Week 26: Hello Ketty
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!)