Jaki Graham – All Boxed Up

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It was just a matter of time (cause we all knew it HAD to happen, right..!?) before some smart record company executive did it: All of Jaki Graham’s 7 albums recorded 1985 – 1998 in one nice box. Finally it’ s here!

 

Step right up - the Jaki box is here!

Step right up – the Jaki box is here!

 

Jaki Graham (born September 15, 1956) burst on the scene in the mid-1980’s, and immediately placed herself in the front line of British singers. Her music was the much need vitamin shot for the 80’s: Soulful, danceable, well produced and extremely well performed!

The Box includes these original albums: “Heaven Knows” (1985), “Breaking Away” (1986), “From Now On” (1989), “Real Life” (1994), “Hold On” (1995), “Rhythm Of Life” (1996) and “My Life” (1998). All of her great hits and best known songs are here, as well as a few pleasant surprises and at a total of 86 songs – this is a treasure chest!

Anyone who ever set foot on a dance floor during the 80’s and 90’s have surely done some dancing to songs like “Could it be I’m falling in love”, “Round and round”, “Mated”, “Step right up”, “The closest one”, “Set me free” and “Ain’t Nobody” (her cover of the Chaka Khan song that hit no. 1 in the US Dance Charts). Also you get a whole bunch of very nice and soulfilled ballads – of which my absolute favourite is the stunning “The better part of me” (off the 1989 album).

If you think that now I’m going to give you an overview of the different songs and albums, you’re wrong – I am hereby chasing you off to the record store (whether online or physical) to buy the box, because this one is not to be missed! And while you’re at the store, you should also get the one album that is not included in the box: Jaki’s great album of jazz and blues standards “For Sentimental Reasons” (2012). It is her last album so far, and while it stylistically is very different from the other seven albums, it does fill out the picture of what Jaki can do as a singer, and who knows – maybe a career in jazz is on the horizon. A great album, get yourself this one as well!

Her 2012 collection of jazz and blues standards must not be overlooked

Her 2012 collection of jazz and blues standards must not be overlooked

Jaki Graham is one awesome singer, and whether you wanna dance or just relax you are sure to find songs in her recorded legacy that will fit your mood at any time.

It it usually considered an honour to get your collected works all boxed up. This time around the honour is bestowed upon the great Jaki Graham – very well deserved!

 

 

Coming up soon – a closer look at Bettye LaVette

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Bettye LaVette is currently one of the truly great blues and soul singers in the business. For the last ten years she has released one great album after another, showing time and time again what a totally dedicated and consummate artist she is.

A lot of people might not be aware that she made her first record way back in 1962 and spent years struggling on small labels, constantly working but never quite making it into the big league. She made dozens of great singles in the 60s and early 70s, was a disco singer in the late 70s, had her first released album come out on Motown in 1982 – after TWENTY years of working in the business, then moving on to the British label Motorcity in the late 80s, before rightly claiming her well-deserved position in this millennium.

The great Bettye LaVette

The great Bettye LaVette

Universally acclaimed for her talent these days, the record companies have been wise enough to re-release most of what Bettye has recorded during the last 53 years, and a survey of her recording career will be published here during February or March. Stay tuned!

 

Calla was just one of the smaller labels Bettye worked for. Ad from 1965

Calla was just one of the smaller labels Bettye worked for. Ad from 1965

 

 

At the end of 2014

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Here we are, the very last day of 2014.

I hope your 2014 was a good one, and that 2015 will be even better! There are 365 days to fill with music ahead of us, and as I have done for the past three years, in 2015 I will continue to bring you new musical musings and artist biographies.

Wishing you all a very, merry 2015!

Wishing you all a very, merry 2015!

 

As a last bit of “show biz update” – I will leave a small dedication:

Though she never sang much, actress Luise Rainer got her first Academy Award for a musical biography, “The Great Ziegfeld” in 1936. She was then the youngest actress to receive the Oscar, and also the first German actress to win it. When she got another Academy Award in 1937 (for “The Good Earth”), she became to first actress to win it twice. Miss Rainer made 12 movies between 1932 and 1943. After 54 years, she finally made her last movie, “The Gambler” in 1997.

Luise Rainer on her 100th birthday, pictured in her home in London with her 1936 & 1937 Oscars

Luise Rainer on her 100th birthday, pictured in her home in London with her 1936 & 1937 Oscars

 

Born on January 12, 1910 – Luise Rainer died yesterday (December 30 2014), two weeks short of her 105th birthday. She was the most senior member of the Academy, and although she may not be a  familliar name today, she certainly belongs to the true royalty of film!

Her passing now makes Olivia De Havilland (born July 1 1916) the most senior Oscar winner still alive.

Wishing all my readers a happy new year – see you around in 2015!

 

Christmas is here again…..

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…and so, it’s time to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas and all the best for 2015!

As always, your comments and emails through the year have been greatly appreciated, so keep’em coming in the new year as well!

 

Norwegian seasonal postcard, dating back to the 1940's

Norwegian seasonal postcard, dating back to the 1940’s

 

May your Christmas be filled with nice things, good food, love and great music! More artist profiles and musical stuff coming up right after the holidays…. Stay tuned!

 

 

 

Coming next: A profile on Teresa Brewer

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Teresa Brewer (1931 – 2007) seems to have faded a little into obscurity, at least in Europe. Mostly regarded as a perky fifties singer who sang cute, funny songs in a doll like voice – I find it’s time to dig a little deeper into the career of this wonderful, versatile singer.

 

A great view AND Teresa Brewer!

A great view AND Teresa Brewer!

 

Ms. Brewer was a recording artist from 1949 and into the early 1990’s, and she did incredibly much more than just sing cute novelty songs! The young girl who recorded “Music, music, music” and “Molasses, molasses” in the early 1950’s later turned into a allround singer, who recorded more than 600 songs.

Teresa did pop, r & b, country, rock, jazz and even some disco in the 1970’s. And that funny, squeeky voice was actually an instrument of great versatility, something I personally discovered when I sat down and really listened for the first time!

Coming soon; a closer look into the treasure trove of albums the great Teresa Brewer left behind, stay tuned….

 

Site Index has been created!

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To make it easier for all of you, this site now has an indexed survey of all the different topics I have been writing about since this site was created. If, when reading the Index, you find something interesting, the next step is to  find that particular month in the right hand menu, and from there access the complete article.

You find the Index here: https://stianeriksen.com/site-index/

As always, I am very grateful for all your feedbacks, so if you have any questions, or messages you’d like to send me – please do!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coming up – A profile on Vicki Sue Robinson

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Vicki Sue… Vicki who?? For some music fans, the name of Vicki Sue Robinson conjures up some very happy memories of the exuberant late 1970s. To a lot of other people, she is virtually unknown. Despite a fairly long career in show business, her time at the top and in the spotlight was all too brief. She released 4 wonderful albums, and a handful of singles before her career was abruptly cut short….

On May 31 this year, Vicki Sue should have celebrated her 60th birthday (if there was any justice in the world!), but we lost her due to cancer in 2000, when she died a few weeks before  her 46th birthday.

Her breakt-hrough hit will forever be associated with Vicki Sue Robinson

Her break-through hit will forever be associated with Vicki Sue Robinson

 

Vicki Sue was a singer who was hard to classify – and maybe she was too versatile for her own good? She is remembered as one of the “Disco Queens” of the late 1970’s – yet her one Grammy Award nomination in 1976 was in the “Best Female Pop Singer” category. She was also labeled as a soul singer at times. Fair skinned, born by a black father and a caucasian mother, she was also sometimes referred to as black, but just as often she was considered white… What is most important is that she made some truly wonderful music, and her four albums (made 1976-79) are proof positive of her talent. It also proves that her music is almost in a category all its own; a great mix of disco, pop, soul and rock all melded into something truly new and creative.

3 Disco Queens in one place: Gloria Gaynor, Vicki Sue & France Joli

3 Disco Queens in one place: Gloria Gaynor, Vicki Sue & France Joli

 

When her four original albums were re-issued on CD (with bonus tracks!) in 2011, I immediately bough them all, they really are treasures to be saved! All the albums have a style that is uniquely Vicki Sue’s own – and they display some of the very best dance music ever made! In a short while, I will discuss those albums in depth – and hopefully that will make all of you want to go out and buy them – these records are so good, you cannot live without!

1976 Fan Card

1976 Fan Card

 

Stay tuned – for more about Vicki Sue Robinson in a little while. It’s about time we got this great artist back into the spotlight, and into our lives!

 

Pictured in the late 1990's: Evelyn King, Thelma Houston & Vicki Sue

Pictured in the late 1990’s: Evelyn King, Thelma Houston & Vicki Sue

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another year is gone…..

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….and hopefully you all had a great 2013!

I would like to thank all my readers for following me through this year as well, your messages, comments and feedbacks are much appreciated! About this time last year, I did announce some artist profiles to be written, that still hasn’t happended. Due to having had an extremely busy year, this is the result of me having a lot of other things to do – but we’ll see what I can get around to in 2014!

Although this year has been an exciting one for me (I got a new, fabulously interesting job) it has also contained some not-so-happy moments, i.e. the deaths of my very dear friends Jorun Møllerstedt and Else Skagen and also my father-in-law, who passed away just before Christmas at the age of 90.

My father-in-law, Johan on his 90th birthday, with his big sisters Helga (left, 92) and Nelly (right, 96)

My father-in-law, Johan on his 90th birthday, with his big sisters Helga (left, 92) and Nelly (right, 96)

On the homefront, my boyfriend and me celebrated our 20th anniversary together, and we plan on at least 20 more!

Jan and myself at home during Christmas 2013: Still together after 20 years!

Jan and myself at home during Christmas 2013: Still together after 20 years!

Besides music, one of my other “causes” in life is to prevent passive drinking (which means drinking that bothers other people). As a board member of the organization Familieklubbene i Norge, I was interviewed by the national newspaper VG about children who don’t look forward to celebrating Christmas because of their parents alcoholic behaviour. It is reported that this affects several hundreds of thousand children in Norway alone – I dare not think about the numbers on a world basis! My one advice is: Don’t drink when children are present!

I would like to wish each and everyone of you a very happy New Year – may 2014 be filled with joy, happiness and a lot of interesting experiences for all of you! See you next year – keep checking in for more updates!

I do toast the New Year, but with a non-alcohol champagne....

I do toast the New Year, but with a non-alcohol champagne….

Probably up next: Vikki Carr – Anatomy of love, music and total artistry

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Believe it or not, but 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of Vikki Carr’s recording career! Whether or not Vikki herself has had the best of both worlds is open to debate – but what she has given the public in the form of records during these years definitely IS the best of both worlds!

The extremely talented singer, born in July 1941 as Florencia Bisenta de Casillas Martinez Cardona has had two parallel careers; From 1963 and up to 1977, she was one of the classiest pop singers in the US, and also branching out into country and some more jazzy material. Then, from the mid-70’s she recorded almost exclusively for the Latin American market, and as such achieving superstar status in that area, no doubt putting her own partially Mexican heritage to good use.

A fairly recent photo of the wonderful Vikki Carr

A fairly recent photo of the wonderful Vikki Carr

Vikki Carr is the kind of artist who never ceases to amaze me. Her voice is one of the very best in the business, and she can sing any kind of Music equally well. She’s done pop songs, stuff from the great American song book and Musicals, country & western and a wide array of different Latin styles of music. No matter what she sings, her voice is always an instrument of great flexibility and range. To pick 3 songs at random to prove my point; if you listen to “The surrey with the fringe on top” from “Oklahoma”, then an early 1970’s pop tune like “Tunesmith” and go on to something Spanish like “Perdoname mi vida” or “Quando calienta el sol” – you willl hear the same great voice melting into the musical setting. Always instantly identifiable, Vikki still manages to take on a different shade of “local color” to make the songs sound unique.

Her first album, "Color Her Great" came out 1963

Her first album, “Color Her Great” came out 1963

A closer look at the many records and different styles of Miss Vikki Carr to be published on this site in a short while….

If you are unfamiliar with Vikki – I suggest you check out some of her records to see what she’s all about. No doubt, your ears will be CARRessed!

Coming (planned) – A profile on Teddi King

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One of the more obscure jazz singers who has a small but very devoted following, Miss Teddi King certainly deserves to be rediscovered by Music lovers all over the world!

Last November marked the 35th anniversary of her death – but luckily almost everything she recorded during a time span of almost 30 years is available to the record buying Public.

A publicity photo of Teddi King from around 1960

A publicity photo of Teddi King from around 1960

Theodora “Teddi King” (September 18, 1929 – November 18, 1977) was a very unique kind of singer, and I will very shortly guide you through her recorded works (and if you’ve never heard of her, I hope you get curious enough to want to listen!)

Starting out in the late 1940’s, Miss King recorded her last album in 1977 – just a short while before her death at age 48 from Lupus. Her collected recordings is a treat for both fans of vocal jazz, and great singing in general. Though mainly considered a jazz singer, Teddi King also made quite a lot of more pop oriented material, and even some early rock ‘n’ roll.

An in-Depth survey on her various albums will follow here soon – so do check back in a few days!

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