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

Pierre Belmonde – Themes for Dreams

Light Of Experience, Bright Eyes, Feelings, Miss You Nights, Whiter Shade Of Pale, Don’t Cry For Me Argentina, Love Story, Ave Maria, Stranger On The Shore, Annie’s Song, Concerto De Aranjuez, You Don’t Bring Me Flowers, Aria, Forever Autumn, Sailing, Nights In White Satin, Amazing Grace, I Can’t Stop Loving You

Sleeve Notes:

Panpipes originally consisted of several bamboo pipes of differing lengths bound together, held and blown through vertically.

The instrument’s history in Europe stretches back to the zenith of both Greek and Roman civilisations, from which era it derived its association with the god Pan. Greek and Roman artists often depicted Pan flaying an instrument consisting of seven lengths of cane bound together.

As well as Europe (including Rumania and Hungary) the panpipes have originated from many far-flung corners of the world: from China, where sixteen bound pipes were favoured: from ancient Peru, where, as well as cane, they were made of red pottery and green soapstone (cane panpipes are still played in the Andes region today): from Melanesia: and the Solomon Islands, where the panpipes are played together as a band at funeral dances.

The hey-day of the panpipes in Europe was from the tenth to the thirteenth centuries, during the time of the medieval troubadours. They were constructed in a semi-circular, curved shape to make playing easier and more fluent. The style of medieval playing was probably similar to the way in which South American Indians still play today.

The panpipes enjoyed a temporary revival of popularity in England at the beginning of the 19th century where they were taken up by groups of travelling musicians, calling themselves Pandeaus, who went about the country giving performances. In recent tunes panpipes have rarely been heard in England. However, in Eastern European countries, in particular Rumania and Hungary they have remained popular. Modern virtuosi have achieved a high technical mastery of the instrument, displaying phenomenal agility, staggering breath control and double and triple tonguing of incredible rapidity.

This record reveals the versatility of the ancient instrument of panpipes in a collection of modern, well known hits set in tranquil mood; a dream of pipes indeed!

Pierre Belmonde - Themes for Dreams - panpipes music - another dreamy cover from Cover Heaven

Tablao Flamenco – Various Artists

Sleeve Notes:

Manuel Mairena, La Voz De Un Hombre (Seguiriyas De La Cava), José Menese, Cuando Llegara El Momento (Marianas), Mercedes Cubero, Calle Del Sentimiento (Soleares), Naranjito De Triana, Homenje A La Niña De Los Peines (Bamberas), Curro Malena, Cruce De Calles (Tientos), El Lebrijano

Condenaos Por Ser Gitanos (Cantes De Galeras), Juan Cantero, La Gitana Que Yo Quiero (Tangos Canasteros), El Perro De Paterna, Me Puse A Pensar Un Día (Peteneras), Chano Lobato, La Puerta De Tu Casa (Caracoles Nuevos), Manuel de Paula, Con Una Copa De Más (Bulerías De Jerez)

Tablao Flamenco - Various Artists

Label: RCA NL-35295

1980 1980s Covers

Golden Ladies Of Soul – Various Artists

Sleeve Notes:

This album is built around ladies who, either as soloists or in vocal groups, laid the foundation for successful careers and hit records during the early 1960s, and it is thus no coincidence that there is strong representation from the vintage Motown era, which grew to strength during those halcyon years.

Mary Wells was the first Motown lady superstar, enjoying many hits in the American charts and eventually being the first artist from the legendary Detroit Corporation to score a hit in the British charts with the success of “My Guy” in 1964. The previous year had seen Martha Reeves & The Vandellas establishing a hit reputation in the USA, “Quicksand” numbering among the group’s early winners, while 1964 saw ‘Dancing In The Street” climbing high, eventually going on to become a British hit a couple of times in later years, gaining notable acclaim in discotheques along with ‘Jimmy Mack,” a lilting beater from 1967 which was also reissued afterwards by UK public demand. The seeds for the success of Motown’s vocal groups had actually been sown during the preceding years by other groups presented in this collections Gladys Knight & The Pips had emerged from their hometown of Atlanta, Ga., during the late 1950s, and by 1961 had travelled north to New York, a journey made worthwhile by the healthy sales of soulful harmony ballads like “Every Beat Of My Heart” and “Letter Full Of Tears,” the latter song actually aspiring to the UK charts via a shallow cover-version by one Billy Fury (ironic in that Glady’s original hit was on the Fury label in the USA!). Gladys also, of course, later recorded for Motown, and in the early 1970s went on to international stardom with smash hits like “Midnight Train To Georgia” and “Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me” for Buddah — she remains eminently popular and successful to this day, being signed to CBS early in 1980. As Gladys and the Pips were adapting their gospel music roots to more general taste in 1961, so the Shirelles, led by Shirley Alston, were making a name for themselves with distinctive vocals on love-songs like “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow in a mood readily identifiable to teen-agers of that era, while a young producer named Phil Spector was building a reputation for himself in energetic style on some urgent, beaty hits by a quartet of teenage girls tagged the Crystals; “He’s A Rebel” was a crie de couer trying to justify the delinquent behaviour of a boyfriend in 1962, and the following year “Da Doo Ron Ron” raced up the charts almost as quickly as the tempo of the frantic love song.

This collection is completed with three other smash hits originating from various different areas of the USA; New York 1965, and a trio of young ladies named the Toys adapted a movement by Bach into ‘A Diver’s Concerto;” also 1965, further west in Chicago Fontella Bass, from St. Louis, Missouri, was opening her hit account with the throbbing plea “Rescue Me,” and finally in 1966, down south in Memphis, Carla Thomas was adding her unforgettable contribution to the honour roll of hits on Stax Records with the appealing “B-A-B-Y” Thus we are proud to present for your entertainment – some Golden Ladies of Soul.

Golden Ladies Of Soul - Various Artists

Label: Pickwick Super Stars ‎SSP 3077

1980 1980s Covers

Top of the Pops Vol. 81

Sleeve Notes:

Now that the flowers are out,
the skies are blue and
the sun still tries to shine.
What could be finer than to add some
sunny sounds to that all-over warm feeling.

Well here’s your chance to dance or sing as the fabulous Top Of The Poppers perform their usual array of your favourite songs. Gather round – Kick off your shoes, and whistle a happy tune. We’ve got them all – sixteen of the latest sounds around.

Don’t miss out – this is one musical event you can certainly afford.

Top of the Pops, Vol. 81.

Top of the Pops Vol. 81 Top of the Poppers - - a 1980s album cover from Cover Heaven

Label: Hallmark SHM 3043

1980 1980s Covers Top of the Pops Collection

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – Ravel Bolero

Sleeve Notes:


The three works on this record encompass the whole of Ravel’s creative career: nearly thirty years separate the Pavane from the Bolero but while the latter piece undoubtedly shows greater mastery, the earlier one is already wholly characteristic, and could not be mistaken for the work of anybody else. Ravel belongs to the small number of composers (Berlioz being another case) who found their own style almost at once.

The choice of these three pieces is also characteristic in showing Ravel’s partiality for stylized dance forms, two of which (Pavane and La Valse) are set in a historic past enhanced by poetry. Moreover, the Pavane and Bolero both belong to Spain, the country of Ravel’s mother, a few miles from which he was born, and a permanent source of inspiration to him, as shown by L’Heure Espagnole the orchestral Rhapsodie Espagnole, Alborada del Gracioso and the three songs Don Quichotte a Dulcinee that were to be his artistic swan-song.

The Pavane pour une Infante defunte composed in 1899, is the earliest work by Ravel to retain real popularity even to-day. Its first version, for Piano, was performed by Richardo Vines at a concert of the Paris Societe Nationale in 1902. Ravel orchestrated the piece as late as 1910, and it was heard in its new guise at the Salle Gaveau on Christmas Day, 1911, Alfredo Casella conducting. The title chosen by Ravel is very much in the spirit of the then fashionable fin de siecle symbolism, and its alliterative charm has a tinge of preciosity about it. Indeed, it is reminiscent of some titles by Erik Satie, though Ravel, in the present case, does not imply any irony. This was the time of Maeterlick’s subdued and mysteriously remote plays, showing pale and fainting creatures dying of languor in dark medieval castles. But Ravel warned the performers against any over-dramatization, stressing that he had not written a funeral memorial: “Do not overestimate the title’s importance. This is not the mourning for an Infanta who just died, but the evocation of a Pavan such as a little princess could have danced it, in olden times, at the Spanish court.” Indeed, the very rhythm of the Pavan has a nostalgic and poignantly retrospective quality that was felt by many composers before Ravel: witness the stylized Pavans by many seventeenth century composers, including Purcell, written as pieces of absolute music at a time when the dance had long since become obsolete. Ravel’s more immediate predecessor was his teacher Gabriel Faure, whose lovely Pavane is imbued with the same haunting sadness. With its long, winding melodic line, with its exquisite modal harmonies enhanced through its wonderful pastel-like scoring, Ravel’s Pavane is likely to cast its spell for many generations to come!

La Valse is quite another matter, and ranks with Ravel’s most powerful and intense utterances. The definite article “La” indicates that the composer wished to create an archtype, synthesis of the Waltz, embodying its various musical and expressive aspects. As early as 1909, he had been planning a symphonic poem called Wien but the first result of his fascination with the Waltz was the delightful set of Valses nobles et sentimentales completed in 1911 and soon staged as a ballet. In 1917, Ravel passed a contract with Diaghilev for a new ballet (their first collaboration had resulted in Daphnis et Chloe, one of the peaks of the Ballets Russes), but the composer, high-strung by the events of the first world war, had to find a secluded place in the mountains of south-eastern France in order to recover. There, during the winter of 1919-1920, he delivered himself of the final version of La Valse which became a deeply tragic utterance, and was to remain, alongside with the later Concerto for the Left Hand the only piece in which he laid bare the innermost recesses of his strangely complex personality. Diaghilev, who probably expected a merely brilliant and entertaining piece, was baffled by this unexpected dramatic outburst, and curtly turned it down. La Valse which met a triumphal reception at its first concert performance (Camille Chevillard conducted the Lamoureux Orchestra on December 12th, 1920), was eventually staged at the Paris Opera eight years later. Ida Rubinstein danced to Fokine’s choreography.

But Ravel’s phantasmic and nightmarish vision shall ever transcend any materialization. It belongs to the dark realm of Freudian psychoanalysis, and throws a crude light upon the soul’s innermost recesses. About the extraordinary opening, with its truly cinematographic technique of fleeting pictures, its fugitive alternations of light and shade, its hazy chiaroscuro Ravel wrote the following “programmatic” comment: “Whirling clouds discover through short clearings glimpses of waltzing couples. As they gradually dissolve, an immense hall filled with a whirling crowd is unveiled. While the movement appears more clearly, the light also increases, to become a sparkling illumination.” The setting is “an imperial Court around 1855”, at the time of crinolines and candle-light. But the vision is not a happy one, nor does it ever reach the status of concrete reality. One cannot but conjure Baudelaire’s verse about couples wheeling “under the whip of lust, that merciless tormentor”, in the Schattenhaft of his Seventh Symphony Mahler had been first in turning the Waltz into a stifling nightmare. By choosing it to express his anguish and to exorcise his war memories, Ravel certainly thought of hungry and poverty-stricken post-war Vienna, with its imperial glory turned into ashes. Strangely enough, all the critics who commented about the first performance (and most favourably!) only retained the piece’s picturesque and entertaining aspects, failing to perceive its tragedy. Mengelberg was first in sensing under its exasperated truculence the Dance of Love and Death it really is.

Love and Death, set in some country inn in burning Spain, are also the basic inspiration of Ravel’s most popular and most misunderstood masterpiece, the Bolero. This was written in 1928 at the request of Ida Rubinstein, who first danced it at the Paris Opera on November 22nd of that year. Owing to an exclusivity contract, it had to wait until January 11th, 1930, to receive its first concert performance, soon followed by hundreds of others the world over. The greatest conductors soon adopted it as their most spectacular show-piece, and Toscanini’s performance remains famous for the fast tempo, the only one to recall the speed of the popular dance which inspired the composer. This, however, was not what Ravel had in mind. He invented a long melody, whose rhythm and intervals, meant to create a state of obsession, stylize Spanish (and to an extent Cuban) folk-music, so as to keep but its organic substance: again, as in La Valse, Ravel planned and achieved an archtype. The melody breaks down into two symmetric halves of sixteen bars each, the first in C-major, the second on the verge pf the minor mode. It is the only subject-matter of the piece, which consists of a set of purely orchestral variations, leaving the melodic line untouched, and only adding new harmonies alongside with new instruments. Starting with two lone flutes above a soft drum-tap, the music gradually builds up to one of the most powerful orchestral crescendi in music-history. Again, as in La Valse the musical and the sexual obsession are inseparable. A Spanish gypsy dances, roosting on a low table, ever more possessed by the maddening strains of the unescapable melody. In the darkened inn, the men gather around her, tormented with desire, under the monotonous spell of the voluptuous incantation. It seems as if nothing could ever save them from their fatal numbness. But as the climax of unbearable, aching tension, comes the work’s masterstroke, the unexpected and withal unavoidable modulation into E-major (the only one in the whole piece!), after which the orchestra, falling back into the original key, collapses in rapid exhaustion. The Bolero remains the wildest wager a composer ever risked. Ravel himself described it in his usual ironical way: “It is my masterpiece; unfortunately there is no music in it!”

This is a sally, of course, and the final modulation owes its electrifying effect to all that has been heard before, and which makes the Bolero an unexcelled model of orchestral virtuosity and controlled power. It remains one of those rare pieces to reconcile the widest popular acclaim and the discriminating admiration of the connoisseur.
Harry Halbreich.
© Text The Decca Record Co. Ltd.
Reference is made on the front of this record sleeve to the review of this recording, Gramophone October 1971

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - Ravel Bolero

Label: Contour Red CC 7521

1981 1980s Covers

Parade of Pops 16

Sleeve Notes:

Side One
Brass In Pocket
With You I’m Born Again
My Girl
Green Onions
It’s Different For Girls
Young Blood
I Have A Dream

Side Two
Another Brick In The Wall
Better Love Next Time
I’m In The Mood For Dancing
Spirits Having Flown
Escape (The Pina Colada Song)
My Feet Keep Dancing
Please Don’t Go

Sixteen of today’s top chart titles recorded for Parade of Pops.

Label: Chevron CHVPL 16

1980 1980s Covers

Top of the Pops Vol. 80

Sleeve Notes:

Snap your fingers, tap your toes. This is an alert to cure your woes. Whether reggae, ska, ballad or pop – you can be sure, we’ve got the lot. Whatever your mood, you will have to agree, so grab a partner and take a spin. Performed by Top Of The Poppers Band, there are sixteen tracks just for you. Feet to the floor, ears to the sounds, Pickwicks got the best value around.

Out Now! Volume 80 for 1980 TOP OF THE POPS

Top of the Pops Vol. 80

Label: Hallmark SHM 3042

1980 1980s Covers Top of the Pops Collection