Shirley Bassey – Something (1970)

FrontCover1.JPGSomething is a 1970 album by Shirley Bassey. With her career having been in decline since the latter part of the mid 1960s, Something proved to be Shirley Bassey’s comeback when it was released in August 1970. The title track single became her biggest UK hit for many years, reaching No.4 and spending 22 weeks on the chart. This was actually the second single featured on the album, “The Sea and Sand” having already been released earlier. The album was similarly her biggest hit for many years in the album charts, reaching No.5 and spending 28 weeks in the top 50.

This album led to a major revival in Bassey’s career, and it would see Bassey transform into mainly an album artist, recording fifteen albums in the 1970s (four of those live recordings). Of those three would be top ten albums, three others in the top fifteen, and a further four in the top 40. She would also reach the top three twice, with a pair of compilations. This was also her first work with record producer Noel Rogers and producer/arranger Johnny Harris, who built on Bassey’s traditional pop roots to include contemporary songs and arrangements.

The album’s original release was in stereo on vinyl and cassette. This was the first Shirley Bassey studio album not to be issued in mono. The album was released in the US as Shirley Bassey is Really “Something” and featured different artwork and cover photograph. (by wikipedia)

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Locked out of the singles charts for the past seven years, Shirley Bassey finally returned with this collection of “contemporary” standards, including her British Top Five single “Something.” (Bassey, who first heard the song when Peggy Lee sang it, apparently didn’t even know it was a Beatles tune until just before recording it.) To parallel the modern material, Johnny Harris’ arrangements add an upfront electric bass and hang-loose drumkit to the heavy strings and brass. Of course, Bassey was never a jazz singer, so she makes the transition from traditional pop to contemporary rock with an ease more comparable to Barbra Streisand than Peggy Lee. There are a few jazzy rock standards (“Light My Fire,” “Spinning Wheel,” “Something”) plus plenty of latter-day show tunes (“Easy to Be Hard,” “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life,”) and a few ’60s vocal pieces (“The Sea and Sand,” “My Way,” “Yesterday When I Was Young”). Each tune that comes her way gets stamped with the irrepressible Bassey style, and ends up making a remarkably cohesive album of contemporary pop. (by John Bush)

What a voice !

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Personnel:
Tony Campo (bass)
Harold Fisher (drums)
Bill Parkinson (guitar)
Shirley Bassey (vocals)
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unknown orchestra conducted by Johnny Harris

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Tracklist:
01. Something (Harrison) 3.33
02. Spinning Wheel (Clayton-Thomas) 3.05
03. Yesterday I Heard The Rain (Manzanero/Lees) 3,27
04. The Sea And Sand (Harris/Colton/Smith) 3.59
05. My Way (Comme D’Habitude) (Revaux/François/Thibaut/Anka) 3,36
06. What About Today? (Shire/Maltby, Jr.) 3.08
07. You And I (Bricusse) 3.44
08. Light My Fire (Krieger/Manzarek/Densmore/Morrison) 3.25
09. Easy To Be Hard (MacDermot/Ragni/Rado) 2.39
10. Life Goes On (Theodorakis/Martin) 2.38
11. What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life? (Legrand/A.Bergman/M.Bergman) 2.55
12. Yesterday, When I Was Young (Aznavour/Kretzmer) 3.48

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Various Artists – Music To Read James Bond By (1965)

FrontCover1This is a rather oddly-conceived eclectic mix of vintage Bond-era tunes, twelve tracks shaken, not stirred, with the shameless intent of both promoting the movies and selling more records. The bartenders at United Artists Records cannily mixed up this hi-fi cocktail: one part straight off the cinescores, one part covers from high-profile artists of the era, and the remaining third being some seemingly arbitrarily chosen lounge-y fluff, courtesy of the pen of LeRoy Holmes. And speaking of those, “Black on Pink” is a must for crypto-lounge enthusiasts who are always in search of that next obscure Sir Julian (Gould) nugget. In this case, it is a smoky little striptease number led by the good Sir’s overheated Hammond. Another one, “Golden Girl” is the lone track actually also performed by Holmes’s orchestra.

Good ol’ Al Caiola has a bangin’ twang on here, “From Russia With Love,” which was a big hit for him in 1964. It sounds like it should have been in the movie, but it wasn’t. My esteemed bro, Perez Prado, checks in with a funky, over-syncopated version of Goldfinger, which, although an impeccable performance, sounds like a bootleg tape recorded at a night club. Oh! That man can bark!

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Ursula Andress & Sean Connery

A thing that might make this record kind of a “jenny stamp” for collectors is the inclusion of a remarkably proto-reggae version of Monty Norman’s “Underneath the Mango Tree,” done by The La Playa Sextet. Please note, however, that on this record they are listed as both The La Playas and The La Playa. I don’t know if this was just a typo, or an attempt to skirt royalties, or to not conflict with the Mardi Gras label or something. I don’t know; The La Playa Sextet was also a part of UA’s standard roster . . .

You also get the standard Shirley Bassey version of Goldfinger, which I’m sure broke one of my tweeters, and the official John Barry version of 007. It’s period fluff, but has some surprisingly worthwhile nuggets on it. A must for lounge lizards! (by Marganon)

Great cheesecake cover photo of nude “golden girl.

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Tracklist:
01. Ferrante & Teicher: The James Bond Theme (from film “Dr. No”) (Ferrante/Teicher/Norman 2.25
02. John Barry: 007 (from film “From Russia With Love”) (Barry) 2.49
03. The La Playas: Underneath The Mango Tree (from film “Dr. No”) (The La Playas/Norman) 2.25
04. Sir Julian: Black On Pink (Holmes/Sir Julian) 3.11
05. Perez Prado: Goldfinger (from film “Goldfinger”) (Barry/Prado) 2.24
06. The Leasebreakers: Living It Up (Holmes/The Leasebreakers) 2.10
07. Al Caiola: From Russia With Love (from film “From Russia With Love”) (Caiola/Bart) 2.45
08. Monty Norman: Jamaica Jump Up (from film “Dr. No”) (Norman) 2.08
09. Shirley Bassey: Goldfinger (Newley/Barry/Biscusse/Bassey) 3.07
10. Leroy Holmes: Golden Girl (Holmes) 2.02
11. John Barry: Girl Trouble (from film “From Russia With Love”) (Barry) 2.27
12. Dick Ruedebusch: The Elegant Venus (Ruedebusch/Holmes) 2.01

 

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