Here's another batch of albums intriguing or inexpensive enough to pique my interest, but which will be redirected to other homes rather than filed away in the Vinyl Cave archives.
Greg Kihn: Love and Rock and Roll
The end of his first decade of rockin' power pop-ish albums came to a close with this effort, somewhat more mercenary sounding than usual. A couple of the originals are good and make sense in the context of earlier efforts ("Wild in Love with You," "Okay to Cry") but overall it's too intentionally '80s sounding. However, that's probably what a contemporary rock band was supposed to be doing in 1986, so it's more a matter of personal taste whether this album is appealing or a turn-off. The inclusion of metal shredder Joe Satriani on lead guitar is definitely a somewhat unfortunate addition, particularly on a weird remake of "My Little Red Book." Unlike his other '80s discs this album is not mentioned on Kihn's website. (EMI America, 1986)
Judy Lynn: Naturally
There's not much information online about country singer Judy Lynn, despite the fact that she recorded from the 1950s through the '70s, had some chart success and was somewhat of a pioneer in bringing C+W to the Las Vegas circuit in the '60s. Lynn retired from performing in 1980 and died this year -- judging by the many sketchy obituaries published in May she is remembered as much today for elaborate outfits as the music. Naturally is a mid-'70s outing, and the straight MOR of the first few songs here made me wonder if this album was the same Judy Lynn. Overall it definitely sounds like they were going for a pop crossover, but eventually some more country blends into the mix. This was apparently the last LP issued on the scattershot Amaret label, best remembered for a few albums by Minnesota hard rockers Crow. From what I can tell, none of Lynn's albums have ever been reissued on CD. (Amaret, 1973)
Sil Austin: Sil Austin With Strings and Choir Plays Folk Songs Nothing about that album title portends good things going on, but the concept is also so goofy I couldn't resist hearing it. Jazz/soul saxophonist Austin recorded quite a few albums for Mercury, and along with apparently every established artist in the first half of the 1960s got saddled with a "folk music" album. Last time I checked, traditional folk music usually doesn't involve gloppy strings, an instant strike against the proceedings. Austin's saxophone work here is sleepy though still pretty cool, and awash in the rest of what's going on sounds like a visitor from another planet. (Mercury, 1963)
Herman Brood and His Wild Romance: Herman Brood and His Wild Romance
As Rick James said on Chapelle's Show: "Cocaine is a hell of a drug." Not to cast aspersions, but when your band's song called "Dope Sucks" ends with the line "comin' outta my nose" I think there may be some indications that things are a bit chemically influenced. In this case the art reflects the reality; Brood was a star in the Netherlands, famous as much for his music and (later) pop art as his outspoken views on drug use. This disc is a U.S. compilation of tracks from the band's first two Dutch albums. Despite the many short songs with titles that indicate punk band, it sounds more like some sort of disco/buttrock version of the '70s megaband led by Ted Neeley in Robert Altman's A Perfect Couple. I think in this case Brood's just not my style more than that it's bad music. Luckily, I didn't buy this one, a friend just left it at my house without telling me. Thanks, Kyle. (Ariola America, 1979)
Kitty Wells: Kitty Wells
While slick countrypolitan sounds from the major labels began encroaching on the C&W charts in the 1960s, more traditional sounding recordings from the previous decade were often haphazardly repackaged by those same labels on budget imprint compilation albums. RCA Victor had Camden, Columbia started the Harmony label, Capitol had Starline, and Decca recycled the Vocalion name, which it ended up owning after buying the Brunswick label from CBS during World War II. While these LPs typically have no logical reasoning behind what tracks are included, they often tend to be a good way to check out otherwise hard to find singles tracks by the artists. This album is a Vocalion entry by country singer Kitty Wells, and it can't go much past the very early 1960s -- it's nearly all twangy ballads with stripped-down arrangements, though it sure sounds like the Jordanaires helping out on a couple. There's some intriguing songwriting credits, including early efforts by Don Everly ("Thou Shalt Not Steal," a chart hit recorded recorded in 1954!), Roger Miller ("A Heartache for a Keepsake") and Bill Phillips ("Wicked World") among them. I picked up a Vocalion album by Carl Belew at the same time, and that one will be sticking around. (Vocalion, 1966)
Ray Charles: Do the Twist With ...
Ray Charles became an R&B star shortly after signing with New York independent label Atlantic in 1952, and by the decade's end was crossing over to the pop charts in a major way as well. After Brother Ray decamped to ABC-Paramount for a groundbreaking deal giving him artistic control and eventual ownership of his master tapes, Atlantic took revenge by cleaning out their vaults of any unused recordings and releasing numerous compilation albums. This is one of their cheesier concepts, from a series of "Twist with..." albums Atlantic issued on departed former stars. I picked it up thinking maybe there would be some singles-only sides, but from what I can tell everything here was previously on other Atlantic LPs. Since some tracks were drawn from actual live albums, on other songs crowd noise is randomly dubbed over the intro/outros, I guess in an attempt to make it appear to be a new live album. (Atlantic, 1961)