The Celebrity Corner

Recordings by celebrities better known for not being recording artists
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Elke Sommer - Love In Any Language - Not only was she beautiful, but she could act! And not only could she act, but she could sing - sort of. Nevermind, she beautifully interpreted the songs heard on her first album from the mid-60's and will seduce you in English, Italian, Spanish, French and German (if it's possible to be seduced in German). Some of the songs include I Surrender Dear, Solamente Una Vez (Eat your heart out Eydie Gorme), Melancholie and Stardust. NOW WITH FIVE BONUS TRACKS including the gorgeous and gorgeously sung Es Konnte Sein, the flipside of her 1965 single. To see the complete track listing, click here. The 12 album tracks were recorded from a sealed LP and the bonus tracks were from VG++ 45's - all audio cleaned.



2014


Kurt Russell - Kurt Russell - As was and still is par for the teen idol TV/Movie Star course, Kurt Russell recorded an album in 1970. Four of the ten tracks are covers from mediocre (Dizzy) to pretty darn good (Sugar, Sugar). To be frank, Kurt doesn't have much vocal strength but holds his own thanks to his producer, Danny Janssen. What really sells the album are the original songs, almost all of which were co-penned by Janssen, one of the best being the A-side of the album's single, I Believe In Love. For high quality writing, one last original penned by A. Roberts, Randi, Randi could be a song off the Heaven Bound or Sugar Bears albums. To see a complete track listing and read the original liner notes, click here. Condition of the stereo vinyl before transfer was VG++.

Mae West - Great Balls Of Fire
Not content to sit in her boudoir, here comes Mae again, this time, with plush accompaniment appropriate to Mae's celebrity. With horns and strings arranged by Jerry Styner, backing vocals by The Mike Curb Congregation and elegantly produced by former Tower labelmate, Ian Whitcomb. Mae seems to be having a great time and this is even campier and more fun than either of the two other Mae titles below. Most of the standards have modified lyrics suited to Ms. West's proclivities, including Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen as Happy Birthday Twenty One (as if Mae waited until they were of age). There are also great new songs by Ian Whitcomb obviously penned with Mae in mind. Some of the covers are intact, without any lyrical alterations, like After The Lights Go Down Low. In Light My Fire Mae has tastefully replaced the word funeral with flaming. In fact, Mae seems nearly downright serious on Light My Fire...almost reverentially imitating Jim Morrison who had only died the previous year. I wonder what Jim would've thought. Condition of vinyl before transfer: Near Mint. 10 audio cleaned STEREO tracks.



Mae West - Wild Christmas - On the heels of Way Out West came this terrific Christmas album with possibly the worst album artwork of all time. We hesitated a long time before seeking this one out because we expected that the music was as tacky as the cover. We were wrong. Indeed, musically, we think this is several cuts above Way Out West. It includes some great and some okay covers of Christmas standards like Merry Christmas Baby and zanier standards like Santa Baby and Put The Loot In The Boot Santa. There are more contemporary tracks like Lennon & McCartney's From Me To You and the original My New Year's Resolutions which is Mae cooing her resolutions to the backing of a Hang On Sloopy-esque track - trust us, it works! We were so pleased with the quality of the album that we decided to give it a classier cover though we kept the original cover on the inside of the insert for purists. 8 audio cleaned Mono tracks. Condition before transfer was VG++.

Way Out West - Mae West
Eternally young Mae West jumped on the Rock 'n' Roll bandwagon in the mid-60’s and recorded this album of hits of the day including "Treat Him Right", "Day Tripper", "Boom Boom" and one original (and possibly the best) track "Mae Day". It teeters on the fence between embarrassing and camp. 11 songs in all. (Too bad she never recorded a disco album, our imaginations run rampant!) Condition of vinyl before transfer: VG+. Audio cleaned.


Telly Savalas - Telly - For some reason we thought this had been reissued but found only tracks on Rhino's Golden Throats collections. We were also aware that this might abound downloadably all over the Internet but here we have it with a beautiful package and beautifully audio cleaned. Fans of Telly Savalas will not be disappointed. Telly's deep, throaty voice delivers part of almost every song in spoken word. The ladies will swoon. Most of the songs are 70's contemporary standards like You And Me Against The World, Something, A Song For You and Help Me Make It Through The Night. 10 Stereo tracks. Condition before transfer was VG++.

Tippi - Two - No, not Tippi's second album, but the only two songs (as far as we know) that were ever recorded by Tippi Hedren. Song one is a female point of view version of If I Were A Carpenter with lyrics altered to suit as, If You Were A Carpenter. The approach on this song is in the Marianne Faithful mode and is much suited to Tippi's shall we say, vocal ability. Song two is called My Life Without You which was co written by producer Michael Rubini and a young Mike Post (who went on to create some of TV's most notable theme songs from the 70's through today including The Rockford Files and LA Law). The approach on this song is in the chanteuse Until It's Time For You To Go mode and though less suited to Tippi's style, is still lovely and worth having. Condition of vinyl before transfer was Near Mint. Audio cleaned.


Merv Griffin - Merv Griffin's Dance Party - Though the cover boasts "Merv sings and swings The Charanga plus eleven exciting Twists, Cha-Cha's, Ponies, Slops and Bops", aside from his only rock era chart hit The Charanga, a calypso, it's Twist, Twist, Twist, Slow Twist and more Twist. Not that we have a problem with that...it's a blast of pure dorky, queer, campy 1961 fun. There's enough yakety sax on most of the tracks to bring tears to The Coasters eyes. And enough girls going yeh-yeh in the background to fill 50 Bobby Rydell records. Other than The Charanga, all the songs are covers of standards done up Twist style. And while Chatanooga Choo Choo Cha Cha and Cha Cha Charleston might've been great as Cha-Cha's, they are still eye/ear popping as Twists. There are two Slow Twistin' numbers, versions of Don't Get Around Much Anymore and You Came A Long Way From St. Louis that sound like the Slow Twist by way of John Godlfarb Please Come Home. Merv also reprises (Twist style of course) his swing era hit as the singer with Freddy Martin's Orchestra, I've Got A Lovely Bunch Of Coconuts complete with Cockney accent. All three of the singles from this album featured non-LP B sides so we included them as bonuses - they're all teener ballads Connie Francis would be proud of. We also included two sides he did with The Griffin Family Singers from 1967. 17 tracks in all! Sorry, it's all mono. Condition of vinyl before transfer: LP was VG++ and the singles were strong VG to VG++. All beautifully audio cleaned.
Bob Guillaume - I Who Have Nothing/The Streets Are Filled With Dancing - We're guessing that Bob was the hipper, more Disco friendly name of the then star of TV's "SOAP" Robert Guillaume. Whatever. What we have here is Bob's foray into Disco - with a vengeance! It is FANTASTIC! This is a transfer of Bob's 1978 12" single, the year before he spun-off into "Benson" and TV superstardom. The plug song is the drama-queen classic I Who Have Nothing done in classic Disco style featuring Bob's thrillingly diva-like vocal performance. We're guessing that Sylvester heard this and decided it was so good he did his own version the following year. The 'B-side' is also dancey but not in the classic Disco style. The Streets Are Made For Dancing is sort of funk tinged dance pop that almost foretells New Wave infused Dance by a year or two and actually sounds like something The Jets or Shalamar might have done some years later. Both songs are terrific and clock in at around 6 minutes each. Also interesting to note, the record was exquisitely produced by Phil & Mitch Margo who were two of the original members of The Tokens and who went on to write and produce great pop music for many, many years. Condition of vinyl before transfer was VG++. Beautifully audio cleaned.



Sally Field - Star of The Flying Nun - YIPES!! - Okay, so you were wondering when this was going to come out on CD. I was getting tired of holding my breath so I made my own vinyl transfer. The liner notes by then editor of 16 Magazine declared that Sally's singing career was off to a flying start. Thud. As a vocalist, Sally lands somewhere between Nancy Sinatra and Patty Duke - if a bit more melodious than either - but nevermind - just one listen will have hypoglycemics on a sugar high for over a week. Supported by the Bob Mitchell (Children's) Choir, Sally delivers the 13 album and 4 bonus ultra-sunshiney inspirational and Christian songs the only way you would want to hear them. This is perfect for parents longing to instill something of worth into their kids before rap ensnares them into the devil's army. It's also an essential for bubblegumsters and sunshinesters. Two of the bonus tracks are with fellow sisters Madeleine Sherwood & Marge Redmond! LP tracks are STEREO - the bonuses are from VG+ mono 45's. Condition of vinyl before transfer was VG++. Beautifully audio cleaned.

An Evening With Gypsy Rose Lee - Originally released as Gypsy Rose Lee Remembers Burlesque in 1962, it was re-released as An Evening With Gypsy Rose Lee which is where our copy comes from. This is a fabulous reminiscence that could almost be a complete show about show business replete with full chorus girl numbers featuring the Dollies of 42nd Street, blackouts with the Minsky's comics and flashbacks of backstage banter with 'pop' the stereotypical stage door watchman, among others. The stereo LP was VG+. A few mild pffts here and there do not impede listening enjoyment. Beautifully audio cleaned, the seamless segues retain their original integrity. This one is a lot of fun.

Gypsy Rose Lee - That's Me All Over - Gypsy was the single institution that kept giving burlesque a good name until she died in 1970...and even now she continues to do it. Originally released in 1958, the album includes the classic I Can't Strip To Brahms and also has terrific versions of Cole Porter's I Sleep Easier Now and Rogers and Hart's The Heart Is Quicker Than The Eye. This is the original 12 track LP now on CD for the first time. Wonderful! The mono LP was VG+. Beautifully audio cleaned.

Peggy Lipton - Not only was she a gorgeous, sultry flower child but she could act! And not only could she act, but she could sing - really. Yes, and she could also write and well hold a candle to her idols Laura Nyro and Carole King (who she tributized here a couple of years before Carole released her Tapestry album with her own version of Natural Woman). So Peggy Lipton was visionary as well! This is her debut album from late 1968 with two bonus tracks that were singles in 1970. We're so excited about this disc that we can't help turning this description into a mini review. As mentioned previously, this album tributizes her idols Laura Nyro and Carole King. All of the non-original songs were written by Laura or Carole (with either Goffin or Stern). The choices are exemplary. She chose Stoney End two years before Streisand took it to the top ten. She also chose two other great yet rarely covered Nyro songs, Flim Flam Man and Lu. For her Carole King songs (aside from her excellent version of the well worn Natural Woman) Peggy scores big points not only for choosing It Might As Well Rain Until September but for the lustrous ballad interpretation... possibly producer Lou Adler's idea. Another wonderful and obscure Carole King song is Lady Of The Lake. And Peggy's own compositions exemplified by Let Me Pass By and San Francisco Glide show her to have an evocative lyrical and melodic inspiration to rival her idols. Peggy's voice is lilting and soulful and her writing has the quiet depth she exuded on screen. No wonder she and Quincy matched up. To see the full track listing, click here. The album was Near Mint as was one of the singles. The final single was VG+. Beautifully audio cleaned.


Constance Towers Sings to The Horse Soldiers - We were expecting Constance to be accompanied Civil War style by a harmonica and a banjo on someone's knee but what we got was a big slice of angel's food cake Eisenhower era schmaltz with white frosting a'la Patti Page. Make that moist and tasty for the cake and icing. Pleasant indeed, this is a collection of standards about parting, missing, losing, praying, well wishing and hoped for reunions. The album includes an enchanting and marvelous mellow 'hop-a-long' version of God Bless The Child and a lovely, eerie rendition of Cole Porter's You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To. Theatrically trained Constance is a MUST for pop vocalist collections. One wonders whether contemporarily attired Constance was gowned and posed amidst a film scene in process (that is John Wayne on the left) or skillfully cut and pasted in by a highly underpaid staff artist. The 1959 mono LP was VG+. A few mild pffts here and there haven't impeded my listening enjoyment. Beautifully audio cleaned.

This Is Kim - Can someone tell me if anyone ever made a Marilyn Monroe "obsession album" inspired by her during her lifetime? Well, I guess in this arena, Kim Novak has one up on the ultimate bombshell icon. This is an album of songs inspired by Kim Novak as she appeared in the 1957 film Jeanne Eagels. It's extremely schmaltzy and not in a campy way so that would make this for Kim completist collectors only. The aural enticement of this piece is the repitition of the "This Is Kim" theme created in the only original composition, written specifically for this album. NOTE: Kim Novak does NOT sing on this album - it was made as a tribute to her. The mono LP was VG+ and audio cleaned.

Patty Duke - Patty Duke Sings Songs from Valley of the Dolls and other Selections - This description will have to be an exercize in diplomacy... Who doesn't love Patty Duke? Nobody. So since we love Patty, we love her records too - even if she hates them! Yes, she's got "big talent" and it's evident in glorious stereo. Never has a non-singing star had such a capacity for hitting sour notes so consistently in such a multi-octave range. And nothing is forced about Patty's range. She hits high sour notes with the same ease as she hits low ones. Never mind. What matters most is that Patty has not failed to do what Patty does best: entertain us...ever. It's worth the price for her breath-taking rendition of I'll Plant My Own Tree and one of the most depressing versions of Theme From Valley Of The Dolls ever recorded which, needless to say, captures the utter essence of the song...and ironically, Patty's parallel existence. The 'Other Selections' comprised side B of the LP (tracks 6-11 on the CD) and are Patty's pop side including styles from Girl Group and Teener to Motown-esque and splashy, schmaltzy ballads that abounded in the early and mid 1960's. We've included the never issued on CD B-side of her third and final chart single as a bonus track. To see the track listing as well as the hokum liner notes written by none other than Gene Kelly, click here. Condition of vinyl before transfer was VG+/M- and beautifully audio cleaned. The 11 album tracks are stereo and the bonus track is mono.

Lizabeth - Another one that may enchant your ears is the debut album by screen siren Lizabeth 'Scotty' Scott. Recorded around the time of her retirement from the big screen in 1957 and released in 1958 this album includes Ms. Scott's renditions of some lesser known tunes by major A-list composers like Johnny Mercer, Cole Porter and Harold Arlen along with a marvelous rendition of Willow Weep For Me. Until now, we never knew that she wasn't doing the singing in her movies though her performance here belies that fact. The irony here is that Scotty spends so much time singing about MEN that you'd swear she was heterosexual. 12 audio cleaned tracks.

Vicki Lawrence - The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia...and points beyond - Yippee - Yay - Hooray!!! Here it is folks. At last the original LP with Vicki's #1 smash along with four more Bobby Russell songs. Now with eight fantastic bonus tracks from 1970 through 1979 including two more Bobby Russell songs; Used To Be from the 1970 film The Grasshopper and 1974's Ships In The Night. Let's not forget Vicki's 1979 foray into legitimate disco, the scintillating club track, Don't Stop The Music. The 11 album tracks were recorded from a Near Mint stereo LP. Seven of the bonus tracks were recorded from Near Mint stereo vinyl and the eighth was from a VG+ single. Beautifully audio cleaned. All Stereo. To see the full track listing, click here.

Rock Hudson - Rock, gently - Not only was he a bo-hunk but he could act! And not only could he act, but he could sing - um - er...well he did sing on key which is more than we can say for a few of the residents here on The Celebrity Corner. Trouble is, he seemed to take it utterly seriously, the major pitfall it would appear, of most celebrities better known for not singing who made records. This album is a partnership of Rock and his friend Rod McKuen (one's imagination reels) on which Rock sings Rod McKuen songs. Yes, all of the songs are compositions of the king of saccharine with the exception of two on which McKuen added lyrics to, to make his own. Here it is in all its 1970 glory. 14 audio cleaned, stereo tracks from a sealed copy. And there's more! We've added Rock Hudson's 1959 version of "Pillow Talk" as a bonus track. It is undoubtedly the most fun track on the CD.
Jayne Mansfield: Shakespeare, Tchaikovsky & Me!
This is a wonderfully campy recording of Jayne Mansfield reading classic poetry over intermittent strains of classical music. Jayne was taking it quite seriously but being Jayne, she infused her Jayne-ness into the readings making it a delightful listen for poetry and camp fans alike. We've just completely re-recorded it and done a beautiful audio cleaning and ooh, lover doll, it sounds great. To see a list of all 32 recitations, click here.
Condition of vinyl before transfer: Jayne VG++.


EEEK - It's Monique! - Don't ask, just LISTEN! Take a break from the Sunshine, Girl Group/Girl Pop and Schmaltz and be charmed by this transfer of Monique Van Vooren's marvelous 1958 LP "Mink in Hi-Fi". It is terrific. Sultry, earthy chanteuse at its pinnacle. Perhaps this description seems brief but there is little more that can be said because this is just plain great. 12 audio cleaned tracks.

Dody Goodman Sings? She sure does! We were a bit leery when we managed to attain this recording of Dody's circa 1957 LP and were surprisingly and pleasantly very entertained. Now you can be too! Grin as Dody dottily croons about the charm of April In Fairbanks and the beauty of Tranquilizers (our favorite). A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away we happened to see Jackie Curtis and Holly Woodlawn's cabaret show in which they performed April In Fairbanks and we thought it was an original. We we're guessing it was debuted by Dody but have been informed that it was originally performed by Jane Connell in in the Broadway revue, "New Faces of 1956". Still leave it to Misses Curtis, Woodlawn and Dody Goodman to cover the zany tune! Vinyl before transfer was VG++. Beautifully audio cleaned. 11 tracks in glorious Mono.

Rally 'Round The Flagg Starring Fannie Flagg - And you thought all she could do was come up with snappy answers on the Match Game. Here for the first time since it was re-issued on vinyl in the 1970's is Fannie's hilariously funny 1967 comedy album. Of note are the tracks featuring Fannie's lampoon of local access news with her character Susie Sweetwater and as if timing isn't everything, Fannie sends up then first lady, Lady Bird Johnson on the first and last tracks. When you hear this you will wonder why Fannie didn't have more af a performing career...or for that matter, her own long running TV show. Condition of vinyl before transfer was VG+. Audio cleaned.
Benihana by Marilyn Chambers
Disco and Marilyn Chambers - A glorious 70's combination. This is a reproduction of Marilyn's 12" vinyl disco classic "Benihana". Includes the original B side, the enchanting "So I Cried A Little Bit" which sounds more like something Claudine Longet (or maybe Charlene) might have done.
Condition of vinyl before transfer: NM. Beautifully audio cleaned.

Claudia Cardinale - Sun...I Love You - 4 Sensational 70's Tracks - Two of these gems are lost disco treasures and the other two are unique songs that show a side of Claudia one can see in her eyes in her brilliant film performances. Claudia performs all four songs in English. Condition of vinyl before transfer: Excellent to NM. Beautifully audio cleaned.

Be sure to visit the fabulous Claudia Cardinale fan site at http://www.claudiacardinale.info

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