Happy New Year! We're all still here, right? We made it in one piece? Phew. Time to celebrate. Let's start things right with a Cheerfully Hot-Cha Anita Exclusive! - and don't you dare ask, "Which Anita?" It ain't this mangy ol' Anita, that's for sure.
Above, the one and only Anita O'Day is giving the finger to 2016. Okay, she's not (wrong finger), but I'm fairly certain she would if she could, don't you?
Anita photos wantonly plucked from The Anita O'Day Facebook Page.
The reviews were glowing. "Anita's art is far out," said the San Fransisco Chronicle, the "far out" referring to her stunning improvisational skills. "Her ballads and blues are witty (and) salty, her performance sophisticated." The tape of this performance sat around for an astonishing 42 years before being rediscovered in 2007. It was worth the wait.
Have you heard of Sister Rosetta Tharpe? She's sometimes referred to as "The Godmother of Rock and Roll," and she definitely was, as well as "The Original Soul Sister," and she was that, too. Plus so much more.
If you haven't, you're in for a treat. This yummy 2 CD collection - a Sweet Sister Cheerful Exclusive! just for you - highlights this joyous, jaw-dropping, pioneering singer and musician. She was the world's first gospel recording star, and the first gospel performer to introduce turbo-charged R&B, then rock and roll, into her repertory.
By the time she hit it big, she was musically split in two. On one hand, she was performing for "the light," or gospel for churchgoers (any churchgoers out there? Sister wrote the book on modern gospel); on the other hand, she was playing for "the dark," or rock and roll, jazz, and R&B at juke joints for all the sinners (that would be me and perhaps some of you).
Born into a family of cotton pickers in 1915, she got her start at her local Baptist church. And by age six - six! - she was part of a traveling gospel troop. Yet "the dark" soon beckoned. An acknowledged prodigy, both vocally and on guitar, she was soon swingin' with the likes of Cab Calloway at Harlem's Cotton Club, her latter raw, rousing, pushing-the-envelope performances paving the way for the likes of Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash.
Do you doubt this claim? Then give a listen to this definitive collection with gorgeously restored tracks. Her performances go waaaaay beyond mere "swingin'." She's on fire from start to finish.
Since it's winter and the times are chilling us to the bone - figuratively and, in some places, literally - it's nice when a group of present-day jazz musicians and singers get together and sing a few songs.
In this lightly relaxing collection - Good God, how I need to relax after the holidays! - you'll hear Jamie Cullum sing "Everybody Wants To Be A Cat," a match that shouldn't work since he usually sounds like the vocal equivalent of someone doing a beachside yoga routine with a breezy summerweight scarf while sipping Kombucha (or anything served in a mason jar), but it works, it really-really works. There's more, of course, including Stacey Kent, who does a charming version of "Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo." I really shouldn't like this album - it practically screams "twee" and "hatefully precious" - yet it doesn't cross the line. Soft, familiar and pleasant are a very hard trio to pull off these days, but it does.
If, instead, you'd like to dance till you drop for the new year, or just make yourself giddy with happiness, you must give a listen to Bebo Best:
In this, his best CD ev-uh, he mixes and matches samba, Bossa Nova, electro-jazz, guitar riffs, earthy vocals and just about everything else within reach. The results are irresistible. It's the perfect CD to put on when you fear your dinner party's flagging, or if an annoying guest begins yawning and killing everyone's buzz just as you're about to serve dessert and more booze. Don't you hate that (I hate that)? It's elegantly trippy music, though, so it really pairs well with anything. I've listened to this on my earphones while
Since 2016 did us all wrong, The Secret Sing File stepped into her office to retrieve a newly released "Best Of" CD from a dearly departed artist. Don't worry. It won't bring you down, because this artist was about as up as you could get.
But who is this "artist," you ask? The Secret Song File has only one hint: "Purple." And, honestly, if that one word isn't enough to give it away, then those doves are not, in fact, crying, they're slapping you silly. Otherwise, just listen and work that li'l raspberry beret. Someone's got to.
2017. It can't get any worse, right?
Drink heavily and canoodle in the comments, if you like!