First Ladies of Country – Various Artists

Sleeve Notes:

Crystal Gayle – Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue, Lynn Anderson – Snowbird, Tammy Wynette – Ode To Billy Joe, Dolly Parton – Dumb Blonde, Tanya Tucker – Delta Dawn, Billie Jo Spears – 57 Chevrolet, Tammy Wynette – There Goes My Everything, Lynn Anderson – It’s Only Make Believe, Dolly Parton – Fuel To The Flame, Tammy Wynette – Stand By Your Man, Billie Jo Spears – Blanket On The Ground, Tammy Wynette – D.I.V.O.R.C.E., Crystal Gayle – Wrong Road Again, Lynn Anderson – Honey Come Back, Tanya Tucker – You Are So Beautiful, Dolly Parton – Your Old Handy Man, Lynn Anderson – A Little Bit More, Tanya Tucker – Let Me Be There, Tammy Wynette – No Charge, Lynn Anderson – Rose Garden

Label: CBS 10018

1980 1980s Covers

Top of the Pops Best of ’72

Sleeve Notes:

As most pop fans know our Hallmark “Top of the Pops” albums, issued every six or eight weeks, are consistently the best selling records of their kind in the world.

Each issue of “Top of the Pops” sells, not in thousands, but in hundreds of thousands; and, such is the outstanding success of these records, we decided in 1969 to introduce a “Best of Top of the Pops”, containing the thirteen best tunes from “Top of the Pops” issued during the year.

This was a runaway success and so were the subsequent issues; and all you pop enthusiasts supported us wonderfully.

We are thus encouraged to produce yet another “BEST OF” this year and again we have gone to enormous trouble to serve up on this album a superb selection of 13 hit tunes of the year, all of which have been featured at No. 1.

You’ll swing to these rhythms made famous during the year by the greatest artistes in show business. We sincerely think some of our versions are even better than the originals! Try it.

NOW HERE’S A BIG FREE BONUS FOR YOU ALL. INSIDE IS A SUPER, EXTRA BIG (ALMOST 3 feet x 2 feet), PIN-UP POSTER CALENDAR FOR 1973, IN SUPERB, FULL COLOUR!

We think we have produced a winner. There’s rhythm and beat and wonderful sound on the record to set your feet tapping; and there’s a gorgeous gal on our poster calendar to titillate your eyes.

We’ve done our very best. We KNOW you will do your best to make this big value release an all-time winner.

Thanks a million.

Top of the Pops Best of ’72

Label: Hallmark SHM 799

1972 1970s Covers Top of the Pops Collection

Ray Conniff’s Greatest Hits

Sleeve Notes:

Eventually, every great artist releases a Greatest Hits album. With Ray Conniff, however, that’s not easy. The question is: Which Greatest Hits? Ray’s list of Greatest Hits is nearly as long as the list of songs he has recorded.

Since it is not possible to include several hundred songs in one album, the task of repertory selection for “Ray Conniff’s Greatest Hits, was nearly insurmountable. Starting with Ray’s first solid Gold Record, “‘S Wonderful,” right down the list to his last release, “I Love How You Love Me” . . . even a cursory examination will reveal that every record deserves to be called a hit. The reason is as simple as the Conniff mystique; when Ray works his magic on a song, it’s his; it’s unique; it’s a hit.

The songs in this album are the greatest of Ray’s Greatest Hits. Some of them, like ‘S Wonderful, go back fourteen years. Rut, as always, they are as uniquely new, uniquely Conniff, as the day they were recorded; they sparkle with a freshness that only Ray Conniff can create, Like every Conniff album, this is a new listening experience. The Conniff magic has worked its charm again. The result? Well . . . ‘s wonderful.

Tom Riley

Ray Conniff's Greatest Hits

Label: Columbia 63671
Photography: Frank Bez

1969 1960s Covers

Delibes, Orchestra Of The Concerts De Paris, Walter Goehr – Ballet Music

Sleeve Notes:

If ever you are haunted by an attractive, piquant tune which you cannot place—probably nineteenth-century French, too light-fingered for Gounod, not individual enough for Bizet or Massenet, yet far more so than Saint-Sans—you may be fairly certain that its composer is Léon Delibes. Indeed, hearing an unfamiliar score by him is like reading Hamlet it seems to be full of quotations.

Although one of the most skilful of stage musicians, he is often underrated. In the first edition of Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians, he is not mentioned at all; his grand opera Lakiné is hardly ever given outside France, while even Sylvia and Coppélia had to wait for Diaghilev to make ballet respectable before they could attract any critical attention. But at least one great contemporary was ready to give Delibes his due —and more. Tchaikovsky described his own Swan Lake as “poor stuff compared with Sylvia“. He even rated the Frenchman above Brahms and Wagner. An exaggeration, of course, but understandable as the regard of one master-craftsman of the ballet to another.

A pupil of Adolphe Adam, Delibes began his career as a writer of operettas for Les Bouffes Parisiennes. His appointment in 1863 to the music staff of the Paris Opera led to a commission to com-pose the ballet La Source in collaboration with the Polish composer Minkus. His music compared so favourably with the hack-work of his colleague that he was invited immediately afterwards to write a divertissement to be inserted into Adam’s Le Corsair. He followed this up with a full-length comic ballet Coppélia, first produced in 1870; and finally came the climax of Delibes’ ballet career, Sylvia (1876), after which the composer turned his attention, less successfully, to grand opera.

COPPÉLIA—Prelude et Mazurka – Volts Lents -Theme slave varie – Czardas – Scene (“Nocturne”) – Musique des automates – Valse de to poupee – Valse des heures. Coppélia is founded on an idea suggested by E.T.A. Hoffmann’s sinister little tale Der Sandman,’ (which also forms the basis of Act I of Offenbach’s opera). It concerns an old man, Dr. Coppélius, who makes clockwork dolls. He lives in a village on the Hun-garian-Polish border—a fact of no particular significance except that it enables Delibes to introduce a Mazurka (No. 1 b), a Czardas (No. 4) and five variations on a song by the Polish composer Moniuszko (No. 3). Coppélius , it seems, has a daughter, Olympia, who is to be seen every day at his window reading a book. Swanilda, one of the village girls, tries to attract her attention in a graceful waltz (No. 2). Catching sight of Frantz, her betrothed, she hides, and is horrified to see him also making in-effectual advances to the girl. At nightfall (No. 5) Swanilda and her friends contrive to enter Coppélius . workshop, and discover the truth: Olympia is a doll. In their delight they set the various puppets working (No. 6). Coppélius arrives suddenly and chases the girls away; all except Swanilda, who takes refuge be-hind the curtain where Olympia is hidden. Mean-while, Frantz has climbed up a ladder and entered through the window. Coppélius catches him, makes as if to thrash him, then, with a sudden change of manner, appears to forgive the young man and offers him a drink. But the drink is drugged; Frantz falls asleep and then Coppélius’ design is made clear—he wants to transfer Frantz’s soul to the inanimate Olympia. What he does not realize is that the figure on the chair which he has wheeled from behind the curtain is no longer Olympia but Swanilda, who now makes a show of coming jerkily to life (No. 7). Coppélius’ joy soon changes when she begins to wreak havoc in the workshop. Frantz wakes up, and the two make their escape. Next day, during a ceremony in the village square, Coppélius demands justice; the burgomaster throws him a purse full of silver and that is the end of the matter. During the festivities which follow and which include the Dance of the Hours (No. 8), Frantz and Swanilda are married.

SYLVIA—Prelude et Les Chasseresses – intermezzo et Valse lente (L’Escarpolette) – Divertissement: Pizzicato – Marche et Cortege de Bacchus. Apart from a static first act, Coppélia has one of the most attractive plots in all ballet. The same can-not be said of Sylvia, a far more conventional Arcadian tale of nymphs, shepherds, gods and goddesses; hence no doubt its failure to remain in the general repertoire, although it is the most original and indeed symphonic of Delibes’ ballet score.

Amyntas, a shepherd, is in love with Sylvia, one of the huntress-nymphs of Artemis. Looking for her one day in the forest, he comes upon the troop of huntresses and takes refuge behind a statue of Eros. The nymphs dance in honour of the chase (No. lb), and there is a delicate solo for Sylvia herself (No. 2). Amyntas is discovered and forced to reveal his love, for which he blames Eros. Sylvia, appalled, draws her bow at the god’s statue, but Amyntas interposes him-self and is killed. Sylvia leaves indifferently, but not before the god has aimed an arrow at her heart. Soon she returns in a very different mood to pluck the arrow from her lover’s breast. She is seen by Orion, the villainous hunter, who carries her off to his cave. He orders a feast in her honour, at which, fortunately, he and his attendants drink too much to do her any harm. to the final act Amyntas, whom Eros has re-stored to life, is sitting disconsolately on the sea shore during a Bacchic festival (No. 4), when he sees a ship approaching. A veiled figure steps down from the prow and performs a dance to the accompaniment of Pizzicato strings (No. 3). It is, of course, Sylvia. Orion arrives soon after in pursuit of the nymph; but disaster is averted by the appearance of Artemis her-self, who shoots Orion and, reluctantly (for she is supposedly the Goddess of Chastity) gives her blessing to the two lovers.

LA SOURCE—Pas des Voiles – Andante – Variation – Danse Circassienne. Like Saint-Sans’ Yellow Princess and Bizet’s Pearl Fishers and Djamileh, La Source reflects the Oriental vogue which was one of the features of the Second Empire. The first act, to music by Minkus, describes how Djemil, a young hunter, prevents a wicked gypsy from poisoning a spring, then falls in love with a veiled woman, Nouredda, who is on her way to the palace of her betrothed, Khan of Ghendigil. She orders her attendants to bind him : but he is later re-leased by Naila, the fairy of the spring. At this point Delibes takes over, with striking effect. The scene is the palace gardens. Distant fanfares announce the arrival of Nouredda; and the Khan commands his dancers to perform in her honour. Here follows the four-movement divertimento given on the record. Although this score marks Delibes’ &but as a ballet composer, his touch is remarkably sure. Not even Borodin could have written a more seductively exotic Veil Dance; nor could Bizet have pointed the scoring of the Andante with greater piquancy. It remains to be said that Djemil eventually found his way to Nouredda’s proud heart with the help of the fairy Nails who. somewhat unfairly, is condemned to die to the tinkling banalities of Minkus.

Julian Budder

Delibes, Orchestra Of The Concerts De Paris, Walter Goehr – Ballet Music

Label: Concert Hall CM 2151

1964 1960s Covers

James Last – In Love

Sleeve Notes:

Love, they say, makes the world go round. The very same thing is often said of music, too. What could be more natural, then, than a happy combination of the two ? Here, with the ubiquitous James Last and his fine orchestra performing twelve excellent love songs, one could say that the world has never had it so good. Love, of course, has many faces and in this well-spiced selection James Last seems to have covered most of them musically.

The melodic grace of Time After Time – a long-time favourite written by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn for the 1946 Sinatra musical film It Happened In Brooklyn—makes a fitting start to the programme. This is followed by James Last’s own hit composition of twenty years later, Games That Lovers Play – a song that brings a mature and pleasantly original twist to the adolescent taunting-and-teasing side of love. This song has been recorded by many artists all over the world but to hear the composer’s own version makes this an especially interesting track.

One of the cinema’s great love scenes provided the background for the clever merging of Moonglow and the theme from Picnic. While scoring the music for this fine 1955 film, composer George Duning was looking for a way to complement and intensify a dance sequence in which the leading characters—played by William Holden and Kim Novak—discover their love for each other. He hit on the idea of using the jazz standard Moonglow (which was composed in 1934 by Will Hudson Eddie de Lange and Irving Mills) and combining it with his own theme as an obligato for strings. The effect was not only dramatically stunning it also resulted in a multi-million selling single. It is also interesting to note, nearly twenty years later, that the song Moonglow is hardly ever played without Duning’s fine Picnic theme in attendance. On this occasion James Last offers a richly scored treatment of the famous musical tandem which moves at a slightly faster tempo than usual.

The first side of this disc is completed by two emotionally contrasting pieces—the exotic romanticism of Passion Flower and the impending disillusionment of You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’. The latter song was written in 1964 by record producer Phil Spector and the husband and wife team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weill. It was recorded by the Righteous Brothers and subsequently became one of the biggest pop hits of the sixties.

Side two opens with the Academy Award-winning film song of 1953 Secret Love. Introduced by the irrepressible Doris Day in the musical Calamity Jane, it provided Doris with her fifth million-seller. In this version James Last has arranged the song in a very appealing way paying full regard to Sammy Fain’s superb melody. A somewhat more contemporary atmosphere is engendered by Last’s fine interpretation of Bob Dylan’s Mr. Tambourine Man, and this adds a pleasant touch of variety to the proceedings. Tambourine, of course, was a strong hit in 1965 for that popular group, The Byrds. The contemporary flavour continues simmering in Help Me Girl, before Last returns to the super-romantic swing of Close Your Eyes, a fine and well-loved standard which is usually associated with Tony Bennett who made a very successful recording of it back in the 1950’s.

One of the best known songs of the sixties Bart Howard’s elegant Fly Me To The Moon (sometimes known as In Other Words) makes an ideal vehicle for the arranging talents of James Last who, in this treatment, brings out all the lively elements of romantic fantasy implied by the title. Finally, having run the musical gamut of emotions connected with this crazy thing called love, James Last and his fine musical organisation strike a joyously optimistic note for the finale with their version of the recent Andy Williams hit Happy Heart.

If it is true to say that both love and music make the world go round, then it is a pretty safe bet that the world of James Last will continue spinning for many years to come … at the agreeably romantic speed of 33 1⁄3 r.p.m., of course.

James Last - In Love

Label: Reader’s Digest RDS 6936

1972 1970s Covers

16 Chart Hits Vol. 14

Sleeve Notes:

Steppin’ Out – I’m Gonna Boogie Tonight, Love Me For A Reason, Queen Of Clubs, Kung Fu Fighting, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, Black – Eyed Boys, Rock Me Gently, The Bitch Is Back, Now That We’ve Found Love, You, You, You, Hang On In There Baby, The Player, Annie’s Song, Mr. Soft, Another Saturday Night, Rock ‘N’ Roll Lady

16 Chart Hits Vol. 14

Label: Contour 2870 374

1974 1970s Covers

Peter Covent – 28 Hits à Gogo 4

Sleeve Notes (translated):

As exciting as today’s youth is also the party sound of Peter Covent, known for his always topical hits à gogo. Who is behind this musical pseudonym? Carlos Diernhammer, born and bred from Munich, was born in Buenos Aires while passing through. Together with his current producer Egon L. Frauenberger, he went to school in Bavaria’s metropolis. At the age of 13, “Don Carlos”, as he is called by his friends, composed his first sonata. After graduating from the conservatory, he jazzed with Freddie Brocksieper and Max Greger, for whom he still works as an arranger. An offer from Woody Herman Carlos declined to America because he had just entered his current wife
was in love young. He later went into business for himself, arranging and composing for the most famous German big bands. The musical and personal connection with his old school friend finally became “Peter Covent a la Mr. Hits à gogo” to the enthusiasm of all young people.

Peter Covent – 28 Hits à Gogo 4

Label: Philips 844 361 PY
Cover Photo: H. Dombrowski, Hamburg

1969 1960s Covers

Top of the Pops Vol. 51

Sleeve Notes:

Here’s yet another great pop L.P. from Pickwick. And as always, it’s packed with the latest, most up-to-datest chart sounds.
With twelve super tracks brilliantly performed and produced to the very highest standard, Top of the Pops is without doubt the best value for money to be found. If you prefer listening to your music on tape, then you can get this very album on Stereo Cassette HSC 290 or 8-track Cartridge H 8290.

TOP OF THE POPS VOLUME 51 …
another smash hit L.P. from Pickwick.

Top of the Pops Vol. 51 - another in the outstanding series of Top of the pops album covers.

Label: Hallmark SHM 940

1976 1970s Covers Top of the Pops Collection