Night & Day is a stand-alone compilation of Cole Porter songs performed by an array of jazz icons such as Shirley Horn, Billie Holiday & Fred Astaire. Each song is a classic & this a good introduction to the stylists & to Cole Porter.
Next on the shelf is a fun, wonderful, sometimes heart breaking, mp3 collection by various female pop singers who reflect, in sometimes dismaying ways, the roles that women were expected to play both in reality & in the music industry. Filed under Sandy Posey – with a hits collection including her songs Born A Woman & Single Girl (both by Martha Sharp). Both delivered with a combination of harrowing fragility & fuck you self-realizations. Not quite angry enough to become feminist anthems.
Skeeter Davis: Here’s The Answer: cover versions of hit singles by country artists and answer songs to the hits. ie Last Date & her response: My Last Date (With You). More country than Sandy & perhaps even more compliant with the gal’s cultural role.
Of course women suffered at different levels & some like, Leslie Gore made it clear she wasn’t going to take it with doing like You Don’t Own Me. I have her Golden Hits, knowing she eventually came out casts an interesting light on her teen angst & willingness to make Judy cry. ‘why is she wearing his ring when she could be wearing mine’
Another 60s icon is Connie Francis. I have her My Happiness collection & it’s clear her happiness is a man who treats her well. Her voice is emotionally laden with neediness & the arrangements are perfectly overwrought.
Somewhat different is Petula Clark. On her Greatest Hits she has a more sophisticated lightness about life, men & taking the subway. She knows a place were there’s more than men to fulfill her sense of self.
Remember Mary Wells? She cut tracks with Marvin Gaye that appear on the Motown collection Early Classics. Her My Guy is another of those songs pledging her heart to the perfect man who makes her life complete. She set the musical template for the Supremes – in fact she left Motown because profits from her recordings were being used to promote The Supremes & not her. Her life would make an excellent bio movie.
When Dionne Warwick sings Only Love Can Break A Heart, on her album of the same title, you know she knows the role of a woman – to be disappointed in the search for true love. Great melodramatic songs about that search on her way to San Jose.
Can’t get enough of girl groups? Then try the compilation Ultimate Girl Groups: 26 tracks including: Passionettes, The Gems; with endless, sometimes funky, songs about unfaithful men by an array of excellent almost-made-it girl groups modelled after The Supremes.
Also in this mp3 collection is the expanded Hairspray (original film) soundtrack. Classic early 60’s dance music with tracks by Chubby Checker & too many others to list. An excellent movie worth seeing for the music & for Divine Vs Debby Harry. Finally, to round out the collection, Joan Morris: Vaudeville: Songs of the Great Ladies of the Musical Stage. This puts the suffering ladies of the 60’s, 70’s, into a historical context starting with a delightful ‘I Don’t Care’ but really know she does.