Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Dinah Lee with Max Merrit and His Meteors - Don't You Know ... and...

 Dinah Lee - The Viking Recordings (1964-1967)

 While this doesn't have every last track Dinah Lee released on the Viking label in New Zealand, it comes pretty close, cramming 34 songs from her 1964-1967 45s and LPs onto one CD. It might not stand up to the best female British Invasion singers of the era, but if you've got a hankering for that sound, Lee's records were pretty close in sound to those made by plenty of girls in the U.K. during the same period. Closest in style to Lulu from that school (if not as good), Lee took on a fairly wide variety of material, from 1950s rock & roll oldies to girl group, soul-pop, Merseybeat-style ravers, and even some ska. The main flaw is that there are too many covers of familiar American tunes; her passes at "Rock Around the Clock," "Kansas City," and hits by the likes of Jackie Wilson, Chuck Jackson, and Huey "Piano" Smith might have energy, but they're certainly not going to make anyone forget the originals. But there are a good number of songs here that come off better, like "You Don't Talk About Love," one of the most frenetic woman-sung Merseybeat-style recordings from anywhere in the globe; the 1965 number one New Zealand hit "I'll Forgive You Then Forget You," which is quality British-style orchestrated girl group-soul-pop; a fine cover of Barbara Lewis' "Pushing a Good Thing Too Far" (a number three hit in New Zealand); and a few songs ("That's Right, I Quit," "Too Many People") that could almost pass for mid-'60s Lulu outtakes. In fact, some of these songs were recorded by Lulu ("Not in This Whole World," "Chocolate Ice," "Try to Understand," "Too Many People," "He Don't Want Your Love Anymore") -- enough to make you suspect there were some conscious attempts to use Lulu as a model, though at least Lee could sing in the same room as Lulu and not embarrass herself. Though the 1964 B-side "Yeh Yeh We Love 'em All" is less impressive, it's an obscure must-have for those who collect shameless Beatles novelty discs. The 16-page booklet has detailed liner notes about Lee's '60s career, an especially useful addition as the singer is virtually unknown outside of New Zealand and Australia, despite some attempts to break the U.S. and U.K. markets. 

 01. Dinah Lee - Don't You Know Yokomo
02. Dinah Lee - You Don't Talk About Love
03. Dinah Lee - Reet Petite
04. Dinah Lee - Yeh Yeh We Love Them All
05. Dinah Lee - Do The Bluebeat
06. Dinah Lee - Kansas City
07. Dinah Lee - Who Stole The Sugar
08. Dinah Lee - Rock Around The Clock
09. Dinah Lee - Johnny
10. Dinah Lee - Let Me In
11. Dinah Lee - I'll Forgive You Then Forget Y
12. Dinah Lee - What Kind Of Love Is This
13. Dinah Lee - Birds And The Bees
14. Dinah Lee - He Can't Do The Blue Beat
15. Dinah Lee - Hey Chickie Baby
16. Dinah Lee - The Nitty Gritty
17. Dinah Lee - That's Right I Quit
18. Dinah Lee - Pushing A Good Thing Too Far
19. Dinah Lee - He Don't Want Your Love No Mor
20. Dinah Lee - Don't You Just Know It
21. Dinah Lee - The Right Time
22. Dinah Lee - Summertime
23. Dinah Lee - Not In This Whole World
24. Dinah Lee - He's Sure The Boy I Love
25. Dinah Lee - 98.6
26. Dinah Lee - Too Many People
27. Dinah Lee - I Keep Forgettin
28. Dinah Lee - Chocolate Ice
29. Dinah Lee - Try To Understand
30. Dinah Lee - What Did He Say
31. Dinah Lee - Is It True
32. Dinah Lee - Hot Spot?
33. Dinah Lee - I Can't Believe What You Say
34. Dinah Lee - New Orleans

 Dinah Lee with Max Merrit and His Meteors - Don't You Know 1964

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