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:

Santabarbara – Charly (No Dejes De Soñar) (1974)

FrontCover1.JPGSantabarbara was a Spanish pop band founded in 1973, comprising Enrique Milian (born 1947; singer, bass), Mario Balaguer (guitar, vocals) and Alberto López (drums). They met as Georgie Dann’s backing musicians in 1970.

Mario Balaguer worked (born in 1947 in Barcelona and died in 1999)  1970 in a machine facotry in Erlangen/Germany and founded the band “Fantomas”. Two years later he play with a band called “Capitolo XIII” in Spain before he joined “Santabarbara” and …

… they got a big nº 1 hit with “Charly” in 1973.

Here´s their debut album …

… it´s a mixed bag: mostly MOR and cheesy Pop, including their Euro-hit from 1973 “Charly”, but …

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… attention please: also three HardRocker gems hidden in between: “Rommel”, “Lucifer” and “Vueltas”

“Lucier” is a brilliant hard rock songs … it beginns very softly …but then you will hear great and exciting power chords on the guitar.

And “Vueltas” sounds a little bit like “Silve Machine” from Hawkwind !

So, give this album a chance … because you can three unknowns hard rock gems from the Seventies.

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Personnel:
Mario Balaguer (guitar)
Enrique Milian (bass, vocals)
Alberto López (drums, percussion)

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Tracklist:
01. Toda La Verdad (Milian/Girado) 3.20
02. Paz (Milian) 2.53
03. America (Balaguer) 4.02
04. Charly (Milian/Gil) 3.43
05. No Dejes De Sonar (Milian/Girado) 3.16
06. Adios Amigo (Girado) 3.30
07. Rommel (Milian/Balaguer) 3.19
08. Perdoname Otra Vez (Milian) 2.16
09. Lucifer (Milian/Balaguer) 5.55
10. Vueltas (Milian) 2.50

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Charlie Rich – Every Time You Touch Me (I Get High) (1975)

FrontCover1.jpgThe 1970s were a magical time for Charlie Rich and producer Billy Sherrill. Sherrill was the first producer who not only understood how gifted Rich was musically — he knew virtually no bounds when it came to popular music styles — but could comprehend and deliver Rich’s vision to record buyers. On the title track, restrained bass notes and minimal, jazzy pianism coast into a space where strings glide into Rich’s verse. Shimmering trills in the piano’s mid-range accent the end of each line, as do the female vocalists of the Nashville Edition. It’s dreamy and ethereal and the listener encounters quite literally what the song’s protagonist is describing. And “All Over Me” is a country tune with Rich’s honky tonk accents caressed by Sherrill’s strings and Pete Drake’s pedal steel in a broken paean to love gone awry. This is the album that pointed to all the various directions Rich wanted to explore musically. Like Ray Charles’ Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Rich extended it to include new textures and sounds in pop and country. A stunning example is “Since I Fell for You,” where Rich treats the melody like a rhythm & blues crooner and takes it to the breaking point of its country root.

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Side two holds a surprise in the dark, film noir-ish beauty of Margaret Ann Rich’s “Pass on By.” Again, the deep R&B strains meet doo wop, soul, and early rock in a setting provided by Sherrill that could have been in a 1950s thriller sung in a smoky lounge. And while the rest of the side is terrific as well, Rich’s own “Midnight Blues” walks the edge of rock and soul à la the Memphis sound. Shimmering strings in glissandi, stinging lead guitar, a trio of female verses echoing Rich’s lines, and Hargus “Pig” Robins’ honky tonk piano make the track swagger and shimmy, carrying the listener out on a rough and rowdy, darkly tinted note. Whew! (by Thom Jurek)

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Personnel:
Tommy Allsup (guitar)
Larry Butler (keyboards)
Jimmy Capps (guitar)
Jerry Carrigan (drums)
Pete Drake (steel-guitar)
Ray Edenton (guitar)
Mary Alice Hoepfinger (harp)
Glenn Keener (guitar)
Sheldon Kurland (violin)
Charlie McCoy (harmonica)
Bob Moore (bass)
Hargus “Pigg” Robbins (keyboards)
Billy Sanford (guitar, mandolin)
Henry Strzelecki (bass)
Pete Wade (guitar),
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The Nashville Edition (background vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Every Time You Touch Me (I Get High) (C.Rich/Sherrill) 3.03
02. All Over Me (Peters) 2.53
03. A Little Bit Here (A Little Bit There) (M.Rich) 2.31
04. A Mellow Melody (Sherrill) 2.25
05. Since I Fell for You (Johnson) 3.05
06. Pass On By (M.Rich) 2.35
07. Rendezvous (Sherrill/Wilson) 2.53
08. She (C.Rich) 2.49
09. You and I (Strzelecki) 3.24
10. Midnight Blues (Bowman/C.Rich) 3.07

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The Moody Blues – December (2003)

FrontCover1.jpgDecember is the sixteenth and final album by the Moody Blues. The Christmas themed album released in 2003 is their first album since The Magnificent Moodies to feature covers in addition to original material. It is also their first album following Ray Thomas’ retirement from the band. (by wikipedia)

One must give the Moody Blues credit for tenacity and a single-pointed focus. For 37 years they’ve put forth a startlingly consistent series of themes: optimism, a kind of blind-faith spirituality that the universe is in good hands and that people are by and large decent and kind, and love songs that can be a bit twee, but nonetheless connect when one is in the emotional space to hear them. Their music has always been intimate and pretentious in the best sense of the words. December is the Moodies’ first Christmas album. The classic lineup has been whittled down to three: John Lodge, Justin Hayward, and Graeme Edge; Ray Thomas decided to call it quitsin 2002.

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The band is augmented by unofficial member and producer Danilo Madonia in the studio. This is the most curious of Christmas recordings. December is an album about the spirit of Christmas but, with its lack of carols (though it does feature Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” near the end), it sounds more like another chapter in the Moody Blues’ legend, and that’s exactly what it is. Like many Moody Blues records since the 1980s, the original songs are nostalgic, pointing listeners back to memories of an idyllic past when things were simpler, and toward the hope that social and spiritual renewal are just around the corner. The set features a number of Hayward and Lodge originals, obscure and traditional Anglo folk songs, a transposed piece by Bach, and a cover of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” — alas, if only that were true. If you’re a fan or a detractor, you already know what the album sounds like.

MoodyBlues01Unpredictability left the band’s vocabulary in the 1970s, but that doesn’t mean that this collection is without merit. For starters, it is one of the most original Christmas albums you’ll hear all year. There is no new age drivel here; its topics and themes are indeed Christian, but weigh on the side of those that are universally held: brotherhood, compassion, hope, goodwill, and generosity. In addition, it’s beautifully orchestrated and produced. Its sound is pristine, and Hayward and Lodge with their trademark elegance sound as if they mean every word they write and sing. And it’s easy to believe that. It most certainly is sentimental and lush, and has nothing whatsoever to do with rock & roll, but that hardly matters. As the latest Moody Blues album, it likely lives up to fans’ expectations; as a holiday recording, it’s unlike anything else out there. (by Thom Jurek)

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Personnel:
Graeme Edge (drums, percussion)
Justin Hayward (vocals, guitar)
John Lodge (vocals, bass)
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Danilo Madonia (keyboards, sequencing)
Norda Mullen (flute)

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Tracklist:
01. Don’t Need A Reindeer (Hayward) 4.00
02. December Snow (Hayward) 5.11
03. In The Quiet Of Christmas Morning (Bach/Hayward/Lodge) 2.51
04. On This Christmas Day (Lodge) 3.40
05. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) (Lennon/Ono) 2.37
06. A Winter’s Tale (Batt/Rice) 4.28
07. The Spirit Of Christmas (Lodge) 4.53
08. Yes I Believe (Hayward) 4.21
09. When A Child Is Born (Zacar/Jay) 3.34
10. White Christmas (Berlin) 3.09
11. In The Bleak Midwinter (Holst/Rossetti) 3.22

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Karel Gott – Miluj (1997)

FrontCover1.jpgKarel Gott (14 July 1939 – 1 October 2019) was a Czech pop singer.

Karel Gott, the top-selling Czech pop singer with a silky smooth tenor who shot to stardom under Communism and remained popular after the 1989 Velvet Revolution, has died. He was 80.

Dubbed the “Sinatra of the East” by the local press while on tour in Germany in 1967, Gott was voted the nation’s most popular singer 42 times. His original songs and covers of Western pop hits helped him sell tens of millions of records.

Gott’s wife, Ivana, announced his death on Wednesday on the singer’s official website. He had announced in September he was battling acute leukemia. Tributes flowed in from Czech celebrities and Prime Minister Andrej Babis proposed a state funeral for Gott.

The singer gained international notice in 1968 with his song “Lady Carneval,” which won a gold medal at a music contest in Brazil. He built up a worldwide following during his 60-year career but was most popular in Germany and former Communist eastern European countries.

Unlike many other Czech artists, Gott performed at home and abroad after the 1968 Soviet-led invasion. His signing of the so-called “Anti-Charter” opposing the dissident Charter 77 statement also did little to dent his popularity.

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Born on July 14, 1939, in Pilsen, Gott trained as an electrician before he began singing in cafes in Prague in the late 1950s. He was eventually admitted to the Prague Conservatory to study opera and got his break when hired at the avant-garde Semafor theatre in 1963.

Gott also performed in the west during the communist era. He spent six months in Las Vegas in 1967 and later returned to the United States, including two concerts at Carnegie Hall in 2000 and 2005.

In recent years, health problems had slowed the singer, but he promised to keep performing despite his illnesses. Gott is survived by two adult daughters from former relationships and two children born in 2006 and 2008 with his current wife. —Michael Kahn)

And here´s one of his sentimental Pop albums …

Definitely a good voice, but defnitely not my kind of music !

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Personnel:
Zdeněk Charlie Blažek (guitar)
Michal David (keyboards)
Karel Gott (vocals)
Pavol Habera (keyboars, guitar)
Oldřich Krejčoves (guitar)
Karel Růžička (saxophone)
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background vocals:
Jana Durczaková  – Táňa Gruntová
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Maryla Rodowicz (vocals on 01.)

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Tracklist:
01. Miluj (Krajewski) 4.39
02. Cherchéz La Famme (David/Machek) 3.55
03. Sen V Nás Zůstává (Con Te Partiró) (Sartori/Peterson/Quarantotto/Borovec) 4.04
04. Královny Krásy (Habera/Machek) 3.15
05. Lásky Z Náměstí (Krajewski/Vrba) 4.29
06. Do Tvé Vůně Vstávám Rád (David/Kubík) 3.54
07. Postavme Lásce Vítězný Sloup (Janeček/Machek) 3.32
08. Stvořená K Lichotkám (David/Borovec) 3.37
09. Lásko, Říkám Stop! (David/Sorosová) 3.56
10. Co S Tou Dávnou Vzpomínkou (Janeček/Vrba) 3.25
11. Bláznivé Milování (Habera/Šíp) 3.20
12. Noční Král (Steinberg/Kelly/Krečmar) 4.04

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Secret Service – Oh Susie (1979)

FrontCover1.jpgSecret Service was a Swedish new wave/pop band, popular in the early 1980s.

In 1979, Ola Håkansson, former vocalist of Ola & the Janglers and then a publishing manager at Sonet Records, teamed up with Tim Norell and Ulf Wahlberg as Ola+3 to write a few songs that they submitted to the 1979 Melodifestivalen, a popular contest which is the Swedish qualification to the Eurovision Song Contest. Ola+3 did not win but the members decided to continue working together and changed their band’s name to Secret Service. Besides Ola Håkansson (vocals), Tim Norell and Ulf Wahlberg (keyboards), the original lineup also included Tony Lindberg (guitars), Leif Paulsen (bass) and Leif Johansson (drums).

Norell, who along with Björn Håkanson penned most songs of the band, did not however appear with them on stage or on the album covers. Secret Service’s first single “Oh Susie” became a hit in Sweden and several other countries in Europe, in South America and Australia. Their album of the same title included another hit, “Ten O’Clock Postman”, which went gold in Sweden. Other successes followed, with their synthpop number “Flash in the Night” in 1982 (their greatest success) hitting charts all over continental Europe. In the mid-‘1980s, Norell and Håkansson started writing and producing songs for other artists. Ola Håkansson’s duet with ex-ABBA’s Agnetha Fältskog, “The Way You Are”, became a gold single in Sweden.

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In 1987, Håkansson, Norell and Wahlberg released Aux Deux Magots, their last album as Secret Service. The other members of the band had quit by then and were replaced by multi-instrumentalist Anders Hansson and bassist Mats A. Lindberg. Håkansson would become Norell’s partner with Army of Lovers’ Alexander Bard in what would be known as the Megatrio, a Swedish equivalent to Stock-Aitken-Waterman known as Norell Oson Bard. In 1992, Håkansson and his associates established Stockholm Records as a joint venture with PolyGram. They produced such artists as Army of Lovers and The Cardigans, among others.

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In 2012 Secret Service released “The Lost Box” , an album with forgotten and unreleased recorded songs from the 80’s and the 90’s, such as “Different” and “Satellites”. (by wikipedia)

The Swedish pop band with their debut album ‘Oh Susie’, first released in 1979!

Although the band’s first single, “Oh Susie” was released without any prior promotion or video clip, “Oh Susie” became the first single ever to enter the Swedish charts straight in at No. 1. It stayed there for 14 consecutive weeks!

Service Secret was only successful on the European continent, not in “first league” countries (either US or UK). Not a one hit wonder, though – they had at least several more sizeable cross-European hits before and after. A great pop band, by the way – not really heard of in the UK, say, but deserved of wider recognition for their masterful blend of various music styles and influences.

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This song in particular was obviously influenced by the great success of the first wave of synth bands from the UK, like Ultravox and Visage, and helped pave the way for synth sound in Europe. It had such a widespread appeal that it even crossed the Iron Curtain, becoming a smash (if that’s the right word) in the USSR – to this day it’s a staple on retro-oriented radio stations and people still talk about it very fondly. Also, being from Sweden they for a long time in the 1980s were the most successful after ABBA internationally until the Swedes mastered the art of pop music later in the decade. (ukmix.org)

But … this is not my kind of music, really not … but you know: Many fantastic colors …

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Personnel:
Ola Håkansson (vocals)
Leif Johansson (drums)
Tonny Lindberg (guitar)
Leif Paulsen (bass)
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Tim Norell (keyboards)
Ulf Wahlberg (keyboards)

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Tracklist:
01. Ten O’Clock Postman (Håkanson/Norell) 3.39
02. Hey Johnny (Håkanson/Norell) 4.21
03. Give Me Your Love (Håkanson/Norell) 3.39
04. Oh Susie (Håkanson/Norell) 4.37
05. Darling, You’re My Girl (Håkanson/Norell) 3.43
06. She Wants Me (Håkanson/Norell) 3.07
07. Why Don’t You Try To Phone (Håkanson/Norell) 3.26
08. Angel On Wheels (Håkanson/Norell) 3.03
09. Family Delight (Gårdebäck/Håkanson) 3.24

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