Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Lennon Sisters

The TV was always on I guess, so I remember a lot of TV shows that I never actually watched. And so I remember Lawrence Welk, and I remember hearing him introduce The Lennon Sisters every time. That’s all. I didn’t find out until later that they’d actually had a couple of hit singles.

This collection, called Among Our Souvenirs, has both, plus many other songs, most of which are anemic sounding cover versions of popular hits by others. I found this at some library or other.

The Lennon Sisters:

He – Originally a hit for Al Hibbler and for The McGuire Sisters, and ten years later for The Righteous Brothers, this is a song about God, and the arrangement here is very churchy, which makes sense I suppose. No profound theology here.
Tonight You Belong To Me – This is The Lennon Sisters’ big success story, a hit in the fall of 1956. There is a male group singing along with them. This is a happy, even chipper, song about a romantic triangle and the complications that ensue as a result thereof.
Dear One – Not the Larry Finnegan hit, this is just a standard love song, mushy, the too-shy variety.
White Silver Sands – A hit for Bill Black’s Combo. This version has words.
Stars Fell On Alabama – Another love song. I was in Alabama when I was about 14. I don't remember any stars falling.
Repeat After Me
A Little Street Where Our Friends Meet – A song about the safe and familiar.
Among My Souvenirs – A hit for Connie Francis in 1960 and for Marty Robbins in 1976. A song of memories and nostalgia.
Sad Movies (Make Me Cry) – From the fall of 1961. A hit for Sue Thompson at the same time, but Thomson’s version was in the top 10, this was in the top 50. The sad story of a girl who goes to see a film and happens to sit behind her beau with his new love. And so her mother asks what’s wrong, and she doesn’t lie, but she doesn’t tell the story either. Sad movies make me cry, she says. And so there is an underlying theme of non-communication between generations.
Blue Hawaii – And so the girls take a stab at this standard. Well, it’s been done better…
Can’t Help Falling In Love – Elvis’s hit from 1962.
Greensleeves – This is, well, it’s Greensleeves. I don’t know if I ever heard these words anywhere else. I’ve heard the Christmas version, but this isn’t it.
Don’t Break The Heart That Loves You – A hit by Connie Francis in the winter of 1962.
The End Of The World – A hit for Skeeter Davis, and there is a fairly well known version by Herman’s Hermits.
There, I’ve Said It Again – A hit originally for Vaughn Monroe, then later for Bobby Vinton.
Hit The Road Jack – Ray Charles’ hit. This is way out of their depth.
Our Day Will Come – Number 1 hit for Ruby & The Romantics
If I Had A Hammer – This almost sounds good. A hit for Peter, Paul & Mary, and for Trini Lopez.
Calypso Medley: The Banana Boat song / Island In The Sun / Jamaica Farewell – All hits by Harry Belafonte, Banana Boat was also a hit for The Tarriers, and, in a version not so unlike this one, for The Fontane Sisters. The harmonies are nice, there is a bit of almost authentic percussion, and the acoustic guitar is beautiful. But this is still elevator music.
Sentimental Journey – A song from 1944, written by Les Brown, Ben Homer, and Bud Green. It was a hit for Brown’s band, with vocals by Doris Day. This was the title track of Ringo Starr’s first solo album in 1970.
Fascination – A song from a jewellery commercial. Actually a hit for Jane Morgan.
Twilight Time – Also a hit for Les Brown with Doris Day, but this one was written by Buck Ram, who became the manager and producer of The Platters, and this was a number 1 hit for the said Platters in 1958.
The Nearness Of You
Lover’s Concerto – Based on Bach, it was as hit for The Toys in 1965. The Sisters here have nice harmonies, but they are white bread. The Toys are French pumpernickel.
You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me – One song that doesn’t work as a harmony vehicle. This was a hit for Dusty Springfield in 1966 and for Elvis in 1970.
This Is My Song – A hit for Petula Clark, and, in a grossly operatic arrangement, by Harry Secombe.
Never My Love – A hit for The Association in 1967, which was redone by The Fifth Dimension and then by Blue Swede.
Till – A late 50s almost-hit for Percy Faith, and redone in the late 60s by The Vogues.
What The World Needs Now – A Bacharach & David song, a hit for Jackie DeShannon in 1965.
I’m Gonna Make You Love Me – A hit in 1968 for Diana Ross & The Supremes And The Temptations (I know, too many “ands”), and, in comparison with the original, this may be the most anemic sounding cover on this collection, and that’s an achievement.
It Must Be Him – A hit for Vikki Carr. I remember this song from a guitar book I had; I found it in the book before I ever heard it on the radio. I worked it out, and I was pretty close.
California Dreaming – The Mamas & The Papas’ hit from 1966. The Beach Boys revived this in the 80s. And The Lennon Sisters, well, I don’t know why they bothered…
Promises, Promises – Not the Dionne Warwick, but same idea. This has the advantage of not having an original to compare it to (at least none that I know). But it’s still fairly anemic sounding.
Here Comes My Baby Back Again – The original is by Eddy Arnold.
Funny How Time Slips Away – A Willie Nelson song, recorded by many, and a hit for Jimmy Elledge and for Joe Hinton. I have a kind of strange version by The Supremes. It’s better than this one, but not by much.
You Are My Special Angel – Ok, I was thinking this song recently, for reasons that I won’t get into. A hit originally for Bobby Helms and 10 years later for The Vogues. The title is usually rendered simply My Special Angel.

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