Lock My Heart by Dick Hyman and Heather Masse

February 13, 2013

Heather Masse and Dick Hyman were born 55 years apart, yet they have joined their talents to release the album, Lock My Heart.

Hyman began his career before World War II. His first claim to fame came after his release from the U.S. Army when he served as the pianist for Benny Goodman’s orchestra. Since then he has worked as an arranger, composer, producer, and an artist who has been involved with well over 100 albums as a solo artist, with his own band, and as a guest.

Masse studied jazz at the New England Conservatory of Music and is now a part of the Canadian folk trio, The Wailin’ Jennys. She first came into contact with Hyman on the radio show A Prairie Home Companion when they performed “I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good.”

They wisely kept the album simple. It is just Hyman’s piano and Masse’s voice. Except for two original compositions by Masse, all of the material is taken from the Great American Songbook, which they interpret in a light jazz format.

Hyman has been a pianist for most of his life. He may not be as limber as he was several decades ago but he is more than adequate on these tunes. He is still able to interpret the music and provide a good foundation for Masse’s vocals. He has the experience to give the music a personal feel but wise enough to not interfere with the vocals. Masse has a voice that fits these light jazz classics well. Songs such as Rogers & Hart’s “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered,” Cole Porter’s “Love for Sale,” and George Gershwin’s “Love Is Here to Stay” are simple and subtle renditions of these well-known classics. They also take Buddy Johnson’s 1940s blues ballad “Since I Fell for You” and move it over to a jazz translation.

Masse wrote two original songs for the album. The beautiful love song “If I Called You” and “Morning Drinker” fit in well with the rest of the tracks.

A chance meeting in a studio has led to a relaxed and very good album. So put some wood on the fire, grab your favorite beverage, sit back, and give this release a listen.

Article first published as Music Review: Heather Masse and Dick Hyman – Lock My Heart on Blogcritics.

Ruby Baby 45 by Dion

November 25, 2012

Dion is best remembered for his series of hit songs for the Lauire label, 1958-1962. “The Wanderer,” “A Teenager In Love,” “Lovers Who Wander,” and the number one “Runaround Sue” were some of the catchiest and biggest hits of the early 1960s. He he returned to the label several years later and had a far different sound. He had another hit with the folk type song, “Abraham, Martin, And John.”

Right in the middle of these two periods of his career, he was signed to the Columbia label. His material for the label moved away from this early doo-wop sound and toward a rocp/rock style.

His material during this period of his career is often over looked but late in 1962 he released a cover of a 1956 rhythm & blues hit for The Drifters, “Ruby Baby.” It was a smooth pop rendition and peaked at number two on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart. His material for the Columbia label may not be as well known but it is well-worth seeking out.

Chain Of Fools 45 by Aretha Franklin

June 2, 2012

Aretha Franklin’s switch from the Columbia Label to Atlantic had made her a star. 1967 was her first year with the label and songs such as “I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You),” “Baby I Love You,” “A Natural Woman” and the number one “Respect” all became big hits.

The aforementioned hit singles would have been enough for most artists in any given year but on December 9, 1967 a fifth single, issued on Atlantic, entered the charts. “Chain Of Fools” would spend 12 weeks on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Chart and reach number two.

She had begun her career as a gospel singer and she drew on that foundation for her performance here. Her singing the repetitive title of the song was pure magic back in 1967.

(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman 45 by Aretha Franklin

May 5, 2012

For six years Aretha Franklin tolied for the Columbia label without much success. Her brand of R&B/pop did not attract a large fan base or achieve much commercial success. That all changed when she signed to the Atlantic label during early 1967

By the end of rhe year she was a star and well on her way to becomming the Queen Of Soul. “(You Make Me Feel) Like A Natureal Woman” was a primal cry in the wilderness. It was her take on female sexuality and was one of the classic rhythm & blues releases of all time.

Released during the late summer of 1967, it reached number two on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Rhythm & Blues Chart and crossed over to the Pop Singles Chart where it reached number eight.

Today Aretha FDranklin is one of the most respected American music artists of all time who has created one of the best catalogues in music in history.

Respect 45 by Aretha Franklin

April 29, 2012

Aretha Franklin recorded for the Columbia label for close to six years, 1961-1966, without much success. While some of her signles did make the chart, there were no big hits.

That all changed when she signed with the Atlantic label during the mid-1960s. Her first chart single for Atlamtic, “I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)” made the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE top ten. The second was one of the greatest singles and vocal performances of all time.

“Respect” was released during early 1967 and before it finished its chart run, it had topped bith the BILLBOARD Pop Singles and Rhythm & Blues Charts.

Aretha Franklin was a gritty, gospel based R&B vocalist and performer, whose voice just overwhelmed the listener. The song was a cross between the civil rights movement and a person’s sex life. It has reverberated down through music histroy.

Don’t You Care 45 by The Buckinghams

January 7, 2012

The Buckinghams were a brass laden rock band that produced seven chart hits, 1966-1968. Their first two hits were for the small USA label where “Kind Of A Drag” topped the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Chart for two weeks.

They were quickly signed by the larger Columbia label. Their first release was “Don’t You Care,” which reached number six. It was a mid-tempo rock song with some memorable hooks.

The Buckinghams were an under rated band because of their use of a brass section. Chicago and Blood, Sweat & Tears would produce a similar sound and sell tens of millions of albums.

Darling Be Home Soon 45 by The Association

September 12, 2011

The Association’s commercial success was coming to an end during the early 1970s, although the band continues to tour down to the present day.

Their time with the WB labed ended in 1971. They signed a contract with Columbia and issued the album WATERBEDS IN TRINIDAD. They picked the old Lovin’ Spoonful song, “Darling Be Home Soon” as a single.

It was not an inspired choice. Their version was not as good as The Spoonful’s plus it was basically recorded in the same way. It Bubbled Under on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart at #104 but reached number 90 on the CASHBOX Chart.

Their time with Columbia was short and it was on to another label.