Monday, November 24, 2008

Sarah Vaughan

The north end of Winnipeg is the north end of Winnipeg; there’s no getting around it. But there is plenty of Winnipeg north of the north end. The north end is called “the north end” I guess because it used to be the north end, back when my grandparents were growing up, but my grandparents grew up in an entirely different country.

Selkirk Avenue runs right through the north end, in a kind of direction that goes north west – south east, and that’s where Country Music Centre used to be.

It was a small store but it was a great store. And the guy that ran it, he looked like someone out of a Larry McMurtry novel, the perfect character to own and operate an outlet for country music. I would bring something to the counter, surprised that the man wasn’t actually chewing tobacco, and he’d look at it, and look at the price, and say nah that’s too much, and he’d knock a buck or two off.

When was the last time that happened at HMV.

No surprise, most of what they carried was country, they had the most amazing collection of country albums, and they had a bit of pop, and they had a 50s and 60s section, and of course that’s where I spent my time. For a time they had a small selection of used LPs, and that’s where I got Sarah Vaughan.

Now Sarah Vaughan, she sang jazz and she sang pop ballads, and she recorded for many different labels, in a number of different styles. Between 1955 and 1960, though, she put 19 records on the top 100, all on Mercury, and then in 1966 her recording of “Lover’s Concerto” became her last hit, sort of, reaching number 63.

This collection is an old one, released in the early 60s, and it features that part of her career, when her hits were, 6 of which are here.

And The Country Music Centre, before I left the city, it was for sale, but there were no takers, and, sadly, it closed its doors, never to reopen...

Sarah Vaughan:

Misty – This was actually a hit for Johnny Mathis, although I actually prefer Sarah. Ray Stevens did a country-style version in 1975
Broken Hearted Melody – Very pop, this was a top 10 hit in autumn, 1959.
Make Yourself Comfortable – Sultry. This was Sarah’s biggest hit single, and that was at the end of ’54, beginning of ’55.
Autumn in New York – I’ve only ever been in New York in the spring and the summer, and that was New York state, I’ve never been to NYC.
Moonlight in Vermont – Vermont is near here, and I hear that it’s beautiful, but I’ve never been.
How Important Can It Be – From the winter of 1955.
Smooth Operator – Not the Sade song, this was a hit at the end of 1959.
Whatever Lola Wants – No relation to Ray Davies, this was top 10 in the spring of 1955.
Lullaby Of Birdland – A jazz standard, she is really in her element here.
Eternally – From early 1960. Sounds a bit, at the start, like “Always” by Irving Berlin.
Poor Butterfly – This is a pop Madama Butterfly. Seriously.
Close To You – Not the Muddy Waters song, and not the Carpenters’ song either.

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