Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Brenda Lee

Brenda LeeBurton Cummings dreamed of Brenda Lee; he sang about it on Dream Of A Child. That must be worth something.

She is country, primarily, but she had more pop hits than country hits, and she did it without compromising. For the record, she had a total of 50 records on the Hot 100 between 1957 and 1973, but most of those songs appeared between 1960 and 1965. Some of them even pop up now and then on oldies radio (which is all internet based now) and not just I’m Sorry.

My collection comes from The Brenda Lee Story Her Greatest Hits, and various random singles that I picked up at various random places at various random times.

Brenda Lee:

Comin’ On Strong – Plays on the dichotomy between weakness and strength – it’s heartache that’s coming on strong, and most of us would think of heartache as a kind of weakness. From the fall of 1966.
Break It To Me Gently – Maybe that’s the Burton Cummings connection – Break It To Her Gently was the lead off track on Dream Of A Child. And we all know that there’s no way to do it gently. A song of desperation. From the winter of 1962.
That’s All You Gotta Do – It’s all so simple in pop music isn’t it? Only a few needs here, and nothing about taking out the garbage, but that rock and roll saxophone is all I need. Brenda's supercharged vocal doesn’t hurt either. From the summer of 1960 and flip side of I’m Sorry.
I’m Sorry – Her best known song, it hit number 1 in the summer of 1960, and kicked her career into high gear. It’s not The Platters record. But she’s just as sorry, and I can’t imagine what she’s done – or, rather, I can, and it’s scary. And if I’m right, then the song just won’t do it.
It Started All Over Again – More heartache, more not moving on. The B side of Heart In Hand, from the summer of 1962.
Heart In Hand – I’m Sorry redux, from the summer of 1962.
Is It True – A song about trust, and lack thereof, the lyrics notwithstanding. She confronts the whole rumour thing with the force of a hurricane. The drums help. From the fall of 1964.
The Grass Is Greener – It always is, isn’t it. From the fall of 1963.
Ride Ride Ride – Spunky, from the winter of 1967.
Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree – When rock and roll was still learning how to deal with the holiday season, Brenda came along and showed everybody how to do it. From December, 1960.
Jambalaya (On The Bayou) – Brenda’s take on this oft-recorded Hank Williams country standard was her first release. She was 12, and that was in 1956. No other song about food is quite that popular.
Emotions – Not the Samantha Sang song. From the winter of 1961.
Just Out Of Reach – A hit for Solomon Burke, and covered by Percy Sledge and a host of others.
Anybody But Me – The flip side of Fool #1, from the fall of 1961.
We Three (My Echo, My Shadow, And Me) – Kind of gimmicky this one, isn’t it. A hit years earlier for The Ink Spots.
Thanks A Lot – From the winter of 1965.
I Want To Be Wanted – Straight and to the point. – From the fall of 1960.
You Always Hurt The One You Love – A dubious prospect, and a hit for Clarence Henry.
Too Many Rivers – A broken relationship. They can’t always be fixed, can they. From the summer of 1965.
My Whole World Is Falling Down – “I’m losing my baby,” she sings. Trust me, it only seems like it now, your world will be fine. From the summer of 1963.
Fool #1 – A song about falling for the wrong guy. From the fall of 1961.
Johnny One Time – I have to admit, this is unintentionally hilarious. I mean really, Johnny One Time? It’s such a damn good record though, that you move past all that and into the realm of raw emotion. From the spring of 1969.
All Alone Am I – Another of her heartbreak ballads, this one from the autumn of 1962.
Sweet Nothin’s – Cute, with cheesy organ. From the spring of 1960, this actually hit before I’m Sorry.
As Usual – From the winter of 1964.
Dum Dum – They’re just singing words, not some kind of insult. From the summer of 1961.
You Can Depend On Me – I’ll always be there for you. The Spinners did something similar on I’ll Be Around, and Chicago did it with Call On Me. From the spring of 1961.
Losing You – From the spring of 1963.

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