What I Learned at Rydell High

Before there was tween boy bands, glee clubs, and Justin Bieber there was Bobby Rydell.  To be honest there really isn’t much of a comparison, but that puts him in modern language.

I stumbled upon Rydell on YouTube. I was searching the song “My Coloring Book” and he was the only male version of the song I could find. This is one of my favorite songs and Rydell’s version is often overlooked, but it is one of the best. After this encounter I immediately began searching for his records at all my vinyl stops.

FullSizeRender 7One of my first finds was Bobby Rydell…Salutes The “Great Ones.” Rydell was only 19  years old when he released this album. As the liner notes state, he was already a staple on such TV shows as the Perry Como TV shows and Red Skeleton shows as well as a sought after act at The Copa and The Sahara. Not to mention he had already garnered 4 top ten hits.

This album by Rydell takes an interesting turn in his small yet accomplished catalog. Saluting the greats that came before you is not just honorable, but it is quite daring. He was setting himself up for failure. He was singing songs that only the greats, like Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland sang with Broadway standards sprinkled in. How could he compare?

Rydell decided to play by his own rules, translating these songs into a “1961” vibe.

He opens the album with Al Jolson’s “Mammy.” A song that has been adapted in many different compositions. This is essentially a melted down version of “Rockabye Your Baby With a Dixie Melody.” He gives this song a boyish charm with a more modest aura.

He then goes into Sinatra’s “That Old Black Magic.” There is never another Sinatra, but Rydell again accomplishes this song with ease accompanied by a more rhythmic backing. He concludes side A with the Gypsy anthem “Everything’s Coming Up Roses.” Taking on Ethel Merman is like teetering off a cliff, but he did it with debonair and classic charm instead of Merman’s usually brashness.

FullSizeRender 6Side B contains some real gems starting with the Steve Allen penned “This Could Be The Start of Something New.” Again, Rydell’s arrangers placed the song at a speeder tempo. Instead of the gentler and special aura that only Ella Fitzgerald could give this song, Rydell gives this tune a remix worthy of American Bandstand or Shindig. The same concept can be found in his renditions of “So Rare” and “There’s A Rainbow ‘Round My Shoulder.”

By the end of the album, Rydell easily wrapped all the ladies around his finger with “The Birth of The Blues.” This song demands answers with its perfectly timed pauses and the way Rydell places the lyrics in a “questionable” phrase. I think there were a few girls fainting at the foot of the stage.

This album is a perfect reflection of what was happening in music culture in 1961. Rockabilly was starting to hit and all the churches were worried about this new “rhythmic” music. The classic pop style of the greats was being placed on the back burner for this new rock and roll experiment.

Rydell attempts to touch both these audiences with this album. His crooning singing style fit in perfectly with the Dean Martins and Jack Jones’ of the time, yet he knew there was something else on the horizon. Although this album may not have been a huge success it is reflection of the development of music and the confusion that both artists and record companies were going through in this transitional time.

This album proposes an idea. It was experimental at the time when experiments were shunned. Rydell’s album not only serves as listening pleasure, but as an artifact of the evolution of modern music. Basically he gave the Great American Songbook and a light, but daring, Rockabilly twist.

Adele’s 25: Nevermind, I’ve Found Something Like Hope

One lone morning around a month or so ago, I opened my Vevo app to much jubilation. There was a new Adele song and video! It was love at first listen. At first I was a little taken aback. I thought she was going to do a remake of Lionel Richie’s classic song and the beginning almost had me fooled.

So Adele is back. I was met with excitement and hesitation. I had been a huge fan of her record-breaking album 21. The Grammys that year were like the Superbowl for me. I nearly screamed at the top of my lungs when she won album of the year. If she had not won, I was prepared to organize a campaign to boycott the Grammys. I had a Facebook page ready to go live at any moment.

81q0mwIoc0L._SX522_But I couldn’t help being nervous and hesitant over new music from Adele. I didn’t know how she could ever top 21 or come close. I was afraid she was going to have gone “commercial” and that the songs would not be sung or written from her heart and soul like the rest. I had faith in Adele. The Adele of 21 would always be there, but I have also witnessed record companies ruin artists.

I was met with the complete opposite. As Adele has stated, “if 21 was a break-up album, then 25 is a make up album.” This is essential in understanding the themes and concepts of this album as a whole. She truly makes up with past and who she is within the walls of this album

When I first heard “Hello,” I knew we were in for another extraordinary album. I love the build up of this song. It starts out with just Adele’s vocals and simple piano chords. The song steadily goes up a mountain of trials and regrets. Then you have the chorus and climax that take this song off the cliff. This song proves that true belters still exist. This is a perfect first single as it promises Adele’s loyal fans that she has not lost her center.

“Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” is an outlier in this album. It does not fit into the album musically, but the song adheres to the concept of the “make up” album. As I was looking over the liner notes, I noticed that this song was produced by the famed Max Martin. That explains the extreme rhythmic dance feel to this song, as well as the slight over production. He is the man behind such classics as “…Baby One More Time” and more recently “Shake it Off.” In the end, it’s rhythmic, almost reggae feel is addicting, but I just don’t find this truly Adele. The words get lost in translation.

adele-hello-video-xavier-dolan-tristan-wildsNext we have “I Miss You.” The opening percussion of this song sets the song for a
dramatic console for Adele’s vocals. She contemplates on how she misses someone even though they are gone. She also gives us a taste of her beautiful head voice in the lines leading up to the chorus. I like how this song is stripped of heavy piano elements like much of her music. The percussion gives Adele’s vocals a new back drop that they thrive under.

The next stand out of the album and now the apparent second single, “When We Were Young” is the sequel to “Someone Like You.” Whereas “Someone Like You” hinged on the immediate emotions of the breakup and the finding of someone new, this song focus on an encounter years later. The song returns with strong piano riffs and melodies, and also mirrors “”One and Only” in its gospel vibe. Then there is that one note…..everybody who has heard this knows what I’m talking about. I won’t ruin it for you.

The piano keeps coming with “Remedy.” Adele’s vocals effortlessly combine with the piano into a stand alone instrument. The repetition of the piano riffs mirrors “Turning Tables,” which is due to Ryan Tedder (an Okie!) being the cowriter on this song as well. This song has many more highs and lows. Adele offers herself like she never has before in a song. She wants to comfort the one she loves by being her partner’s remedy. She is offering her love with no regret. This is something new we haven’t seen from her lyrically.

Adele-adele-29997410-500-375The first song on side B is “Water Under The Bridge.” This song now shows a strong Adele, basically asking what the hell? She asked to be let down gently, because the love she feels isn’t over, yet he still seems to be playing her on with different actions and emotions. The song again ventures off Adele’s typical style with more percussion and replacing the piano with more synthesiser vibes. Lyrically, this song is the prequel to “Set Fire to The Rain.” She still wants to rescue what her and her partner have, but needs to know the direction. She does not have anymore time to waste.

One of my favorite things I love about Adele is the way she intertwines themes in her albums over time. You watch her mature with her music. “River Lea” is today’s “Hometown Glory.” The River Lea is a real place located next to where Adele grew up in the United Kingdom. In “Hometown Glory,” Adele talks about the strength of a small town and what she learned from it, but in “River Lea” she is showing how that story now finds itself in her relationships. She is simply an extension of her roots. This song has a strong bass beat that really flavors up Adele’s vocals into something mystical. “River Lea” is a collaboration of Adele and the producer, Danger Mouse. An odd pairing that created a stirring art work.

“Love in The Dark” finds Adele with a full-scale orchestra. This is a song of strength. It can almost be the levelheaded, mature answer to the full album 21. She explains how she can’t act anymore within a relationship, but she can’t deny that it has had a profound impact on her life. She shows strength with heart. She is not coming from just her own borken heart, yet she wants to end any future or current pain for her partner as well. This song’s orchestral arrangement lifts Adele’s vocals into a hard, yet sentimental place.

photoNext there is “Million Years Ago.” Instrumentally this song is simple, consisting of an
acoustic guitar and bass. The song gives off a folk vibe with a tip of a Spanish tango and some eerie chanting. This song personifies a soul lost. She is trying to put the pieces of her life back together by returning to her roots, yet she seems to be ashamed of what she’s become.

“All I Ask” is a stirring and contemplative piano ballad. Although many of Adele’s songs may be considered ballads, I find this to be the true stripped down, full on emotional ballad of the entire album. She is simply asking that if this has to be the last night she is with someone, she wants to end it romantically just in case she never loves again. This song clearly shows a heart deep in the ocean of love and she does not see herself finding air again.

“Sweetest Devotion” ties the whole album together and is the perfect conclusion. In the previous songs, you find happiness, regret, strength, hardness, vulnerability, and pure heartache, yet this song isn’t about any of that. She explains how she finally has found the face she has been looking for all her life and it is that of her son. This song shows how love  can overcome anything. Although she reminds us, the journey matters. Adele’s vocals take on another image. You can sense the journey of life within her vocals, yet more prominently, she sounds full of contentment and happiness.

adele_2013-650-430d-1That is the message I walk away from this album with, hope. That torn up man, who was comforted by the lyrics from 21, is still here and there is no denying that Adele still deals with her own hurtful past. That hurt person is still inside her, but she is surviving and overcoming. She’s made up with life.

Since 21 Adele has gained a new title, mother. I feel terrible saying this, but I was almost afraid we would have an album of “Because You Loved Me” moments. I was wrong in every sense of the word. She is a different person, yet she is still in tune to where she is from, where she has been, and now where she is going.

Adele leaves her audience with hope in 25. She reminds me to never forget my origins and to learn from my past. She also reminds me that life is not going to be easy, it will continue to ebb and flow, but that my best days are ahead of me. Through strength, ambition, and courage, I will never be defeated.

This album is what happens when you truly set fire to the rain.

A Playlist for Your Labor Day

Here we are! Another year has almost come and gone and now we can no longer wear white. Labor Day is the signal of great things to come and that statement does come with a hint of sarcasm.

Labor Day was created in 1887 after the Central Labor Union and Knights of Labor had their first parade, or strike if you will, in New York City. President Grover Cleveland signed it into law declaring the first Monday of every September Labor Day. I guess back then one day was enough,  but couldn’t we have at least gone for a week?

Nonetheless, for your listening pleasure, I have collecting some labor songs to commemorate this monumental day.

“She Works Hard for the Money,” Donna Summer, 1983 

Everybody loves this disco and dance infringed number Donna Summer so graciously gave us in the early 1980’s. This song reached number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was later nominated for a Grammy. Inspired by real events, Summer wrote the song after talking with a restroom attendant in Los Angeles.

“9 to 5”, Dolly Parton, 1980

There isn’t a better way then to start your day then with a cup of ambition. Parton released this pop infused tune as a companion to her movie of the same title starring Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda. Has there been a song that commemorates a working person better than “9 to 5?” I think not. Once I hear the opening of this song and its piano infringed riff, there is no stopping me. I’ll belt this song at the top of my lungs till it’s over….and then start it again.

“Take This Job and Shove It,” Johnny Paycheck, 1977

This song was originally written by David Allen Coe, but eventually fell in the lap of Johnny Paycheck. This song peaked at number 1 on the Billboard Hot Country charts. As “9 to 5” explains getting ready for the grind, this song aptly explains one’s attitude once 5 rolls around. Another interesting fact about this song, it was produced by the late and legendary Billy Sherrill.

“A Hard Day’s Night,” The Beatles, 1964

We can’t forget about the bit of romance there is in working a job….or can we? This song hit number one in both the U.S. and U.K. and was also a companion piece to a movie of the same title. The song generally speaks of one who works all day so that his girl can have everything she wants. I just hope she has a job too. Nonetheless, it’s just one of the nice sentiments that the Beatles left us. I’m sure they’ll regret this when yesterday comes.

“Is There Life Out There,” Reba McEntire, 1992

Now when one initially hears this song, they don’t think of a hard day’s work, but I think we need to leave this list on an optimistic point. This song talks about a girl, both working in her personal and private life, wondering if it is all worth it. As Reba reminds us, there is life out there and endless potential. This song is just one of Reba’s 377 number 1 singles on the Hot Country charts.

That my friends is what you can all enjoy on this fine Labor Day Monday. Sometimes working is a joy, sometimes it’s rough, but it is always worth it in the end. We may always work hard for the money, and it often takes us 9 to 5, but we can’t ever truly just take the job and shove it. Remember after a hard day’s night there is always life out there…..

And a paycheck.

She’s Doin’ So Fine

This last Saturday, August 1, 2015, was the first Jody Miller Day in Blanchard, Oklahoma. I had the privilege of attending the holiday’s first celebration, the official “Home of Jody Miller” sign unveiling and street dedication. Through various words from the Mayor, radio personalities, and Jody herself, it was more than obvious that she is the pride of Blanchard and one of Oklahoma’s stars.

Leading up to the ceremony I listened to Miller’s Grammy Award winning album, “Queen of The House.” I had found a pristine copy and it has quickly became one of the gems in my collection. I was determined to get Ms. Miller’s signature on this sleeve this day.

The album opens with the iconic “Queen of The House.” This song won the Grammy for best Female Country Performance and is an answer to Roger Miller’s (another Okie) “King of The Road.” It was quite the feminist tune in the most respectful way, especially in 1965. When listening to the song with a narcissistic tone and a little sarcasm, it can be quite a wake up call and very humourous. The video adds much to the song’s candor as well.

IMG_0812The song is followed by another one of Miller’s hits, “He Walks Like A Man.” A tune with a marching beat and brass vocals. Flipping the record, you find classic covers of “Silver Threads and Golden Needles” and Johnny Cash’s “I Walk The Line.”

Her voice flows over “Silver Threads” differently then I have heard before. There is no sorrow to be drowned in the warm glow of anybody’s wine for Miller’s voice is a fine wine in itself. Once you listen to a song by Miller you acquire an after taste. Her vocals resonate within you, and it’s difficult to let go. It is the same situation with “I Walk The Line.” Something sticks with you after listening to it. You must listen to this song at least three times for a good sip.

Now, after listening to this album on repeat, I was ready for the event. Although the ceremony was short in length it had great depth. The testimonies about the singer Jody and the person Jody opened your eyes to more than just her music. She’s a God-fearing, family oriented, good ol’ country girl (Thank God!). When I went up to meet her she was shocked that I had a copy of the album and graciously signed it for me. We then chatted for a moment. As an Okie and music fan, it was a surreal experience.

I take great pride in being Oklahoman, our heritage is so rich, but I especially take pride in our musical heritage as a state. Some of the greatest singers have red dirt running through their veins. Many of these singers returned to the great plains and it seems that although they have won lofty awards, being recognized in their own backyard is the biggest one.

It’s safe to say once Okie dust gets in your bones there is no turning back. Our heritage and pride is doing fine down here in Oklahoma and Jody Miller helps make this land grand.

 

She’s Not Cookin’ Hashbrowns

I love Wanda Jackson.

But I don’t think that comes as a surprise to anyone. I have nearly every album she has made. I discovered her music when I was going through a particularly rough patch in my life and she brought me through that storm. Her music brings me unmeasurable joy and comfort. I confide in it.

R-2146286-1306477702Lately I have been listening to one of her 1970’s releases simply entitled Wanda Jackson Country! It’s a great album that showcases her spunk and candor. Each song is single worthy because most of these songs were singles. Jackson had been releasing some hard-hitting country tunes in the late 60’s, but none of them were featured on a full length album, thus, Country! was born.

Long before there were Miranda Lamberts and Kacey Musgraves, and even before Loretta Lynn, there was Wanda Jackson. She is the consummate goddess of country music. This album shows Jackson’s talent at its feistiest, yet it also portrays vulnerability and heartaches . She knows when to reel it out (“My Big Iron Skillet”) and when to bring it back in (“The Pain of It All”).

The album opens with “Skillet,” which is one of her biggest chart toppers. Through her passive aggressive vocals she explains to her man just how she’s going to love him if he doesn’t straighten up….with a big iron skillet and something tells me she isn’t making eggs. No need for shotguns, Jackson just wanted to teach him a lesson, and she does just that through her beautiful smile and a little fringe.

This album also shows Jackson’s innovative and progressive artistry. By this time in her medium_wanda-jacksoncareer she had already paved the way for female rock and country singers alike. She continually saw where music was going and didn’t mess around. This is obvious in both “Everything’s Leaving” and “Try a Little Tenderness.”

“Everything’s Leaving” sounds like something straight from the mid to late 1970’s. Her voice possesses raw vulnerability, yet confidence as she declares she’s ready to move on. Then, “Try a Little Tenderness” has a guitar rift that could easily fit into modern-day country. She always saw the box, but she was more interested in the rectangle.

Later in the album she gives an answer to Glen Campbell’s “By The Time I Get to Phoenix.” In Jackson’s version she recognizes all the major landmarks he drives by, but there’s one thing he doesn’t know as he is driving.

She simply does not care, because she had already found somebody else.

“By The Time You Get to Phoenix” turns this whole song upside down by changing just a few words. Her husband, Wendell Goodman, helped her find this lyrical mix. Not to mention this song was already written by fellow Okie, Jimmy Webb.

wandajackson2Jackson was building a legacy and you can hear that clearly with Country! Today she is hailed as one of the greats and rightfully so. She made the hard-headed woman an everyday staple in society and shattered the glass ceiling. Jackson could rock with the best of them and she had nerve, a first for women in music.

Although there is something Jackson just can’t get around. Her voice and attitude can fill theaters around the world, yet she only comes in at 5’2.” This is not a very intimidating height, especially for a woman. Recently Wanda was asked why it was that so many female rockers are on the shorter side.

Her answer. “Well we can’t punch with our fists so we do it with our mouth.”

And that my friends is the essence of Wanda Jackson. Her voice is her revolver.

 

You Have to Look at The Prism the Right Way

It was the spring of 2009. It was a rather odd time in my life. I had just finished my first year of college, still had no idea what I wanted to do with life (do I now?), and gained the infamous freshman 15 (ok, 20). Like I said, this time was just odd, not depressing, just plain odd.

Did I also mention that I had black hair and ear studs? Those pictures have been deleted.

katy-perryThe now superstar, Katy Perry, had just premiered the year earlier with her landmark first single “I Kissed a Girl.” From the moment I heard that song I knew that I would be a fan. I still remember where and when I bought her first album, One of The Boys. I loved her rebellious attitude and how she had a hand in writing all her songs.

On May 11, 2009, my fandom for Perry was sealed in cement as I traveled to Dallas to see her first tour “Hello Katy” at the now closed Dallas House of Blues. She was enchanting to say the least. There was a certain aura around the whole auditorium when she took the stage and it’s something I have not seen again.

Now fast forward to 2015. I have bought every Katy Perry album since then the first day of release and have listened to them religiously. My favorite will always be One of The Boys. Her writing was on point in that album and she didn’t have as much commercial influence. I still sing “Waking Up in Vegas” in the shower.

In 2013 Perry released her 4th album, Prism, and to be honest, this is where she lost me. IKPPrismCoverHiRes80-400x400-1382399122 quickly dismissed this album. Teenage Dream was an amazing album that almost topped Michael Jackson’s Thriller for most number one singles. The accolades just rolled in for her. Usually I don’t feel good when these awards roll in for artist, but Perry is so genuine that I could do nothing but smile.

Prism opens up with the now Perry classic “Roar” and is on Hillary Clinton’s Spotify playlist. I always took Hillary as more of a Cher girl, but kudos for jumping into the millennium! “Roar” is a great power anthem to anybody who has ever been kicked down either by love, betrayal, friendship, you name it. I love the consistent piano “ting” if you will, that keeps beat throughout the song.

What I love about vinyl albums is that it breaks the actual album up into different “acts.” I didn’t dig Side A to this album at all. “Roar” was great, but I really wasn’t feeling songs like “Birthday” or “Legendary Lovers.”

Side B starts out with what I often say is one of Perry’s best vocal performances of her career. “Unconditionally” was the second single from the album. I was glad that Perry was releasing such an emotional song. She had not done so since “Thinking of You” in 2009. This song is where we first begin to see a glimpse into Perry’s inner emotions.

On a side note, this album came out after she had divorced Russell Brand. A relationship that everybody was skeptical of. As her movie Part of Me chronicled, the trials of fame and distance didn’t fare well on their relationship and their marriage did not survive.

We next have “Dark Horse” and “This is How We Do.” Great singles, although they weren’t as successful as some of her previous singles had been. “Dark Horse” mixes pop synth and R&B fluently making them sound of one language. “This is How We Do” touches on the mistakes we all just can’t seem to stop making right now. Make sure my mother doesn’t hear this song.

katy-perry-billboard-cover-story-ryan-mcginley-650-430It’s when we finally change vinyls and flip to side C that this album begins to truly unfold. The first part of the album has all the frills, humor, and spunky writing you expect every Perry album to have, but now it was time for the nit grit. It was time to see what Perry was really feeling underneath the blanket of commercial success. She had gone through emotional hell and that wasn’t going by the wayside.

Side C begins with “Ghost,” a diamond in the rough for this album. It talks of how there is now an “Echo where your heart used to be” and that “You’re just a ghost.” The album then immediately goes into “Love Me,” which is easily one of the best sentiments of the album. She says that she must “Love myself the way I want you to love me.” How can you expect someone to love you if you can’t even accept yourself? This is the second semi ballad of the album expressing a simple concept that everyone struggles with.

Jumping down a track, the album then goes into “Double Rainbow.” Although this song seems positive on the outset, it has an eerie feeling behind it. The song discusses how rare double rainbows can be. I wonder if they are so rare that this song is really just speaking of a dream or illusion. Did she actually find a double rainbow as the song proclaims?

Finally, we come to the one true ballad of the entire album “By The Grace of God.” There is no denying this song is a chronicle of her breakup from Brand. Perry’s passionate vocals sore over a simple piano accompaniment showing she doesn’t need all the pop effects to have talent. She revisits the spiritual realm in this song acknowledging the fact that it was only by the grace of God that she survived this time in her life. She croons over the chorus, “And I looked in the Mirror. And decided to stay. Wasn’t going to let love take me out like that.”  A simple march begins in the climax of this song. I felt like it was a march of survival and resilience.

bfe0dd225eae7407d7b3b0d3c9f9f0a9I believe this song is the prelude to what will come next in Perry’s carreer. To say the least, I’m very excited. “By The Grace of God” showed Perry’s writing at its best, her vocals at their most pristine, and her talent in the rawest form. Greater and better things are in store for Perry and I can’t wait to hear the soundtrack.

What I realized after listening to this album a little harder was that I was listening to it all wrong. This isn’t an album made of simple pop anthems. Perry pours her soul into these songs and expresses her emotions from a pivotal experience in her life. These are easily some of Perry’s freshest and truest writings. Sadly, I was listening for another Teenage Dream.

I guess I was just looking through the prism wrong the first time around.

So as I sit here now, nearly 5 years after I saw her concert, I think about how my life has changed and how it hasn’t. I also think about peppermint swirls and dancing sharks. I realize that I have literally lived half of Perry’s songs. She has provided a hint of hope for those of us who still just want to be who we are creatively and stand up for what is right, but are restricted by society. Although her music has morphed into a commercial machine, her writings have not. She is the same Perry not wanting to be one of the boys.

Now if you’ll excuse me I need to run down to the drugstore. My lips are chapped, I need some chapstick. I hope they have cherry….

Jack Jones, Lillipops and Roses: How to Become Debonair 101

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Jones with Judy Garland, a young Liza Minnelli, and family

Back when I was a mere age of 4, maybe 5, Christmas came as it often does every year. At one time there was this thing called Nick at Night where they actually showed old shows from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. Keeping with its then tradition, they showed the older variety show’s Christmas specials.

For some reason or another, my parents decided to record The Judy Garland Christmas Special. I’ve watched it nearly every year since. I’m not particularly sure why they recorded it, neither one of them are huge Garland fans, but young me was already regressing in age taking a liking to the music of yesterday. Beside the fact that this Christmas show boasted the talents of Judy Garland and a young Liza Minnelli, Jack Jones guest starred to sing his then hit “Lollipops and Roses” and a melody of Christmas hits with both Garland and Minnelli.

4706924016_53b6a45b73_zIf that is what it took to sing with the likes of Judy and Liza, I had to become that. I had to be just like Jack Jones.

Well I’m a lot older now, never grew past 5’6′, and always seem to carry a few extra pounds on me. I’ve been singing here and there, but it’s clear my goal of becoming Jack Jones never came true. Nonetheless, he has been a role model for my singing and performing.

I acquired his second album and what I believe to be his first record for Kapp records, Lollipops and Roses. Jones released the title track when he was 24. This album was Jones introducing himself to the world of music and it was happy to have him.

This album opens with “This Was My Love.” A ballad that proved his voice was as strong as a stone, but as soft as velvet. He goes on to sing his Grammy winning “Lollipops and Roses” and a flowing, yet capitvating, rendition of “Moonlight Becomes You.”

MI0001412566Flip the album, and you find songs of equal proportion. He gives one of the best performances of “Love Letters” and a haunting version of “Julie.” My personal favorite from this side is “The Girl Next Door,” a cover of Judy Garland’s “The Boy Next Door” from the musical Meet Me in St. Louis.

On his first album, he was already singing songs by the best artists of all-time, as well as singing songs that would someday be sung by equally legendary artists in their time. This proves Jones’ legacy and cements his name in the history of music.

Jones still sings to sold out crowds around the globe. I recently went to his website to inquire about getting my album signed. That evening I received an email saying that he would be more then happy and to what address I should send it. It was barely a week after I sent it, that I received it back in the mail along with some of his new CD’s. I was flabergasted at the gesture and the CD’s further prove that this legend is far from over. Receiving this pacakge from Jones and his wife was one of the highlights of my collecting and musical adventure.

Jack_Jones-1-200-200-100-crop

Jones today

So as I sit and just listen to this classic album that first brought Jones into the spotlight, I am reminded of a ribbon. A ribbon that flows gently in the wind with a gust every now and then, but always consistent. One can always count on Jones for a keen deliverance of song, keeping every note in place, yet never ignoring a single emotion. I only hope to sing like that.

Man, now I really want to be Jack Jones. Think he gives lessons?