Songs,Style Icons: Female »Patti Page, The Tennessee Waltz

patti“The Singing Rage”, 1950

The only thing lovelier than Patti Page was her voice. Her signature song Tennessee Waltz is one of my very favorites of all time.

If you are unfamiliar with her dreamy voice, I once recommended a great collection that would be a great introduction.

She passed away on New Years Day.


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Posted on January 3, 2013

Albums »Stand By Me Soundtrack

Various Artists (1986)

The whole apartment’s been alive with the sounds of third grade as Jim and I been nostalgic for the Stand By Me soundtrack.

I imagine we weren’t the only ones that treasured that well worn cassette tape.

I choreographed a dance to Lollipop and always somewhat dramatically cried during the title track as the thought of River’s bar fight demise was too much for my eight year old heart to bear.

The album steered me towards a 1950’s obsession that lasted a few years – lucky for me I was hosting birthday parties in the age of Fuddruckers.

Now I’m a mom and I’m old and my baby Van is grooving to his favorite track “Get a Job”.

It’s one of the coolest things about parenthood really, that things you loved from your youth get revisited by new eyes and ears and suddenly being eight years old doesn’t seem far away at all.

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Posted on October 24, 2011

Songs »Here’s Where the Story Ends

by The Sundays (1990)

I was sitting in Mike’s apartment and suddenly – flash! I was twelve years old again: I was zoning out with my cd walkman, watching the rain from the back seat of my mom’s car and thinking of poetry about, hmmm let’s see, 7th grade, maybe it was Ralph Lowenstein Danny Jendral I had a crush on? (How soon we forget.)

Anyways – all it took to transport me to those olden days, where bands still looked like hangovers from the 80’s, was The Sundays hit, Here’s Where The Story Ends (now how long has it been since you heard this one?). It holds up pretty well, much better than similar artists like Cranberries and Belly in my opinion.

And since I am so old that kids these days now only know Star Wars as 3D animation on Cartoon Network, this ballad will be new to many of you younger folks, so do enjoy kids – maybe it will make you zone out with your iphone, watching the rain and thinking about poetry about the boy or girl you have a crush on.

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Posted on August 24, 2011

Songs »She Was Born To Be My Unicorn

by Tyrannosaurus Rex (1969)

We all know and love Marc Bolan and T Rex as a glam band but I was pleasantly surprised when Pandora offered up some early folky stuff.

It’s stunning how contemporary this song sounds, and with a title like She Was Born To Be My Unicorn, echoing the rebirth of the kind of new, wealthy, witchy hippiedom that draws pretty girls to maxi skirts and tarot readings, I’d be less than shocked if this ends up playing the next time I am at a hip coffee shop/cocktail bar/tapas place.

It happened with Pentagle and I never expected to hear that outside our apartment.

Sadly I’ve found the album not easily available.

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Posted on July 19, 2011

Songs »Natural High

by Bloodstone (1973)

While Bloodstone might sound like a current goth pop outfit, it’s actually a Kansas City R&B, funk soul band who hit a career high with Natural High. The doo wop ballad is lovely and surely got lots of girls to go to the back seats in 1973.

Van and I were grooving to this on a classic soul internet station called Got Radio R&B Classics. It is probably well known from its inclusion in the Jackie Brown soundtrack. You have to admit Tarantino knows how to put some good tunes together.

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Posted on March 2, 2011

Songs »Blue Bayou

by Roy Orbison (1963) and Linda Ronstadt (1977)

Still on a Roy Orbison kick, I thought I’d recommend his most beautiful song, Blue Bayou. Also recorded wonderfully by the lovely Linda Ronstadt, it’s a sentemental song and one of the prettiest I can call to mind. In fact, it ranks high in my favorites of all time, so it surprises me I’ve not recommended it here before.

As winter begins to nip at us, one can relate to dreaming of someplace with fishing boats and familiar sunrises. By the way, it does not refer to the Louisiana Water Park (though it would shake my whole reading of the song if it was) nor the Disney restaurant.

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Posted on November 30, 2010

Songs »Superstar

by Sonic Youth (1994)

If the real deal Carpenters version of Superstar doesn’t sit well with you, maybe you’re of a hipper ilk and prefer somewhat ironic covers instead. Well, despite tons of iffy attempts by lesser artists, only a band as effortlessly cool as Sonic Youth can really pull of a modern take of one of 1970’s cheesiest (in a good way) ballads. Thurston Moore sounds drugged out and heart broken in a much drowsier and noisier take than The Carpenters (little wonder Richard does not care for it). It’s even more of a departure from the jazzy first incarnations by original artists Delaney and Bonnie and Rita Coolidge.

Aside from being one of my favorite Carpenters songs, I am partial to the hit due to its large part in the very funny Cintra Wilson book, Colors Insulting to Nature.

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Posted on October 12, 2010

Albums »Carpenters

by The Carpenters (1971)

The Carpenters self titled album is an iconic one of its time, and many will argue, of the worst of its time. Schmaltzy, cheesy, feathery soft and mild, Karen and brother Richard were the number one selling act in the 1970’s (this album alone went quadruple platinum). Still, it’s soothing music like this that sometimes hits the mid afternoon spot and can anyone deny that she possessed one of the nicest voices ever recorded?

You’ll likely be familiar with most of the album’s many hits (Rainy Days and Mondays, For All We Know, Superstar) but there are less often played songs here too. Drusilla Penny, a rare Carpenters ditty sung by Richard, is Jim’s favorite (though he is not a big fan over all) but some of the others are admittedly a bit much to handle even for me as I recommend you give this adult contemporary dynamo a chance (see Bacharach medley and Saturday).

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Posted on October 12, 2010

Songs »Tell It Like It Is

by Aaron Neville (1966)

If you still harbor any resentment towards Aaron Neville for his part in “Don’t Know Much” (maybe it’s just me haunted by this adult contemporary radio classic) you only need to listen to the truly excellent love ballad, Tell It Like It Is. Neville’s original is my favorite version and the one I am most familiar with but to my surprise Heart had their biggest hit (bigger than Barracuda?!) with a rendition in 81. Other notable songsters that have tackled the hit are Nina Simone and Percy Sledge.

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Posted on September 26, 2010

Songs »Slip Sliding Away

by Paul Simon (1977)

Poignancy could be Paul Simon’s middle name and perhaps never more than with his bittersweet Slip Slidin’ Away – a song that never fails to make me rather sad (and enjoy it). The song was an new composition released on his 1977 Greatest Hits, Etc.

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Posted on September 12, 2010

Songs »Reunited

by Peaches and Herb (1979)

Peaches and Herb is a quintessential seventies disco ballad duo who’s hit Reunited is the epitome of modern day “cheesy”. So much so that it’s featured in a commercial where a dad is so lame he dares to sing it.The dad also has power tools, so it’s never registered with me as to what the ad is for but it does put the song in my head and that puts a smile on my face.

By the way Herb’s real name is awesomely Herb Fame and the role of “Peaches” has been performed by different women over the years. Reunited features Linda Greene.

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Posted on August 8, 2010

Songs »Angel of the Morning

by Juice Newton (1981)

Just call me angel of the morning angel!
Just touch my cheek before you leave me bay-bee!

I dare you to listen to these words and not feel the urge to stand up, with your long hair flowing, and emote dramatically à la Juice Newton. If you don’t feel this urge, I certainly hope you’ll never attend one of my karaoke parties, because you sound like the kind of person that could really bring the mood down.

Of course, the Newton rendition is a classic and strangely one that I remember hearing while in a rib restaurant as a kid… but upon researching the passionate ballad that made cheek-touching sexy, I’ve learned that it’s been sung by some of my favorite ladies including PP Arnold, Olivia Newton John, and Dusty Springfield.

By the way, it’s about being ready for some pre-marital balling.

Click here for the rest of Angel of the Morning

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Posted on February 7, 2010

Songs »Blue Christmas

blue christmas elvisby Elvis Presley (1957)

Blue Christmas is a rare sad Christmas song that was performed by tons of people but made oh so popular by the great Elvis Presley. Though, to be honest, lately I’ve grown very, very fond of the indie rock darling Bright Eyes version. Please forgive its inclusion in a phone company commercial.

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Posted on December 20, 2009

Songs »Make it Easy on Yourself

The dramatic, sweeping Make It Easy On Yourself could only be the child of Burt Bacharach, the Walker Brothers and a full orchestra under the inspiration of Phil Spector.

Exclaiming that breaking up is so very hard to do, Scott and pals made it to number one in the UK with this one and a none to shabby #16 in the US. The Brothers (who are not really brothers), who hail from LA always got more love and attention from the Brits.

Here's an adorable polite and lovable Gary Walker explaining the song choice “we thought it would be good all around” and a performance from 1965.

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Posted on August 3, 2009

Songs »18 and Life

18 and Life Skid Row Tequila in his heartbeat/
His veins burned gasoline/
It kept his motor runnin'/
But he never kept it clean

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Posted on December 12, 2005