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James E. Bagley "Jim Bagley" (Sanatoga, PA USA)
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Ultimate Waylon Jennings
Ultimate Waylon Jennings
Price: CDN$ 7.49
33 used & new from CDN$ 3.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Single Disc Jennings Overview, July 16 2004
Amid his flurry of reissues, Ultimate Waylon Jennings presents 22 top-10 country hits including 14 number ones. It starts with '68's "Only Daddy That'll Walk The Line," recorded before he wrestled the then-revolutionary right to produce his own records with his own band. It ends with 1987's "Rose In Paradise," along the way showing braggadocio ("I'm A Rambling Man," "Are You Ready For The Country"), wounded vulnerability ("Just To Satisfy You," a duet with Willie Nelson) and even a laugh at the oeuvre he pioneered ("Don't You Think This Outlaw Bit's Done Got Out Of Hand"). A protégé of Buddy Holly, he was rooted in the Southwest - which had fewer musical boundaries than Nashville - and he knew that country music (or, at least, his country music) could use rock and roll attitude. As for his voice - that soulful baritone overflowing with sincerity - he sang with an aura of truth.

40 #1 Hits
40 #1 Hits
Offered by Fulfillment Express CA
Price: CDN$ 36.68
23 used & new from CDN$ 16.13

5.0 out of 5 stars Essential, July 16 2004
This review is from: 40 #1 Hits (Audio CD)
40 #1 Hits is just what its name implies: forty Country chart-topping Merle Haggard singles from 1967's "Branded Man" to '87's "Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star."
Possessing a voice that was smooth as cream in his youth, Haggard's greatest strength ultimately lie in the breadth of his palette. We find home-spun sentimentality ("Daddy Frank"), blue-collar pride ("Working Man Blues"), flag waving ("Okie From Muskogee," which he wrote as a joke) and outlawry. "Sing Me Back Home" stems from a prison buddy's execution after a guard was killed in an escape attempt Hag didn't join. The banjo in "The Legend Of Bonnie And Clyde" creates a link with Earl Scruggs' "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" runs in Arthur Penn's 1967 film Bonnie & Clyde.
His topical songs' essential character is an outsider, be it an ex-con ("Branded Man"), scorned poor woman ("Hungry Eyes") or alienated worker ("Big City," whose fiddle recalls old Wills discs). The branded man's line "I'd like to hold my head up and be proud of who I am" fits many Haggard protagonists. To his former wife and singing partner Bonnie Owens, he's part Frizzell, part James Dean.
As for love songs, "Always Wanting You" was inspired by unrequited feelings for Dolly Parton, who simply saw him as a friend. His third wife Lorena Williams wrote "You Take Me For Granted" as their marriage floundered. "Carolyn" (penned by Oklahoma-to-Bakersfield transplant Tommy Collins) and "It's Not Love (But It's Not Bad)" ache with a husband cheating out of pure hurt. For duets, there's Clint Eastwood on a jovial "Bar Room Buddies," George Jones on "Yesterday's Wine" and Willie Nelson on the enigmatic "Pancho And Lefty."
This compactly packaged two-CD set has only one photo and little discographic data, but it does enjoy sparkling sound and twelve tracks (seven licensed from Hag's post-Capitol labels) his four-CD retrospective Down Every Road lacked. Nancy Henderson's informative notes look beneath the surface of the man and his music.

Flashes of Fire: Hoyt's Very Best 1962-1990
Flashes of Fire: Hoyt's Very Best 1962-1990
Price: CDN$ 25.35
20 used & new from CDN$ 16.74

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Retrospective, July 16 2004
Flashes Of Fire's 25 diverse, brightly remastered tracks reach from a live '62 "Greenback Dollar" (later covered by the Kingston Trio) to 1990's whimsical "Fearless The Wonder Dog." For all the rock hits he penned (Three Dog Night's "Joy To The World" and "Never Been To Spain," Ringo Starr's "No No Song"), Hoyt Axton's albums and singles surprisingly never cracked Pop's top 40 - only Country's - though his literate, left-of-center writing was as far from mainstream country as it could get. A wide range of artists such as Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Bing Crosby and David Crosby were among those who covered him.
In the drug-hazy '60s and '70s, Axton's anti-drug songs never seemed square. Cheech & Chong make a cameo appearance on "No No Song." Steppenwolf's seering "The Pusher" cover powered Easy Rider's soundtrack. "Snow Blind Friend" (which Steppenwolf also did) viewed substance abuse with pity. As for Axton's country top-tenners, "Boney Fingers" showed his droll side, while "When The Morning Comes" (a duet with Linda Ronstadt) was, as its name implies, a beguiling morning-after song. A big bear of a man, Axton died at only 61 in 1999 after a career spanning writing, singing and Hollywood acting. His mom was Mae Axton who co-wrote Elvis' "Heartbreak Hotel."

The Original Marvelettes: Motown's Mystery Girl Group
The Original Marvelettes: Motown's Mystery Girl Group
by Marc Taylor
Edition: Hardcover
17 used & new from CDN$ 38.04

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing story of Motown's first successful girl group, July 6 2004
The Marvelettes were Motown's first successful girl group as well as their most under-appreciated (along with the Velvelettes). While the Supremes and the Vandellas booked entry into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame years ago, the Marvelettes don't even make it onto the ballot (they were, however, recently voted into the Vocal Group Hall Of Fame). They also never had an entire book devoted to them... until now.
The Original Marvelettes chronicles the unlikely story of five girls from the small Detroit suburb of Inkster, Michigan who went from also-rans in their local high school talent show to an audition at Motown Records that brought them a contract and almost immediate stardom. The catalyst for this success was the composition "Please Mr. Postman," which became Motown's first record to hit number one on the pop charts in 1961.
Early on, we learn that "Postman's" author, Georgia Dobbins left the group before the song was even recorded, her parents declining to sign their underage daughter's contract with Motown. It's also revealed that her replacement, Wanda Young, was pregnant at the time of her signing (unbeknownst to the other group members) and would soon be unable to tour in support of their hit, her temporary fill-in none other than Florence Ballard of the then-"No Hit" Supremes. In light of the constant touring on those early Motortown Revues, all of the girls would end up dropping out of high school.
Bad nerves (Wyanetta Cowart) and sickle cell anemia (Georgeanna Tillman) would reduce the Marvelettes to a trio by early 1965. A change in musical direction also emerged around this time, as girl group ditties like "Beechwood 4-5789" and "Too Many Fish In The Sea" that featured Gladys Horton's sandpapery vocals would give way to more sophisticated soulful fare such as "Don't Mess With Bill" and "The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game" which highlighted the honey-laced leads of Wanda Young. The change in lead vocalists inevitably led to tensions within the group, heightened further by Young's increasingly erratic behavior (which by all accounts began from a spiked drink while on tour in Europe in 1965).
Marc Taylor interviewed Horton and Katherine Anderson Schaffner for the book, Schaffner in such depth that this is essentially her story. This is quite appropriate, since she was the only member of the group that lasted from its talent show incarnation until they disbanded in the late '60s. Taylor admirably limits discussion of Young's mental illness over the past 30 years to a few anecdotes that involved Schaffner, choosing instead to focus on the years that the Marvelettes were making music.
While Taylor bungles the names of Berry Gordy's kids that make up the acronym Jobete (Motown's music publishing wing) and repeats himself a few times in the book, he is to be applauded for finally fleshing out the story of Motown's pioneering heroines - an enthralling saga, filled with heaps of real drama. For fans of girls groups and/or Motown music, The Original Marvelettes is a must-read.

Definitive Collection
Definitive Collection
Price: CDN$ 13.71
24 used & new from CDN$ 6.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Includes all of Sammy's Mercury hits!, June 22 2004
This review is from: Definitive Collection (Audio CD)
George Jones disciple smilin' Sammy Kershaw was one of the '90s top country stars. This disc contains all 23 of his top 40 hits for the Mercury label (1991-2000).
Sammy's early singles were mostly high-octane efforts like "Cadillac Style," "She Don't Know She's Beautiful," "Third-Rate Romance." His 1997 signature hit "Love Of My Life," however, led him in the direction of country crooner. While it's a gem - as are other ballads like the Lorrie Morgan duet "Maybe Not Tonight" and the heartbreaker "Matches" - the rowdier numbers clearly show that honky-tonkin' is what Sammy does best.
This Definitive collection is just what it claims to be (a rarity in music marketing). It includes more hits than his two collections CHAPTER 1 and CHAPTER 2 combined, with such favorites as "Fit To Be Tied Down," "If You're Gonna Walk, I'm Gonna Crawl," and the philosophical "One Day Left To Live" finally making it onto a Kershaw Anthology. Everyone undoubtably has their favorite album tracks (mine include the rowdy "Louisiana Hot Sauce" and his cover of Sammy Johns' "Chevy Van"). But if you are just looking for the hits, you will never do better than this comprehensive set.

42 Ultimate Hits
42 Ultimate Hits
Price: CDN$ 19.99
20 used & new from CDN$ 15.76

5.0 out of 5 stars Best Rogers set available next to box set Through The Years, June 5 2004
This review is from: 42 Ultimate Hits (Audio CD)
Whether or not you like his music, you can't deny Kenny Rogers is one of the most prolific and commercially successful artists ever. This two-disc restrospective 42 Ultimate Hits is the first collection other than his box set Through The Years to contain recordings from each of his labels since he first hit the charts in the '60s.

Five recordings by Rogers with the First Edition (1967-1970, on Reprise) lead off the first disc and they are an impressively versatile lot. There's the psychedelic "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)," the sexy, r & b lavored "Something's Burning" and best of all, the folk tales "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town" and "Reuben James." Sorely missed here, however, is their sweet country-pop hit "But You Know I Love You."
The First Edition broke up in 1975 and Rogers signed a solo deal with United Artists (later folded into Liberty, then Capitol) records. These are the recordings that made Rogers a superstar and they comprise 25 of the 42 tracks found here). Rogers' initial producer at United Artists, Larry Butler, encouraged Rogers to make his sandpapery vocals a trademark (created by rehearsing until hoarse and straining to hold those almost out of reach notes). Rogers' early solo hits like Lucille," "The Gambler," "Coward Of The County," "Lady," and "Love Will Turn You Around" were strong representatives of cross-over country during the Urban Cowboy era. With one major exception: "You Decorated My Life." Who was that intended for, Martha Stewart?
The real highlight of Rogers' United Artists/Liberty years were the duets. Pairing Rogers with diverse artists like Kim Carnes("Don't Fall In Love With A Dreamer") and Sheena Easton ("We've Got Tonight") provided a great showcase for his harmonic talents. Even better are the half-dozen singles that Rogers recorded with the late Dottie West during the late '70s. Their mixture of honey (West) and gravel (Rogers) made for a surprisingly tasty mix, especially on the jazzy "What Are We Doin' In Love" and the delightfully lustful "Anyone Who Isn't Me Tonight."
Dolly Parton succeeded West as Rogers' duet partner in the '80s when he jumped to the RCA label, but their potent natural blend on the megahit "Islands In The Streams" was weakened by their overly loud backup singers/producers, the Bee Gees. "Islands" is followed here by five more hits from Rogers' RCA years (1983-1988), including the beautifully reflective "Twenty Years Ago," the horny "Morning Desire" and the Ronnie Milsap duet, "Make No Mistake, She's Mine." Unfortunate omissions from the RCA era include the galloping "Evening Star," and the chart-topping Parton collaboration "Real Love."
Slighted even more on this set is Rogers' late '80s - early '90s tenure on Reprise. By this point, country radio was concentrating on the new traditionalists and Rogers was no longer topping the charts. He made some wonderfully eclectic music, however, like the intergalactic cowboy ode "Planet Texas," the inspirational "When You Put Your Hear In It" and the wedding anthem "The Vows Go Unbroken," but only the latter recording is included here. Check out Through The Years for a more healthy sampling of the RCA and Reprise solo eras.
After some lean recording years, Rogers made an improbable but highly successful comeback in 1999 with the one-two punch of the humorous baseball saga "The Greatest" and the number one hit "Buy Me A Rose" for his own Dreamcatcher label. The three new tracks that follow and close this collection - including "My World Is Over" with Shania Twain-soundalike Whitney Duncan - reveal Rogers is still making quality music. Even if they fail to reach the upper regions, he's had - as this impressive set reminds us - a hell of a ride.

Complete Hit Singles [Remastered]
Complete Hit Singles [Remastered]
Price: CDN$ 9.09
29 used & new from CDN$ 6.98

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strongest single disc available of all of their hits, May 28 2004
From 1969 - 1975, Three Dog Night was the most popular band in America. Don't believe it? Just look at their stats during that period: twenty-one consecutive Top 40 hits, eighteen straight Top 20's, eleven Top 10's, and twelve straight gold LPs. This seven-piece outfit featured three strong, distinctive lead singers in Danny Hutton, Chuck Negron, and Cory Wells, whose individual talents became even greater when harmonizing. While their sound was often slick, it was also undeniably soulful, particularly on the singles Negron fronted. In addition, the material they selected was extremely diverse and their arrangements were often innovative.
Three Dog Night's singles tended to come from up and coming singer-songwriters. In 1969, they reached the top 10 on the pop charts with Harry Nilsson's "One," Laura Nyro's "Eli's Coming," and "Easy To Be Hard" from the musical Hair. The following year, Three Dog Night scored their first number one with Randy Newman's humorous "Mama Told Me (Not To Come)," then branched out ecologically through Paul Williams' "Out In The Country." 1971 was undoubtedly the apex for Three Dog Night, with their signature hit - the ultra infectious Hoxt Axton anthem "Joy To The World" - topping the charts for six weeks, followed by Russ Ballard's rowdy "Liar," Williams' smooth "An Old Fashioned Love Song" and Axton's gritty "Never Been To Spain" (all top 10 efforts).
1972's "Black & White" gave them another feel good anthem and another number one, while the pretty "Pieces Of April" introduced songwriter Dave Loggins to the masses. The redemptive plea "Shambala" in 1973 and the Leo Sayer circus saga "The Show Must Go On" in 1974 were the final Three Dog Night singles to reach the top 10. Passed over for singles consideration around this time was the gutwrenching ballad "I'd Be So Happy" which offered Negron's greatest vocal performance. Instead, they released "Sure As I'm Sittin' Here" and the funky "Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues)" which gave John Hiatt and Allen Toussaint respectively some early songwriting success. Another Loggins number, the reflective "Til The World Ends," brought Three Dog Night their final top 40 hit in 1975. Hutton then left the group in 1976 and subsequent incarnations have never been able to recapture their radio success.
The Complete Hit Singles is the first singe-disc domestic collection to include all 21 of Three Dog Night's top 40 hits, in their original single versions. These tracks are also digitally remastered, making this set a vast improvement over the long existing Best Of which contained 20 of their hits but suffered from poor sound. For '70s pop enthusiasts, it's a must purchase.

Greatest Hits
Greatest Hits
Price: CDN$ 11.55
48 used & new from CDN$ 1.35

5.0 out of 5 stars A Nice Summation Of One Of Current Country's Top Artists, May 22 2004
This review is from: Greatest Hits (Audio CD)
With the honky tonk lament "Never Again, Again," Lee Ann Womack and her adenoidal, Partonesque voice arrived on the country charts in early 1997. Follow-up singles on her first two albums, like the uptempo "(Now You See Me) Now You Don't" and "I'll hink Of A Reason Later," as well as the delicate ballads "The Fool" and "A Little Past Little Rock," then solidified her as a favorite of traditional country listeners.
Womack's third album I Hope You Dance (2000) was far more eclectic. The Rodney Crowell scorcher "Ashes By Now" infused rock and tropical sounds, while "Does My Ring Burn Your Finger" added bluegrass into her repertoire. "Why They Call It Falling" was a sparse, acoustic gem and the optimistic title track struck a chord with the nation and ultimately became a major pop hit.
In light of the major crossover success of the "I Hope You Dance" single, it is not surprising that Womack's next album Something Worth Leaving Behind (2002) aimed for the masses again, this time with an overly polished and synth-laden sound. But aside from the title track (an "I Hope You Dance" knockoff), it was lacking in hits. "Mendocino County Line" - a Grammy-winning collaboration with Willie Nelson - followed soon after, its harmonious blend overshadowing the song's ambiguous storyline.
Greatest Hits contains all twelve of Womack's top 25 country hits (including the aforementioned singles), plus two new tracks "The Wrong Girl" and "Time For Me To Go" that thankfully return Womack to her traditional roots. While I would have also included the toe-tapping single "Buckaroo" (which peaked just outside the top 25), Greatest Hits serves as a strong summation of Womack's first eight years as an MCA recording artist.

Reflections: Carly Simon's Greatest Hits
Reflections: Carly Simon's Greatest Hits
Price: CDN$ 9.30
33 used & new from CDN$ 4.43

5.0 out of 5 stars Easily the best single disc Simon collection available, May 11 2004
Several collections already existed that encompass Carly's solo career, including the three-disc box set CLOUDS IN MY COFFEE (1995), and the double-disc, forty-track ANTHOLOGY (2002). For the amount of space available on both of them, the track selections are flawed. REFLECTIONS, meanwhile, truly represents the cream of Carly's catalog and is an extremely enjoyable listening experience from start to finish.
The first nine tracks are comprised of Carly's '70s Elektra hits like "That's The Way I've Always Heard It Should Be, "Anticipation," "You're So Vain," and "You Belong To Me." I have my favorite album tracks from this period like "Tranquilo" and "We're So Close," but the recordings included here were the hits, so I can't find fault with the selection. Track 10, "Jesse," represents her early '80s tenure at Warner Brothers - a logical choice as it was her only top 20 hit there (I also liked her minor reggae-flavored hit "Why" from this period).
In 1987 - after an unsuccessful album SPOILED GIRL for Columbia - Carly moved to Arista and experienced a career resurgence, much like that experienced by other middle-aged Arista arrivals Dionne Warwick and Aretha Franklin. Her Arista highlights make up the final 10 tracks.
The first Arista album COMING AROUND AGAIN was one of Carly's strongest ever and it is well-represented here by its four singles, including the reflective title track and the enchanting "Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of." During her Arista years, Carly also got involved in film scoring - quite successfully - including her enclosed Oscar winner "Let The River Run" from WORKING GIRL and the theme for LOVE OF MY LIFE.
The 1994 biographical album LETTERS NEVER SENT resulted in some of her most intimate work and is well represented here by touching tributes to her mom ("Like A River") and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis ("Touched By The Sun"). This collection then concludes with "Amity," an acoustic duet with daughter Sally Taylor that was included in the 1999 film ANYWHERE BUT HERE.
While one disc cannot due full justice to Carly, REFLECTIONS manages to touch on all significant phases of her career. For those who don't own any of her music, it's a great first purchase.

Drive-In Dream Girls: A Galaxy of B-Movie Starlets of the Sixties
Drive-In Dream Girls: A Galaxy of B-Movie Starlets of the Sixties
by Tom Lisanti
Edition: Hardcover
16 used & new from CDN$ 55.94

5.0 out of 5 stars Another great book by Lisanti on the '60s unsung sweeties, May 9 2004
This is a companion piece to Tom Lisanti's excellent 2001 book Fantasy Femmes. While that book dealt with '60s starlets who appeared in beach, biker, Elvis, delinquent youth, and horror films, this book concentrates a bit more on ladies who graced the beach and Elvis films (with no repeats). For me, a huge admirer of the beach films, that makes for an even more enjoyable read than the first book. Such Beach Party staples as Donna Loren and Luree Holmes are interviewed in depth, while Patti Chandler, Susan Hart, Valora Noland, and my absolute favorite, the Bardot-like Mary Hughes are also profiled.
Like Fantasy Femmes, Drive-In Dream Girls interviewed 20 of the '60s most delightful gals. Those included here are:
Sue Caey (The Beach Girls and the Monster, Catalina Caper); Andrea Dromm (Come Spy With Me, Hit The Surf); Gail Gilmore (Girls On The Beach, Harum Scarum); Laurel Goodwin (Girls! Girls! Girls!); Sharyn Hillyer (A Guide For The Married Man); Luree Holmes (Beach Party series, Ski Party); Suzie Kaye (Clambake, It's A Bikini World); Sue Ann Langdon (Roustabout, Frankie & Johnny); Donna Loren (Beach Party series, Sergeant Deadhead); Vitina Marcus (The Lost World, the Green Lady on Lost In Space); Arlene Martel (Angels From Hell); Marlyn Mason (The Trouble With Girls); Quinn O'Hara (Ghost In The Invisible Bikini, A Swingin' Summer); Melody Patterson (Wrangler Jane from tv's F-Troop; Cycle Savages); Cynthia Pepper (Kissin' Cousins); Hilarie Thompson (Maryjane, If It's Tuesday This Must Be Belgium); Darlene Tompkins (Beyond The Time Barrier, Blue Hawaii); Beverly Washburn (Spider Baby, Pit Stop); Carole Wells (The Lively Set); Lori Williams (Faster Pussycat Kill! Kill!, A Swingin' Summer).
While Fantasy Femmes also profiled 12 '60s sweeties, Drive-In Dream Gals looks at an additional 30 favorites, all longer profiles than the first book. They are: Brenda Benet (Beach Ball, Harum Scarum); Diane Bond (Pajama Party, A Swingin' Summer); Cindy Carol (Gidget Goes To Rome, Dear Brigitte); Regina Carroll (Satan's Sadists, Angels' Wild Women); Patti Chandler (Beach Party series, Ski Party); Nancy Czar (WIld Guitar, Winter-a-Go-Go); Jackie DeShannon (C'mon Let's Live A Little, Surf Party); Jill Donohue (Winter A Go-Go, Nobody's Perfect); Joan Freeman (Roustabout, The Reluctant Astronaut); Susan Hart (Ride The Wild Surf, Dr. Goldfoot & the Bikini Machine); Anne Helm (Follow That Dream, The Magic Sword); Mary Hughes (Beach Party series, Ski Party); Mikki Jamison (Beach Ball, Ski Party); Candy Johnson (Beach Party series, Pajama Party); Marta Kristen (Judy from Lost In Space, Beach Blanket Bingo as the mermaid); Meredith MacRae (Bikini Beach, Billie Jo on Petticoat Junction); Dodie Marshall (Easy Come Easy Go, Spinout); Claudia Martin (For Those Who Think Young, Ghost In The Invisisble Bikini); Jenny Maxwell (Blue Hawaii, Take Her She's Mine); Mary Mitchel (A Swingin' Summer, Girls On The Beach); Laurie Mock (Hot Rods To Hell, Riot On Sunset Strip); Valora Noland (Beach Party, Muscle Beach Party); Angelique Pettyjohn (Hell's Belles, Clambake); Pat Priest (Marilyn on The Munsters, Easy Come Easy Go); Juliet Prowse (G.I. Blues, Who Killed Teddy Bear?); Bobbi Shaw (How To Stuff A Wild Bikini, Pajama Party); Ulla Stromstedt (tv's Flipper, Catalina Caper); Wende Wagner (Out Of Sight, tv's Green Hornet); Debbie Watson (Cool Ones, Tammy and the Millionaire); Venita Wolf (Catalina Caper).
As I mentioned in my review of Fantasy Femmes, most of these lovely ladies had their careers end by the time they reached 30. A lot of that had to do with getting married, having kids, and being expected by society to concentrate on raising their family. Another key reason was the end of the studio contract system by the late '60s. Most of the gals profiled here were contract players at one time or another. With no studio to support them, they often faded away, leaving us to savor their all too brief careers and wishing we had gotten to see them grow in their work.

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