George Shearing Quintet with Nancy Wilson (1961) the Swingin’s Mutual (LP) Capitol (ST 1524)

George Shearing Quintet with Nancy Wilson

the Swingin’s Mutual 

1961

Capitol (ST 1524)

produced by Dave Cavanaugh and Tom Morgan

**** recommended
While all of Nancy’s 1960s albums will likely please her serious fans, some dates clearly stand out, and this early one with Shearing is clearly one of them.

The alternating back and forth between instrumental and vocal cuts works wonderfully, like pearls and diamonds lined up in a bracelet, and it causes one to wonder why this form of sequencing isn’t used more often.  Instead of forcing the use of vocal fillers–too often an issue with albums of the 60s–this format fills the room with something worth talking about, works like a healthy conversation, and it offers space and repose, allows time for the music to sink into your soul.  And with Nancy offering the vocals, the sequencing works like a tease, the instrumentals like head-spinning pauses between kisses.


Along with the two stars, vibraphonist Warren Chiasson and guitarist Dick Garcia get a little time to get their offerings into the conversations.   It really doesn’t matter if you prefer Nancy’s jazz dates or her pop ones, this one will please everyone.

— winch (author of

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Harlan Howard (1961) Sings Harlan Howard (LP) Capitol 1631

Harlan Howard

 Sings Harlan Howard

1961

Capitol 1631

Produced by Ken Nelson

*** (noteworthy)

While sources are inconsistent–likely because facts are hard to determine when an artist comes from poor rootless beginnings–apparently Harlan was born in Detroit in 1927 and grew up in Michigan and Kentucky.  He didn’t find success in his life’s calling until he was in his 30s, just before settling in Nashville and recording this debut album.

While he released a few of his own albums, he will be remembered mostly as a songwriter, for writing thousands of songs, many of which would become hits for various artists, first for hillbilly stars but also for soul and jazz artists. For example “Busted” would be a hit for both Johnny Cash and Ray Charles in 1963, and while “Chokin’ Kind” was first recorded by Waylon Jennings, it would become Joe Simon’s first number-one hits on the R&B charts.

This album came at a time when he was beginning to make a name for himself, and this set showed that he likely wasn’t going to run out of songs, as this features all new songs–from heartbroken ballads to the rather-dark humor of “We’re Proud to Call Him Son.”  While Howard will be remembered for his songwriting (and for defining country music as “three chords and the truth”), this albums shows he had a good voice, perhaps coming out of Hank Williams and Ernest Tubb (although I’m sure he’d note others as well) and perhaps he should have been given more opportunities to record his own material.  This isn’t essential but it suggests that fans of this artist (or hillbilly music in general) might be advised to check out Howard’s own recordings (along with the material he provided for others).

— winch

 

“We’re Proud to Call Him Son” download:

Girl Group 1961

girl group
Classic sides

s e l e c t i v e


(selected by winch)


1961



1961


“I Know (You Don’t Love Me No More)” (Barbara George)
Barbara George (New Orleans)     1961

“Baby It’s You” (Bacharach/David/Williams)
The Shirelles (New Jersey)     Scepter (1278)     1961

“Mama Said” (The Shirelles)
The Shirelles (New Jersey)     Specter (1217)     1961

“In Between Tears” (Dixon/Elgin/Roger)
“So In Love With You” (Osborne/Bishop)
Anna-King (Philadelphia)     Malibu Records (1020)     April 1961

“Triangle” (Janie Grant)
Janie Grant     Caprice (1001A)     1961