Week 26: Hello Ketty

By: Lafayette

Jun 25 2009

Tags: ,

Category: 1967

43 Comments

Hey, friends!

I hope everything’s OK with all of you out there. The sun’s shining, the birds are singing and the summer vacations are coming closer by the minute – could things be any better, really?! Well, to make sure everything’s at it’s very best, this weeks musical installment features the elegant, yet feisty, cool, yet so very hot, and truly unimitable Ketty Lester!

Ketty Lester (born Revoyda Frierson) is best known for her early 60’s hit “Love Letters” (ranked 176th in the 1991 RIAA compiled list of “Songs of The Century”) – and those of you not yet familiar with Ketty’s work should definitely check out her wonderful 1962 debut album over at Nosi/Sino’s blog Soulful Divas…it’s a real gem!

And when doing some background check-up on Ketty, one word springs to mind – VERSATILITY! Dang, she’s been busy! Try this for size: contestant on Groucho Marx’s game show “You Bet Your Life”, singer with a hit single selling in excess of one million copies, nominated for a Grammy Award, TV actress landing a regular gig on both “The Little House on the Prarie” (as Hester-Sue Terhune) and “Days of our Lives” (as Helen Grant), movie actress with a 3 feet long list of credits at IMDB, and best of all – playing lady cab driver Juanita Jones in the blaxploitation blockbuster “Blacula“! (Check this Ketty/Blacula tribute post for some wicked hilarious photos!) You see what I mean…and this is only a fraction of what she’s accomplished so far. One busy lady! For a more complete bio on Ketty, check this AMG entry.

Aight, enough of that…back to this weeks album – Ketty Lester’s “When A Woman Loves A Man” released on Tower Records (T5029) in 1967! Elegant and sparse, but still soulfully dynamic…Ketty Lester is backed by The Ronnie Brown trio, consisting of experienced jazzmen used to be on stage with people like Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr – and the bigger arrangements are handled by another seasoned veteran, Lincoln Mayorga. The album is as usual produced by Ed Cobb for Greengrass Productions – and it’s a stellar effort! The album holds ten great songs (well, at least nine – I have some considerations regarding the Sam Cooke title track answer song…for some reason Ketty is having problems carrying the tune…but hey, it’s still great in it’s own special way), and most of them have more kick in the bassdrum than the average hiphop album (or Art Blakey concert for that matter) and it’s all beautifully submerged in a crisp reverb putting most Elvis recordings to shame. On top of all that, Ketty does her thing splendidly…really upfront and personal, almost naked, with no backing vocals whatsoever. Real classy, real sharp!

How about me just playing you my favourite track, instead of bending backwards trying to put rambling words to the experience? Does that sound OK with you? Hehehe, thought so. Here’s the B-sides just plain wonderful opening cut “It Hurts So Bad” (written by Kennedy/Seats): (Video clip borrowed from Wally1435)

Needless to say, get your hands on all of Ketty Lester’s albums – and this one in particular! You’ll find this vinyl (unbelievably never reissued on CD), and many of her other releases, right here, and at a reasonable price (less than $30) as well! So go get yourself some perfect “painkiller” music right now!

Thank you for the music, Ketty!

(Ps. Yeah, almost forgot…get yourself a copy of Blacula as well, or rent it at the iTunes Store for a mere $2.99! Or how about that sequel with Pam Grier in it! You know you want it!)

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43 comments on “Week 26: Hello Ketty”

  1. Listen closely! And don’t miss the hi-res album cover and label scans included. As always, please leave a comment – share your opinion on the post and the album with us!

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  2. Good work, Laf! Ketty was truly gifted. I remember her on some of the Black sitcoms and in Uptown Saturday Night with Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier.

  3. She sure passes the eyeball test! Can’t wait to hear it…

  4. thanks for this one! just by the tune on the video I can tell i’m gonna dig it.

  5. Well Hello Ketty is right, never heard of her (shame on me obviously) but im damn sure glad u introduced us so now i can get really acquainted with Miss Ketty. Im sure ill have a blast with this 1…Thanx Brothers

  6. Listening to the clip now… OOOOOOOOOOH! I needed that like badly. You’ll see when I post my new mixes at the other spot. Thank you Laffy 😀 You weren’t kidding. Whoever was turning the knobs sure knew what they were doing. That low end is warm like a blanket…

    I’ll be online tomorrow/today depending on when you read this.

    The term’s OVER! Time for VACATION!

    Peace and blessings.

  7. Very very good!
    Thank u Bros, as ever!

  8. Thanks a milliion

  9. “here ketty ketty”… nice one laf.. thanks for sharing.. talking about summer we have 34 degrees here today. so how hot is july and august going to be.

    • Yeah, it really is a nice one! And it’s damn hot over here as well…and it’s going to get even hotter over the weekend they say. Well, it still beats the cold rainy days we had a couple of months back. And with cool Ketty in the headphones I can stand pretty much anything! 😉

  10. Thanks, this is sweet.

  11. This One Looks Great!! Thanks 4BB!!

  12. Many thanks – first time hearing for me – sample track sounds gorgeous!

  13. Laf,

    it is one of those albums that you buy only by looking the cover! Elegant! I had my chances a few times on ebay but hesitate or miss it! Anyway, the sound is nice and soulful, with a bit of a jazzy touch. Exactly what we need for the summertime…
    It is strange but here is raining all the week.. Regards to Brothers.

    • Nikos! Yeah…this is my summer fix for sure! 😉
      And thanks for the Chuck album…it will be perfect for those long summer nights!

      /Lafayette

  14. Her voice is so beautiful! Thank you so much for this classic! Appreciate it Laf!

  15. Amazing! Thanks please keep it up. This music moves my life

  16. Thank you so much.

  17. I can’t understand why I have no knowledge what so ever of this lady period. I feel real stupid. You guys are talkin’ about seeing her on T.V. too? Hey, I ain’t no spring chicken here. Maybe it’s the ole think box goin’ bad? 😦

    Oh well, I checked her out on You Tube and am all the more puzzled as to how I am not in the know at all. She is amazing IMO. I’m going to drop by the Soulful Divas when I get time and pick up Love Letters too. I fell in love with Fallen Angel! Beautiful.

    Thanks for the hook up about her Laf! Now I’m in the know too. 🙂

    • No problemo, Bowlisha. Just happy to have shed some light on another almost forgotten soul music heroine…Ketty really is the real deal!

      And, yeah, pick up that Love Letters joint over at Nosi’s place (say Hi from me) and hopefully I just might be able to post another one of her albums later on…

      /Laf

  18. Thanks for da Ketty yo!

  19. Really good one Lafayette, thanks.

  20. thank you

  21. Good one Laf. The sample is a good bit of Northern USA black church music.
    What funny is the same gospel genre, has styles of it’s own (Sam and Dave being one example of Southern… Aretha meshing both).
    I remember seeing Ketty on one of the many TV dance shows that appeared around the time of the English rock invasion over here. I guess I was in the 8th or 9th grade then.
    It got by me that she was the lady on “Little House”. I think I’ll watch the syndicated show a little more now. LOL
    Can’t wait to hear the rest.

  22. I remember back (waaay back!) when “Love Letters” was first released. The sound and style were so different from anything else at that time. It has stood the test of time, proving what a landmark piece it really was. So its with real excitement I look forward to treating my ears to these offerings.
    As always a superb job Laf.
    You all set the bar so high.

  23. Thanks!

  24. It hurts so bad ,it sounds so good ,i can’t wait to hear the whole album.Thanx a lot.

  25. The cab driver from Blacula LOL!!! And a Jazzy Classy lady to boot. Thanx 4 schoolin’ me as always Lafayette and the Brothers!
    /Funkback

  26. […] Paul Desmond’s cosy late 60’s “Easy Living” or anything from Ketty Lester’s album “When A Woman Loves A Man”– it’s about getting the right mood set, the […]

  27. I am guilty, of not visiting the site more often as I would like>>>>Now LOOK WHAT I FOUND HERE: SIMPLY A MASTER’s CUT….Brilliant

    simply top-Shelf

    Big Up1@1

  28. Good afternoon everyone, I am overjoyed to know that so many are still excited about Ms. Lester’s music. In 1962-63 I heard a song (Of which I still have on a 45 rpm) titled on the A-side “Somethings Are Better Left Unsaid” and on the B-side “The House Is Haunted” I’m not saying anything new, but This Lady is a GAINT. The record label is RCA Victor, with an image of that dog listening to his masters voice from the gramaphone. This item has got to be on a CD somewhere, I urge you guys to get it. Both sides are good, but the
    A-side is a bases-loaded home-run. Trust me on this one. Oh, please let me get a little crazy here, I heard her sing in atleast two episodes of “Little House on the Prairie” ….Hester Sue is “HOT…. Sincerely Thomas P.

  29. This is Thomas P. again sorry about the double-entry, but initially, I did not see my first comment posted, so I decided to try again. Thomas P.

  30. I’m in love with the song Fallen Angel. Would someone please tell me who wrote it?

  31. […] Gardens”, Paul Desmond’s late 60′s “Easy Living” or anything from Ketty Lester’s album “When A Woman Loves A Man”– it’s about getting the right mood set, the […]


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