Thursday, 17 April 2014

Retro Vinyl Spotlight: Shirley Bassey

45RPM: With These Hands - Columbia, 1960
This week's Retro Vinyl Spotlight focuses on some recent finds featuring one of Wales' greatest vocalists. Dame Shirley Bassey's recording career spans back to the 1950s so its probably not surprising I've discovered a few of her recordings on my travels around charity shops. With These Hands was released by Columbia Records in 1960 and preceeded her big hit As Long as He Needs Me.
Something - United Artists
In 1970, Dame Shirley covered George Harrison's composition Something. It was a successful album, which also saw her cover The Doors' Light My Fire.
20 Golden Love Songs - Note Records
EMI's Note Records focussed on Dame Shirley's ability to deliver a great love song in the late 1970s by releasing 20 Golden Love Songs including All Of Me, Let's Fall In Love and All The Things You Are.
It's Magic - Starline
EMI's budget label Starline released a collection of early Shirley Bassey songs in the early 1970s on the album It's Magic. Including versions of Don't Rain On My Parade and Somewhere.
Goldfinger OST - United Artists

One of Dame Shirley's most famous recordings is the theme tune to the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger which was also included on the soundtrack album.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Vinyl Finds: Nina and Frederik (Music For Pleasure 1401, 1970)

Nina and Frederik - Music For Pleasure 1401
To follow up the review of Nina and Frederik's Collection CD review from earlier today, here's a Nina and Frederik album I found in Newport last Saturday for 20p. This Music For Pleasure release seems to take the stance of most Nina and Frederik albums and EP releases by just calling the release erm... Nina and Frederik!
Drastically reduced sale sticker - 1970s
One thing I usually do when purchasing old LP's is trying to remove stickers or residue that the charity shops may have left on, however in this case there is a sticker on there indicating the albums original price, which I'm more than happy to leave on (after all, ithe original owner couldnt be bothered to remove it over 40 years ago).

I'm suspecting that given the age of the album it must have been purchased around the time Decimal currency came in and was drastically reduced! No indication which shop though bit love the fact it was reduced from 72p to 29p - talk about a budget album!
Track listing for Nina and Frederik LP
Finally, this LP (consisting of 10 tracks from 1959 and 1960) says on several places its mono, although on the back it says this stereo record can also be played with a suitable mono pick-up... - confusing!

CD Review: The Nina and Frederik Collection - Listen To The Ocean (Jasmine Records)

The sleeve notes to The Nina and Frederik Collection: Listen to the Ocean open with Paul Pelletier's stark observation "Where are they now, people might ask, but sometimes it is better to remember how they were then..."

Indeed, Frederik Van Pallandt's story didn't have the happiest of endings, an untimely demise in 1994 cast a dark shadow over Nina and Frederik's Pre-Beatle era safe image of some three decades previous despite the pair divorcing in 1976.

The Danish music duo gained quite a popular following  in the late 1950s with their interpretations of folk inspired songs which occasionally swayed into the world of calypso and popular standards.

The Nina and Frederik Collection: Listen to the Ocean recalls no less than 24 tracks in mono (except a stereo take of Listen To The Ocean) featuring accompaniment from the Jorn Grauengarrd Orchestra and John Barry and his Orchestra from the duos Columbia and Pye Records output.

Among the tracks featured are the popular single Listen To The Ocean as well as renditions of Carnival (from Black Orpheus), Man Smart, Woman Smarter, Nine Hundred Miles and a 1961 vocal version of Sucu Sucu. However, Nina and Frederik are probably best remembered for their popular recordings of Christmas songs and there's a fairly liberal sprinkling of those here including Mary's Boy Child, Away In A Manger, Silent Night and their biggest hit recording Little Donkey.

Nina and Frederik's contribution to the popular music scene has undoubtedly been overlooked in recent years, but as this Jasmine Records CD proves there's a lot more to their musical legacy than those well remembered Christmas recordings.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The Searchers at Newport Riverfront Review Now Online

My review of The Searchers appearance at Newport Riverfront last Friday night is now online:
"...Over two hours of excellent music featuring a mix of Searchers hits, album tracks, rarities and live favourites were performed including a rousing rendition of Twist and Shout and a warmly received impromptu performance of Buddy Holly’s Peggy Sue. 
The band also performed a stunning version of  Neil Sedaka’s Solitaire which was released as a single by the band over 40 years ago. The single didn't chart and it was Andy Williams that had the hit, but the audience were united in their mutual appreciation of The Searchers version.  “Did you enjoy that?” asked Frank Allen when the band finished performing it, when everyone replied witha resounding “yes!” Frank jokingly responded “well, why didn’t you buy it then?”..."
Read my full review at The South Wales Argus website.
Read my interview with Frank Allen of The Searchers.