Brenda Lee

Brenda Lee

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Released in England on Brunswick Records as Miss Dynamite Brenda Lee (that label also issued a 78 RPM of "Dynamite" b/w "Love You Till I Die" in 1957), the Brenda Lee album followed Grandma, What Great Songs You Sang by exactly a year, debuting August 1, 1960, according to the singer's website. It launched three songs into the Top Ten, "Sweet Nothin's," the Ronnie Self tune that went Top Five a half a year before this album's release; the number one smash "I'm Sorry" in June of that year; and its follow-up, "That's All You Gotta Do," all three titles placed right in a row at the beginning of side two. "Dynamite" opens the album and it is -- rockabilly pop from a young dynamo some called "the female Elvis." She tears through "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)" in a way that keeps the song familiar, but allows the artist to pull it into her catalog. And that's the success of this phenomenal breakthrough album -- a young singer who took control of the mic and the material, calling it her own with an authority far beyond her years. The album is a treasure that can stand up to repeated listenings years after its creation. With the orchestra directed by Owen Bradley and backing vocals from the Anita Kerr Singers, the young singer has direction and a touch of class to give this phenomenal effort superb support. Just listen to her devour John D. Loudermilk's "Weep No More My Baby" and wonder why it wasn't a huge hit. "My Baby Likes Western Guys" could take on an entire new meaning decades after it was recorded, was it sly innuendo or total innocence? Songwriter Buzzy Linhart has stated that Brenda Lee's style and vocal tone mirror that of Teresa Brewer, the woman who did "Jingle Bell Rock" prior to Lee's seasonal hit "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree." That influence was no doubt an essential ingredient in this most successful formula. The '70s had Tanya Tucker, the '80s Debbie Gibson and Tiffany, while Britney Spears in the '90s brought the century to a close. They all had hugely popular releases, but this second album from Brenda Lee is the ultimate in a teen female performer writing the rules and retaining the crown.

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