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.

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