Talking About My Girls

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.

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A Miller’s Divine Tale Part 2

The next two Steve Miller’s induces: Circle Of Love, Abracadabra, Italian X Rays, Living in the 20th Century, Wide River, Young Hearts, Live 1983, Anthology, The Joker, Fly Like An Eagle, Born 2B Blue. Plus: Quicksilver Messenger Service: Maiden of the Cancer Moon; Rubáiyát: Elektra Compilation; Daniel Lanois: Acadie; Divine: Unforgettable Hits.

With Abracadabra, The Joker, & Fly Like An Eagle the band hit its stride. These were big sellers & deservedly so. But as music trends changed the group fell out of hit parade favour. Their sound didn’t change much – though Italian X Rays shows the influence of Graham Parker. The Steve Miller Band were ‘adult’ pop not teeny-bopper fodder. As good as any of their contemporaries they never disappoint even if they never surprise 🙂 

 Quicksilver Messenger Service: Maiden of the Cancer Moon – this a a great double lp live set around the time of Happy Trails. Extended solos & trippy guitar work. This allows you to experience why they became legendary but also why they never became hit-parade material. Like Miller this is adult rock. Also it’s great to hear them before they got a bit lost as they searched for a consistent music focus.

Rubáiyát is Elektra Records 1990 40th anniversary collection of covers by the then present-day Elektra artists of songs from its catalogue. So you get things like the Cure covering The Doors ‘Hello, I Love You’ (you were expecting them to cover ‘The End’?) All the covers are restrained, no radical make overs. The original packaging was in keeping with the anniversary extensive  liner notes, deluxe ruby red cassette in a presentation box.

Daniel Lanois’s Acadie is a gentle almost humble album that is, as the title suggests, a pop meditation on his Québecois heritage. Folksy, warm & satisfying. It reminds me of The Band more than of U2 🙂 He’s best known as a producer & at one time having him as your producer was a guarantee of a grammie nomination.

All these guys produce great music but also reflect their time. Songs to ‘girls’ not ‘women.’ Paeans to lost heterosexual loves, drugs & political statements. So to counter balance all that I’ve included Divine’s Greatest Hit. Songs done with high energy, enthusiasm, humour & sexual innuendo. Can Divine sing? Who knows? Who cares? This music for fun that is well produced & you can dance to it till you shoot your shot. 

The Polishing of the Magi

The Armature Theatre Guild has been forced to cancel this years presentation of “The Polishing of the Magi” – I understand this will come as a disappointment to many of you – especially those of you whose children had been fortunate enough to be chosen to play the parts of the shepherds, lambs, sacrifices, dervishes and of course, the ultra blessed couple themselves.

Rehearsals had been going better than ever, according to Hank Grebly. It was the first time someone other than a member of the McGinch clan had been given the opportunity to direct the production and Hank was making the most of this opportunity.

But alas, as things often do, it all went to the apple press in a hand cart when it was clear that the McGinch’s weren’t willing to allow things to progress smoothly. Not that this comes as much of a surprise either, mind you. We all pay for our indulgence of this family and its anti-social actions. 

But not to give up all hope, as it seems Hank and some of the cast will be presenting a childless clown version of the same story. It may not have the same impact, but the show must go on. We will be spared the often bitter competition over whose baby gets to play the pivotal role of the fulcrum of all religions. That alone almost makes up for not having a full scale production, doesn’t it?

On a lighter note the Visitor’s Mall will be hosting their annual Midnight Madness sale, for those us who have time and need for yet more shopping. As the Mall says ‘Shopping is in the true spirit of the season, and if we don’t spend we just aren’t pious.’

I pray their prayers are answered.

Please note that the left-handicraft fair slated for the Pumpkin County Area has been cancelled. It was to be a fund raiser for the production of the “Polishing of the Magi” & seeing as that has been cancelled, there seemed little reason to have the craft fair. 

Those who had planned to pick up some of Sylvia’s Jams and Moose Tarts can find a display of them at Bea Petratica’s Bridalle Shoppe and at Meg’s Cafe. Get there early as these delicious treats don’t last long.

Sylvia has introduced two new jams this year that I, for one, can’t wait to try. The Orange & Maple Ashes with Nutmage and Quince with Ginger & Bark. I have no idea what bark she has used,  but I’m sure it will be a savoury deflight to perk up those you who are disappointed by the cancellation of the “Polishing of the Magi.”

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