Thursday, July 4, 2013

CD: Doo-Wop Volume 13 – 1961

Volume 13 – 1961
Blue Moon 2:16 When We Get Married 2:28 Please Mr. Postman 2:30 Daddy’s Home 2:53
Runaround Sue 2:41 Duke of Earl 2:27 My True Story 2:34 Barbara Ann 2:15
Every Beat of My Heart 2:02 I Really Love You 2:17 Gypsy Woman 2:20 Let Me In 3:03
Glitter in Your Eyes 2:45 Foot Stompin’;Pt.1 2:22 A Little Bit of Soap 2:11 Smokey Places 3:00 Some Kind of Wonderful 2:18 Bristol Stomp 2:20 Lover’s Island 2:20 The Watusi 2:39 Its Unbelievable 2:17 Heart and Soul 1:57 Look in My Eyes 2:18 It Will Stand 2:22 Greetings 2:45 Nothing But Good 2:43 That’s What Girls Are Made From 3:09 Nag 2:56 Tonight I fell in Love 1:44 Check Yourself 2:43 Tonight(Could Be the Night) 2:06 There’s No Other(Like My Baby) 2:30 The Continental Work 2:21 Long Tall Girl 2:20 These Oldies But Goodies(Remind Me of You) 3:27

The last time I heard this song it was a lot slower. Blue Moon opens up the album and I thought I’d be crying. Guess not this time. Maybe I spoke too soon. When We Get Married comes up next. I seriously hope this guy didn’t get left at the altar because it really sounds like it. We’ve all heard stories about the next song, Please Mr. Postman, I wonder if there was a song during the 1920’s called “Mr. Milkman.” I guess it follows the theme from the previous song so Daddy’s Home, is next to play. Maybe it’s supposed to be a happy one. I just don’t hear it that way. Whoever had the idea to put this together may love invoking a constant rollercoaster of emotions but I would rather it not be that way. They really should have put all “commit suicide or cry” songs into one section and titled them properly.
            Ahhhh. I know this one Runaround Sue is a nice fun song. It’s fast paced maybe the lyrics were meant to give that sad feeling, but it just comes out differently. I don’t think anyone could say they don’t know the next one. Duke of Earl is just that song that you always associate with the time period. I don’t think this song is going anywhere soon.
            My True Story is after the “Duke,” It even has a reference to him in the lyrics. I don’t think they cried a river in those days. It must’ve been more like an ocean. Like I said this album just goes up and down. Barbara Ann is what I’m talking about. It’s fast paced, has a great sax part, and on this collection it’s incredibly re-mastered.
            And then, back down. Every Beat of My Heart takes you right back down. Either her boyfriend died, or she’s a stalker. I Really Love You, back up and another song that I think if it was written in today’s world would put the writer in jail, another stalker song in my opinion. I can only hope for an even plane with the next one. I don’t believe I’ve heard it before, Gypsy Woman. Can anyone out there listening raise your hand if you know this one? It definitely has the bells you can associate with a gypsy. This song brings back a memory, not a pleasant one. When I was a kid we were camping and I was on the playground, my bike was all of a sudden surrounded. Before my father could get them away, some gypsies took all of the bolts off and parts of it had disappeared. Needless to say, I’m not such a fan of even the thought of glorifying gypsies.
            Some Kind of Wonderful is a song I want to hear just to see if it’s the same song I’m thinking about. Okay, it’s not the song I’m thinking about, but it could be the same lyrics, I’m really not sure. Maybe, this is the original song. It’s Unbelievable and Heart and Soul are two more of those songs that I may know, but seriously doubt I do. First, It’s Unbelievable I never have heard but the woman singer has a beautiful voice. Next, Heart and Soul I’ve never heard either. It is a song that you would expect on a doo-wop album.
            The album is amazingly re-mastered. Its sound quality is amazing. I listen to these albums on my headphones, and by far this is the best of the doo-wop albums I’ve listened to so far. Out of all thirty-five songs only a handful I had heard before, but I’m guessing these were put together for older couples or to make sure the music didn’t get lost throughout time. Most of it just makes me wonder if boys were made to record the lyrics before they hit puberty. 

Jeremy Frost for Country Music News International

CD: JANET SNELL - God's Inspiration / "F" Is For Fun

God's Inspiration
I Do Lord - I Need You My Lord - Give Me Strength - God Only Knows - One Day - Fly -  I Love You Lord - God's Love Is Unspoken - The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow - Reason, Season, Lifetime - Wayfaring Stranger - Amazing Grace - Medley
"F" Is For Fun
Are We Ever Gonna Get Our Time - You Are My Friend - Go With The Flow - My Daddy's Little Farm Girl - Learn To Be Kind - Greener Grass - Best Friends - Down At The Raccoon River - I'm Happy - Weeping Willow - Who Needs A Man - One Day
Got to hear this lovely voiced lady at the Wahoo Festival in Nebraska.  She gave me two of her CD releases, and they are both pretty good.  I am going to concentrate on the Gospel one because the second one is done with a meter-maker drum set with pretty much the same sounding meter and beat throughout the album, although the singing and original song writing are exceptional.  The song writing on "God's Inspiration" is excellent.  It is also done as a duet with Ron Dubuy who has I believe a Gibson guitar that sounds like an older Kay style, so lacking in today's music, and sounding so good as a rhythm guitar.  His guitar is pronounced in this session as well, and compliments Janet's voice very well.  I believe the order of doing the sessions was "F Is For Fun" was done in 2011 and "God's Inspiration" was done in 2009, so we are seeing some very nice improvement throughout all that Janet is doing.  If I was mixing either of these sessions I believe I would bring her voice out just a little more to the middle-front, so we can adequately hear every word she is singing.  There is some female harmony singing, but the insert does not tell us who this is, or who is doing the male harmony.  Janet is an extra good writer, so even those with excellent hearing might have difficulty 'hearing' every word she is writing-singing. These recordings are also what you would hear when this duet performs 'live,' which they do that quite well. The audience at Wahoo really liked what they were doing.  I like what they are doing as well, and will submit "God's Inspiration" to the Rural Roots Music Commission to see what they think.  Good going Janet and Ron, keep up the good work.
Bob Everhart -

CD: RED JOHNSON - Old Barns & Old People

Old Barns & Old People
Old Barns & Old People - Stick To The Lies - Thank You Dear - Chocolate Covered Cherries - A Letter To The Bride - Nickolina - The Streets of Love - A Feeling Of Unrest - A Girl Who Didn't Know - If You're Happy - In The Lobby Of the Home - Pinocchio - Only Yesterday - Wandering Down The RR Track - Sunshine At Midnight - The Truth Has Set Me Free - Greet The Folks At Home - I Forgot What I Came To Say - We Don't Give A Dang - Save Me A Chair In The Angel Band
Red Johnson is that big loveable Swede who lives in Minnesota who wrote "There's A Grand Ole Opry Show Playing Somewhere" and recorded it for Capitol Records.  It was a sizeable hit when it came out.  He's baaaaack.  Yep, Red Johnson is still setting pen to paper writing songs from the heart.  This is what country music, not so many years ago, was all about.  The genre has changed so drastically today, you wouldn't recognize it as country music.  Red Johnson still sets us straight on that loss, and goes out on the road, doing his shows much like he used to do.  His music is very reminiscent of an old-time live radio show.  All those remarkable heart-to-heart songs are in all that he does, including this CD.  Sad songs, songs of love, songs of remembrance, even songs with a dissertation or narration (whatever you might call it), and it's all well done for Count Recordings.  Red always does a good job vocally, he sounds today like he sounded 50 years ago, the same down to earth country voice that made (and still does) country music what it is. I was very surprised to hear John Ely on Dobro and steel guitar.  You don't know John Ely?  He used to play in "Asleep At The Wheel" aaaah yes, that John Ely.  What a treat.  The very first song "Old Barns & Old People" was written by Red, with a little help from his friend Rich Bellert.  Rich usually joins us at the LeMars festival, but I haven't heard back from him, he's a terrific MC.  Red will be there, strutting his stuff with some fine old-time and traditional country songs.  His wife Flo is his music director, and she sets him straight.  She's his biggest fan, with me and my wife Sheila right behind her.  This particular CD has a nice 'mix' of songs, nicely done all the way through, and special guest Betty Rydell on hand to help him.  Some of the other helpers were Terry Nord on keyboard and Chuck Peterson.  There's a neat accordion playing on several of the songs, but don't know who it is.  If you'd like to hear some genuine country music, or songs with substance as Rich Bellert describes Red's music, you need to come to LeMars for the big get-together of all kinds of country music, but specifically to see and hear Red.
Bob Everhart -

CD: ROSE ALEXANDER - Open Up Your Heart

Open Up Your Heart
The Light Of Jesus - You're The Wonder Of My Life - He Had His Hand Upon Me - You Were There, Lord - No One Will Ever Take Your Love From Me - Trust In Jesus - The Blood Of The Lamb Set Me Free - Sacrifice At Calvary - Little Angel - He Heard Me He Loved Me He Cared - The Light Of Jesus Reprise
It amazes me the number of CD's I get from foreign countries, wanting to know my opinion of their 'American style' country music.  This particular CD was sent to me from Newfoundlander Michael T Wall.  The singer, Rose Alexander, is from Australia.  Go figure.  No less than six of the songs on this CD are written by Ms. Alexander.  And they are all terrific witness's and revelations of her relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.  This alone makes it a special adventure.  We learn of new ways to be with our Lord, and she does exactly that.  Victor Sophios contributed five original songs to the project.  He also played the bass and lead guitar on the session.  Quite a nice session as well. Dooley Zantis on keyboard; Liz West on mandolin; Attilla Sautov on violin (especially nice on "No One Will Ever Take Your Love From Me); Roger Connolly on harmonica; all of them contributing harmony at one point or another.  It should be noted that Rose also played keyboard and acoustic rhythm guitar.  Actually it's a quite nice country music production, one that I shall forward to the Rural Roots Music Commission.  All around easy to listen to session. We need more singers and songwriters like Rose Alexander on planet earth these days, indeed we do.
Bob Everhart -

CD: TEX & MARY SCHUTZ - Bluebonnet Blue

Bluebonnet Blue
The Texas Bluebonnet Waltz - That Little One-Room Schoolhouse - Yellow Roses - Me & Bobbie McGee - The Three Bells - The Lord Knows I'm Drinking - I Still Miss Someone - Daisy A Day - It's Such A Pretty World - Born To Lose - Sugartime - When Two Worlds Collide - Blues, Stay Away From Me - The Blizzard
Whenever I get a CD from the Red Dog Studios in Streetman, Texas, I know I'm in for a 'real deal' treat in country music. Tex Schutz has been the elder statesman of acoustic country music for the past fifty years in the upper Midwest. His ability as a musician (on many different instruments) is unparalleled, and his 'ear' for country music, especially in the studio is unsurpassed.  This time he lets his wife Mary really 'shine,' vocally.  Her voice from song one, where she demonstrates her ability to use tremolo is beautiful.  Together their voices still blend as nicely as it did when they very first started.  This couple has no less than 17 incredible music projects recorded.  On this one, we get to hear a whole big bunch of what Tex can do.  His mandolin has always been that old-timey kind of style, not necessarily bluegrass, but what Bill Monroe must have sounded like in his early years, especially 1934 when he played on the radio in Shenandoah, Iowa.  That makes Tex's mandolin sound really good, really country.  Tex's acoustic Martin guitar is a valid expression of near-perfection using both as a rhythm and a lead instrument.  And this time we also get to hear Tex play a kind of rustic harmonica, just right for where he put it.  I especially liked it in "Me & Bobbie McGee." Mary plays upright acoustic bass. I believe this one is the one she uses when she plays live, at least it sounds like it, and it sounds great. The engineering, mix, and mastering on this delightful acoustic album is just right, all the way round.  Tex has never missed on these very important elements, whether he's doing it on his own session, or sessions recorded by others.  You can be sure if you record at Red Dog you are going to get the very best available, no matter who you are.  It's not too late for me to forward this to the Rural Roots Music Commission, so off it goes.  I think they will hear what I hear. By the way, the first song "The Texsas Bluebonnet Waltz" which Mary sings so well was written by mutual friend Janet McBride (a great Texas writer), and "That Little One-Room Schoolhouse" was written by Kansan, Garry Bickelmeyer.
Bob Everhart -

Country Music News International July 4. 2013

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Interview with Lisa Matassa, Nashville, 06.06.2013

Interview with Lisa Matassa, Nashville, 06.06.2013

You just had a new single, can you tell me about that?

My new single is coming out on the radio and is called „I won’t Ask“, we are shooting for release on the radio at the first week of july. I’m really excited about it. We’re also putting it on the new EP that we plan to release in January 2014. The most recently released single „Somebody’s Baby“ that is on the radio right now, is doing really well. It has been on the top 40 recently and we’re real happy about that too.

Can you tell me about your last album and the songs that are on there?

That was great, „Somebody’s Baby“ is the name of that EP and it is also the title song. The video for that song just reached over four million viewers on Youtube, so of course, I’m very happy with that. The songs on that album are really songs that where released back in december. I put a little Christmas song on there as well, a song that I loved listening to as a child and the cover of my all time favorite song, which is „I Will Always Love You“ from Dolly Parton. Just some things that are close and dear to my heart. As an independent artist, it is important to keep your name out there all the time. Whether you have a new single or an EP. Sometimes you have to work twice as hard than a major label artist, to get your music out there and to get people to see you and know who you are.

Do you write your own music as well?

I do, I love writing, I have been writing since I was young, but I don’t have a problem with somebody elses music if I have a connection to it, to the lyrics, then I have no problem with singing it.

Who influenced you the most?

Growing up in south Florida, I was listening to artists like Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, Bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd. I loved artists like Barbara Streisand. There is a whole different collection of musicians that really helped develop me to who I am as an artist.

When did you start to sing?

I started singing at eight, I was trained as an opera singer. I did that for about five years and it really helped me to know how to breathe and where to place the voice in the mask of my face. All of that helped me to be the singer that I am today. I have been singing professionally since I was eight years old, performing live since about eleven years old and I did musical theater as well. I haven’t stopped singing since the day I was singing in my bedroom down in Florida and my Dad open the door and my Mom shouted „you can sing“!

Where were you born?

I was born in New York and raised in South Florida, then we moved back to New York
when I was a sophomore in high school. My learning years, my development of music came from listening to country when I lived down south. At the time when I was in South Florida, it was totally different than what it is now. We had open fields, farmland, we rode horses on the weekends, fished everyday after school. It was more of a livestyle, now we live in New York and it is totally different.

Do you live in New York now?

Yes, I live in Long Island, there are about eight million people on Long Island from end to end, so it is quite busy. I don’t mind coming to Nashville, I’m here so often. It is even easier sometimes coming here than it is to get into Manhatten from Long Island. I’d rather just jump on a plane for an hour and half flight than to go shopping and be an hour and half in traffinc on a Long Island expressway.

Have you been on a lot of tours?

We have done a lot of radio promotion tours, did a lot of concerts. I’ve had a chance to work with some of the most incredible musicians, people that I have admired for so long. Artists like Dierks Bentley, Erich Church, LeAnn Rymes and Lee Brice. It has been an amazing couple of years and I’m feeling so blessed and fortunate to be a part of it.

What is your best experience so far?

That was yesterday, I have so many things I want to do before I die, and one of them is to play the Ryman Auditorium and yesterday was my first performance at the Ryman. It went over really well. I was there for the Jonny Cash Tribute Special for the US Postal Service. They gave him a Forever stamp and I was asked to perform. I was there with the Oak Ridge Boys, Randy Travis and it was just an amazing time. I was really happy.

What are your hopes for the future?

You know, as a musician you want to make sure that you let people hear who you are and experience you as an artist, for the real you. I’ve never been interested in fame and fortune, my Dad told me once growing up, God gives everyone a gift. It may be something that you do better than another person, it could be the gift of writing, of smarts, I don’t know, but there is something that you have and it is your responsibility to take it and nurture it and share it. That’s what I do. You know the fans are amazing in country music, they are so loyal, one of the best parts of beeing a country music artist is getting so many great fans.

Do you have a family?

Yes I have a really great supportive faimily. Mom and Dad have been with me since day one, they still come to all of the shows that are in New York. I have two childeren, seventeen and fifteen. My husband is super supportive, I’m really blessed. I’m taking one day at a time and I’m just very thankful to be able to do what I love and share it.

Are you working on a new project now?

Yes, I’m working on the upcoming EP that will be released in early 2014.
The first single off that is called “I Won’t Ask“ and will be on the radio starting in July.

Anything else would like to say?

I just want to tell the fans in Switzerland, thank you for supporting country music, I hope I get to come over there one day and perform, thank you for the support and God bless you all.

Heidi und Marco Duss for Country Music News International

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