These Are The Good Times: The Complete Capital Recordings (CD) by Donna Loren

August 4, 2014

41B3CK7N5XL

 

Donna Loren is best remembered for her singing performances on four of the Annette Funicello/Frankie Avalon Beach Party movies. She sang one song in four different films but never spoke a word of dialogue.

She was also the Dr. Pepper girl in commercials of the day. If you watch the Beach Party movies closely, you will see it as the drink of choice in Big Daddy’s lounge. She was a semi-regular on Shindig and appeared in such television series as The Monkees and Batman.

She released one album and five singles for the Capital label, none of which enjoyed any commercial success. She them floated from label to label for a few more singles before leaving the music business for three decades. She has recently issued several albums as a part of a comeback.

Her entire output for Capital has now been re-released as These Are The Good Times: The Complete Capital Recordings. Included is her complete Beach Blanket Bingo album, both sides of her five singles, and eight previously unreleased tracks.

She had All-American good looks and the voice to become a star. One of her problems was the quality of her material. “Beach Blanket Bingo” is a joyous 1960’s pop song and “Muscle Bustle” has a Brian Wilson pedigree. “It’s Got To Be Me” is interesting due to the backing of the Beau Brummels. On the other hand, when you get to songs like “Do The Zonk,” the quality drops dramatically. Another problem was her label. Capital was a hit making machine, who represented the Beatles and the Beach Boys among others, and she received little publicity.

The music of Donna Loren is rooted firmly in the 1960’s and its main appeal will be to fans and members of the Beach Party era. This makes These Are The Good Times: The Complete Capital Recordings a niche release. The music does not particularly stand the test of time well but if you remember a raven haired beauty singing her heart out back in the 1960’s, then this album will bring back memories of an innocent time.

 

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Ten Good Reasons 45 by Donna Loren

February 29, 2012

Donna Loren appeared in a number of BEACH PARTY movies with Frankie and Annette, was a regular on the TV show SHINDIG, and was the Dr. Pepper Girl, yet did not have a chart single.

She issued a number of songs for various labels during the 1960s and all were catchy and melodic. She possessed a woderful pop voice and the looks to become a star but quietly disappeared from the music scene to raise a family. During the last several years she has begun touring and recording again.

“Ten Good Reasons” was representative of her sound. It was simple but catchy 1960s pop.


Blowing Out The Candles/Just A Little Girl 45 by Donna Loren

August 19, 2011

I may not be a pepper, you may not be a pepper, but Donna Loren was definately a pepper. She was the Dr. Pepper girl, 1963-1968. She also appeared in five Beeach Party movies with Annette and Frankie. She never spoke but only sang in each of the movies.

She moved on to become a regular on the SHINDIG television program, as she appeared in 26 episodes. She also appeared in episodes of The Monkees, Batman, and Dr. Kildare among others.

She was inactive, raising a family and starting a business, for over 30 years, but recently began recording and performing again.

Musically she is best remembered for the 1960s Beach Party music but she issued a number of catchy singles. Amazingly, despite all this publicity, she never had a single make the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart.


Dream World 45 by Donna Loren

June 3, 2011

Donna Loren has made a comback recently with several fine album releases. She is best remembered for her appearances in a number of the BEACH PARTY movies with Annette and Frankie.

Many people forget she served as the Dr. Pepper spokesperson, 1963-1968, and appeared as a regular performer on the SHINDIG televison series.

Before her Beach Party movies, she was signed to the Challenge Label, for whom she issued a number of fine pop singles. “Dream World” was representative of her output with Challenge. It was well- produced, catchy pop. Unfortunately it received no chart action in The United States.

Donna Loren would never become the big star her talent level suggested she would become. Her music from the time period is well worth seeking out.


Love It Away by Donna Loren

April 19, 2011

Donna Loren is alive and well and back in the studio again.

She is best remembered for her singing appearances in four of the Beach Party movies with Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon. Her career actually began several years prior to those performances, however. She appeared in a Playhouse 90 television episode with Robert Redford during 1960. She gained national attention as the Dr. Pepper spokesperson, 1963-1968. She also was a regular on the 1960’s television program, Shindig, appearing in 26 episodes. She would go on to appear on such TV programs as Batman and The Monkees, among others, before retiring to raise a family in 1968.

During the 1990’s and 2000’s she had relocated to Hawaii where she was an active clothes designer and opened a series of successful boutiques. During 2009 she revived her career and relocated back to the west coast.

She has recently issued a number of new releases, including an album she recorded during the 1980’s but was never released. Magic – The ’80s Collection may have been a little dated but presents her talent well. She also recently released an EP titled Donna Does Elvis In Hawaii.

Last year she returned with her first album of newly recorded material in decades. Love It Away combined eight original compositions with seven cover songs. The production is crisp and her vocals remain clear and strong as she has what best can be described as a pure pop voice. The packaging contains the lyrics to the songs which is always appreciated, plus there are some nice pictures included as well.

The surprising aspect of the album is provided by Donna Loren, the songwriter. I had not thought of her in that context but the songs are melodic and contain some personal and introspective lyrics. Songs such as “Only Love,” “We Are Women,” “OK,” and the title track are all worth a listen.

She picked an eclectic group of material to cover as well. Jackson Browne’s “Live Nude Cabaret,” Electric Light Orchestra’s “Don’t Bring Me Down,” Neil Young’s “Old Man,” Randy Newman’s “Last Night I Had A Dream,” and Bob Dylan’s “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” are all given nice pop renditions.

My favorite track is the old Jimmy Kidd/early Guess Who track, “Shakin’ All Over.” She originally performed the song on Shindig back in the 1960’s and it’s nice to compare it to the original. She also released it as a video which included some original sixties material.

Love It Away is a nice comeback album for Donna Loren. Hopefully there will be more to come.

Article first published as Music Review: Donna Loren – Love It Away on Blogcritics.


Donna Does Elvis In Hawaii (EP) by Donna Loren

April 8, 2011

Donna Loren’s music and acting pedigree reaches back to the 1960s. From her early days as the spokesperson for Dr. Pepper to her singing performances in many of the Beach Party movies to her becoming a regular on the Shindig! television series, she established herself as a female teen idol.

When her singing career began to run its course, she appeared in such shows as Batman, The Monkees, The Red Skelton Show, Gomer Pyle, Dr. Kildare, and Hollywood Squares.

In 1968 she married Lenny Waronker, the president of Warner Brothers Records. She then retired to raise a family. Despite not being active, she continued to record in the studio, and luckily saved the material. She recently released Magic-The 80’s Collection, which is made up of those recordings. Who knows what else she has tucked away, but when you are married to the president of a record company, studio time probably is available.

A divorce and second marriage later found her in Hawaii as a fashion designer with her own line of clothing and the owner of three boutiques.

During 2009 she decided to return to the mainland to re-start her singing career, releasing her first album of new material a year later with Love It Away. She has recently released a four-song EP that is her tribute to both Elvis Presley and Hawaii.

Donna Loren has always had just about a perfect pop voice and it remains intact on Donna Does Elvis in Hawaii. My only complaint is I wish she would have expanded it into a complete album, but since that did not happen we have to be content with this small slice of pop Elvis covers.

Just before leaving Hawaii, she recorded “Loving You” and “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear.” Both are unique interpretations as they have a Hawaiian feel to them. “Loving You” features Sonny Lim and Wailau Ryder on slack key and ukulele. “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear” includes Grammy winner Charles Brotman on ukulele. Loren’s voice floats above the mix in these two very satisfying performances.

She also includes her recent single, “Merry Christmas Baby,” which was an Elvis holiday classic. She reaches back to her aforementioned ’80’s stash for a performance of “Such A Night,” which Elvis released as a single in July of 1964. Both are straightforward covers and leave the listener wanting more.

It’s nice to have Donna Loren alive and well and performing again. While she has connections back to the 1960’s, she should not be considered a nostalgia act, as her sound has since been modernized. Donna Does Elvis in Hawaii is a nice re-introduction to an artist who has been out of the spotlight too long.

Read more: http://blogcritics.org/music/article/music-review-donna-loren-donna-does/page-2/#ixzz1IwsmI2JJ


Magic: The 80’s Collection by Donna Loren

March 13, 2010

It has always perplexed me that Donna Loren did not become a star but such is life in the music field. She is best remembered for appearing in four films with Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon. She sang a song in Beach Blanket Bingo, Bikini Beach, Muscle Beach Party, and Pajama Party but I don’t think she ever had a line of dialogue. She would go on to perform on Shindig and appear in such television shows as Dr. Kildare, Batman, and The Monkees but would gradually fade from the public eye.

Through the early eighties she was married to the president of Warner Brothers Records. This gave her a lot of free time in their recording studios. She would record every month or so and surrounded herself with such musicians as John Thomas and the legendary James Burton. Several of the tracks were released over the years and others have just sat gathering dust.

Just the presence of James Burton should generate interest. He is one of the best guitarists alive and is still remembered for leading bands for Rick Nelson (1958-1967), Elvis Presley (1969-1977), and John Denver (1978-1994).

Donna Loren has now gathered these 80s recordings and released them under the title Magic: The 80’s Collection. It is a mixed affair of styles mainly do to the intermittent recording schedule. Through it all, however, Donna Loren proves she has a a powerful and formidable voice.

The albums two best tracks are truly mismatched. Her rendition of the old war horse “Wishin’ and Hopin” is a nice slice of early eighties pop. The real gem is her self penned “Sedona.” James Burton re-assembled some of his old Elvis band mates for this country tune. Drummer Ronnie Tutt, bassist Jimmy Scheff, and piano player Glen D. Hardin back her on this sophisticated song which I believe could still be a hit.

While there are a few misses and some eighties excess, several other songs also stand out. “Could This Be Magic” is catchy but would have been better served to not have so many instruments yet it still contains a superior vocal. “Somewhere Down The Road” is a good vehicle for her to strut her vocal prowess.

Magic: The 80’s Collection is a nice look at an under rated and long lost artist. It was released in 2009 and provided the impetus for her return to the studio to record a new album titled Love It Away. Welcome back Donna Loren!