Friday, March 18, 2011
You totally know Shirley. The records themselves give away part of it: This is Shirley and Goodman of Shirley & Lee. Famously for "Let the Good Times Roll". WHATEVER DUDE, I really don't care about that one, it's all about
I FEEL GOOD
That New Orleans Cosimo stomp and blaring brass mix with the slightly off, thickly accented vocals into a frenzied, swirling, BEST DAMN DUET LOVE SONG EVER. They don't come out and say it, but both Shirley and Lee's goofball voices sing the ultimate love song message: That it's not about who you are or how you're loving, it's who you love and that you love 'em in a way that works for you. UNH! I'm not asking for agreement! I am demanding submission to the truth! In fact, I'm still slightly heartbroken that these songs aren't with Lee. Wasn't that TRUE LOVE in that song? IS LOVE EVEN REAL?
Oh yeah and in the disco era she also did Shame, Shame, Shame with Shirley and Company, featuring a crudely drawn Shirley with Richard Nixon on the cover. I love New Orleans.
So here we have three Shirley singles from in-between those periods. These WHIZ records cuts are late 60s or so, and slightly funkier than her Shirley and Lee Days and all produced by Hooven-Winn and sometimes Rogers. The difference is definitely noticeable, none of these have that J&M shuffle, but they're all good songs.
The earliest of these is Shirley and Alfred's "Kid Games and Nursery Rhymes", Alfred actually being Brenton Wood of Double Shot Records' Boogaloosa Louisiana song. While I like Brenton, I cannot accept him as a a replacement for her obvious true love, Lee.
and on the flipside Too Much, Too Soon
After that, you've got my favorite of the bunch, "They Put the Last Clean Shirt On Leroy Jones Today". I love that they add the Today to the end of an already excessively long title. This song appears to be Shirley posthumously defending the honor of a murder-accused Leroy Jones on the grounds that he was a good lover. My qualms with her love life aside, this really showcases Shirley's goofy style. Who is Leroy Jones? Well it's not Lee, he's a Leonard and wasn't dead by the time they made this record, nor is the New Orleans trumpeter. I don't know.
"You Care For Me" isn't nearly as absurd but a great song in it's own right
I guess "Sugar Sugar" here is the A-Side because there are TWO STARS on the label. It's a funkier version of the ol' oldies classic by the Archies. Naturally, most songs are improved by Shirley's Woman-sounding-like-a-man-imitating-a-woman voice.
And we'll finish weak with "Gonna Waltz Right Out of Your Life (1-2-3)" which is a cute song that lacks a memorable hook.
This doesn't represent the entirety of Shirley's work outside Shirley & Lee and Shirley & Company, it's not even everything on Whiz. It's what I got.
And since I can't think of where else to say it, Shirley's dead. As of 2005. I don't feel qualified to give her an obituary, especially 6 years late, but it's pretty nice that "She'll be missed" doesn't sound right. We got REKKORDZ!