Feb 15, 2014

Dakota Swings, Bertrand Grooves, More Colo(u)rs, Plus Jo Ann Lip Syncs And A Busted Ringer Secret Song!

Oh, my. Dakota Staton can't believe how bee-yooooo-tiful she is. And really, who but Dakota, a masterful "song stylist" from the 50's and 60's, could have released "Dynamic," a Ka-pow Cheerful Exclusive! Just listen as she rips into each song, like "Anything Goes," for one.
And dear God in Heaven, hold tight for the opening number, "Let Me Off Uptown," which is likely to raise your heart rate with its blaring trumpets - and Dakota, a human trumpet who epitomizes "brass" and "sass."

Dakota's career started out with a hit LP, but it was to be her last. Though she was adored by musicians (especially) and critics, she never quite caught on with the public. Did she arrive too late on the scene, as some have claimed, just prior to the birth of rock? Maybe, but whatever the reason, she's ripe for re-discovery; after all, her discography is fairly large and her range, from jazz to bop to blues and gospel, rivals the likes of Della Reese. Yes, she's that good. She'll even raise your spirits if you're dealing with this (I promise).

Do the French have sass? They certainly want you to believe they have class (even if you can't understand what they're saying). Americans are loud, the British are cheeky and the French, well, I don't know if they have a lock on class, but they do have Bertrand Burgalat, the epitome of abstract indie-cool, as all the reviewers say. So let's give the French that.

His 2007 album "Cheri BB" (a Oui-Oui Cheerful Exclusif!) gorgeously blends rock, electro (with a little early-60's ennui thrown in) along with crisp, breathy vocals, especially in "I've Been A Bad, Bad Boy" and "Anoyme Amour." I'm not sure why Burgalat is routinely classified as "abstract" or "indie." If anything, he's his own blissful category. He frequently performs live, so if you live across the pond, by all means go. I wish I could.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the Colours series a few posts back (they were the most downloaded in the past three months) (I know, right?), but only one loyal reader asked for more. How can I refuse? In these three volumes, gorge on wonderfully trippy work from Trevor Loveys, more from Shur-I-Kan, Milton Jackson, and gobs and gobs more. You're welcome (really).

The first time I heard Jo Ann Greer sing, I was stumped. A blur of faces passed before me; I knew I'd heard the voice before in old Hollywood movies, but I couldn't get a fix on the name. As it turned out, that blur of faces told me more than I thought. As I later learned, Hollywood singer Jo Ann Greer was the voice for numerous leading ladies, much like Marnie Nixon was, only Greer isn't nearly as celebrated these days.

She really ought to be. Despite her sprightly good-girl look on the upper-right, she was a smooth-as-silk jazz singer, which meant her voice could be paired with any number of Hollywood's sexiest stars - like Rita Hayworth on the upper-left. In fact, Greer and Hayworth became such good friends that after their first collaboration, Hayworth did Greer the great favor of miming her own singing and dancing for Greer in the recording booth - allowing Greer to figure out where Hayworth naturally took a breath while shimmying and "singing."

The 2001 "Jo Ann Greer: Hollywood Legend Sings" - a Lip-Sync For Your Life Cheerful Exclusive! - brings you not just Greer's best work, but additional tracks for songs she didn't originate (but performs deliciously), along with several of her own Billboard hits, like "Wild Horses." After listening to just a few songs, you probably won't be surprised to learn that, prior to Hollywood, she toured with renowned jazz and big band leader Les Brown  (just like Doris Day and Anita O'Day had) and later reunited with him on a post-Hollywood tour for almost forty years, or well in the 1990's. 

That Jo Ann, such perseverance. This is something the Secret Song File understands well. Who else can pose on a desk with such effortless savoir-faire (and perfectly coiffed hair)? Really, it takes no effort for her to look like this - even after she's returned from the disco (*cough*cough*major-hint*).

It's been four long years since this American alterna-band's released a new CD, but they're still dangerous, yo, like a mouse (*cough*cough*another*hint*). And, yes, I'd love to give you more clues, but the Secret Song File has warned me about being too obvious, so I must stop. In fact, I won't even break any pencil lead as I complete this sentence...much less bells!

And dang, if that ain't clear as a bell, I don't know what is. 

Make any noise you like in the comments!


David Federman said...

If I had to pick a Dakota Staton album to prove her talent, I would have chosen "Dynamic," too. So thank you for doing the best thing for her cause. And thank you for the Jo Ann Greer retrospective. Listening to her sing "My Funny Valentine" and "That Certain Feeling" I had to say she was the equal of Doris Day at any speed--high praise for anyone who knows the versatility of Ms. Day. I take it these are mostly transcriptions and air checks. So much to commend in this collection. Was "Bewitched" part of a soundtrack? In any case, thank you for putting Greer front and center in my listening life. Les Brown had uncanny skill as a talent scout: Day, Greer, Lucy Ann Polk--wow!

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Hey, David, glad to hear you're enjoying Dakota and Jo Ann. As for "Bewitched," I believe it was recorded for the "Pal Joey" soundtrack for Rita Hayworth. And, yes, Les Brown sure knew how to pick 'em, didn't he?

KH said...

Thanks so much for the extra colour! Great stuff!

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

You're welcome! You can never have too much colo(u)r!

Kevin said...

Thanks for the Jo Ann Greer! I'd never heard of her and I'm liking what I hear.

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Glad to hear you're enjoying, Kevin.

KH said...

Thanks again for the extra "Colour" stuff. It's great!

…"one loyal reader"

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

I know, right? Why aren't these comps more popular??

Throatwobbler Mangrove jr. said...

Even though I'm a _tad_ bit late: Is there any chance for a re-up of Freerange Colours 01, 02 and 06?

I'd be most grateful!

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

But of course, everyone should have Colours! 4 minutes and they should all be up.

Throatwobbler Mangrove jr. said...

Awfully sorry to bother you again,
but the file called 6.zip turned out to contain "number 5" (which admittedly is "Orange", as the "link picture" clearly states).

Do you perchance happen to have the "real" no 6 (whatever its colour might be ...)?
(If it's not too much to ask, that is!)

Thank you very much,

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Whoopsie! Should be ok now...

Throatwobbler Mangrove jr. said...

Thanks A LOT!