Saturday, June 27, 2009

Frankie Laine

Now this guy is a belter, not a crooner, a belter.

This album, Frankie Laine’s Greatest Hits, was a popular one, turned up a lot in second hand stores. But it focuses on the early 50s; Laine had 15 hits from 1955 on, and only one is on here. Another one, You Gave Me A Mountain, I got from somewhere else. And Rawhide came from somewhere lese entirely. I originally got Moonlight Gambler from my friend’s copy of the soundtrack to Eskimo Limon (that’s like “lemon popscicle” in Hebrew).

Frankie Laine:

Moonlight Gambler – From the winter of 1956 / 57. Love as a card game, or something.
Jalousie – I guess this was originally a French song, hence the spelling. This seems to have been from 1950. One of those songs like Suspicion; emotions that go back and forth.
High Noon – The Tex Ritter hit. From 1952. Laine brings high drama to High Noon, a song that has plenty of drama to start with.
Your Cheatin’ Heart – The Hank Williams song, slightly uncountrified. From 1953.
Some Day – Also from 1953.
I Believe – Laine attacks this venerable hymn with all he’s got. Wikipedia says that his is from 1965, but it seems to me that this LP is older than that.
Jezebel – From 1950. A great great song. I’m not sure why, but it is. Jezebel, of course, is named after the biblical Jezebel, whose name, in Hebrew, was actually Izevel. Anyway, the girl promises one thing and delivers another, but that’s not real. The promise was in his head, in his heart, she can’t be held responsible. Herman’s Hermits did a knock-em-dead rocked up version in 1967 on There’s A Kind Of Hush All Over The World, and the arrangement was picked up by Witness Inc. who had a minor Canadian hit in the summer of ’67. Minor, but sublime.
Granada – From 1953 Elvis never did this.
• That Lucky Old Sun – Ray Charles did this also; I think Laine is more restrained, and the song works better for that. From 1957.
Rose I Love You
That’s My Desire – This seems to have been from 1946. Dion & The Belmonts did a great cover.
Answer Me – Nat King Cole did this, and his version was “answer me oh my love;” Laine sings “answer me Lord above.” But both songs are about the same thing, a failed romance.
Rawhide – From one of those TV westerns, with all the drama that one would expect. Made the UK top 20 in the autumn of ’59.
You Gave Me A Mountain – A mountain here is a bad thing, something too high to overcome. This is terribly maudlin, about 10 times worse than, say, Honey. From the winter of 1969, but thankfully I don’t remember hearing this on the radio.

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