Greatest Bubblegum Hits, or search out copies of Varese Sarabande’s five-volume Bubblegum Classics series [1 2 3 4 5]. [©2011 hyperbolium dot com]

Evie Sands: Any Way That You Want Me

Friday, November 21st, 2008

Soul-singer-songwriter’s 1970 LP debut

The Brooklyn-born Sands had been in the music industry for nearly a decade before her bad luck lifted for this 1970 LP. She broke in in the early ‘60s with a pair of forgettable singles before having the good fortune to sign with Leiber & Stoller’s Blue Cat label. Unfortunately, her original recording of “Take Me for a Little While” was spirited off to Chicago where it was quickly covered by Jackie Ross. Ross had the hit. Sands’ follow-up “I Can’t Let Go,” much loved by Brill Building and girl-group aficionados met a similar, though less cloak-and-dagger fate, with her version covered more successfully by the Hollies. Her next potential hit, “Angel of the Morning,” was lost amid the bankruptcy of Cameo-Parkway, and the now familiar version by Merilee Rush became a top-10 hit. Fans can find Sands’ version of “Angel of the Morning” can be found on the superb Cameo-Parkway box set.

In 1969 Sands signed with A&M and was finally in a position to cash in on her deep soul voice and longstanding partnership with songwriter Chip Taylor (who’d penned both “I Can’t Let Go” and “Angel of the Morning”). Their initial collaboration was the superb power-soul ballad “Any Way That You Want Me,” with Sands beseeching vocal backed by a dynamic arrangement of acoustic guitars, chugging drums, strings and a deft piano figure lifted from the bass riff of “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling.” Though the single only climbed to #53, it was enough to anchor this 1970 LP of pop and soul, with seven songs by Taylor, an original by Sands and a terrific cover of Buffy Sainte-Marie’s “Until It’s Time For You to Go.” Sands’ voice is often compared to Dusty Springfield’s, as on the tour de force slow-burn remake of “Take Me for a Little While” heard here. But on the Memphis soul “Close Your Eyes, Cross Your Finger,” Sands finds an original vocal tone that marries southern gospel with an urban soul sound. That same urban vocal sound, reminiscent of Marilyn McCoo at times, is even more prominent on the ballad “I’ll Never Be Along Again.”

As memorable as was Sands’ upbeat soul belting, she was equally convincing on emotional ballads like “Shadow of the Evening” and “Until It’s Time for You to Go.” The latter will be a revelation to those who know the song via MOR covers by Vikki Carr, Helen Reddy, Andy Williams and others. Sands could sing with both delicacy and power at the same time, expressing the deep pain of a heart about to be broken. Her wheelhouse, though, is mid-tempo power-soul such as a powerful cover of “I’ll Hold Out My Hand” that easily bests The Clique’s overwrought interpretation, and gives the Box Tops (with Memphis soul icon Alex Chilton on lead vocal) a run for their money. There are numerous tracks here that should have been singles, and a handful that should have become soul icons in the company of Dusty, Aretha and the rest. With Rev-Ola’s reissue (including the bonus track “Maybe Tomorrow”), at least these songs can be icons in your own collection. [©2008 hyperbolium dot com]

Listen to “Any Way That You Want Me”
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