Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Phranc • '64 Ford

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I suddenly occurred to me the other day that I had never posted about Phranc on this blog, and that made me roll my eyes at myself. How could I have missed Phranc, after being a fan for some time now. For those who may not know, Phranc was often referred to as the "All-American Jewish Lesbian folksinger". Phranc made music in from the 1970s to the 2000s, starting out making Punk music with the band Nervous Gender, to her solo Folk work. Her music was smart, funny, and tight. In the early 1980s, Phranc refined her androgynous look, with her flat-top haircut, jeans and a t-shirt.

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Phranc made great music, an interesting combination of Pop and Folk, with an obvious influence of the early 1960s surf music of the Beach Boys and Jan & Dean. I have long been in love with "'64 Ford", a song found on the 1991 album, 'Positively Phranc'. This song screams out Brian Wilson too me, and I mean that ins the best way possible. There is someting deliciously West Coast about it all, as well as being defiant, breaking gender roles along the way. Please enjoy Phranc singing "'64 Ford".

My personal favorite collection was the 1985 release, 'Folksinger'. This 13-song collection contains some of my favorites, including the first song I bring you now. "Everywhere I Go (I Hear the Gogos). It is a celebrations of the girl group, and how the girl-group might have inspired the next generation. But it also points out how the love for the group might have pointed out the way Phranc might not have been inspiring copycats. That is okay, cause I am glad I live in a world I have Phranc on my iPod. This is "Everywhere I Go (I Hear the Gogos)".

At the height of her career, Phranc was singed to Island Records, a major label. She also toured with the likes of Morrissey and The Smiths, Hüsker Dü, Violent Femmes, and Billy Bragg. However, this was not to last, as she was looking for a new label in the early 1990s. In 1998, she released 'Milkman' on her own label, and hasn't released anything since. It has been reported that in the mid-2000s, she became a Tupperware salesperson, an interesting career choice to be sure. For more about Phranc, you can visit her official blog. You can also 'like' her on Facebook. You can purchase the physical CD for 'Positively Phranc' from Amazon.

RightOutTV Music & Video Awards 2014 • Gallavin

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The winners of the 2014 RightOutTV Music & Video Awards were announced recently, proving what great music is being made by LGBT artists. Well, that was obvious when I saw the list of nominees, coming from all around the world. RightOutTV was founded by Marlee Walchuk and Tully Callender, devoted to the promotion of LGBT artists and their music all across the globe. The submissions are from many genre, from Rock to Country to Electronica. Once again this year, I was proud to be asked to be a judge, hearing some more great music and discovering a few new artists. But enough with all that. It is time to showcase some very deserving artists. Today I am thrilled to feature Gallavin.

One of those is 'Most Moving Video', something so many of the LGBT artists I listen to have in common - music with heart. There were some amazing submissions, and giving us five outstanding nominees which included Kristy Apps and the Shotgun Shirleys with "Modest In its Glory", Andrew Suvalsky's "The Curtain", Ramona Montañez with "Naked", and Paul M's "Hands to Heaven". This year, the award went to Gallavin for the song, "La Chanson des Vieux Amants". The Swiss singer/songwriter released the album 'So Sad the Songs' in 2013, a wonderful collection of Jazz material. The album included "La Chanson des Vieux Amants", named 'Most Moving Video'. The song is fantastic, and has a great music video to make it even more touching. I hope you enjoy the video for "La Chanson Des Vieux Amants" by Gallavin.

You can find "La Chanson des Vieux Amants" on Gallavin's album, 'So Sad the Songs'. You can purchase 'So Sad the Songs' from iTunes, Amazon, and Bandcamp. I just got it, and can heartily endorse it. It is fantastic! To learn more about Gallavin, visit his official website. You can also 'like' him on Facebook, and 'follow' him on Twitter.

Marlee and Tully developed RightOutTV to help LGBT artists with promotion, as a way of giving back to the community. The couple are also a musical duo, making up Sugarbeach. They were kind enough to ask me to participate in the awards for the last few years as a judge. To learn more about RightOutTV, visit the RightOutTV website. You can also 'follow' them on Twitter, and 'like' them on Facebook.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Dark Monday • Ethel Merman & Mary Martin

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In 1953, the Ford Motor Company celebrated the 50th anniversary of the company in a way no one had ever seen before. As neither NBC nor CBS reached all the households in the country, Ford purchased prime time on both to air 'The Ford 50th Anniversary Show" on June 15th. It was said to the first "Television Spectacular", with a star-studded list of guests. Among those appearing were two of the top Broadway stars, Mary Martin and Ethel Merman. The ladies commanded the television screen for over 13 minutes, singing a medley of great songs both from Broadway and from Pop music. Ethel started the fun with"There's No Business Like Show Business" from the Irving Berlin musical 'Annie Get Your Gun', which originally starred Merman. Then Mary stepped in with "I'm In Love With a Wonderful Guy" from South Pacific', the Broadway hit by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II that starred Mary Martin. Then it was back to Ethel with "By the Light of the Silvery Moon" with music by Gus Edwards and lyrics by Edward Madden. Mary came back with "Wait 'Till The Sun Shines, Nellie" with music by Harry Von Tilzer and lyrics by Andrew B. Sterling, followed by Ethel singing "Sheik of Araby" with music by Ted Snyder and lyrics by Harry B. Smith & Francis Wheeler. Both Mary and Ethel joined in on "When the Red, Red Robin (Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin' Along)" written by Harry M. Woods. Martin broke off with the classic "My Melancholy Baby" with music by Ernie Burnett and lyrics by George A. Norton. Ethel took her turn with "You Made Me Love You" with music by James V. Monaco and lyrics by Joseph McCarthy. Martin sang "Mississippi Mud" by Harry Barris & James Cavanaugh.

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Then the pair decided to sing "I" songs, which included "I Cried for You", "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles", "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows", "I'm in the Mood For Love", "I Love a Parade", "I'd Climb the Highest Mountain (If I Knew I'd Find You)", "I'm Sitting on Top of the World", "I've Got a Feelin' You're Foolin'", "I Can't Give You Anything but Love", "I'll Get By", "You're Just in Love", and "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair".

As if that weren't enough, the ladies sang a couple of songs by the great Cole Porter, as Ethel sang "I Get A Kick Out of You". Mary added "I've Got You Under My Skin", and the flirty "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" by Cole Porter. Then Ethel added a classic of her own, with "I Got Rhythm" by George and Ira Gershwin.

In one of the nicest parts of a great duet, both ladies took on different songs at the same time, bringing it all together. The songs included "Indian Love Call" with music by Rudolf Friml and lyrics by Otto Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein II, "Tea For Two" with music by Vincent Youmans and lyrics by Irving Ceasar & Otto Harbach, "Stormy Weather" with music by Harold Arlen and lyrics by Ted Koehler, and "Isn't It Romantic" with music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Lorenz Hart. In the end, they raised their voices together on a reprise of the great Irving Berlin song, "There's No Business Like Show Business".

In 1953, Ethel Merman and Mary Martin were Broadway royalty, having been performing since the 1930s. Martin was given the Tony Award for 'Best Actress in a Musical' in 1950 for playing Nellie Forbush in 'South Pacific', and Merman won her Tony in 1951 for playing Sally Adams in 'Call Me Madam'. These were only the fourth and fifth years the Tony Awards were given. With this performance, you can see why they earned their awards. Such gifted ladies.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

David Raleigh • Live in New York City

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About a month ago, I went to New York City to attend the CD Release Party for David Raleigh, for 'The Equation of Love'. I was joined by my sister, Kim, for this great evening. That was the night of October 20th, and we made our way into the city to find The Cutting Room, found near the corner of 32nd & Park Avenue. David was in great voice that night, and we both had an great time. I will be going more in depth shortly, but until then, here is an overview of the evening with David Raleigh.

Sometimes, I just find my life to be amazing. After all, on Sunday, I was on the farm in Delaware, doing stalls and putting the horses out. On Monday, I was traveling to New York, and attending an event that had red carpet moments! And hearing Raleigh performing live was a good reason to make the trip! Soon, I will have more videos, pictures, and my thoughts on his new CD. To learn more about David Raleigh, visit his official website. You can also 'follow' him on Twitter, and 'like' him on Facebook. You can find his music at your favorite online music stores. You can purchase 'Beginning Again' from iTunes and Amazon. 'The Equation of Love' can be found on iTunes and Amazon. You can't go wrong with either CD!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

You'll Never Know • Songs of Warren & Gordon

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Clockwise: Rosemary Clooney, Julie London, Etta James, and Doris Day.

Harry Warren and Mack Gordon were both very successful songwriters, and when they came together, they made magic. There is a rich catalog of songs from which to choose, so I just picked four of my favorites to share with you. I will start with a song written for the 1943 film, 'Hello, Frisco, Hello'. In the movie, "You'll Never Know" was sung by star Alice Faye. It was one of nine songs nominated for for an Oscar, and went on to win the 1943 Academy Award for 'Best Original Song'. Fast forward 9 years, and the song was recorded by Harry James Orchestra, with featured vocalist Rosemary Clooney. I have long found Clooney's voice to be heavenly, so I couldn't resist using her recording now. This is "You'll Never Know", by Rosemary Clooney with the Harry James Orchestra.

Our next song was published in 1945, and originally sung by Dick Haymes in the film 'Diamond Horseshoe'. "The More I See You" has been sung by countless other artists since, and we are all the better for it. The song has a gorgeous melody, and is rich with emotion. In 1959 singer/actress Julie London released the song as part of her album, 'Your Number Please'. London added her own touch to the song, a breathy sexiness that is tough to resist. This is Julie London singing "The More I See You".

"Serenade in Blue" was introduced in the 1942 film 'Orchestra Wives' by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra, dubbed by Pat Friday for actress Lynn Bari. It was written as a Big Band number, with lush orchestrations. It was recorded by Glenn Miller and his Orchestra, with featured vocalist Ray Eberle with backing vocals by The Modernaires. That recording was the 11th best selling song of the year. It quickly became a standard, sung by most of the top singers of the time. Twenty-two years later, it was recorded by movie star Doris Day for her 1964 album, 'Doris Day's Sentimental Journey'. It is lovely, with a gorgeous string section. This is Doris Day singing "Serenade in Blue".

For my final song this evening, I thought I would go with what is arguably the most famous song the collaborators wrote. "At Last" appeared in the 1941 musical 'Orchestra Wives', which starred George Montgomery and Ann Rutherford. It was performed in the film and on record by Glenn Miller and his orchestra, with vocals by Ray Eberle and Pat Friday. While it was popular, it is not the version most remember. That would be the recording from 1960, made by the magnificent Etta James. James released her debut album that year, as well as the title cut. "At Last" made it to #2 on Billboard's R&B chart, and #47 on the Billboard Hot 100. While I would have suspected the song did much better on the charts, it remains an iconic recording, and the most remembered for "At Last". Please enjoy Etta James with "At Last".

These songs are all available on iTunes and Amazon, in various collections. And all are well-worth having in your collection. I hope you enjoyed the post, and are having a great weekend!

Spencer Day • I Only Have Eyes For You

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Just over a year ago, I was fortunate enough to see the amazing Spencer Day performing live at the World Cafe Live in Philadelphia, PA. I really enjoy the space, for it has a wonderfully intimate feel, and I have been able to take some good pictures of performers there through the years. Above, you can see a few of the pictures I took of the handsome crooner, who kept my rapt attention for the entire performance. He not only had a strong set list, he was also game for taking requests from the audience. One of the requests was "I Only Have Eyes For You", a popular love song written in 1934 by composer Harry Warren and lyricist Al Dubin. It debuted in the film 'Dames', starring Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler. However, the best known version might have been the 1959 single by The Flamingos, which made it to #11 on the Billboard Hot 100. But this is Spencer Day with "I Only Have Eyes For You".

You know, one of my favorite versions of this song might just be this one. While Spencer has yet to record the classic song, I pretty much love almost everything that Spencer sings. That would include his latest album, 'Daybreak'. You can purchase 'Daybreak' from Bandcamp, iTunes and Amazon. To learn more about Spencer Day, visit his official website. You can also 'like' him on Facebook and 'follow' him on Twitter.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Tony Moran feat Debby Holiday • I Like You

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Tony Moran has had an incredible run, being a top DJ in a business that caters to the pulse on the dance floor. Well, he not only feels that pulse, but he has injected more life with the music he makes. Not only does he make music people want to hear, they also can't help but dance to it. And while I'm at it, I must say the out and proud DJ also managed to stay every bit as handsome, if not more so than when he was part of the Latin Rascals in the early 1980s. So when my buddy Jeff Dorta told me about the latest from Moran to be released, I was couldn't wait to share it.

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So this week, Tony Moran released the single "I Like You", with features vocals from the exciting Debby Holiday. The single is a celebration of sorts, marking the 30th anniversary of the original release by Pyllis Nelson, which went to #1 on the Billboard Dance chart in 1985. "Phyllis' "I Like You" was a huge record when I was just entering the music industry," remembers Moran. "It was one of the track I drew inspiration from when co-creating "Show Me" for The Cover Girls."

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The song also has had an effect on the singer. "My favorite line in the song is "Hey you, over there, everybody everywhere...I like you," explained Holiday. "I love the idea of saying, 'he, I like you' to strangers, to friends, to people in our every day lives. I think we forget to say it and show." The song marks the third collaboration of the two artists, and could be their best to date. The video stars both, and they are looking and sounding great! Check out the music video for "I Like You", by Tony Moran featuring Debby Holiday.

You can purchase "I Like You" exclusively from Beatport. It will be available on the other music stores in December. To learn more about tony Moran, visit his official website. You can also 'like' him on Facebook, and 'follow' him on Twitter. For more about Debby Holiday, and to hear her music, visit Debby on ReverbNation. You can also 'like' her on Facebook, and 'follow' her on Twitter.


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