Earthquake, earthquake! We had another shake-shake-shake here, but it was fairly mild compared to the last one (since we weren't near the epicenter), which means there was no need to clean up, no need to vacuum. But it did make me think of Jeanette MacDonald - and gosh, how brave she was in "San Francisco" - and the Golden Gate Bridge and beatnik coffee shops and the always delightful 1960s and 70s-era jazz chanteuse Bev Kelly, who recorded several LPs in good ol' Fog City (see how neatly that all fits together?).
Though largely forgotten by mass-market jazz aficionados (and she really shouldn't be), Bev was playing classical piano at age five, and by the time she graduated college, she was already touring the nation's top jazz clubs and recording albums. She continued performing well into the 1970s, but her family soon took priority - and then (get this; you'll suddenly feel lazy), she somehow found time to earn her Phd. in Clinical Psychology, and to this day, enjoys a thriving private practice.
Her live "Coffee Gallery" LP, likely recorded in the early 70s (a Call Me Dr. Bev Cheerful Exclusive!), reveals a jazz vocalist with a wonderful light touch - and a wisely contained vibrato which she deploys with skillful precision. Yet it's the overall sunniness of her sound which really sets her apart. When she performs, she seems unencumbered by the usual zonked-out heaviness, unconscious or not, which inflicts some jazz vocalists. Jazz frees something up for Bev; there's purest joy in her singing and it's infectious.
By the way, if you're throwing a post-earthquake cocktail party today - and really, why wouldn't you want to? - you might want to invite a certain fuchsia-colored feline along.
Mancini isn't the only partygoer on hand at the "Pink Panther's Penthouse Party;" this kicky compilation is surprisingly well-curated, and joins Mancini with oodles of buoyant electro tunes from Pizzicato 5, the Fantastic Plastic Machine, Peggy Lee, Dimitri from Paris and scads more. And, okay, it starts out awkwardly - do we really need two "Pink Panther" mixes in a row? - but I swear it gets better and better as it goes along. Really. Kind of like an earthquake.
Mind you, these are international sisters, for they found their greatest fame, along with many movie and TV roles, in Italy and France from the 1950s through the 70s. Could they have succeeded in the U.S.? Probably. But would they have starred in a string of giggly spaghetti westerns and pasta commercials? Probably not. The U.S. might have been their home, but it was Europe (especially Italy) which truly embraced them.
Hold on, ya'll. It's an aftershock. And it's scary! Why, it's enough to turn the Secret Song File's brown eyes (phosphorescent) blue. Also shocking? The 4-CD anniversary edition of
There's Jets, too, and Marilyn Monroe and even social diseases (eeow). If you know what this is already, you want this nicely restored version with a trunkful of extras, and if you don't, then you really ought to give it a spin (painted ladies everywhere will thank you). Oh, and remember, this is 4 CDs, so go make a coffee or pop a Xanax or take a nap and come back later because it'll take a while.
If the Big One hits, find your drugs first!
And, please, create a rumble in the comments, if you like.