Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

July 14, 2020

MAUREEN EVANS–Like I Do: The Sixties Recordings (RPM, UK), CD

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MAUREEN EVANS–Like I Do: The Sixties Recordings (RPM, UK), CD (released 2017)

1. LIKE I DO

2. SOMEWHERE THERE’S LOVE

3. NEVER LET HIM GO

4. HE KNOWS I LOVE HIM TOO MUCH

5. IT TAKES A LITTLE TIME

6. POCO SOLE

7. SPEAK SUGAR SPEAK

8. THE BIG HURT

9. MAMA WOULDN’T LIKE IT

10. JOHN JOHN

11. LOVE, KISSES AND HEARTACHES

12. ACAPULCO MEXICO

13. PLEASE UNDERSTAND

14. PAPER ROSES

15. I CAN’T BEGIN TO TELL YOU

16. I’VE OFTEN WONDERED

17. GET AWAY

18. LIKE YOU USED TO DO

19. AS YOU LOVE HER

20. STARLIGHT STARBRIGHT

21. DON’T BELIEVE HIM

22. WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MADE

23. TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY

24. SEARCHING FOR HOME

25. OH WHAT A GUY

26. PICK THE PETALS

27. MELANCHOLY ME

28. ALL THE ANGELS SING

29. I LOVE HOW YOU LOVE ME

30. I ALMOST CALLED YOUR NAME

31. WE JUST COULDN’T SAY GOODBYE

MAUREEN-EVANS-final

It’s exciting that in 2017 there were still significant bodies of 1960’s recordings from first-rate performers that have not been reissued….or reissued legally, as opposed to on needle-drop Belgian compilations (as valuable as the latter can sometimes be).

Welsh vocalist Maureen Evans began her recording career in 1958 for the budget “Embassy” label doing covers of contemporary hits such as “Stupid Cupid” and “Fever.” She wisely got Embassy to agree to move her up to their flagship label “Oriole” if her Embassy recordings proved a success, and they did, and the label kept their side of the bargain, so in 1960, Maureen Evans moved to Oriole. She recorded regularly and scored a number of hits in the UK and overseas (though not in North America, alas), continuing to record for Oriole and for Columbia (who acquired Oriole) until 1968.

Her complete 1960-1968 post-Embassy recordings are included on this 31-track compilation.

While little here could be called rock’n’roll, her producers wisely always kept a solid beat behind her, so in spite of the strings, the records move and are never cloying. Evans has a fine voice and a natural feel for any number of styles–if you can imagine a Welsh singer who on one record or another shows the best qualities of Brenda Lee (minus the country influence), Lesley Gore, or Petula Clark but who has her own recognizable sound, that’s Maureen Evans. Also, she has a strong voice, so there’s no masking weak vocals behind intrusive backing singers or annoying multiple-tracking to cover vocal deficiencies. Her voice truly carries every song.

Her best-known and best-loved song remains “Like I Do,” a cover of an obscure early Nancy Sinatra single which did not make the American Top 40 but was a hit in various foreign territories. With its nursery rhyme-like melody and its being sung “in character”, the song was perfect for Evans to make her own. While some of her material consisted of covers done for the UK market (The Big Hurt, Paper Roses), most of the material was either written for her or not very well-known and thus “original” to the listening public.

This collection is a treasure trove for fans of Connie Francis or Lesley Gore–the songs are never burdened down by big orchestras and always have room to breathe, and you’ll love getting to know (or re-acquainting yourself with) Maureen Evans–and you’ll feel like you know her too, as the artist herself wrote the fascinating liner notes!

(originally published in slightly different form in 2017 in Ugly Things magazine)

evans-maureen-60-01-23

 

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