Monday, 15 June 2015

"California Nights with Bonus Tracks" by LESLEY GORE (May 2015 Ace CD Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"...Treat Me Like A Lady..."

What you get here is Lesley Gore’s much-acclaimed upbeat pop album "California Nights" from 1967 (a 10-track LP in Stereo) – along with a generous 15 bonus tracks. Amongst the fifteen are 10 cuts from the 12-track 1965 LP “All About Love” that preceded “California Nights” – two cuts from the November 1965 LP “My Town, My Guy & Me” - and finally 3 unreleased rarities from the 1995 Bear Family 5CD Box Set “It’s My Party”. There’s a lot of smooching and crooning to get through – so once more unto the party dresses...

UK released May 2015 (June 2015 in the USA) – “California Nights with Bonus Tracks” by LESLEY GORE on Ace CDCHD 1439 (Barcode 029667071826) pans out as follows (59:58 minutes):

1. California Nights
2. Treat Me Like A Lady
3. Bad
4. I’m Going Out (The Same Way I Came In)
5. Maybe Now
6. Love Goes on Forever [Side 2]
7. Off And Running
8. Lilacs And Violets
9. The Bubble Broke
10. Cry Like A Baby
Tracks 1 to 10 are the album “California Nights” – released May 1967 in the USA on Mercury Records MG 21120 (Mono) and Mercury SR 61120 (Stereo) – the Stereo Mix is used

11. My Town, My Guy And Me
12. Let Me Dream
Tracks 11 and 12 from the November 1965 USA LP “My Town, My Guy & Me” on Mercury Records MG 21042 (Mono) and Mercury SR 61042 (Stereo) – the Stereo Mixes are used

13. Start The Party Again
14. I Won’t Love You Anymore (Sorry)
15. I Just Can’t Get Enough Of You
16. To Know Him Is To Love Him
17. Will You Love Me Tomorrow
18. Only Last Night
19. With Any Other Girl
20. I Can Tell
21. We Know We’re In Love
Tracks 13 to 21 and 23 are 10 cuts from the 12-track album “All About Love” – released 1965 in the USA on Mercury MG 21066 (Mono) and Mercury SR 61066 (Stereo) – the Stereo Mixes are used. The two missing songs are “Young Love” and “Too Young” (from Side 1)

22. Yeh, Yeh, Yeh (That Boy Of Mine) (1965 recording that first turned up in 1995 on the 5CD Leslie Gore Box Set “It’s My Party” on Bear Family BCD 15742)
23. That’s What I’ll Do (as per 13 to 21)
24. Happiness is Just Around The Corner (as per 22)
25. Hold Me Tight (as per 22)

Ace is renowned as a reissue label of some 40 years repute for decent booklets - but you have to say that the 16-page fan-fest presented here is exceptional (even by their high standards). Every page is beautifully done – those US and British 45s on Mercury Records, the rare American picture sleeves for “My Town, My Guy And Me” and “I Won’t Love You Anymore (Sorry)”, pictures of Lesley in the studio with her songwriting brother Michael and Producer Bob Crewe (Quincy Jones handled tracks 7, 8 and 10), Billboard trade adverts from 1966, publicity snaps in colour and black and white – there’s even an advert for her performance of “California Nights” with Cat Woman on the Batman Show on the 19 January 1967 on ABC-TV (nice). MALCOLM BAUMGART gives an overview of her career and a very tasty track-by-track breakdown of what’s what. It’s properly gorgeous and informative. NICK ROBBINS – long-standing Remaster Engineer for Ace and countless others – does the honours on the tapes and the audio is amazing – wads of lovely Stereo – strings and girly vocals clobbering your ears in a sort of uncluttered non Phil Spector way.

The album was preceded by two cracking 45s - the very Monkees-esque “Treat Me Like A Lady” b/w “Maybe Now” in September 1966 on Mercury 72611 – a chart winner if ever there was one. It was followed in January 1967 by “California Nights” b/w “I’m Going Out (The Same Way I Came In)” on Mercury 72649. It seems odd now that the truly lovely “Treat Me Like A Lady” failed to dent the Top 50 – at least the title track climbed to 16 in March 1967 – a good prep for the LP that followed shortly after. Along with “Treat Me Like A Lady” Bob Crewe provided co-writes on “Bad”, “I’m Going Out (The Same Way I Came In)”, “Love Goes On Forever” and “The Bubble Broke”. Carole Bayer gave Lesley Gore “Off And Running” while another brilliant songwriting lady Valerie Simpson stumped up “Cry Like A Baby” with her partner Nicky Ashford. The style is very much girl-group melodrama – but with an American slant on Dusty Springfield’s street savvy. Lesley showed swooning skill herself by penning the pretty “Maybe Now” with her brother Michael (“painfully he left his mark on me...”).

I have to admit that by the time you’ve waded through the “California Nights” album another fifteen breezy string-laden productions about guys, parties and other girls with ideas on your man – can all be a bit much. However her version of Spector’s “To Know Him Is To Love Him” and the Carole King/Gerry Goffin Shirelles hit “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” both stand out as does the unreleased Van McCoy tune “Happiness is Just Around The Corner” (one of three from the massive Bear Family Box Set of 1995).

Ace have also issued “Magic Colors: The Lost Album” (Ace CDCHD 1307) and “Girl Talk” (Ace CDCHD 1383) for Gore fans to slaver over – and this beautifully presented audio winner is a proud addition...

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