Posts Tagged ‘Pop Vocal’

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #69–Barbra Streisand: “He Touched Me” b/w “I Like Him” – Columbia 4-43403 (S7/T7)

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #69–Barbra Streisand: “He Touched Me” b/w “I Like Him” – Columbia 4-43403 (S7/T7)

I’m not really a fan of Barbra Streisand, but you couldn’t grow up in suburban New Jersey in a middle class home with Jewish parents and not be surrounded by her “like buttuh” voice emanating from the Zenith stereo. Back in the day when there was a real musical generation gap between parents and kids, the sound of Streisand ringing through the walls of my bedroom was anything but music to my ears. To be perfectly honest, it’s not really her voice (which is sublime) that bothered me about ol’ Babs, it’s the shtick that comes with it that to this day, still makes my skin crawl.

However, I must give Streisand credit because she actually could (and still can) sing. After being bombarded by the likes of Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and even Rhianna, whose recordings are so processed that any sense of reality have been squeezed out of the grooves, I’ve come to appreciate real vocal talent…and Streisand’s had it then, and still has it to burn today.

That said, there are a few Streisand recordings that have become part of my musical DNA, and one of them is the A-side of today’s jukebox classic. “He Touched Me” was the lead track on Streisand’s fourth album My Name Is Barbra…Two” which was released by Columbia Records in 1965. The album was the second soundtrack album from Streisand’s first TV special called My Name Is Barbra, but only the medley at the end of the album was actually featured in the show. The rest of the album was comprised of all-new Streisand recordings. The album peaked at #2 on the U.S. album charts and was certified platinum for over one million copies in sales. It was produced by Robert Mersey with arrangements by Peter Matz and Don Costa.

“He Touched Me” was written by Ira Levin and Milton Schafer, and was from the Broadway musical Drat! The Cat. The musical was about a cat burglar that was plundering the upper crust society folk of New York City during the late 1800s. The musical opened on October 10, 1965 and ran for only eight performances before closing. In the show, the song was called “She Touched Me” and was sung by Elliot Gould, who was Streisand’s husband at the time. Additionally, Columbia Records, which was Streisand’s record label, invested $50,000 into the show, which is probably why both sides of today’s jukebox single were comprised of songs from the show.

The single reached #53 on the singles charts in October of 1965. The flip of the single, “I Like Him” was also from Drat! The Cat and never appeared on a Streisand album. In England, “He Touched Me” was released as the flip side of the “Second Hand Rose” single which was also from the My Name Is Barbra…Two album.

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over twelve years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Edited: August 25th, 2015

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – “All or Nothing at All” by Frank Sinatra

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – “All or Nothing at All” by Frank Sinatra

So, Bob Dylan officially announced today that he will be releasing a new self-produced record of Frank Sinatra covers called Shadows in the Night during the first week of February.

I say, bring it on!

But then again, I said the same thing when Dylan announced he was going to put Christmas Through the Years out several years ago, and lo and behold, it was an artistic success that has become one of my go-to Christmas records every year since its release in 2009.

Say what you will about Dylan’s vocals, but he’s been nothing short of brilliant throughout his career when it comes to reinterpreting his own material. So the jump to record songs associated with the world’s greatest interpreter of them all could provide some very interesting results.

Through an announcement on his website, here’s what Dylan had to say about the project:

“It was a real privilege to make this album. I’ve wanted to do something like this for a long time but was never brave enough to approach 30-piece complicated arrangements and refine them down for a 5-piece band. That’s the key to all these performances. We knew these songs extremely well. It was all done live. Maybe one or two takes. No overdubbing. No vocal booths. No headphones. No separate tracking, and, for the most part, mixed as it was recorded. I don’t see myself as covering these songs in any way. They’ve been covered enough. Buried, as a matter a fact. What me and my band are basically doing is uncovering them. Lifting them out of the grave and bringing them into the light of day.” (BobDylan.com)

I think his motives for this project are spot on, but it’ll be interesting to see if he can pull off stripped down versions of arrangement-heavy songs like today’s Song of the Day by Eric Berman, which comes from Frank Sinatra’s 1966 classic Nelson Riddle-arranged Strangers in the Night.

Edited: December 9th, 2014

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #69–Barbra Streisand: “He Touched Me” b/w “I Like Him” – Columbia 4-43403 (S7/T7)

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #69–Barbra Streisand: “He Touched Me” b/w “I Like Him” – Columbia 4-43403 (S7/T7)

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over twelve years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

I’m not really a fan of Barbra Streisand, but you couldn’t grow up in suburban New Jersey in a middle class home with Jewish parents and not be surrounded by her “like buttuh” voice emanating from the Zenith stereo. Back in the day when there was a real musical generation gap between parents and kids, the sound of Streisand ringing through the walls of my bedroom was anything but music to my ears. To be perfectly honest, it’s not really her voice (which is sublime) that bothered me about ol’ Babs, it’s the shtick that comes with it that to this day, still makes my skin crawl.

However, I must give Streisand credit because she actually could (and still can) sing. After being bombarded by the likes of Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and even Rhianna, whose recordings are so processed that any sense of reality have been squeezed out of the grooves, I’ve come to appreciate real vocal talent…and Streisand’s had it then, and still has it to burn today.

That said, there are a few Streisand recordings that have become part of my musical DNA, and one of them is the A-side of today’s jukebox classic. “He Touched Me” was the lead track on Streisand’s fourth album My Name Is Barbra…Two” which was released by Columbia Records in 1965. The album was the second soundtrack album from Streisand’s first TV special called My Name Is Barbra, but only the medley at the end of the album was actually featured in the show. The rest of the album was comprised of all-new Streisand recordings. The album peaked at #2 on the U.S. album charts and was certified platinum for over one million copies in sales. It was produced by Robert Mersey with arrangements by Peter Matz and Don Costa.

“He Touched Me” was written by Ira Levin and Milton Schafer, and was from the Broadway musical Drat! The Cat. The musical was about a cat burglar that was plundering the upper crust society folk of New York City during the late 1800s. The musical opened on October 10, 1965 and ran for only eight performances before closing. In the show, the song was called “She Touched Me” and was sung by Elliot Gould, who was Streisand’s husband at the time. Additionally, Columbia Records, which was Streisand’s record label, invested $50,000 into the show, which is probably why both sides of today’s jukebox single were comprised of songs from the show.

The single reached #53 on the singles charts in October of 1965. The flip of the single, “I Like Him” was also from Drat! The Cat and never appeared on a Streisand album. In England, “He Touched Me” was released as the flip side of the “Second Hand Rose” single which was also from the My Name Is Barbra…Two album.

Edited: January 30th, 2014

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 12/14/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Blues Is A Woman” by Lou Rawls with The Les McCann Trio

Most people remember Lou Rawls for his silky-smooth vocal delivery and his disco era hit “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine,” but by the time he had that hit in 1976, Rawls had already been recording albums, and yes many hits, for 14 years.

Chicago-born Rawls got his start by replacing Sam Cooke in the Gospel group (and Vee-Jay recording artists), The Highway QC’s. After a stint in the Army, Rawls joined the Gospel group, Pilgrim Travelers. While on the road with Sam Cooke and The Travelers, Rawls was in a serious car accident that left him pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. He was revived but was in a coma for five days before regaining consciousness. After he recuperated, Rawls began doing session work, most notably singing background vocals on Sam Cooke’s “Bring It On Home To Me.”

He was signed to Capitol Records by staff producer Nick Venet (The Beach Boys, The Kingston Trio, Nat King Cole, Glen Campbell) and recorded his first album, Stormy Monday, for the label in 1962 backed by the Les McCann Trio. The Les McCann Trio were stalwarts of the Sunset Strip jazz clubs and were also signed by Nick Venet to Pacific Jazz Records. Their lineup included McCann on piano, Leroy Vinnegar on bass and Ron Jefferson on drums. The album featured a mix of jazz and blues standards, including today’s Song Of The Day which was penned by Rawls and included as a bonus track from the album sessions on the CD reissue.

Rawls continued to record for Capitol scoring the hits “Tobacco Road,” “Love Is A Hurtin’ Thing,” “Dead End Street,” “Your Good Thing (Is About To End),” plus many others. During his stint with Capitol, Rawls opened for The Beatles on their 1966 tour in Cincinnati. In total, Rawls recorded over twenty albums for the label before signing with MGM in 1970.

While he only recorded three albums for MGM, he did score his Grammy-winning hit “Natural Man” for the label. He signed to Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff’s Philadelphia International Records label in 1976, where he had his greatest successes releasing million-selling albums and the hits “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine,” “Lady Love,” “Let Me Be Good To You,” and “See You When I Git There.” Rawls died of cancer in 2006 and left behind a legacy of gritty blues and silky soul recordings.

Edited: December 13th, 2012

Song Of the Day by Eric Berman – 4/4/12

Song Of the Day by Eric Berman – “Don’cha Go ‘Way Mad” by Frank Sinatra

Another “Mad Men” era favorite by America’s favorite playboy. Back in 1962, Sinatra was the epitome of that “Ring A Ding Ding” era with his Rat Pack buddies tearin’ up the Vegas town on a nightly basis. Oh to be a fly on the wall for some of them hi-jinx! This one, like yesterday’s “Wives And Lovers,” comments on the subservient role women played during the early ’60s. It has lots of nerve and swagger as it nonchalantly asks the woman to forgive and forget her man’s fling…but at least it does swing! It comes from the album “Sinatra And Swingin’ Brass” and was written by Jimmy Mundi, Al Stillman and Jazz saxophonist, Illinois Jacquet. The arrangements come from the one and only Neal Hefti.

Edited: April 3rd, 2012

Song Of the Day by Eric Berman – 4/3/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Wives And Lovers” by Jack Jones

I know I’ve featured this 1963 classic before, but with the return of “Mad Men” to our TV screens for a new season, this song seemed appropriate to feature again. Besides, it is one of my very favorite Burt Bacharach-Hal David compositions! Jack Jones was awarded a 1964 Grammy award for Best Pop Male Performance with this song . He also won one in 1962 in the same category for his hit “Lollipops and Roses.” Along with the equally talented pop vocalist, Robert Goulet, he was also known for his recording of “The Impossible Dream” from the musical “Man Of LaMancha.” Mr. Jones also scored big with the incomparable “Love Boat Theme” and “Lady.”

Edited: April 2nd, 2012

Song Of The Day – 8/27/11

Song Of the Day – “The Best Is Yet To Come” by Tony Bennett

At 85 and in fine form…the best is still surely yet to come indeed. Just saw him tonight at Ravinia in Highland Park, Illinois…same band as this video…even the same jacket! The artistry and the voice is still intact and still going strong! See him when you can!

Edited: August 26th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 8/3/11

Song Of The Day – “Diamonds Are Forever” by Shirley Bassey

James Bond themes written by John Barry from the ’60s and early ’70s pack a powerful wallop of equal measures of drama and kitsch. This 1971 Bond theme is no different especially when in the hands of Bond chanteuse, Shirley Bassey. It was her second time at bat with a Bond theme following the classic “Goldfinger.”

Edited: August 3rd, 2011

Song Of The Day – 6/30/11

Song Of The Day – “Cry Me A River” by Julie London

It would be hard to think of London without all of the sexy cheesecake album covers, but behind all of the va va voom was the voice. Soft, supple, sexual.  She sang this song in the film “The Girl Can’t Help It” and starred in many other films and on TV. While this song became famous in the rock era by Joe Cocker, it doesn’t hold a candle to the original.

Edited: June 30th, 2011