Saturday, April 16, 2011

Brenda Lee - Little Miss Dynamite (BOX SET)





One of the biggest pop stars of the early '60s, Brenda Lee hasn't attracted as much critical respect as she deserves. She is sometimes inaccurately characterized as one of the few female teen idols. More crucially, the credit for achieving success with pop-country crossovers usually goes to Patsy Cline, although Lee's efforts in this era were arguably of equal importance. While she made few recordings of note after the mid-'60s, the best of her first decade is fine indeed, encompassing not just the pop ballads that were her biggest hits, but straight country and some surprisingly fierce rockabilly. 
Lee was a child prodigy, appearing on national television by the age of ten, and making her first recordings for Decca the following year (1956). Her first few Decca singles, in fact, make a pretty fair bid for the best preteen rock & roll performances this side of Michael Jackson. "BIGELOW 6-200," "Dynamite," and "Little Jonah" are all exceptionally powerful rockabilly performances, with robust vocals and white-hot backing from the cream of Nashville's session musicians (including Owen Bradley, Grady Martin, Hank Garland, and Floyd Cramer). Lee would not have her first big hits until 1960, when she tempered the rockabilly with teen idol pop on "Sweet Nothin's," which went to the Top Five. 
The comparison between Lee and Cline is to be expected, given that both singers were produced by Owen Bradley in the early '60s. Naturally, many of the same session musicians and backup vocalists were employed. Brenda, however, had a bigger in with the pop audience, not just because she was still a teenager, but because her material was more pop than Cline's, and not as country. Between 1960 and 1962, she had a stunning series of huge hits: "I'm Sorry," "I Want to Be Wanted," "Emotions," "You Can Depend on Me," "Dum Dum," "Fool #1," "Break It to Me Gently," and "All Alone Am I" all made the Top Ten. Their crossover appeal is no mystery. While these were ballads, they were delivered with enough lovesick yearning to appeal to adolescents, and enough maturity for the adults. The first-class melodic songwriting and professional orchestral production guaranteed that they would not be ghettoized in the country market. 
Lee's last Top Ten pop hit was in 1963, with "Losing You." While she still had hits through the mid-'60s, these became smaller and less frequent with the rise of the British Invasion (although she remained very popular overseas). The best of her later hits, "Is It True?," was a surprisingly hard-rocking performance, recorded in 1964 in London with Jimmy Page on guitar. 1966's "Coming on Strong," however, would prove to be her last Top 20 entry. 
In the early '70s, Lee reunited with Owen Bradley and, like so many early white rock & roll stars, returned to country music. For a time she was fairly successful in this field, making the country Top Ten half-a-dozen times in 1973-1974. Although she remained active as a recording and touring artist, for the last couple of decades she's been little more than a living legend, directing her intermittent artistic efforts to the country audience.
by Richie Unterberger

Brenda Lee-Little Miss Dynamite 4cd box


Brenda Lee - Little Miss Dynamite 1

01 - Jambalaya (On The Bayou)
02 - Bigelow 6-200
03 - Bigelow 6-200 (Alt)
04 - Some People
05 - Your Cheatinґ Heart
06 - Doodle Bug Rag
07 - Christy Christmas
08 - Iґm Gonna Lasso Santa Claus
09 - Fairyland
10 - One Step At A Time
11 - Dynamite
12 - Ainґt That Love
13 - Love You Till I Die
14 - One Teenager To Another
15 - Rock A Bye Baby Blues
16 - Rock The Bop
17 - Ring-A-My Phone
18 - The Golden Key
19 - Little Jonah (Rock On Your Steel Guitar)
20 - My Baby Likes Western Guys
21 - Papa Noel
22 - Rockinґ Around The Christmas Tree
23 - Bill Bailey, Wonґt You Please Come Home
24 - Heading Home
25 - Letґs Jump The Broomstick
26 - Humminґ The Blues Over You
27 - The Stroll
28 - Rock-A-Bye Your Baby With A Dixie Melody
29 - Pretty Baby
30 - St. Louis Blues
31 - Pennies From Heaven
32 - Baby Face
33 - Bailinґ The Jack

Brenda Lee - Little Miss Dynamite 2

01 - Just Because
02 - Side By Side
03 - A Good Man Is Hard To Find
04 - Some Of These Days
05 - Back In Your Own Backyard
06 - Toot Toot Tootsie Goodbye
07 - Sweet Nothin's
08 - (If I'm Dreaming) Just Let Me Dream
09 - Weep No More My Baby
10 - That's All You Gotta Do
11 - I Want To Be Wanted (Per Tutta La Vita)
12 - Just A Little
13 - Build A Big Fence
14 - Be My Love Again
15 - I'm Sorry
16 - Dynamite
17 - Love And Learn
18 - Wee Wee Willie
19 - Jambalaya (On The Bayou)
20 - Do I Worry (Yes I Do)
21 - Emotions
22 - I Want To Be Wanted (Per Tutta La Vita)
23 - No One
24 - Crazy Talk
25 - The Big Chance
26 - It's Never Too Late
27 - I'm Learning About Love
28 - Careless, That's All
29 - We Three (My Echo, My Shadow And Me)
30 - If I Didn't Care

Brenda Lee - Little Miss Dynamite 4

01 - Tables Are Turning
02 - Funny Feelin'
03 - Eventually
04 - Dum Dum
05 - Let Me Be The One
06 - Speak To Me Pretty
07 - Time Is Not Enough
08 - Here Comes That Feeling
09 - Just Forget
10 - Break It To Me Gently
11 - Fool #1
12 - Anybody But Me
13 - So Deep
14 - Only You (And You Alone)
15 - You've Got Me Crying Again
16 - It's The Talk Of The Town
17 - You Always Hurt The One You Love
18 - I Miss You So
19 - I'll Be Seeing You
20 - Lazy River
21 - Send Me Some Lovin'
22 - Hold Me Little
23 - I'll Always Be In Love With You
24 - Organ Grinder's Swing
25 - Let The Four Winds Blow
26 - Everybody Loves Me But You
27 - Heart In Hand
28 - She'll Never Know
29 - Why Me!
30 - It Takes One To Know One
31 - Sweet Lovin'


Brenda Lee - Little Miss Dynamite 4

01 - Tables Are Turning
02 - Funny Feelin'
03 - Eventually
04 - Dum Dum
05 - Let Me Be The One
06 - Speak To Me Pretty
07 - Time Is Not Enough
08 - Here Comes That Feeling
09 - Just Forget
10 - Break It To Me Gently
11 - Fool #1
12 - Anybody But Me
13 - So Deep
14 - Only You (And You Alone)
15 - You've Got Me Crying Again
16 - It's The Talk Of The Town
17 - You Always Hurt The One You Love
18 - I Miss You So
19 - I'll Be Seeing You
20 - Lazy River
21 - Send Me Some Lovin'
22 - Hold Me Little
23 - I'll Always Be In Love With You
24 - Organ Grinder's Swing
25 - Let The Four Winds Blow
26 - Everybody Loves Me But You
27 - Heart In Hand
28 - She'll Never Know
29 - Why Me!
30 - It Takes One To Know One
31 - Sweet Lovin'
A Brenda Lee extravaganza covering her enormously popular years between 1956 - 1962, This Bear Family boxed set of 4 cds includes a large hard-bound book jam-packed with photos and biographical data. For starters, the audio quality and remastering are superb. I was startled at how the music leaped out into the room, being exceptionally dynamic and lively. Brenda's voice has a palpable presence. Also, you can take pleasure in hearing the fine detail and nuances of the instrumentation. Speaking of instrumentation, Owen Bradley, the Nashville producer who produced such stars as Patsy Cline, Conway Twitty, and Loretta Lynn, matched Brenda Lee early on with outstanding studio pros like Hank Garland, Floyd Cramer, Boots Randolf,Grady Martin, the Jordanaires and Anita Kerr singers. Legends in themselves, these musicians brought a level of professionalism to Brenda's music second to none. Even excluding Brenda's extraordinary contribution, it is pure pleasure listening to her supporting cast. And finally, there is Brenda. Song after song, interpretation after interpretation, we discover the allure and timelessness of her music. Her talent is a shining star that shines brightly in each of the 122 performances included in this set. In a very natural manner, Brenda effortlessly emotes an energy and feeling that ranges all the way from heartbreak to fiery passion. When we look back and think of country artists like Hank Williams, Jim Reeves, and Patsy Cline as singing the "country blues", Brenda Lee established a style that can only be referred to as "country soul". What is indeed trully remarkable about this body of work is that she reached such a height of success and professionalism between the tender ages of 12 and 16. Equally impressive, upon listening to her repertoire, was that there was no tapering off of her talent or presentation - she only gets better! For those who want to look back through the lens of time and discover a treasure of beautifully crafted gems, I recommend this collection of vintage Brenda Lee. It reminds us that all true art is timeless and eternal.





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