The Soundtrack For The Baby Boomer Generation

Step back to a time when singers were as bright as the stars in the heavens
and the music they sang was really swingin'. Stacks of wax to fit every occasion!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sister Act, Part Two

Artist: Paulette Sisters
Song: Your Love Captured Me (b-side) (a-side is Lips That Lie)
Label: Decca 9-30496 (Black and Silver Label Sample Copy - Not For Sale)
Number: 103,330
Songwriters: Gregory Carroll
Time: 3:02
Released: 1956

And now, part two of my special sister groups extravaganza. I posted this one last because, as far as available information there was to be found out about them on the internet, the Paulette Sisters were something of an enigma.
I know their names were Gloria, Jane and Betty and that Jane sang the low harmonies in the group and Gloria is known by the affectionate nickname of "Tootie" to her relatives. Apparently they are all still living because each year for the holidays, a young woman of 22 named Alyssa goes to visit her Aunt Tootie, Aunt Jane and Aunt Betty. And now, for what little professional information I was able to dig up about them.
Their one and only chart hit was in 1955, and it was a cover of the classic Hank Williams song You Win Again. It made it as high as #91 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November of that year. Also, it seems they might have started out their career lending their voices as backing harmonies to other singers of the day. I know they added background vocals on a couple songs by Connee Boswell, who herself started out as a member of the Boswell Sisters (more sister acts!). These included There Must Be A Way and Who Told You That Lie. I believe this was probably in the mid-1940's. Also in 1945, July 12th, to be precise, they made a guest appearance on The Kraft Music Hall radio program. Connee Boswell was also on that episode, so it's a pretty good chance the Paulette Sisters were backing her up for this as well.
After their own recording career began in earnest, they seem to have bounced around to a lot of different labels. For we see them on Columbia in 1952 and 1953, recording such songs as Put That Foot Down, Oh Johnny Oh Johnny Oh, Glow Worm, Sui Sin Fa, You'll Never Get Away, My-Na Shay-Na Ty-Ra, Following The Leader and Never Smile At A Crocodile. This latter song was from the soundtrack of the Walt Disney movie Peter Pan and their version itself was featured on the soundtrack to the motion picture You've Got Mail, from 1998. They also recorded Tell Me You Don't Love Me, Shalimar and Everybody Loves Saturday Night, for Columbia, the latter for the Percy Faith Orchestra featuring them and Burt Taylor, in 1953.
Later in 1955, we see them recording at Capitol, which was the period for when their main chart success for You Win Again took place. While on Capitol Records, they also recorded Dream Boat, backed with Leave My Honey Be, Ring-A-Ding-A-Doo, backed with Lonely One, Mama, El Baion, In Madrid and Now Is The Time. Then they recorded a song called Jody, for Decca, which is the label today's post is found on. I suspect this was in the 1956-1957 period, for 1958 found them working on the Aamco label and recording Calla, Calla (The Bride, The Bride) and Why. 1960 found them recording tracks for yet again another label. They released an answer song to the Fireflies 1959 hit recording of You Were Mine, entitled I Was Yours, for the Ribbons Record Label in 1960, which was the b-side of Poor Me. And that's all I could track down about them except a photocopied, autographed picture of them, which you can see below.
Today's great song is from their Decca period and for some reason, it always picks me up when I hear it. Your Love Captured Me is the flipside of Lips That Lie, which the single was promoting, but I like the b-side better. It features an orchestra directed by Sy Oliver, who was a jazz arranger, virtuoso trumpet player, composer, singer and bandleader. Listening to this song makes me wonder why they weren't big stars. Their delivery is spot on and their harmonies are tight and smooth. From this one recording, I would have bought more of their songs when they were in their prime. They have that great of a sound. But, yesterday's history is our loss today. Although I don't know much else about them, I do have this one entertaining moment they left behind for me to listen to. I hope the Paulette Sisters are happy wherever they are and whatever they are doing in this day and age, and I can truly say that their singing captured this fan totally. So be sure to judge for yourself as to their abilities when you listen to The Paulette Sisters as they sing Your Love Captured Me. These lips of mine don't lie when I say they're mighty infectious singers!

Sister Act, Part One

Artist: Shepherd Sisters
Song: Congratulations To Someone (b-side) (a-side is Alone [Why Must I Be Alone])
Label: Lance T-125
Number: T-3002
Songwriters: Frisch - Alfred
Time: 2:29
Released: 1957

Today's post is another in my line of themed offerings. It will include two songs by groups of sisters. And you thought this was going to be about the Whoopi Goldberg movie! Well, it's not.
The Shepherd Sisters, Martha, Gayle, Judy and Mary Lou were indeed sisters and were from Middletown, Ohio. Initially they performed as a trio with Martha, Gayle, and Mary Lou. Later they added sister Judy to their lineup. All are still alive and well except Martha, who passed away in 1998.
One of their first recordings, Gone With The Wind, got them a call from Dick Clark and subsequently they made many appearances on his American Bandstand show. They also appeared on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts in the late 1950's. In New York, Morty Craft had a song he wanted them to record, Alone (Why Must I Be Alone), which they did and it was released on Craft's own Lance label. In 1957, Alone would become their biggest hit and their signature song. In the U.S. it reached No.18 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart; in the UK it made No.14. It may have climbed higher had it not been up against several rival cover versions on both sides of the Atlantic.
Morty also introduced them to the DJ Alan Freed, the man who first coined the term "rock and roll." The Shepherd Sisters played the Brooklyn and Manhattan Paramount Theaters and toured with Alan Freed's "America's Greatest Teenage Recording Stars"- The Everly Brothers, Paul Anka, Buddy Holly and the Crickets, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, Danny and the Juniors, Lee Andrews and the Hearts, The Twin Tones, Little Joe Dubs, Thurston Harris, Terry Nolan, and Jo Ann Campbell. Besides rock and roll, the Shepherd Sisters were also a stage and cabaret act. They performed at big hotels, nightclubs, NYC's Apollo Theater and casinos in Reno and Las Vegas. They also sang in the Philippines, Canada, South America and parts of Europe. Later on, they were often on the road performing in venues from Cincinatti to Buenos Aires, instead of focusing on their recording career.
Some of the many songs they recorded are the aforementioned Gone With The Wind, Love's Not A Dream, I'll Be There, Rock 'N Roll Cha Cha Cha (!), Remember That Crazy Rock 'N Roll Tune, I Walked Beside The Sea, Gettin' Ready For Freddy, Eatin' Pizza, Is It A Crime, I Think It's Time, How Softly A Heart Breaks, Schoen-a Schoen-a, Hapsburg Serenade, Lolita Ya-Ya, What Makes Little Girls Cry, Heart And Soul, Finders Keepers, I've Got A Secret, Our Town - recorded in 1976. From looking through some of these song titles, it seems like rather than compete with the new Rock and Roll music, they embraced it.
Today's song, Congratulations To Someone, was the flipside to their monster smash hit Alone, Why Must I Be Alone. I'd be willing to bet that not many people remember turning over their record if they had it all those years ago and playing the b-side. Fortunately, you don't have that problem because it's here today for your listening pleasure. It features their impeccable harmonies and sounds like they were reaching for the young Rock and Roll market in their arrangement. It has nice little combo of guitar, stand-up bass, drums and piano and let's the sister's voices shine through in front of the backing. So, relive the great Shepherd Sister's era of music while they sing Congratulations To Someone. You won't be alone in admiring their smooth voices and grand harmonies!