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Archive for the ‘The Weather Girls’ Category

Cherry Pop Revives Hazell Dean’s Rare Burt Bacharach LP, Weather Girls’ Second Album

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Hazell Dean - BacharachThe sound of Hazell Dean has long been associated with the sound of Hi-NRG, the dance-pop genre in which she scored hits like “Searchin’ (I Gotta Find a Man),” “Whatever I Do (Wherever I Go)” and “Who’s Leaving Who.”  But thanks to Cherry Pop, fans can discover another side of Hazell Dean on The Sound of Bacharach and David.  This ultra-rare promotional LP, originally issued in 1981, was commercially released for the first time on CD this week in the U.K.; it hits U.S. stores next Tuesday.

The future Hi-NRG queen came to the catalogue of Burt Bacharach and Hal David via writer-producer Paul Curtis, with whom she had worked in the band Union Express and also recorded “I Couldn’t Live Without You for a Day,” his 1976 entry in the Song for Europe competition.  (Curtis holds the record as the songwriter with the most songs to make the finals of this contest in which the annual Eurovision song entry for the U.K. is selected.)  Curtis’ publishing was administered by Carlin Music, who also controlled the Bacharach/David copyrights.  Carlin’s Freddy Bienstock approached Curtis and Dean about recording an album of the duo’s famous songs to be used for placement in radio, television, films and commercials.  As Dean recalls in her new liner notes for Cherry Pop’s reissue, “I had to sing the songs very straight, no bending notes, and no ad libs.  In other words, I could not make the songs my own or put my unique vocal stamp on them.  That was very hard for me.”

Despite the challenges of recording such a project, The Sound of Bacharach and David has become a prized item among Hazell Dean’s fans over the years.  Her straightforward delivery well-served the familiar Bacharach and David compositions such as “What the World Needs Now is Love,” “Walk on By,” “(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me” and “Close to You.”  (The closest thing to a “deep cut” from the B&D catalogue is “To Wait for Love,” which had previously been recorded by Tony Orlando, Tom Jones, Jackie DeShannon and Herb Alpert, among others.)  Producer/background vocalist Curtis surrounded her pristine and versatile voice with a variety of mostly stripped-down settings that sometimes echoed the original arrangements and other times updated them.  Dean today recalls The Carpenters’ vocal style as an influence on the backing vocals which she and Curtis performed themselves, and indeed, the arrangement here of “Close to You” adopts the hallmarks of Richard Carpenter’s famous chart.  Though the LP was first released in 1981, Dean notes that the album “brings back so many memories of the ‘70s,” an accurate assessment of its style.

The Sound of Bacharach and David is a most welcome addition to Cherry Pop’s series of Hazell Dean reissues, following expanded editions of such albums as Always and Heart First.  Dean’s sleevenote accompanies numerous rare photographs in the CD’s booklet as well as images of the original album.  Andy Pearce has remastered from the original vinyl, as the master tapes for this project are long lost.

After the jump: Cherry Pop returns to the catalogue of The Weather Girls! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 23, 2014 at 14:11

Hallejulah! It’s (Still) Raining Men with The Weather Girls’ Deluxe Reissue

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Weather Girls - Success

Everything about The Weather Girls’ debut album, Success, was big.  The 1983 LP was the brainchild of producer/songwriter Paul Jabara, who modestly noted on the LP’s back cover, “After working with Barbra, Donna and Diana – I began to get spoiled – I felt I could only work with ‘giants in the industry!’ I think I found them!”  And so the “Last Dance” and “No More Tears (Enough is Enough)” auteur turned his attention to Two Tons o’ Fun.   Izora Rhodes Armstead and Martha Wash had toured with the one and only “Queen of Disco” Sylvester under that moniker between 1977 and 1981, and the name accurately reflected their big voices, outsized personalities and large girth.  But they were anointed in the title track of Success as “the toast of the eighties, The Weather Girls!”  Success – featuring, of course, “It’s Raining Men” – has just been reissued by the Cherry Pop label in a definitive remastered edition (CRPOP 124), adding eight rare tracks to its original six.

Jabara’s lavish productions were never known for their subtlety, and so the title song “Success” began with a Twentieth Century Fox-esque brass fanfare, a lion’s roar, and soaring horns and strings courtesy of Broadway veteran and current Dancing with the Stars musical director Harold Wheeler (Promises, Promises, Dreamgirls).  Co-written by Jabara and Bob Esty (Cher’s “Take Me Home”), “Success” plays like the Hollywood version of a Broadway musical finale in which the girls conquer the world…or at least, the stages of New York’s Radio City Music Hall, Studio 54, and The Palace Theatre!  Esty and Jabara even briefly quoted the title song of Henry Krieger’s Dreamgirls, which was surely no coincidence.  Dreamgirls’ book and lyrics were written by Tom Eyen, who collaborated with Jabara on the notorious 1973 musical Rachael Lily Rosenbloom (And Don’t You Ever Forget It).

Equal parts brass and sass, Success rarely takes a breather from the camp-infused fun.  Hit the jump for much more, including order links and the full track listing! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 17, 2013 at 10:28

Posted in News, Reissues, Reviews, The Weather Girls

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