CD This Is...Brenda/Emotions [Remaster] (CD 113892),
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This Is...Brenda/Emotions [Remaster]
2. I Want to Be Wanted
3. Just a Little
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 1028
2 LP's on 1 CD, THIS IS BRENDA (1960) / EMOTIONS (1961).
Liner Note Author: Rob Finnis.
This 24-track, single-disc comp packages together Brenda Lee's third and fourth albums, where she consolidated her new superstardom and displayed a versatility that enabled her to cross over to several different markets and age groups. Her third full-length, 1960's This Is...Brenda, was significantly above the average for a pop/rock LP of the era. The orchestrated Nashville production was lush but tasteful, Lee's singing unfailingly committed, and the material pretty strong, even if there was nothing else on the album as strong as its big hit, "I Want to Be Wanted." The record did lean more toward pop than rock, but it was clearly not either Nashville country or straight adult pop, even if by this time in her career she was taking her shots at (and doing quite well with) standards like "Teach Me Tonight." The rock & roll side of her sound was represented by "Love and Learn" and covers of Ray Charles' "Hallelujah, I Love Her So" and Fats Domino's "Blueberry Hill" and "Walking to New Orleans," though she really did better with the ballads. And some of the ballads here are among her stronger material that you won't find on typical Lee greatest-hits collections, la "If I Didn't Care," "Pretend," and "We Three (My Echo, My Shadow and Me)." Certainly it was among the most commercially successful of her albums, reaching number four in the LP charts. Her fourth album, Emotions, stayed with the approach she'd used on This Is...Brenda, mixing gorgeously produced Nashville orchestration with a bit of rock & roll and lush pop ballads. While it was the kind of record that could appeal to both kids and adults, it wasn't watered down, as the production on its own was pretty delightful to listen to, matched by the excellence of Lee's incredibly (for a teenager) mature vocals. "Emotions" was the big hit on the record, which also contained its B-side, "I'm Learning About Love," which made the Top 40 under its own steam. Nothing else on the album is too well known to listeners other than serious Lee fans. But there are some good ballads here, particularly "If You Love Me (Really Love Me)," which is nearly on par with her big hits in that style. While the rock covers (the Shirelles' "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" and Ray Charles' "Georgia On My Mind" and "Swanee River Rock") were more on the filler side, Lee still brought commitment to each and every one of her vocals. Also leaning toward the rock & roll side of things was a decent frisky number, "Crazy Talk," co-penned by Mel Tillis, who had a few of his tunes cut by rock & roll artists in his early years. ~ Richie Unterberger
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Ace (Label) 1028
E1 Distribution (USA)
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