Various Artists

Music for Lonely Housewives

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With impeccable taste, Hal Lifson -- author, DJ, former manager of Jackie DeShannon -- offers a sequel to his wonderful Sex and the '60s disc on Varese Sarabande with this equally clever and very entertaining collection of songs, er, Music for Lonely Housewives on the Audio Fidelity imprint. Luther Ingram's "(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want to Be Right" is the classic affair composition, more so than Billy Paul's "Me and Mrs. Jones," which came about five months after it in 1972, both hitting the top of the R&B charts. Only Luther is inside this collection, though, along with the 5th Dimension's "One Less Bell to Answer" and a delicious rare reworking of Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" -- the only track here that is not the original recording. Released a couple of months prior to the "official" TV show CD -- Music from and Inspired by Desperate Housewives, a project seeped in reworkings of older material -- the cute comic book-style cover and classy takes like Mary Stallings' "No Love, No Nuthin'," Ernestine Anderson's "Someone Else Is Steppin' In," and Lenny Welch's voice-drenched-in-strings love disaster "Since I Fell for You" provide adult contemporary entertainment seamlessly mastered by engineer Steve Hoffman, aimed at pop fans with taste. Pat Benatar provides some of the liner notes, her feminine take on John Cougar's "I Need a Lover" starting the fun. Who in the late '70s/early '80s could envision that that mainstream tune would precede Maria Muldaur's "It Ain't the Meat (It's the Motion)" or Julie London's "Girl Talk" on a compilation? Ah, times change and the face of art evolves, Jean Knight's bubblegum-at-the-time "Mr. Big Stuff" now a blues classic and Cher's "You'd Better Sit Down Kids" a glimpse of Sonny Bono really taking Phil Spector's production ideas to the next level. But it's Dusty Springfield who steals the whole show with "Just a Little Lovin' (Early in the Morning)," the frosting on the cake. Very cool liners in a project that upstages the TV show -- leaving only one question unanswered, where's Jackie DeShannon?

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