Sunday, December 7, 2008

Patti Page

Go on home
You don’t belong here with me
Though I want you
And I need you desperately

I got this double album best of collection by Patti Page at Value Village. That was one of the first things I found there, this and Bill Monroe. The last track comes from a Columbia Records various artists compilation that I picked up at short-lived record store in Garden City Square.

Patti Page was the consummate 50s pop singer, a style that disappeared as rock and roll took over the world. She can be hokey, but mostly there is an honesty here, more than you get with, say, Perry Como, and unlike Rosemary Clooney, she is not afraid of unabashed sentiment.

She had 85 singles in the top 100 between 1948 and 1968, the early ones on Mercury, the later ones on Columbia. 41 of those records dated from 1955 on, which is “our period.” I have 24 of them here.

She is still alive.

Patti Page:

Tennessee Waltz – This was huge, it was number 1 for months in 1950. Patti took the arrangement from a recording made by Les Paul & Mary Ford, and here was Patti taking Mary Ford’s technique of multi-tracking her voice, which was not common then, and parlaying it into sales of 7 million then, and 15 million since. The oddest version I ever heard was by Otis Redding. It was written by Redd Stewart and Pee Wee King (a la Bonaparte’s Retreat).

And what a tale. She was dancing with her darling, and she hands him over to her friend, and he dances with the friend, and the rest is a tale of utter heartbreak. On the surface this seems quite silly, but when Patti sings it there is real sadness.

Most People Get Married – Patti did quite a few songs about marriage it seems. This song was a hit in the spring of 1962. It’s a kind of marriage proposal on record.
The Mama Doll Song – Did I say hokey? From the fall of 1954.
Detour – Patti goes country. Summer, ’51.
You Belong To Me – One of those sure-go-away-but-you’re-coming-back-to-me-when-you-come-back songs. And a beautiful song it is. It was done by Patsy Cline and by The Duprees as well. Not the Carly Simon song and not the Elvis Costello song. From the summer of ’52.
Go On Home – An almost cheating song. The theme, of course, is a staple of pop music. From early 1962.
Croce Di Oro (Cross Of Gold) – Patti’s beau goes away (to war?) and she gives him this cross to keep him safe. I wonder if it worked. From autumn, 1955.
Doggie In The Window – Patti contemplates buying her beau a dog, so he won’t be lonesome when she goes away. What kind of dog is it, anyway? Petite did this on the Archie Wood show almost every week. This is from early 1953.
Once In A While – Wistful, this. Think of me once in a while, while you are making a new life with your new love. From spring, 1951
Mister And Mississippi – A bit of a novelty song, I guess,but not quite. It was a hit in the spring of ’51, and also done by Tennessee Ernie Ford.
One Of Us (Will Weep Tonight) – From the summer of 1960, I guess this is the other side of High Noon.
Mockin’ Bird Hill – From winter, 1954.
I Went To Your Wedding – See? Another wedding song. Of course she was a guest at the wedding of the guy she was in love with. No surprise, but sad all the same. From summer ’52.
Old Cape Cod – From spring of 1957, a travelogue set to music. Bette Midler did a wonderful version.
Left, Right Out Of Your Heart – From summer of ’58, I guess the military motif struck a fancy in the heart of the record buying public, because this was in the top 10.
Come What May – From winter, 1952.
All My Love – From the summer of 1950, before Tennessee Waltz. This has one of those tunes that you can’t help but love, something almost Viennese about it.
Why Don’t You Believe Me – From autumn, ’52.
Steam Heat – Sultry and sexy, this is from spring of ’54. The Pointer Sisters did it back when they were recording jazzy stuff on Blue Thumb.
Changing Partners – Maybe the girl singing this was the one that stole the guy in Tennessee Waltz. Not to be confused with Change Partners by Steven Stills. From fall, ’53.
Allegheny Moon – From summer of ’56, reached number 2.
A Poor Man’s Roses (Or A Rich Man’s Gold) – Reached the top 100 in March ’57, the month I was born. A poor man’s roses indeed. Patti chooses between wealth and love. Duh.
Go On With The Wedding – High drama, changing partners etc. From winter ’55 / ’56.
Let Me Go, Lover! – Number 1 for Joan Weber, Patti’s version was also in the top 10 in January, 1955.
Cross Over The Bridge – A lesson in love. From February, 1954.
Mama From The Train – My immigrant mama, from December, 1956.
Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte – From much later, the summer of 1965 to be exact. I remember this one actually. It was the summer that I discovered top 40 radio (well it was top 50, but whatever).
Not only did I used to work with a girl named Charlotte, but when she got married, I made her a copy of this song to use at her wedding. (She asked, I wasn’t being a goober. The other she wanted was The Wedding Song (There Is Love) by Paul Stookey. I got her that too.) I couldn’t go to her wedding, but she assured me that my music was a great success. So maybe obsession with music made a difference in someone’s life.

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