Saturday, January 27, 2007

singing and dancing and screencaps, oh my

Clearly I was born in the wrong era. Born in '66, I came in on the tail-end of the great old variety shows, and that just ain't right. I have vague memories of some of the programs. I'm told I was, at age 3, a big fan of the Tom Jones show, to the point of grabbing a twirling baton as my mic while imitating his entrance. I may have blocked that out. The ones I remember watching faithfully were Sonny and Cher, Donny and Marie, Carol Burnett, and all those specials by Mitzi Gaynor and Shirley Maclaine. That was some good stuff. I've never understood why those kinds of shows just petered out.

As I said earlier, I recently bought the dvd, Excerpts From The Lennon Sisters Hour, which is sold through the official site. Here are a couple of pictures of the packaging.

It is fantabulous. The big production numbers are a blast. Man, did those girls work their tails off doing those demanding dances. They really get into it too. In the first number, when they flip their chairs and catch them, Kathy must've not known her own strength. She sent that thing flying high! Janet is just a total standout in so many of these numbers. That girl could move!

The clothes! And the hair! Scary to think everybody thought that style looked good back then.

I like the way they broke it down into sections of big dance numbers, the "home" songs, solos, and novelty numbers. Peggy is downright hilarious in the latter. Her comedic timing is right on target. I think my favorite of the dvd is Ain't Misbehavin' - it is simply sublime.

I took a bunch of screencaps - a little over 80. Too bad the old episodes couldn't have been remastered so we could have it in pristine high quality. I can dream right? Nonetheless, I am thrilled to get to see part of the show at all. I uploaded the caps into a gallery if you'd like to have a looksee. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Lennon Sisters meme/game

Here's something fun to do - fire up your media player of choice, open it to your Lennon Sisters playlist, hit shuffle, and write your thoughts on the first five songs that play. I'll go first.

You Don't Have To Say You Love Me - I love hearing the girls doing pop songs like this, and they give it a very beautiful and lush treatment here.

Days Of Wine And Roses (Dianne) - Having just bought and watched the dvd, Excerpts From The Lennon Sisters Hour, now when I hear this song I can’t help but see Dee Dee’s little kids accompanying her on their kazoos!
ETA: I think I had one to many margaritas when I posted this last night. This was NOT the song Dee Dee's kids accompanied her on their kazoo's - it was Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head! I mean, they're not even similar - how'd I screw that up. Yeah, I'm blaming the alcohol.

The End Of The World - I’m a sucker for any song that highlights Janet’s deliciously sweet voice. To my ear, her harmony seems more prominent on this song which make me love this gem all the more.

Mickey Mouse Mambo - Their “ungh‘s” just flat crack me up! Way cute novelty song.

Twilight Time - Another exquisite pop rendition by them. It’s pretty damn near perfect.

Come on and share your songlists!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Best Pals are a big draw

Kudos to Kathy and Janet on the success of their Best Pals dolls.
At this weekends Idex show they are apparently quite the hit as evidenced by this rave from's doll collector columnist, Denise Van Patten. Here's a link to her Jan. 20th entry where she named the dolls as the Find of the Day.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

fabulous indeed

This TV Radio Mirror magazine is one of my absolute favorites. It’s one of The Lennon Sisters’ earlier cover stories, from March 1957. They had been stars on the Welk show for a little over a year, and the Lennon juggernaut was really starting to kick into high gear.

My gawd they were so young! Have you ever seen a more photogenic family? They look like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting. I especially love the photo of all of them on the porch. Dee Dee truly did look like the perfect all-American girl.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

vinyl heaven

Dang, I had forgotten how many Lennon Sisters albums I bought years ago. I tried arranging them for a photo - I had to stand on a chair to get this pic.

Ooh, white go-go boots! Makes you wanna get up and do the Pony.

Every so often, as I play these old records again, I’m going to post some comments on various songs that strike my fancy. Here we go.

Sad Movies (Make Me Cry)
This is the Lennon Sisters song I go back to time and again. I never get tired of listening to it. I included it on my girl groups playlist, and let me tell you, it holds its own alongside beauties by The Shangs, The Shirelles, The Ronettes and the rest. What an underrated pop gem. It’s got a delicious opening harmony, and goes straight into a funky bass and guitar. It’s even got strings. The big draw here is Kathy’s lead vocals. They’re sort of mournful and wonderfully pouty, as she sings of discovering that her no good boyfriend is two-timing her with her best friend. Oh my. This is simply superlative teenage angst pop.

Ode To Billie Joe
Being such a big Bobbie Gentry fan (seriously y’all, the woman’s work is genius) I had a lot of trepidation when I learned a Lennon recorded it. I’m a Southern girl. Bobbie’s lyrics are extremely evocative of the Deep South. It conjures up memories for me of my great-grandmother’s shotgun house in tiny Simmesport and the whole rural experience. Obviously Bobbie’s version is the definitive one. Nothing will compare to it, but I gotta admire the gut’s it took for Kathy to have a go at it. It’s not bad actually. I know, what a ringing endorsement! Her voice is nice and low, and she does a good job of trying to express the emotions of the lyrics. I like the little different inflections she does throughout that make the song more her own. More than anything I am just glad she didn’t attempt a Southern accent. That could’ve been disastrous. As much as I like Kathy’s voice, I really would have loved for Janet to have done this song. Janet’s voice is more slow and sultry which would have served the song very well, I think.

Our Day Will Come
Gorgeous. This is one of my all-time favorites by them. The sisters’ harmonies are absolutely perfect. And Janet! Her voice is low, melodious, and downright sexy. Baby girl ain’t no baby no mo’. The hypnotizing samba beat gets me swaying every time. Oh yeah.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Stop And Smell The Roses

This is my favorite Lennon Sisters YouTube clip - the ladies and Mac Davis sing his song Stop And Smell The Roses, posted by jamesrstewartaz. I bet I saw this episode as a kid. I would have been around seven years old in '74, and my mom and I loved variety type programs.

Mac must have been a fan - it was a lovely touch showing the old clip of their first performance on tv and to segue into current time of them finishing out a bit of the song. I wonder who's idea it was? Whoever's it was, that was classy y'all.

Everybody looks and sounds in fine form, with each sister getting a solo line of the song at the beginning. I adore how Kathy get's into it and soulfully sings, "and luv 'em tenderly". Cute! She moves nauturally too. Janet and Dee Dee have some stiff shoulder shaking thing going on. Peggy adds a little handclapping near the end.

Does anyone know if they sang any other songs on this episode?

Monday, January 8, 2007

just a couple of ol' broads

The video quality isn't the best, but this performance by Janet and Kathy as old ladies is pretty cute. Janet is such a charmer. She is so funny and totally steals the show. Be sure and watch for when she starts to get down, at about 2 minutes into the clip.

Kathy & Janet sing "Dearie", Nov. 1965 -
Posted on YouTube by Welkfan71

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Mimi Lennon - showbiz or sisterhood

Will little Mimi's love of God take her from her sisters?

Well, I guess we know which vocation she chose.

Now that the Lennon Sisters' younger sis Mimi has joined Kathy and Janet in performing in Branson, it seems only appropriate to scan the Nov. 1966 issue of Motion Picture featuring the little charmer on the cover.

Seriously, y'all, it is just wild that forty years after this article appeared, these ladies would be performing together, drawing in the big crowds. And recording together too. Mimi's vocals as a full-fledged Lennon Sister have been added to their voluminous discography on this live cd.

It's gotta be hard to join an already well-established act, but by all accounts Mimi is quite a hit with the fans. It doesn't hurt that she resembles Kathy either.

Onto the scans. It's a fun article and it's so sweet how Kathy was like a second mother to Mimi. Enjoy!

Monday, January 1, 2007

Janet, you is a woman now

Back in the early '90s, when my Lennon Sisters fascination first took hold, before the internets, I bought a boatload of those old fan magazines - TV Radio Mirror, Photoplay, and the like. For me, it was all about the photos. The Lennons were/are photogentically blessed. Kathy in particular is just a stunner of a beauty.

It wasn't just photos of the "girls" - often the magazines featured them with their (numerous) little brothers and sisters. Call me corny, but it's just fun to see these staged, yet real, family settings. It's enjoyable nostalgia without being tempered by the knowledge of future family rifts, or former childstar meltdowns. By all accounts the whole family is still staggeringly close. Oh sure, I know they aren't perfect. Please, that would be too much to stomach. But dammit, their happiness in being together is just a joy to behold.

These scans are from TV Radio Mirror, Nov. 1962


Now here's a headline!

Hi there, ho there

Why another blog? It's bad enough I don't post consistently in my personal one, and now I want to begin a new one? I never said I was sane, y'all.

Basically I wanted a place to post about my fangirly obsessions. The aim is to share scans of some great old fan magazines from the '60s, and just ramble on about whatever and whomever I fancy.

It's a new year, so why not.

Off to start scanning, and make myself a Lennon Sisters icon.