Popular Music CDs - Part 4 - May, 1998
"A Rose is Still a Rose" Aretha Franklin Arista; 07822
"A Rose is Still a Rose"
Arista; 07822 18987 2
"A Rose Is Still A Rose" is the latest album from Aretha Franklin, The Queen of Soul. Well, that's the nick-name she was given in the '60s, and how I wish she had kept to the style which warranted that title. The album seems such a waste of her voice. She is trying ever-so-hard to be up-to-date but has adopted vocal gymnastics in lieu of a good melody. The songs are poor - they just do not seem to go anywhere. The producers have not done Aretha a service on this issue. Some honest guidance on tune-selection, a more mainstream approach to vocalizing the melody, and the studio treatment of the songs would have all resulted in an album worthy of Aretha's talent. Most of the songs have, well, just too much going on. With that persistant 'groove' and the gospel-style voices, the songs are oppressive; they crowd in on you. I would much prefer an open sound that allows me to explore different facets of the songs in my head. "A Rose Is Still A Rose" is the current single as well as the title track. I shall watch with interest whether Aretha's reputation carries her through this phase in her career. Bring back R.E.S.P.E.C.T. I say!
1. A Rose Is Still A Rose
2. Never Leave You Again
3. In Case You Forgot
4. Here We Go Again
5. Every Lil' Bit Hurts
6. In The Morning
7. I'll Dip
8. How Many Times
9. Watch My Back
10. Love Pang
11. The Woman
- GV -
Of Melodrama" Shangri-Las RPM; RPM136
"Myrmidons Of Melodrama"
They told their story. Of love, of loss, of relationships - though back in the 60s no one would have used THAT word! And it's all captured here on "Myrmidons Of Melodrama", a 33-track epic of a CD including all the Shangri-Las' singles, numerous 'B' sides, album tracks, and even a couple of radio commercials.
We kick off with "Remember (Walking In The Sand)", a successful single from 1964. On track 3 we find their other UK hit, "Leader Of The Pack" which charted several times over the '60s and '70s.
Now maybe I've listened to too many oldies shows on the radio, but I felt sure that "Give Him A Great Big Kiss" and "Past, Present And Future" had been hits, but no, not in the UK. I guess the exposure given to "Past, Present And Future" has been out of all proportion to its chart success, based as it is on Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. Even the sleeve-notes describe it as 'possibly the most extraordinary record ever made'!
The people at RPM records are proud of the sound quality they have achieved but I have to report here that perhaps 3 or 4 of the tracks are somewhat distorted. I can only assume that the best original recordings available were already distorted because the rest are just fine, and CD is a much better way to take in your Shangri-Las than your now-wearing-out vinyl copies!
As a compilation, this has to be the definitive Shangri-Las collection. It captures the era and their dramatic rendition of songs perfectly. I enjoyed it. And a Myrmidon? It's a 'hired ruffian', or 'base servant'. Huh?
1. Remember (Walking In The Sand)
2. It's Easier To Cry
3. Leader Of The Pack
4. What Is Love
5. Give Him A Great Big Kiss
7. Out In The Streets
8. The Boy
9. Give Us Your Blessing
10. Heaven Only Knows
11. Right Now Not Later
12. The Train From Kansas City
13. Never Again
14. I'm Blue
15. What's A Girl Supposed To Do
16. The Dum Dum Ditty
17. You Cheated, You Lied
18. I Can Never Go Home Anymore
19. Bull Dog
20. Long Live Our Love
21. Sophisticated Boom Boom
22. He Cried
23. Dressed In Black
24. Past, Present And Future
26. Love You More Than Yesterday
27. Wishing Well
28. Hate To Say I Told You So
29. Give Him A Great Big Kiss (alt take)
30. Radio Spot #1 How pretty can you get
31. Radio Spot #2 Revlon endorsement
32. Radio Spot #3 Good taste tip
33. Radio Spot #4 Dating courtesy tip
- GV -
"Boogie Nights 2" Various Artists Premier Soundtracks 7243 4 93076 2 9
"Boogie Nights 2"
Premier Soundtracks 7243 4 93076 2 9
So much good music in one film! The film is called "Boogie Nights", and a soundtrack CD was released to coincide with the UK release of the film. Then right out of the blue, another CD! Seems there was too much material in the film for just one CD, so another is called for.
Once again we have a splendid selection of tunes from the era - remember the film is set in the '70s. They're not all so obvious - in fact I've got my CD player set to skip for track 10, "I Want To Be Free" by the Ohio Players. I just don't like it. But with "You Sexy Thing" in there and the sadly under-rated "Joy" (Jesu Joy Of Man's Desiring) by Apollo 100, there's enough to keep most listeners attention. Other highlights are "Driver's Seat" by Sniff 'n' The Tears (who?!!) a soulful "Fooled Around & Fell In Love" by Elvin Bishop and a track called "Feel Too Good" by The Move from the era when Jeff Lynne was in the band, just prior to the formation of The Electric Light Orchestra, who were on the first of these two soundtrack albums. "Feel Too Good" is a 9 minute epic with Jeff and Roy having a good laugh at the end. If you like compilations of '70s music, this album might well be for you.
1. Three Dog Night - Mama Told Me Not To Come
2. Elvin Bishop - Fooled Around & Fell In Love
3. Hot Chocolate - You Sexy Thing
4. KC & The Sunshine Band - Boogie Shoes
5. Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band - Do Your Thing
6. Sniff 'n' The Tears - Drivers Seat
7. The Move - Feel Too Good
8. Rick Springfield - Jessie's Girl
9. Sound Experience - J. P. Walk
10. Ohio Players - I Want To Be Free
11. Apollo 100 - Joy
- GV -
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