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Don’t Just Stand There! Real Gone Reissues Patty Duke, Johnny Lytle

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TPatty Duke - Don't Just Stand Therehey laugh alike, they walk alike, at times they even talk alike!  You can lose your mind, when cousins are two of a kind!

So went the theme song to television’s The Patty Duke Show, starring the former Anna Marie Duke as “identical cousins” Patty and Cathy Lane.  We’re told in Sid Ramin and Robert Wells’ theme song that the worldly Cathy “adores a minuet, The Ballets Russes and crepe suzette,” but the normal New York teen Patty “loves to rock and roll!”  So, apparently, did Patty Duke, based on the charming albums and singles she recorded for United Artists Records between 1965 and 1968.  Four original LPs, including one that has never been issued in any format, have been lovingly compiled on two new collections from Real Gone Music, marking the first official release of the Duke discography on compact disc.  Unsurprisingly, both CDs are a warmly nostalgic treat.

Don’t Just Stand There/Patty (RGM-0122) combines Duke’s first two UA albums.  The starlet signed with the label in the television series’ second season, and although she was just 18 years of age, she was already an Academy Award-winning show business veteran.  Duke got to use her well-honed dramatic chops on “Don’t Just Stand There,” which became the title track of her debut.  “Don’t Just Stand There” is as musically close to Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me” as is legally possible, but it became a full-fledged hit.  Lor Crane and Bernice Ross’ song reached No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and provided an auspicious start for young Patty’s recording career.

We have plenty more on Patty, plus a review of two albums from vibraphonist Johnny Lytle, after the jump!

Throughout Don’t Just Stand There, she evinces a pleasant, light, and sweetly girlish singing voice perfect for the teen market of the era.  Though a chorus often joins Patty to give more heft to her lead vocals, and she is frequently multi-tracked, her voice is appealing and utterly sincere throughout.  Don’t Just Stand There, as produced by Jack Gold and arranged by onetime Phil Spector associate Arnold Goland, blends original, teen-themed songs with covers of familiar, contemporary pop tunes.  Of the former tracks, Duke scores on Crane and Ross’ “Say Something Funny” and “Ribbons and Roses.”  Versions of “Why Don’t They Understand” (a 1957 hit for George Hamilton IV), “Too Young” (first a hit for Nat “King” Cole in 1951 but also successfully recorded from the feminine perspective by Patty Andrews) and the deliciously maudlin “The End of the World” further placed Duke squarely in the role of an all-American teenager pining for a real romance.  Of the pop covers, her “What the World Needs Now” and “Downtown” are straightforward and enjoyable, though the backing vocals and arrangements are much more “square” those of the original versions produced, respectively, by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and Tony Hatch!  More interesting are Patty’s fine takes on a number of pop hits associated with male artists, like Wayne Newton’s “Danke Schoen,” Peter and Gordon’s Paul McCartney-penned “A World Without Love,” and Gary Lewis and the Playboys’ “Save Your Heart for Me.”

Arnold Goland returned to aid new producer Gerry Granahan on sophomore effort Patty.  It was originally issued in 1966, the same year The Patty Duke Show ended its three-season run.    Patty followed the same formula as its predecessor, including a couple of new songs alongside renditions of “Yesterday,” “I Love How You Love Me,” “All I Have to Do is Dream” and another gender-reversed Gary Lewis favorite, “Sure Gonna Miss Him.”  The lead single, John Brooks and Wally Gold’s “The World is Watching Us,” features a confident lead from Patty on another teen drama, but it ultimately wasn’t strong enough to make much of an impression, on the charts or otherwise.  A minor chart hit was gained with Patty’s recording of Bobby Goldsboro’s wistful “Whenever She Holds You,” first issued on 45 between album releases and reprised on Patty.  But a better choice for a single might have been “All Through the Day.”  The 1946 Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein II movie tune had previously been recorded by artists including Frank Sinatra and Perry Como, but Goland imbues it with a brassy, Latin-tinged arrangement (think: Jay and the Americans’ “Come a Little Bit Closer”) that makes Kern and Hammerstein’s timeless song as current as anything else on the LP.  Another oft-recorded song choice was Edith Lindeman and Carl Stutz’s “Little Things Mean a Lot,” a 1954 No. 1 for Kitty Kallen which scored a few years later for Joni James.  Duke’s subtle vocal for the song might have been more effective in a light country setting, but she and Goland are in tune for the breezy AM pop of “One Kiss Away” (“from falling in love with you”) – another track that would have made a superior single release.  Real Gone has added two bonus tracks to this pair of albums via both of Duke’s songs from the United Artists film Billie.  Of these, the fun “Pretty Little Butterflies” made No. 77 on the pop chart, and was even performed by Duke on The Patty Duke Show – her only record to have that distinction.

Patty Duke - ValleyPatty’s Sings Songs from Valley of the Dolls and Other Selections (1967) joins the previously-unissued Sings Folk Songs (1968) on Real Gone’s second CD (RGM-0121).  Duke’s onscreen role as the self-destructive singer Neely O’Hara in Jacqueline Susann’s pill-popping camp classic signaled that she wasn’t a child any longer. United Artists brought her into the studio to record five songs from the 20th Century Fox movie including its title song (a No. 2 hit by Dionne Warwick, and one-half of an enormously successful double-sided single with “I Say a Little Prayer” on the A-side).  All five songs were written by the husband-and-wife team of Dory Previn and Andre Previn; the new liner notes erroneously indicate they were brother and sister.  (When Andre left Dory for Mia Farrow, Dory responded with the must-hear song “Beware of Young Girls.”)   Though Duke was dubbed in the movie, the LP gave her the chance to sing her own songs (“It’s Impossible” and “Give a Little More”) and others in Goland’s new arrangements.  Patty has fun with the brassy “Give a Little More” and “I’ll Plant My Own Tree,” the latter of which was originally intended for Judy Garland.  Garland was replaced on the film by Susan Hayward, but her recording of the song has survived.  (There appears to be a brief glitch in the audio near the end of Patty’s “I’ll Plant My Own Tree” here.)  Patty fares well with those bright, up-tempo songs.  As for her “Theme from ‘Valley of the Dolls,’” it’s heartfelt but tremulous, and far-removed from the dark yet immaculate and elegant Dionne Warwick-sung, Burt Bacharach-produced and Patrick Williams-arranged hit version.

Side Two was primarily arranged by Hutch Davie, but it’s not as consistent as the Valley of the Dolls side.  “My Own Little Place” is chic pop circa 1967.  Unfortunately, it didn’t bolster Duke’s commercial fortunes when released as a single with the Previn/Previn “Come Live with Me” on the flipside.  Patty’s version of Bobby Vinton’s hit “Roses are Red” and the ballad “Forever Yours” sound like a step backwards compared to the contemporary pop of “My Own Little Place” and “A Million Things to Do”, the latter with a frantic, Motown-on-speed beat.  One previously unreleased outtake from the album, Goland’s “I Want Your Love,” has been added to this definitive reissue.  It’s actually one of the stronger items here in the modern vein, so it’s a mystery why it didn’t make the original LP.

Valley of the Dolls is joined by Patty’s shelved folk album, Patty Duke Sings Folk Songs: Time to Move On.  She was serious about her foray into topical folk music, performing two songs from the album on The Ed Sullivan Show and venturing into a similar milieu with a performance of “Danny Boy” on The Tonight Show.  Ernie Sheldon of The Limeliters produced Time to Move On, and contributed a handful of his own songs alongside those by writers such as Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger and Peter Yarrow.  Yet other than two songs released on a 45 and one song that crept out for a compilation in 2010, Time to Move On remained in the vault until now.  It turns out that it’s a more than respectable offering.

The material is quite varied, and mostly sung with conviction that compensates for a lack of all-out vocal power.  Donovan’s “Colours” takes on a western-movie feel in Sheldon’s arrangement, and his chipper “The Best is Yet to Come” also could have featured in a period movie musical.  (Sheldon and Elmer Bernstein’s “Shine for Me” actually was from a film, Baby The Rain Must Fall.)  Patty is touching on the stark “The Cruel War,” and succeeds in a tender pop vein with the hushed “And We Were Strangers.”  A recitation of Pete Seeger’s “The Bells of Rhymney” is solidly dramatic, and Duke embodies an Irish lass in the tragic “Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye.”  She even tackles the Yiddish theater standard “Dona, Dona” (in English).  The album might have been too offbeat to find success in a folk-rock world; it veers from a Hollywood version of folk music to stirring versions of traditionals, then dips into international flavors, and throws in a dollop of pop for good measure.

Both CDs’ thick booklets are stuffed with original album artwork, beautiful photographs of Patty, and liner notes by the reissues’ producer Matt Tunia drawing on illuminating quotes from Duke herself.  No remastering engineer is credited but the sound doesn’t disappoint. (Both titles also make a fine companion to Real Gone’s recent Margaret Whiting reissues, also featuring Arnold Goland’s arrangements.)  Patty Duke’s musical career, naturally, has taken a backseat to her dramatic work, not to mention her tireless commitment to education about mental health.    But she’s recently made a return to music, singing onstage in productions including the blockbuster Wicked.  Real Gone’s pair of releases are an enjoyable journey back to the brief but bright career of Patty Duke, Pop Star.

Johnny LytleAnd now for something completely different…

Vibraphonist Johnny Lytle (1932-1995) was billed as The Soulful Rebel on the title of his 1971 Milestone LP.  He wasn’t too terribly rebellious, blending self-written originals with one Jimmy Webb song (“Didn’t We”) and another from Chicago’s Robert Lamm (“Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is”).  But considering that Lytle’s first recording as a leader came in 1950, The Soulful Rebel proves that he was still exploring new avenues in his third decade of making music.  That album has been paired with 1972’s People and Love on a new two-fer (RGM-0145) from Real Gone Music and Dusty Groove.

Lytle never achieved the same level of fame as Milt Jackson, Red Norvo, Lionel Hampton, Gary Burton or Cal Tjader, but nonetheless he made the vibraphone his own.  He had only slowed down a bit by the dawn of the seventies, and these two albums – both produced by Orrin Keepnews – represent his only two records as a leader released between 1970 and 1976.  Typical of the period, Lytle took an electric spin on his traditional brand of jazz on both records, though they each feature a different band.

The funky, urban “Gunky” introduces each band member on The Soulful Rebel: Billy Nunn on organ and electric piano, David Spinozza on guitar, Ron Carter on electric bass, Jozell Carter on drums and Ray Barretto on congas.  “The New Village Caller” updates an older tune of Lytle’s, with his vibes out front supported by session stalwart Spinozza’s jagged guitar licks.  Billy Nunn’s organ adds to the tight groove.  Lytle’s vibes shimmer on a spare but pretty, straightforward “Didn’t We,” while a less languid mood is set with the slinky blues of “Lela” recalling the score to a New York-set detective film.

The second side of the original album was almost entirely occupied by the “Soulful Rebel Suite,” but rather than being an extended work, it’s actually four distinct songs with little connective tissue.  The title track – the first of the four – continues the cinematic vibe (no pun intended) of “Lela” as it gradually builds in tension.  “High Treason,” despite the dramatic title, is one of the more swinging tracks on the set, and just one of numerous opportunities here to appreciate the rock-solid bass of CTI Records mainstay Ron Carter.  “The Struggle” is a frenetic, percussive romp, while “Inner Peace” draws the suite to a more relaxed close.  A coda of a sort is provided by Robert Lamm’s Chicago hit “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is.”  The jazz-rock band’s brassy song lends itself well to Lytle’s treatment even sans Chicago’s trademark horns.  Lytle states Lamm’s swaggering melody in straight-ahead fashion, with the vibes lending a wistful air, and then he cuts loose as the other cats join in.

People and Love, released in 1972, served up different instrumentation, and a different band.  It added flute/alto flute/tenor sax from Marvin Cabell and harp from Betty Glamann, dropping the guitar entirely.  Jozell Carter remained, on drums, but Daahoud Hadi a.k.a. Butch Cornell replaced Nunn on electric piano and organ, Bob Cranshaw stood in for Carter on electric bass, and Arthur Jenkins took over for Ray Barretto on congas.  Like The Soulful Rebel, People and Love blends Lytle originals with two well-chosen cover versions.  This time, the familiar songs serve as bookends.  “Where is the Love,” a hit for Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack, opens the LP in a lovely rendition with a spotlight for Cabell’s sinewy saxophone.  But Bob Cranshaw’s electric bass keeps the sweet song with one foot in funk territory.

The compositions on People and Love are, by and large, longer than those on its predecessor, allowing for even more extended solos.  There’s tight band interplay anchored by Lytle’s dexterous lead on the cosmic-sounding “Libra” before the languid ballad “Family,” but the album kicks into high gear for the pulsating, fiery “Tawhid.”  Thom Bell and Linda Creed’s “People Make the World Go ‘Round,” originally recorded by The Stylistics, makes a fitting closer.  Milt Jackson tackled the song, too, on his CTI Sunflower in the very same year, but Lytle’s interpretation of Bell’s haunting melody holds its own with Jackson’s illustrious rendition.  (Jackson’s version also included stellar contributions from Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock and Freddie Hubbard.)  Lytle’s arrangement is tougher than Bell’s lush original and it certainly cooks for its near-12 minute length.

Though there’s no additional material, Scott Yanow has supplied solid liner notes and Joe Tarantino has remastered all tracks.  The Soulful Rebel/People and Love makes a case that Johnny Lytle should be spoken of in the same breath as Milt, Red, Cal and the rest.

Written by Joe Marchese

June 24, 2013 at 13:49

Posted in Johnny Lytle, News, Patty Duke, Reissues, Reviews

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3 Responses

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  1. It doesn’t appear there was much interest in the Patty Duke recordings, with not a single follow-up comment. However: As Joe stated in his review, there *is* an ANNOYING “glitch” toward the end of the “Ill Plant My Own Tree” track of the VALLEY OF THE DOLLS album. It may be “minor” but it’s enough to take the listener “out of the moment.” Was there any “conversation” with Real Gone about this? I don’t suppose they intend to issue a fixed replacement CD? After we waited all those months for these discs to appear, it’s disappointing that there is even this “minor” problem.

    Max Preeo

    August 15, 2013 at 18:40

    • Agreed, Max. I shall look into it and report back.

      Joe Marchese

      August 15, 2013 at 21:40

      • I just ordered a copy of this Patty Duke cd

        Steven Dwyer

        September 30, 2014 at 03:53

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