The Hollies – Evolution (1967)

FrontCover1Evolution is the first of two albums released in 1967 by British pop rock band the Hollies. The album peaked at number 13 in the UK album chart.

Like its predecessor, For Certain Because, this album comprises only songs written by group members Allan Clarke, Graham Nash, and Tony Hicks. None of the songs on the album were selected for single or EP release in the UK, although “Carrie Anne” from the American release was issued as a single in the US. Drummer Bobby Elliott only played on three songs on the album due to appendicitis and, as a result, he was substituted for by Dougie Wright, Clem Cattini and Mitch Mitchell of the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

The album cover artwork was created by the Fool, with the psychedelic cover photo by Karl Ferris, who is credited with creating the first truly psychedelic photograph for an album cover.

Ferris commented on the making of the album cover during a special signing of cover prints in 1997:

… they wanted to break from their ‘Pop Beat’ sound into something more psychedelic. So I listened to the music that they were recording at Abbey Road Studios, and got an image of them pushing through a membrane into ‘the Psychedelic world’, and so in summer of 1966 I took a studio shot of them pushing out their hands and the lead singer pointing through clear plastic. Over this I superimposed a shot of William Morris Art Nouveau wallpaper with an illustration and ‘Love’ lettering drawn by my girl friend Anke. This combination created the image of the Hollies ‘pushing through to a new wave of music style and consciousness’. I worked with the Fool (lead by Simon Posthuma) on this, and they did the lettering, the back cover design and the group’s costumes.

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The song “Have You Ever Loved Somebody?” was released earlier (in September 1966) both by the Searchers and Paul and Barry Ryan as single a-sides. It was first released by the Everly Brothers on their Two Yanks in England album.

Evolution and its respective singles were recorded at EMI’s Abbey Road studios in just six days spread over three months in early 1967, at the same time the Beatles were recording Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The first session occurred on 11 January where “When Your Lights Turned On”, “Have You Ever Loved Somebody” and the B-side “All the World is Love” were completed. Work began on, but was not completed for, the eventual single “On a Carousel”. That song was completed during the next session on 13 January along with the album track, “Lullaby to Tim”.

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Two songs sung in Italian, “Non Prego Per Me” and “Devi Avere Fiducia in Me” (the former composed by Lucio Battisti and Mogol), were also recorded on that day specifically for release as a single in Italy. The next session on 22 February was dedicated to two more songs meant specifically for release in Italy, “We’re Alive” and “Kill Me Quick”. “The Games We Play” as well as the Graham Gouldman-penned “Schoolgirl” were also begun during this session. The bulk of album work took place on March 3rd, 8th and 17th. “Schoolgirl” was attempted again on the 8th but was ultimately left unfinished for reasons unknown. The final songs recorded before the album’s release in June were “Carrie Anne” on 1 May and its B-side, “Signs That Will Never Change”, on the following day. (by wikipedia)

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For many Hollies enthusiasts, Evolution (1967) is considered the band’s most accessible blend of pop and psychedelia. The quintet were headed into musical territories beyond simply “moon-June-bloom” and boy-meets-girl lyrics coupled with the tightly constructed vocal harmonies that had become their calling card. Nowhere is this more evident than in the tripped-out cover art from Dutch multimedia artists Seemon Kooer, Marijke Kooer, Josje Leeger, and Barry Finch — known collectively as Fool. Although “Carrie-Anne” could be considered an extension of the trite, somewhat predictable Brit pop, there are clear indications of new horizons on cuts such as the modish “You Need Love,” the arguably passé distorted electric guitar on “Have You Ever Loved Somebody,” and the wailing fretwork on the driving freakbeat rocker “Then the Heartaches Begin.”

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Graham Nash (guitar/vocals), Allan Clarke (guitar/vocals), Tony Hicks (guitar/banjo/dulcimer/vocals), Bobby Elliott (drums), and new recruit Bernie Calvert (bass/vocals) — who replaced original member Eric Haydock in the spring of 1966 — were also taking different approaches in their writing and arranging, as heard on the trippy “Heading for a Fall.” On this tune, most prominent is the unusual six-eight time signature, coupled with Hicks’ inversion of the unmistakable banjo, which is similar to the sound he conjured up on the hit “Stop, Stop, Stop.” However, somewhat more atypical of the Nash-era band are the light and limber acoustic and uptempo “Stop Right There,” or the baroque “Ye Olde Toffee Shoppe.” (by Lindsay Planer)

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Personnel:
Bernie Calvert (bass, harpsichord on 09.)
Allan Clarke (vocals, harmonica)
Bobby Elliott (drums on  04., 05. + 10.)
Tony Hicks (lead guitar, vocals, banjo, dulcimer)
Graham Nash (guitar, vocals)
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Clem Cattini (drums)
Elton John (piano on 03., organ on 06.)
Mitch Mitchell (drums)
Dougie Wright (drums)
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unknown orchestra

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Tracklist:
01. Then The Heartaches Begin 2.49
02. Stop Right There 2.28
03. Water On The Brain 2.26
04. Lullaby To Tim Nash 3.03
05. Have You Ever Loved Somebody? 3.03
06. You Need Love 2.33
07. Rain On The Window 3.13
08. Heading For A Fall 2.22
09. Ye Olde Toffee Shoppe 2.22
10. When Your Light’s Turned On 2.37
11. Leave Me 2.20
12. The Games We Play 2.48

All songs  written by Allan Clarke, Tony Hicks, and Graham Nash.

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Various Artists – Scratch My Back – Pye Beat Girls 1963-1968 (2016)

FrontCover1Located in London’s West End, Pye Records boasted a super stable of female talent. Released hot on the heels of our recent Love Hit Me! Decca Beat Girls collection, Scratch My Back! Pye Beat Girls comprises two-dozen peachy selections from Pye and sister label Piccadilly’s 1960s output. The compilation is titled after the opening track by Jan Panter, a Mark Wirtz-produced must-have for those who prefer their girl-pop records beefed up with a dose of fuzz guitar. Tony Hatch, the most successful of Pye’s in-house producers, is represented by cherry-picked titles by the Breakaways, Petula Clark, cult favorite Sandra Barry, the Baker Twins and Julie Grant. ‘Heart’ has to be the rocking-est track Petula ever recorded, so much so that it was covered in the USA by garage band the Remains.

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During the swinging sixties, Pye Records and its sister label Piccadilly Records were housed in London’s West End. Both labels had an enviable roster of artists. This included some of the top British female pop singers. Two of the biggest names were Petula Clark and Sandie Shaw. They were enjoying commercial success at home and abroad. However, they were just two of many British female pop singers signed to Pye Records and Piccadilly Records.

Among their other signings were Billie Davis, Sandra Barry, Dana Gillespie, Barbara Ruskin and Sharon Tandy. Then there were groups like The Breakaways, The Satin Bells, The Baker Twins, Jeannie and The Big Guys and Pat Harris and The Blackjacks. All these artists and groups were signed to the Pye Records and Piccadilly labels, and were among the finest purveyors of pop in Britain. They all feature on the Ace Records’ new compilation Scratch My Back! Pye Records Beat Girls 1963-1968.

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The twenty-four tracks on Scratch My Back! Pye Records Beat Girls 1963-1968 are walk down memory lane, during the swinging sixties. Listeners are introduced to eclectic selection of pop from familiar faces and new names that were part of the soundtrack to the sixties. They make a welcome return on Scratch My Back! Pye Records Beat Girls 1963-1968, which I’ll pick the highlights of.

Opening Scratch My Back! Pye Records Beat Girls 1963-1968 is Jan Panter’s Scratch My Back. It was released on Pye Records in 1966, just as the psychedelic era was dawning in Britain. Although Scratch My Back was written by Len Vandyke, his lyrics incorporates parts of the children’s nursery rhythm Jack and Jill. They’ve been rewritten, are delivered with a mixture of sass and attitude by Jan Panter. Along with harmonies and horns, they player their part in this glorious slice of fuzz guitar driven freakbeat.

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Val McKenna’s career began in 1965 when she was just sixteen. By July 1965, the Whitley Bay born singer was signed to the Piccadilly label and about to release Mixed-Up Shook-Up Girl as a single. On the B-Side was one of Val’s compositions Now That You’ve Made Up Your Mind. It’s something of a hidden gem, and shows that Val was a talented singer and songwriter. Sadly, commercial success eluded Val McKenna and she ended up working as a session singer.

In 1965, Petula Clark was still basking in glow of the success of her worldwide hit Downtown. TheTony Hatch penned single had transformed the fortunes of Petula Clark in 1964. She was already a successful singer when Downtown became a hit across the world. However, Downtown took her career to another level. By 1965, Petula Clark had released several other singles.

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This included You’d Better Come Home in 1965 which was released on the Pye Records label. It reached just forty-four in the UK charts. Hidden away on the flip side was Heart, which Petula and Georges Aber cowrote with Tony Hatch. He arranged and conducted this heartfelt ballad, which allows Petula’s vocal to shine, as she combines power and emotion. It’s a reminder of why in the sixties, Petula Clark was regarded as one of Britain’s finest female vocalists.

Another of the great British female vocalists of the sixtes was Sandie Shaw. She released the Chris Andrews penned Run as a single on Pye Records in 1966. Run reached just thirty-two on its release in August 1966. This was disappointing considering the quality of the single. It’s like a kitchen sink drama, with Sandie delivering the lyrics as if she’s experienced them. Her vocal is best described as an outpouring of memories and emotions.

JanPanterWhile many of the artists on Scratch My Back! Pye Records Beat Girls 1963-1968 enjoyed long and successful recording careers, Nina Rossi’s career was all too brief. Her career began in her hometown of Bournemouth, where she sang in clubs and hotels. Nita was also a regular in the town’s talent shows. With no sign of a record contract, Nita decided to send a demo to Tom Jones’ manager Gordon Mills.

He realised that Nita had talent, and contacted Piccadilly Records. They signed Nita and she went on to release four singles for Piccadilly Records. This includes the Gordon Mills penned Here I Go Again. On the B-Side was another Gordon Mills’ composition Something To Give. When Here I Go Again was released in 1966, the single flopped. Maybe things would’ve been different if Something To Give had been chosen as a single? It comes complete with a big, orchestrated arrangement which accompanies Nita, as she showcases a heartfelt, hopeful and sometimes needy vocal. Together, they play their part in what’s a hidden pop gem that’s since become a collector’s item.

Before embarking upon a musical career, Sandra Barry had been a star of stage and screen. Her stage debut came when she was four, when she appeared alongside Bud Flanagan of Flanagan and Allen. By the time Sandra was ten, she was offered the chance Dana Gillespieto head to Hollywood. However, her mother decided that it would be best if she stayed in Britain. Despite this, Sandra went on to appear in film, radio and television. Then in the sixties, Sandra embarked upon a career in music.

Sandra signed to Pye Records, and in 1966, released We Were Lovers (When The Party Began) as a single. This was a cover of Lloyd Price’s oft-covered song. Again, a big, orchestrated arrangement and also harmonies from The Breakaway accompany Sandra’s rueful, hurt-filled vocal. This proves a potent and hook-laden combination, as Sandra Barry gives a familiar song a makeover. Fifty years later, and it’s stood the test of time.

Not many denizens of Essex would christen their daughter after a member of the French royal family. That’s what the Daly’s did, when christened their newly-born daughter Marie-Antoinette. By 1964, Marie-Antoinette was thirteen and had embarked upon a musical career, her name had been shortened to Antoinette. However, Antoinette’s career was short-lived, and lasted just three years and five singles for Piccadilly. Her swan-song was a cover of Tami Lynn’s Why Don’t I Run Away From You? It was released on Piccadilly Records in 1966. Unfortunately, Kiki Dee released a cover of Why Don’t I Run Away From You? the same week. In the battle of the cover versions, Antoinette came second. That’s despite keeping her best single until last.

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Dana Gillespie was only sixteen when she signed to Pye Records Records in 1965. Two years later, Dana was preparing to release her third single. The song that had been chosen was a cover of The Hollies’ Pay You Back With Interest. Despite The Hollies setting the bar high, Dana rises to the challenge, and released an irresistibly catchy and melodic cover of Pay You Back With Interest. Since then, Dana Gillespie’s career has blossomed, and she’s released in excess of sixty albums.

The name Dee King might not mean anything to most people. Diane Keen is another thing. She’s been a star of British television since the seventies. However, before that, Dee had a brief musical career.

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On her return home from Kenya, Dee got a job with The Ivy League fan club. This resulted in Dee getting the chance to record her one and only single Sally Go Round The Roses. On its release on Piccadilly Records in 1966, the single failed commercially. Those who bought the single, and flipped over to the B-Side It’s So Fine were richly rewarded. It’s So Fine which was written by John Carter and Ken Lewis, is a quite beautiful, tender ballad. It shows another side to the future star of the The Cuckoo Waltz and Rings On Their Fingers.

Before embarking upon a career in music, Glo Macari was a student of the Aida Foster Stage School. By 1965, Gio was signed to Piccadilly Records, and was about to release a cover of Goffin and King’s He Knows I Love Him Too Much. It was arranged by Ivor Raymonde, who was responsible for an arrangement that references Phil Spector’s early sixties sound. Gio’s vocal even sounds as if it belongs on one of the girl groups that Phil Spector produced. Despite the Spector-esque sound, Gio’s cover of He Knows I Love Him Too Much wasn’t a commercial success. However, she went to enjoy a successful career as a songwriter in the seventies, when Gio worked closely with musical impresario Mickey Most.

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Julie Grant released fifteen singles for Pye Records. Her tenth single was Up On The Roof, which was released in 1964. By then, Julie was only seventeen. Despite that, Julie was had long been appearing on the stage and screen. Music was a natural progression. Sadly, only two of the singles Julie released charted. This includes Up On The Roof. On the B-Side I Only Care About You which would’ve made a good single. It’s uptempo track with a good hook and a commercial sound. Alas, Up On The Roof was chosen as the single, and only gave Julie a minor hit. It was another case of what might have been.

My final choice from Scratch My Back! Pye Records Beat Girls 1963-1968 is Pat Harris And The Blackjacks’ original version of the Hippy Hippy Shake. It was released on Pye in 1963, but never caught record buyer’s attention. That’s despite having a rawer, more energetic sound than The Swinging Blue Jeans’ cover.

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Their cover was released later in 1963, with an almost Beatles-esque arrangement. That’s no surprise. The Swinging Blue Jeans were just one of a number of Merseybeat groups who hoped to follow in the Fab Four’s footsteps. Hippy Hippy Shake went on to give The Swinging Blue Jeans the biggest hit of their career. Very few of the people that bought the single, were even aware of Pat Harris And The Blackjacks’ original version. That’s until the recent release of Scratch My Back! Pye Records Beat Girls 1963-1968 by Ace Records.

Scratch My Back! Pye Records Beat Girls 1963-1968 is a reminder of the quality of music the Pye and Piccadilly Records were releasing during the swinging sixties. Both labels had an enviable roster of artists. This included some of the top British female pop singers. Two of the biggest names were Petula Clark and Sandie Shaw. They were enjoying commercial success at home and abroad. However, there were many more talented female pop singers signed to Pye Records and Piccadilly Records.

Among their other signings were Billie Davis, Sandra Barry, Dana Gillespie, Barbara Ruskin and Sharon Tandy. That’s not forgetting groups like The Breakaways, The Satin Bells, The Baker Twins, Jeannie and The Big Guys and Pat Harris and The Blackjacks. Just like Petula Clark and Sandie Show, they all feature on Scratch My Back! Pye Records Beat Girls 1963-1968.

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Sadly, not all these artists and groups enjoyed the commercial success their talent deserved. Sometimes, commercial success was fleeting for artists. Other times, commercial success eluded artists. This lead to careers that’s were all too brief. The songs on Scratch My Back! Pye Records Beat Girls 1963-1968 are mixture of hits, near misses and B-Sides. Each of these songs have one thing in common…quality. Even the B-Sides ooze quality, and rival and surpass the quality of the single. These hidden gems are just among the twenty-four reasons to add Ace Records’ new compilation Scratch My Back! Pye Records Beat Girls 1963-1968 to your collection. (by Derek Anderson)

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Tracklist:
01. Jan Panter: Scratch My Back (Vandyke) 2.36
02. Billie Davis: Ev’ry Day (Davis) 2.03
03. Kim D: Come On Baby (Blackwell/Smith) 2.20
04. Val McKenna: Now That You’ve Made Up Your Mind (McKenna) 2.44
05. The Breakaways: He Doesn’t Love Me (Hawker/Raymonde) 1.58
06. Petula Clark: Heart (Aber/Clark/Hatch) 2.35
07. Glenda Collins: It’s Hard To Believe It (Meek) 3.00
08. Sandie Shaw: Run (Andrews) 2.37
09. Nita Rossi: Something To Give (Mills) 2.17
10. The Satin Bells: Da-Di-Da-Da (Colombier/Delanoe/Fishman) 2.26
11. Sandra Barry: We Were Lovers (When The Party Began) (Fisher/Powers) 2.17
12. Tawny Reed: I Got A Feeling Baby (Washington) 2.50
13. Antoinette: Why Don’t I Run Away From You (Berns) 2.41
14. Tammy St John: Nobody Knows What’s Goin’ On (In My Mind But Me) (Force) 2.19
15. Sheila Carter & Episode Six: Incense (Fallon/Miller) 2.44
16. Dana Gillespie: Pay You Back With Interest (Clarke/Hicks/Nash) 2.47
17. Barbara Ruskin: Well How Does It Feel (Ruskin) 2.39
18. Sharon Tandy: I’ve Found Love (Kimber) 2.15
19. Dee King: It’s So Fine (Carter/Lewis) 2.20
20. Glo Macari: He Knows I Love Him Too Much (Goffin/King) 2.39
21. The Baker Twins: He’s No Good (Hatch) 2.20
22. Jeannie And The Big Guy: Don’t Lie To Me (Dawson/Ford/Hiller) 2.18
23. Julie Grant: I Only Care About You (Powell) 2.24
24. Pat Harris And The Blackjacks: Hippy, Hippy Shake (Romero) 2.23

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Johnny Rivers – Rewind (1967)

FrontCover1Rewind is the third studio album by the American musician Johnny Rivers, released in 1967 by Imperial Records. The album includes cover versions of “Baby, I Need Your Lovin'” and “The Tracks of My Tears”. Produced by Lou Adler with arrangements by Jimmy Webb, who wrote eight of the songs, the album peaked at #14 on the Billboard albums chart.

With a big, clean production, and quality L.A. session musicians, Rewind is a great collection of blue-eyed soul and rock. The album’s two Motown covers, “Baby I Need Your Loving” and “Tracks of My Tears,” are more similar to tributes than attempts to outshine the originals. Rivers sounds like a well-adjusted Southern hipster on tracks like “The Eleventh Song,” which makes him sound like a cooler version of Sonny Bono. “Rosecrans Boulevard” showcases superb vocal harmonies and horn playing. The most interesting track would have to be “Sidewalk Song/27th Street,” which is pretty mediocre as a song, but are the bizarre sound clips possibly attacking commercialism? No one really knows. Produced by Lou Adler, arranged by Jimmy Webb, featuring Joe Osborne on bass, Larry Knechtel on piano, and Hal Blaine on drums, this record is a solid, tight recording, with excellent production and inventive arrangements provided by Webb. (by Zach Curd)

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Personnel:
Hal Blaine (drums)
Mike Deasy Jr. (vocals)
Mike Deasy Sr. (guitar)
Larry Knechtel (piano)
Joe Osborn (bass)
Johnny Rivers (vocals guitar)
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unknown orchestra + choir

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Tracklist:
01. The Tracks Of My Tears (Moore/Robinson/Tarplin) 2.57
02. Carpet Man (Webb) 3.06
03. Tunesmith (Webb) 3.14
04. Sidewalk Song (27th Street) (Webb) 2.28
05. It’ll Never Happen Again (Hardin) 3.30
06. Do What You Gotta’ Do (Webb) 2.26
07. Baby I Need Your Lovin’ (L.Dozier/Holland/E.Holland) 3.12
08. For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her (Simon) 2.50
09. Rosecrans Boulevard (Webb) 2.35
10. The Eleventh Song (Webb) 2.28
11. Sweet Smiling Children (Webb) 2.15

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Colbie Caillat – Coco (2007)

FrontCover1Coco is the debut studio album by American singer-songwriter Colbie Caillat. The album was released on July 17, 2007 in the United States, debuting at number six on the US Billboard 200, selling 51,000 copies in its first week. It also became Caillat’s best-selling album to date, selling 2,100,000 copies in the United States and over 3,000,000 copies around the world. Caillat supported the album with the Coco World Tour, as well as four singles. The lead single “Bubbly” was a huge international hit, while the following two singles “Realize” and “The Little Things” were minor hits. The final single, titled “Somethin’ Special”, was released on July 29, 2008 to support the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. It was later mixed and titled “Somethin’ Special (Beijing Olympic Mix)”.

Caillat met producer Mikal Blue, who hired her to sing on techno songs used at fashion shows. Caillat began playing the acoustic guitar at the age of 19 and Blue helped her record her first song. She auditioned for American Idol but was rejected at the pre-audition stage and was unable to sing for the judges. The second time she auditioned for the show, she sang her own original song “Bubbly” and was rejected once again. However, Caillat expressed gratitude at the judges’ decision, saying “I was shy. I was nervous. I didn’t look the greatest.

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I wasn’t ready for it yet. I was glad, when I auditioned, that they said no.” The popularity of Caillat’s MySpace profile led her to become the number-one unsigned singer in her genre for four consecutive months.[6] Her father also produced her demo songs, and was involved in production of later albums. Coco was produced by Mikal Blue, with additional production by Caillat, her father Ken Caillat and Jason Reeves.

The album was titled “Coco” because Coco was Caillat’s nickname given to her when she was a young child. The album’s artwork was a still from Caillat’s music video for the album’s lead single “Bubbly”, released on May 15, 2007. There are differences between the artwork for the standard and deluxe editions. The standard artwork shows the photo with a brown frame, while the deluxe artwork shows the photo without the frame but with blue waves and the words “DELUXE EDITION” on top. Also, a little yellow flower drawn next to the album title wasn’t shown on the deluxe artwork.

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Coco was released on July 10, 2007 in Australia and Asia and a week later in North America. Its deluxe edition was released on September 3, 2008 in Japan and November 11, 2008 worldwide. The album was certified 2× Platinum by the RIAA with shipments to U.S. retailers of 2,000,000 units. The album’s first single, a smash hit, was “Bubbly”, followed by a second single, “Realize”, and the third, “The Little Things”, which became the final single from the album in the United States. The deluxe edition song, “Somethin’ Special (Beijing Olympic Mix)”, was released as a fourth single on July 29, to give support to the American athletes participating in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. The song also appeared on the AT&T Team USA Soundtrack.

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According to one of the pictures on Caillat’s MySpace page, it was assumed that her song “Battle” would have been the fourth and final single from Coco. Because of her collaboration with Jason Mraz, “Lucky”, being released as a single and with the release of her second album, it is assumed that the single and music video were canceled and all promotion was then focused on “Lucky” and her second album Breakthrough.

Coco was also promoted with two tours: Coco Summer Tour in 2007 and Coco World Tour in 2008.

“Bubbly” was released as the lead single from the album on May 15, 2007 in United States. It remains Caillat’s biggest hit in the US to date, and her only single to reach the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100. The single’s music video, directed by Liz Friedlander, aired on MTV, VH1 and CMT. A still from the music video was used as the cover for the album. The video/single was also featured in the hit PlayStation 2 karaoke game SingStar Pop Vol 2 released in late September 2008 in the United States. It was also featured in SingStar Hottest Hits in PAL regions.

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“Realize” was officially released in January 2008 as the second single from the album, peaking at number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, becoming her second Top 20 hit in the U.S. The song is musically similar to “Bubbly”, as it is an acoustic folk-pop song, where Caillat sings of having feelings for a best friend. Caillat and her backup band performed “Realize” as the featured musical performance that closed the May 23, 2008 broadcast of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
“The Little Things” was released as the third single in Germany on March 7, 2008 and in United States in October 2008. The single did not chart well in the US, and was her weakest charting single from the album, peaking at number seven on US Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100. In 2008, she recorded a French translated version of this song.
“Somethin’ Special” was released as the fourth and final single from the album on July 29, 2008. The song was included only in the deluxe edition. It was released to give support to the American athletes participating in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. The song also was included on the AT&T Team USA Soundtrack. (by wikipedia)

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Sweetness rules on Colbie Caillat’s debut, Coco, which is perhaps only appropriate for an album bearing that name. The record doesn’t play like a toasty mug of chocolate on a winter’s day, though; it’s a sugary lemonade on a breezy summer afternoon. It’s light and comforting, a familiar blend of sunny pop and singer/songwriter tropes that flirt with cliché but never sound hackneyed — a lighter, brighter spin on Norah Jones that sounds like an ideal soundtrack to a few hours in a cozy coffeehouse or a montage on Grey’s Anatomy, whatever comes first.

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If that gives the impression that Caillat is a little calculated — and if her music-biz heritage (her dad co-produced Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours and Tusk) gives the sense that she may have had a silver spoon, and if her celebrated MySpace popularity is also initially suspect — then as an album Coco shows no crassness or coldness: it flows easily and, yes, sweetly, filled with gently ingratiating melodies and delivered with warmth and a casual charisma that proves to be quite endearing by the end of the record. Caillat doesn’t attempt anything approaching a major statement — the album is filled with songs about love and life — but that’s her appeal: she sings about simple, everyday things in an unassuming manner, letting her melodies and girl-next-door charm carry the day, and they do so winningly on this nicely mellow debut. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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Personnel:
Michael Baker (drums)
Stevie Blacke (cello, viola, violin)
Mikal Blue (bass, guitar, keyboards, synthesizer)
Colbie Caillat (vocals, guitar)
Jaco Caraco (guitar)
Brian Carr (keyboards)
Luis Conte (percussion)
Tim Fagan (guitar)
Cecil “Censi” Francis (steel-drums)
Victor Indrizzo (drums)
Mark Levang (piano)
Dave Marotta (bass, guitar)
Jason Reeves (guitar, piano, ukulele, backgroun vocals)
Yukihide Takiyama (bass, guitar)
Annaliese Wolverton (background vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Oxygen (Caillat/Reeves) 3.51
02. The Little Things (Caillat/Reeves) 3.46
03. One Fine Wire (Blue/Caillat/Reeves) 3.38
04. Bubbly (Caillat/Reeves) 3.17
05. Feelings Show (Blue/Caillat/Reeves) 3.10
06. Midnight Bottle (Caillat/Reeves) 3.42
07. Realize (Blue/Caillat/Reeves) 4.05
08. Battle (Blue/Caillat) 4.04
09. Tailor Made (Caillat/Reeves) 4.30
10. Magic (Caillat/Reeves) 3.25
11. Tied Down (Caillat/Reeves) 3.08
12. Capri (Caillat) 3.01

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Cliff Richard with The Shadows – Wonderful Live (OST) (1964)

OriginalFrontCover1Sir Cliff Richard OBE (born Harry Rodger Webb on 14 October 1940) is a British singer, musician, performer, actor and philanthropist. Richard has sold more than 250 million records worldwide. He has total sales of over 21 million singles in the United Kingdom and is the third-top-selling artist in UK Singles Chart history, behind the Beatles and Elvis Presley.

Richard was originally marketed as a rebellious rock and roll singer in the style of Elvis Presley and Little Richard.[3] With his backing group, the Shadows, Richard dominated the British popular music scene in the pre-Beatles period of the late 1950s to early 1960s.[4] His 1958 hit single “Move It” is often described as Britain’s first authentic rock and roll song; in the opinion of John Lennon of the Beatles, “before Cliff and the Shadows, there had been nothing worth listening to in British music”. Increased focus on his Christianity and subsequent softening of his music led to a more middle-of-the-road image and he sometimes ventured into contemporary Christian music.

Over a career spanning 60 years, Richard has amassed many gold and platinum discs and awards, including two Ivor Novello Awards and three Brit Awards. More than 130 of his singles, albums and EPs have reached the UK Top 20, more than any other artist. Richard has had 67 UK top ten singles, the second highest total for an artist behind Elvis.

Cliff Richard

Richard holds the record (with Elvis) as the only act to make the UK singles charts in all of its first six decades (1950s–2000s). He has achieved 14 UK number-one singles, and is the only singer to have had a number-one single in the UK in five consecutive decades.

Richard has never achieved the same popularity in the United States despite eight US Top 40 singles, including the million-selling “Devil Woman” and “We Don’t Talk Anymore”. In Canada, he had a successful period in the early 1960s, and again in the late 1970s and early 1980s with some releases certified gold and platinum. He has remained a popular music, film, and television personality in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Northern Europe and Asia, and retains a following in other countries. Richard has been a resident in the United Kingdom for most of his life, though in 2010, he confirmed that he had become a citizen of Barbados. When not touring, he divides his time between Barbados and Portugal. In 2019, he relocated to the United States.

Singles

Wonderful Life is a soundtrack album by Cliff Richard with The Shadows to the 1964 film Wonderful Life. It is their third film soundtrack album and Richard’s eleventh album overall. The album reached number 2 in the UK Albums Chart, spending 8 weeks in the top 3 and 23 weeks on in the top 20, but was a marked decline from their previous soundtrack album Summer Holiday that had spent 14 weeks at number 1.

The album had two lead singles, the first being the instrumental “Theme for Young Lovers” from the Shadows, followed by “On the Beach” with Richard being backed by the Shadows.

Curiously, some of the recordings on the album are not those used on the actual film soundtrack, including the title song. The vocal takes are different and in some cases the orchestrations are also altered slightly. The recordings on the album are generally more polished than the soundtrack ones. The Shadows recording line-up included Brian Locking on bass guitar although by the time filming commenced John Rostill had replaced him.

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The vinyl LP released on the Columbia label in the UK featured an inner sleeve with a storyline outlining the plot and the position of each of the musical numbers, illustrated with stills from the film.

Released in the US with the title Swingers Paradise the album did not chart. (by wikipedia)

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Cliff Richard’s first post-Beatles movie, Swingers Paradise (Wonderful Life in the U.K.) maintained business as usual for the team — another fun-packed romp in foreign climes, it was again peppered with naggingly familiar songs, absurd and adorable in more or less equal doses, and accompanied, of course, by a soundtrack which squeezed every last ounce of effervescence from the plot. The formula was, by then, firmly entrenched. The Michael Sammes Singers twitter, Norrie Paramor produces, and the Associated British Studio Orchestra lavish everything beneath monstrous slabs of sweet strings and winds. Meanwhile, the Shadows rattle along as both an understated backing band and, when the mood hits, frontmen in their own right, throwing two characteristic guitar-led instrumentals into the brew — “Walkin'” and “Theme for Young Lovers.” Equally predictably, the hits flew from the album — “Theme for Young Lovers” reached number 12 in the U.K., Richard’s understatedly grand “On the Beach” made number seven, and both the title track and “Do You Remember” remained favorites long after the movie slipped off the screens. But that, unfortunately, is where comparisons with past soundtracks end. The others were fun because they were so ridiculously enjoyable. This one’s no fun at all. It is, however, contrived, condescending, and, for the most part, utterly overblown. It does have a few great moments — “Wonderful Life” comes over like something from a Broadway spectacular, all racing orchestration, broad backing vocals, and imbibed with the same timeless bravado which one normally associates with the classics of the ’40s and ’50s.

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But that, too, is a damning confession. The hit singles aside, there is no denying the audience which Swingers Paradise was gunning for — the mums and dads (and beyond) who still had time for pop, but maybe found the latest crop of superstars a little too outlandish for their tastes. All that long hair, all those suggestive lyrics, all that hand-holding and yeah, yeah, yeah-ing. No such dangers here. The frothy over-excitement of “Home,” the stirring big-band buoyancy of “A Little Imagination,” the string-driven simplicity of “In the Stars,” everything harks back to an earlier age, a more innocent time. In fact, in the brutally blunt parlance of the time, Cliff Richard was by then so well-rounded an entertainer that he was turning positively square. And Swingers Paradise doesn’t swing quite so impressively after all. (by Dave Thompson)

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Personnel:
Brian Bennett (drums)
Brian Locking (bass)
Hank Marvin (lead guitar)
Cliff Richard (vocals)
Bruce Welch (guitar)
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The Associated British Studio Orchestra conducted by Stanley Black
The Norrie Paramor Strings
The Mike Sammes Singers

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Tracklist:
01. Cliff Richard & The A.B.S. Orchestra: Wonderful Life (Bennett/Welch) 2.28
02. Cliff Richard & The A.B.S. Orchestra: A Girl In Every Port (Myers/Cass) 2.49
03. The Shadows: Walkin’ (Marvin/Welch) 2.46
04. Cliff Richard & The A.B.S. Orchestra: A Little Imagination (Myers/Cass) 3.54
05. Cliff Richard & The A.B.S. Orchestra: Home (Myers/Cass) 3.31
06. Cliff Richard & The Shadows: On The Beach (Marvin/Richard/Welch) 2.29
07. Cliff Richard & The A.B.S. Orchestra: In The Stars (Myers/Cass) 4.00
08. Cliff Richard & The A.B.S. Orchestra: We Love A Movie (Myers/Cass) 3.22
09. Cliff Richard, The Shadows & The Norrie Paramor Strings: Do You Remember (Marvin/Welch) 2.50
10. Cliff Richard & The Shadows: What’ve I Gotta Do (Marvin/Welch) 2.33
11. The Shadows: Theme For Young Lovers (Welch) 2.40
12. Cliff Richard & The A.B.S. Orchestra: All Kinds Of People (Myers/Cass) 3.15
13. Cliff Richard, The Shadows & The Norrie Paramor Strings: A Matter Of Moments  (Welch) 2.58
14. Cliff Richard & The A.B.S. Orchestra: Youth And Experience (Myers/Cass) 3.36
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15. Cliff Richard & The Shadows: Look Don’t Touch (Ifield) 1.44
16. Cliff Richard, The Shadows & The Norrie Paramor Strings: Do You Remember (alternate take) (Marvin/Welch) 2.57
17. Cliff Richard, The Shadows & The Norrie Paramor Strings: Wonderful Life (Bennett/Welch) 2.22
18. Cliff Richard: Angel (Non-Album Import A-Side) (Tepper/Bennett) 2.19

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Roy Orbinson – Cry Softly Lonely One (1968)

FrontCover1Cry Softly Lonely One is the twelfth music album recorded by Roy Orbison, and his sixth for MGM Records. The album was released in October 1967 and included two singles: “Communication Breakdown” and the title tune, both of which were minor hits in the States early that year. “Communication Breakdown” did much better in Australia, where it reached #9 in February. According to the official Roy Orbison discography by Marcel Riesco,[2] the London Records release (non U.S.) of this album featured the extra track “Just One Time”. (by wikipedia)

Cry Softly, Lonely One had a tremendously convoluted recording history, interrupted as it was for work on two other projects (including the shooting and soundtrack of The Fastest Guitar Alive) and not released until 1967. That was sad because that album caught Orbison firing on all cylinders in his best voice ever, and with Joe Melson backing him vocally on the classic Monument sides with a killer array of songs — from the opener, “She,” across to the title track by way of “Communication Breakdown” — had this record come out in 1964, it might well have charted high behind any of those songs, or the more rhythm-driven “Girl Like Mine.”

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In late 1967, however, the album was an anachronism (the other irony is that, had it come out 18 months later, it might have ridden the same roots rock wave as Elvis Presley’s Memphis albums, or Joe South, to success). Some of it, such as “That’s a No No,” was a true throwback to an earlier pop/rock era, but most of what was here was a great showcase for Orbison’s classic sound as it had evolved, oblivious to the musical trends around him (and at least he never tried to emulate the psychedelic sounds of the period in the way that the Everly Brothers did on their live album). (by Bruce Eder)

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Personnel:
Roy Orbinson (vocals)
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a bunch of unknown studio musicians

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Tracklist:
01. She (Orbison/Dees) 2.42
02. Communication Breakdown (Orbison/Dees) 3.01
03. Cry Softly, Lonely One (Gant/Melson) 2.53
04. Girl Like Mine (Mathis) 2.20
05. It Takes One (To Know One) (Orbison/Dees) 3.00
06. Just Let Me Make Believe (Blackwell) 2.27
07. Here Comes The Rain, Baby (Newbury) 2.52
08. That’s A No-No (Orbison/Dees) 2.10
09. Memories (Orbison/Dees) 2.53
10. Time To Cry (Orbison/Dees) 2.r42
11. Only Alive (R.Blackwell/D.Blackwell)  2.09
12. Just One Time (Gibson) 2.15

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Roy Kelton Orbison (April 23, 1936 – December 6, 1988)

Barbara Streisand – Superman (1977)

FrontCover1.JPGSuperman (1977) is the nineteenth studio album by American singer Barbra Streisand.

The single “My Heart Belongs to Me” became a hit in 1977, peaking at #4 on the US pop chart.

The album peaked at number 3 on the Top 200 LP Billboard album chart and on the UK Albums Chart at number 32. It has sold 2 million copies in United States and was certified 2× Platinum.

Two songs were written for the movie A Star Is Born but not used in the picture —”Answer Me” by Streisand, Paul Williams and Kenny Ascher; and “Lullaby For Myself” by Rupert Holmes. (by wikipedia)

Although it is merely a pastiche of songs, including two outtakes from A Star Is Born, Streisand Superman is clearly the best album Streisand has made in some time, possibly the best since Stoney End. While it lacks any kind of focus and occasionally disintegrates into a shopping-mall arrangement such as “I Found You Love,” Superman is ample evidence that Streisand actually can get away with singing whatever she chooses. (A Star Is Born was sufficient proof that she could succeed with absolute trash.)

The most remarkable track is “Don’t Believe What You Read,” which is nothing less than a flat-out rock song, written by Ron Nagle and Scott Mathews with Streisand, and given a superb arrangement by Jack Nitzsche. It’s driven by a fuzz-tone guitar, huge drums and Streisand’s vocal, which is derived, I think, from Stevie Nicks. This is the most modern track she’s ever done and, aside from Pete Townshend’s “They Are All in Love,” the only successful attack on the press any songwriter has been able to come up with. (It helps that Streisand, like Townshend, is attacking gossips rather than critics.) Nagle, a vastly underrated songwriter, has also turned in a terrific look at working-class marriage as a trap in “Cabin Fever,” which gets a similarly modern treatment and ranks with the best things here.

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Most of the rest is given over to the typical ballads, which, as usual, rise and fall on the strengths of their arrangements. Streisand still resorts to mannerisms (her phrasing is suffering from a case of arrested development, except on the two songs above) but the material is chosen skillfully enough to transcend that. Still, on the basis of “Don’t Believe,” “Cabin Fever” and the bluesy treatment of Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind,” it would be interesting to hear her work with a rock-oriented producer—Peter Asher, perhaps. (Dava Marsh, Rolling Stone No. 245)

And we hear musicians like Larry Carlton, Robben Ford, Harvey Mason, David Paich, Jeff Porcaro, Lee Ritenour and Fred Tackett amongst others.

And her version of the Billy Joel hymn “New York State Of Mind” is a real great one !

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Personnel:
Barbra Streisand (vocals)
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Israel Baker (violin)
Harry Bluestone (violin)
Mike Boddicker (keyboards, synthesizer)
Alan Broadbent (piano)
Dennis Budimir (guitar)
Larry Carlton (guitar)
Gary Coleman (percussion)
Robben Ford (guitar)
David Foster (keyboards)
Jay Graydon (guitar)
Ed Greene (drums)
Ralph Grierson (keyboards)
Plas Johnson (saxophone)
Harvey Mason (drums)
Scott Mathews (drums)
Lincoln Mayorga (piano)
Mike Melvoin (piano)
David Paich (keyboards)
Steve Paietta (accordion)
Jeff Porcaro (drums, percussion)
Reine Press (bass)
Emil Richards (vibraphone, percussion)
Lee Ritenour (guitar)
Fred Tackett (guitar)
Tommy Tedesco (guitar)
Gayle LeVant (harp)
David Wolfert (guitar)
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background vocals:
Augie Johnson – Clydie King – Jim Gilstrap – John Lehman – Julia Tillman Waters – Venetta Fields

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Tracklist:
01. Superman (Snyder) 2.48
02. Don’t Believe What You Read (Streisand/Nagle/Mathews) 3.33
03. Baby Me Baby (Miller) 4.21
04. I Found You Love (Gordon) 3.47
05. Answer Me (Streisand/Williams/Ascher) 3.14
06. My Heart Belongs To Me (Gordon) 3.21
07. Cabin Fever (Nagle) 3.10
08. Love Comes From Unexpected Places (Carnes/Ellingson) 4.11
09. New York State Of Mind (Joel) 4.40
10. Lullaby For Myself (Holmes) 3.16

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And here´s another version of “New York State Of Mind” (feat. Billy Joel) from 2014: