required listening

CD Review

VARIOUS ARTISTS  -  Yesterday Has Gone : The Songs Of Teddy Randazzo

Ace (UK) CDTOP 1556

[LITTLE] ANTHONY & the IMPERIALS-I’m On The Outside (Looking In)/Yesterday Has Gone; TIMI YURO-Can’t Stop Running Away; ROYALETTES-Baby Are You Puttin’ Me On/It’s Gonna Take A Miracle; TEDDY RANDAZZO-You Don’t Need A Heart; TONY ORLANDO-Think Before You Act; DEREK MARTIN-You Better Go; FRANK SINATRA-Rain In My Heart; VOGUES-We’re On Our Way; KANE TRIPLETS-Buttercup Days; GEORGIA GIBBS-Let Me Dream; ESTHER PHILLIPS-Let Me Know When It’s Over; ANNABELLE FOX-Lonely Girl; RITCHIE ADAMS-Better Off Without You; BILLY FURY-I’m Lost Without You; JIMMY RICE-Or Not At All; AL HIBBLER-Good For A Lifetime; DIONNE WARWICK-Goin’ Out Of My Head; MEL TORME-Better Use Your Head; HOWARD GUYTON-I Watched You Slowly Slip Away; PORGY & the MONARCHS-Think Twice Before You Walk Away; DELFONICS-Hurt So Bad; STYLISTICS-Love At First Sight; MANHATTANS-A Million To One  

To the soul aficionado, Ace/Kent’s compilation sets devoted to songwriters succeed best if, when the writer has majored in that field - or even if he/she hasn’t! - the content sticks to that particular idiom.  Thus, here, mixing the likes of Frank Sinatra with Little Anthony & the Imperials, the Kane Triplets with the Royalettes and Billy Fury with Derek Martin does not sit particularly easily with me and I would normally swerve a full review for such a product.  Surely, one might say, with a writer (and producer) as prolific within the soul field as Teddy Randazzo , it would not have been too difficult to bring together a full twenty-five tracks to fit the bill?  Nor, for that matter, could that be paired with - or, heaven forfend, substituted by - another volume of his work with caucasian artists.  So, you may well ask, what am I doing writing this.  Well, for a start, the quality of the songs themselves, all actually co-compositions, is such that brushing aside would seem like sacrilege and at least half the content can be deemed ‘acceptable’, even by the most hardened ‘soul nut’.  The delicious Royalettes were prefect foils for the Randazzo songwriting and production work and the same can be said for the falsetto vocals of Anthony Gourdine of Little Anthony & the Imperials, the latter represented by ‘I’m On The Outside (Looking In)‘ and (the ‘Little‘ less) ‘Yesterday Has Gone’, while the honours for (their) ‘Goin‘ Out Of My Head‘ and ‘Hurt So Bad’ go to Dionne Warwick and the Delfonics respectively by way of Scepter and Philly Groove album tracks.  The further Anthony/Imperials’ associated vehicle, ‘Better Use Your Head‘, is here taken from a Columbia lp by a rather unsuited Mel Tormé - and, by the way, that is not intended to decry Tormé as an artist.  From the appropriately-titled album, ‘The Elegant Sound Of The Royalettes’, ‘Baby Are You Puttin‘ Me On‘ is a tempo-changing item and the girls also hit the spotlight with the latterly oft-recorded ‘It’s Gonna Take A Miracle’.  Derek Martin’s ‘You Better Go‘ is another number which deserved classic status, similarly the Manhattans‘ Deluxe era hit, ‘A Million To One’.  ‘Let Me Know When It’s Over‘ is a perfect vehicle for Esther Phillips and, staying with the ladies, the same can be said for the Bacharach/David-styled ‘Lonely Girl’, delivered here by ex-Chantel, Annabelle Fox (aka Annette Swinson) and the powerful ‘Can’t Stop Running Away‘ which Timi Yuro cut for Mercury in 1965.

US R&B Chart statistics  (peak positions: BB = ‘Billboard’, CB = ‘Cashbox’)...

Derek Martin  -  You Better Go  (Roulette 45, 4631)  -  BB 25, CB 32

Little Anthony & the Imperials  -  I’m On The Outside (Looking In)  (DCP 45, 1104)  -  BB 16, CB 9

Manhattans  -  A Million To One  (Deluxe 45, 137)  -  BB 47, CB 56

Royalettes  -  It’s Gonna Take A Miracle  (MGM 45, 13366)  -  BB 28

Stylistics  -  Love At First Sight  (Mercury 45, 74042)  -  BB 93, CB 90                                                                                                                                           

review posted 30/10/19