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Brenda Lee: Four Classic Albums
Brenda Lee
This Is Brenda
All The Way
Brenda, That’s All
rec. 1960-1962
AVID POP AMSC1211 [61:26 + 62:54]

Singer Brenda Lee is one of the top female vocalists of the 1960s. Born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1944, she began singing and performing at the age of 3, and as a child-hood star became immensely popular. Brenda got her show business break in 1955 when she appeared on stage in Augusta with country-music star Red Foley, and was an immediate sensation. Decca Records quickly signed her to a contract, and she recorded her first single, “Jambalaya” in 1956 when she was only 11 years old. Her outgoing, dynamic personality and singing style earned her the nickname “Little Miss Dynamite”. Brenda had hit songs on all the charts; country, gospel, rockabilly, blues, and pop. Four of Brenda’s early Decca albums are compiled on this 2-CD set. CD 1 has “Brenda Lee” and “This Is…Brenda”, which were both originally released in 1960. The album titled “All The Way” came out in 1961, and “Brenda, That’s All” was released a year later, and both are on CD 2. All four albums were recorded primarily at the Bradley Film and Recording Studio in Nashville, Tennessee, which was the first studio on Nashville’s legendary “Music Row”. Owen Bradley and his brother Harold created the studio by gutting an old house and filling it with recording equipment and the best session musicians in Nashville. Their “A-Team” of instrumentalists included Floyd Cramer on piano, Boots Randolph on saxophone, drummer Buddy Harman, and guitarist Hank Garland and Grady Martin, with Harold Bradley usually playing bass guitar. Under Owen’s direction and arranging, this band, along with the talented vocal back-up group Anita Kerr Quartet, helped create what came to be known as the “Nashville Sound”, a more sophisticated style of music that smoothed out country honky-tonk’s rough edges with new arrangements, instrumentation, and vocals.

One of Brenda’s first hits was Sweet Nothin’s, a rhythm-and-blues tune written by singer and songwriter Ronnie Self. Brenda recorded the song in August 1959 when she was 14. It reached No.4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1960 and also appeared on the Hot R&B Sides chart, reaching No.12. The song is a great dance number, and Brenda’s voice explodes with youth and energy. A bluesy sax solo by Boots Randolph is also a highlight. Another of her early hits was Hallelujah I Love Him So, written and first recorded by singing legend Ray Charles in 1956. Brenda’s version has an interesting arrangement featuring drums, saxophone, and background vocals. Just Out Of Reach (Of My Two Open Arms) is a country song written by Virgil “Pappy” Stewart, first recorded by Stewart and the Arkansas Cowgirls in 1953. It became a big hit for country-soul artist Solomon Burke in 1961. Brenda recorded this slow, gentle ballad in May, 1962 at the Columbia Recording Studio in Nashville, accompanied by pianist Floyd Cramer and unidentified background singers. Another country ballad recorded at the same session, Someday You’ll Want Me To Want You, seems to float effortlessly with the unique combination of tinkling piano, soft vocal accompaniment, and the addition of Ray Edenton on guitar and Bob Moore on bass.

Brenda Lee has one of the most iconic voices in popular music, and this 2-CD set from early in her career attests to her enormous talent. The sound quality is fine on all selections. An 8-page booklet is included, with cover notes and photos from the original albums.

Bruce McCollum
  
Contents
CD 1
Brenda Lee
Dynamite [1.56]
Weep No More My Baby [2:59]
Jambalaya (On the Bayou) [2:43]
(If I’m Dreaming) Just Let Me Dream [2:49]
Be My Love Again [2:37]
My Baby Likes Western Guys [2:13]
Sweet Nothin’s [2:22]
I’m Sorry [2:39]
That’s All You Gotta Do [2:27]
Heading Home [2:38]
Wee Wee Willies [2:06]
Let’s Jump The Broomstick [2:33]

This Is Brenda
When My Dream Boat Comes Home [2:12]
I Want To Be Wanted [3:03]
Just A Little [2:23]
Pretend [2:50]
Love And Learn [2:05]
Teach Me Tonight [2:59]
Hallelujah I Love Him So [2:22]
Walkin’ To New Orleans [2:30]
Blueberry Hill [2:27]
We Three (My Echo, My Shadow, And Me) [3:28]
Build A Big Fence [2:25]
If I Didn’t Care [2:40]

CD 2
All The Way
Lover Come Back To Me [2:33]
All The Way [3:01]
Dum Dum [2:23]
On The Sunny Side Of the Street [3:18]
Talkin’ ‘Bout You [2:34]
Someone To Love Me (The Prisoner’s Song) [2:43]
Do I Worry (Yes I Do) [2:04]
Tragedy [2:45]
Kansas City [2:38]
Eventually [3:01]
Speak To Me Pretty [2:15]
The Big Chance [2:13]

Brenda, That’s All
I’m Sitting On Top Of The World [2:17]
Fool No. 1 [2:25]
White Silver Sands [3:03]
Just Out Of Reach [2:45]
Sweethearts On Parade [2:11]
It’s A Lonesome Old Town (When You’re Not Around) [3:03]
Organ Grinder’s Swing [2:22]
Gonna Find Me A Bluebird [2:47]
Why Me [2:12]
Valley Of Tears [2:24]
Someday You’ll Want Me To Want You [2:36]
You can Depend On Me [3:31]

 

 




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