In 1970, an astonishing, bootleg, 2-LP set entitled "Legends: Martha Raye" was released - then promptly went out of print. Arrrrgh! Yet a few weeks ago, my Cuban Luvuh was strolling amiably through the used LP section at our local Amoeba - and he found it. Oh, happy day! I was shocked. I still am. If you're a Martha Raye fan (like I am), this is the Holy Grail.
What makes this Cheerful Exclusive LP so satisfying is how wide-ranging it is. You get Martha's jazz vocal efforts in movies from the 1930's through the 40's, her later vocal performances from a wide range of TV variety programs - they're amongst the best here; her rendition of "Is That All There Is?" rivals Peggy Lee's - and even a few cuts from her Broadway turn in the title role of "Hello, Dolly." In other words, it runs the gamut.
When you listen to her perform "Sing For Your Supper" or "Truckin'," for instance, you'll realize why Anita O'Day credits her as being the primary influence on her style - more than any other singer. "It was Martha Ray who showed me what I wanted to do with my life," O'Day said. "I saw her in an early movie singing 'Mr. Pagianini' - doing ad-libs of 'dah-dah-dah.' She was what they call a natural. And she gave me the idea that I could sing jazz and still perform." Mel Torme also cited Raye as a major influence, Kaye Ballard claims she learned everything about both singing and comedy from Raye, and Ruth Etting said that no one ever sung a ballad like Raye.
Just be aware that the quality of the recordings on the LPs are variable. The TV performances sound terrific, the movie songs are likely pulled from the original film tracks and the Broadway stage numbers are probably from a sound board. But they're all wonderful.
And on we go. This comely lass is a noted UK singer. Know who it is? (I didn't).
It's Julie Rogers, who had a big worldwide hit with "The Wedding" in the early 1960's and went on to continued success in the UK - and just missed out when producers chose Nancy Sinatra's version of "You Only Live Twice" for the 1960's James Bond movie over hers (dammit).
And yet she's kept at it - wonderfully, as I've learned, and in her 1972 LP "With Feeling," a Cheerful Exclusive, she trills, she belts, and in the final cut on the LP entitled "Now," she truly cuts loose in a number that's both wonderfully bonkers and even a little trippy. You'll love it.
When I think of terrific jazz and standards performers, I don't often think of Fred Astaire, who I always thought sounded a bit drone-ish in his films (which I excused because of his dancing) (of course), so I was wary when I picked up a compilation of his songs.
But guess what? After the first song or so, I did a sort of Scooby-Doo "Re-Re?" head-turn. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that he has a fantastic sense of rhythm as a singer - and because of it, even with his limited vocal range, he knows exactly where to hit hard, then soft, and how long to hold a note before springing onto the next. It also helps that these songs, including all the classics, like "Steppin' Out With My Baby" and "Night And Day," have been gorgeously remastered. This CD was a real surprise for me. And I love surprises!
By the way, as a reminder, most files here require a password to open - it's a super-simple password, thecheerful - and some LPs, which are in two or three folders, require you to download all the folders in order for you to open everything. Why? Because I'm doing mostly lossless these days, so the music files are bigger. Confused? Don't be. It's all intuitive. Blah-blah-blah. Technical stuff. Zzzzz.
Meanwhile, the Secret Song File would like to remind you that the world can be a violent place, and even the most beautiful amongst us might find themselves having to scrub some of life's detritus from their bodies (in the Secret Song's case, while wearing a lacy La Perla bra) (obviously).
Has the world caused you to, um, bleed (bleed) (bleed) (cough, cough, cough)? It probably has if you're a certain glam-pop group who likes to have lots of drugs in their bodies (ah-choo!). And while their bouncy new CD, which I know you're going to listen to...again and again (gazuntight-I'm-being-so-obvious-with-my-clues), may not make you bleed (bleed) (bleed), at least your heart will feel something. Right? Right? Hey, where's the rave? Anybody got a lolli? Good gawd, I'm thirsty!
Or as Ryan Lochte would say, "Jeah!" (or is it, "Durp").
Divulge whatever you like in the comments! I won't judge!