Dec 7, 2013

Ernestine's Cargo, Kay Gets Jazzy, Plus A Bloody Masterpiece And A Bitchy Secret Song!

The other day I was walking down the boulevard and practically levitating with joy. Why? Because I was listening to Ernestine Anderson's 1958 LP "Hot Cargo," that's why (newly remastered with bonus tracks) (a Cheerful Exclusive just for you!). It's so joyful, in fact, that I challenge even the most poker-faced amongst you to give it a listen, and try, just try, to deny the charms of Ernestine's torchy, freewheeling vocals, Howard Arlen's ultra-cool arrangements, and all that smooth blowing by Swedish jazz trumpeter Rolf Ericson. It's heaven, I tell you, heaven!

This was Ernestine's first solo LP, and for some reason or other, even though it was a smash upon its release, it's long been out of print. Who knows why, but luckily, we can at last hear her versions of "My Man," for example, and "Ill Wind" (both of which she kills). Now entering her fifth decade as a jazz and blues legend - and still performing! - Ernestine can do it all. "Hot Cargo" is how it all began.

I love the photo of Kay Starr below. She's looking right at us - directly - without any pretense. Which is kind of how she sings.

This seems to be a post about restoration, since Kay's 1960 LP "Jazz Singer," has also been newly remastered. It's essential Kay, made when she needed to remind the public that she wasn't just a pop singer - which is how she gained her greatest fame - but also a jazz and blues singer, which is how she got her start. Even on the jazziest cuts here, she still retains her own distinctive emotional frankness, enabling her to cut right to the heart of a lyric.

Here's another Cheerful Exclusive!, but it ain't restored. It's Kay's super-rare 1964 LP with The Gerald Wiggins Trio. So why's it so rare? Probably because Kay only sings on three tracks - but they're fantastic, I swear. Plus, Gerald Wiggins and his trio do terrific versions "Under A Blue Moon," "Magnificent Affair," and more.

Just look at Barbra shaking her money-makers! Guess what movie this is from. If you guessed the 1970 comedy "The Owl And The Pussycat," you're right. You win. If you didn't, you don't win, so...well, you know.

About the time that movie came out, the group "Blood Sweat & Tears" were big. I'm talking really-really big, which is kind of a shock to think about now, because they weren't a traditional rock band (if you can even call them that). 1969's LP "Blood Sweat & Tears" was the second time this group tried to hit the charts, and they succeeded - and with a different lead singer, David Clayton-Thomas:

The album is a classic, and it's ageless, too, especially with tracks like "Blues Part II" (which is epic), "And When I Die" "Spinning Wheel" (of course), and a gorgeous version of "God Bless The Child," all of which have a lot more to do with traditions of blues and jazz than rock. Sadly, though the group isn't exactly forgotten today, their shot at persistent fame was arguably dealt a bruising blow when they were cut from the movie "Woodstock" after their manager demanded more money and the producers refused. Oops. They also did the score for "The Owl and the Pussycat," for which they were called sell-outs. Oops, again. Still, their first four LPs, at least, are well worth seeking out. This one's my favorite.

Lately, the Secret Song File as been listening to a new CD in which the lead singer tells us to "work, bitch." To which the Secret Song File says, "Bitch, if you only knew." You don't actually doubt The Secret Song File, do you? Just look below. That takes work!

You know who the CD's singer is. You must. If you don't, try shaving your head, munching on Cheetos, then sucking back a frap or two or three or four. It'll come to you. Meanwhile, it's cold out there. Keep warm, m'k? I worry about you. Terrible things can happen in the cold. So go on, make yourself some cocoa, wrap yourself in a blankie and be glad you're free.

I don't know about you, but I really don't want a Bugatti.

Flip up your hatchback and leave a comment, if you like!


Rio Veneno said...

Unissued jazzy cuts by Kay Starr??? Hombre!!! You make right a bad day here in Spain :)

BTW; I absoolutely agree with you about the umpretentious and frankly singin' of Miss Starr. I always be intrigued about the fact she was one of my absolutely favourites (the others two are Anita and Helen Merrill). And perhaps you found the key about that!

Faze said...

If you'd never heard Kay Starr's voice, you could almost guess what she sounded like from looking at the shape of her mouth. Or am I crazy?

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Hooray! I’m so glad Kay brightened your day in Spain, Rio Veneno. Kay has that effect. More Kay coming soon!

And Faze, I would never call you crazy, yet I’m not exactly sure I know what you mean. But I’m intrigued (off to check the mouths of other singers…).

Woody said...

my parents bought this Ernestine-Album in the early 60s, and now this vinyl is damaged - as we listened to this wonderful music so often.
So I'm absolutely happy to find this rare gem here on your fine blog, this album reminds me of a wonderful childhood I had and I still like this kind of music very much!

Thanks for sharing and thanks for keeping this great music alive!!!!
Woody, Hamburg/Germany

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Woody, I'm so moved by your story. How wonderful that Ernestine's music brings so many warm memories.

Now that you have her music again, I hope it creates new ones, too!

Alberto Cos said...

I just have fallen into your blog and I have to say it's very very amusing. Congrats. One question, could it be possible to re-up both Ernestine Anderson's 'Hot Cargo' and Kay Starr's 1964 LP with The Gerald Wiggins Trio, please? Many thanks in advance!

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Fallen?! I hope you didn't bump your head! :D
Ernestine & Kay should be ok now. Enjoy!

Alberto Cos said...

Head is not fine!! :-) Many thanks. You're too kind!