Molly Ringwald "Except Sometimes"

Molly Ringwald

Well, of course Molly Ringwald was going to sing "Don't You (Forget About Me)" (featured here) on her 2013 singing debut Except Sometimes -- it provides the hook to draw the curious into the fold, to bring in listeners who may otherwise have never paid attention to another album of an actor singing standards. And, in most regards, Except Sometimes is indeed another album of actors singing standards, distinguished by a more-adventurous-than-usual selection of songs (Ringwald has good taste and an aversion to shopworn warhorses) and a nicely intimate vibe, suggesting a comfortable, brightly lit nightclub where smoking was prohibited long, long ago.

If Ringwald wasn't well-known, odds are Except Sometimes would never have shown up on a major label, but that's no reason to hate it: it's too cheerful and slight to inspire hate.

The Hellers 'Singers, Talkers, Players, Swingers and Doers'

The Hellers 'Singers, Talkers, Players, Swingers and Doers'

This 1968 LP stands as a particularly strange UFO in the UFO-filled sky of the psychedelic and kitsch record collector.

In 1968, producer Enoch Light commissioned an LP from Hugh Heller, a publicist who used to put together albums of skits and short musical spoofs his agency privately distributed to industry people.

Heller teamed up with his agency's commercial jingle composer Dick Hamilton. Together, they wrote 12 light comedy tracks and brought in visionary electronician Robert Moog (inventor of the Moog synthesizer) to give their project a space-age feel.

This half-hour of material has aged tremendously, but to most connoisseurs of the genre, that is where its value resides.

You'll know the vocal in the featured track "Life Story", as it was lifted by Grandmaster Flash for his "Adventures on the Wheels of Steel" track.

Nichelle Nichols 'Down To Earth'

Nichelle Nichols 'Down To Earth'

Although arguably best-known for her portrayal of communications officer, Lieutenant Nyota Uhura on the original sci-fi television program Star Trek, Nichelle Nichols is likewise a formidable vocalist.

Her abilities actually predate her acting prowess, as she was performing in nightclubs and had garnered a solo spot during a brief stint with Duke Ellington & His Orchestra, all of which she accomplished before 1960.

Concurrent with her work on Star Trek, Nichols was recording for Epic Records, releasing a 45 rpm featuring "Know What I Mean" b/w "Why Don't You Do Right" in 1967. She then teamed up with jazz arranger Gerald Wilson to create Down to Earth.

Her tremendous talents stylistically run the gamut from the up-tempo and soulful "Feelin' Good" to the torch balladry of "Tenderly" and the touching "The More I See of You." She effortlessly takes on "The Lady Is a Tramp," adding a few hip and timely humorous asides. The lesser-known title "You'd Better Love Me" and the cover of Georgia Gibbs' "Home Lovin' Man" are brought to life with equal aplomb.

A nice little curio.

Johnny Cash 'Reads the Complete New Testament'

Johnny Cash 'Reads the Complete New Testament'

As I'm in a Johnny Cash mood today, here is a rare treat; The Man in Black reading a powerful, yet tremendously tender rendition of the New Testament.

Cash reads the Book with devout humility, with no embellishment. He speaks clearly and plainly, with the odd trace of his Arkansas accent giving the whole a rich, comfortable feeling (with the odd pronunciation of "Pontius" and the very Southern "nekkid"), which draws the listener in, as though we're right there with him, perhaps sitting in a warm cabin on a winter night listening gathered around the rocking chair while being read to.

It's difficult not to be moved by these words being read by a man of simple, basic faith. How one interprets them is purely personal, as it should be.

As you may have guessed, the featured work is from the book of Matthew, detailing the resurrection.

Happy Easter to you all.

Camille 'Le Sac des Filles'

Camille 'Le Sac des Filles'

you'll be aware of Camille through her work with Nouvelle Vague. This is her first solo album.

If you like sultry chanson, you'll love this...

Langley Schools Music Project - Innocence And Despair

Langley Schools Music Project - Innocence And Despair

Howzer! This is twisted. Really twisted. I believe this is the result of a school teacher deciding to teach his kids a bunch of pop songs (Beach Boys, Beatles, Bowie etc) - the recordings of which disappeared for many years before being unearthed and praised by the original composers (Bowie included).

Some years ago someone mentioned to me that they couldn't stand listening to children sing (that came out sounding worse than it really was). I think it affected me on some subconscious level as I've found listening to recordings of children singing (eg Stevie Wonder) a tad awkward since. This pushes far beyond those boundaries.

The choir is accompanied by acoustic guitar, a drum and a cymbal (oh and there's a piano sometimes too). It's basically out of tune/time most the way through but there are eery moments when everything falls where it's meant to. The girl that sings Desperado has a great voice.

Sweet Caroline is wicked, Rhiannon too. I think I'm actually starting to like this.

Scala & Kolacny Brothers - It All Leads To This

Scala & Kolacny Brothers - It All Leads To This

When people mention acapella covers I normally cover my ears and start rocking back and forth. Even though I love covers I feel that I'm not strong enough to endure another bad acapella cover song. Luckily the good folk in Leuven picked a good one for me to enjoy this time round.

In covering some of my absolute favourites (such as Enjoy The Silence) you're heading into seriously dangerous territory. It just works though. The arrangements are lovely. I guess it's cheesy - but it's so damn beautiful.

In all honestly once I started I simply couldn't turn it off.

Björk - Volta

Björk - Volta

I got this the day it came out and then only listened to it once. That's pretty stupid of me considering how much I liked her last album (and everything she's ever done). There was something about the fact that it's Timbaland produced that put me off. Not that I don't like his work, it's just that I know his sound and I just didn't want to hear Björk like that.

Declare Indepndence is the song that jumped out at me on this one. It crescendos into such a great rolling sea bound swell. I also predict that it's probably the track I'd get sick of first.

Flicking through the tracks again I can hear that it's good. This girl really knows how to turn out a great pop work.

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