Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Patty Duke: “Sings Songs From Valley Of The Dolls And Other Selections/Sings Folk Songs – Time To Move On” (2013) CD Review

Though Patty Duke starred in Valley Of The Dolls, she did not sing on the album’s soundtrack. However, she released an album of her interpretations of songs from the film. Those songs filled the first side of Sings Songs From Valley Of The Dolls And Other Selections. The second side contains other songs, unrelated to the film, including covers of “Half-Hearted Kisses” and “Roses Are Red.” Following this album, Patty Duke recorded an album of folk songs, Sings Folk Songs – Time To Move On, which was never released (until now). Both albums have now been released on a single CD by Real Gone Music. This CD also contains a bonus track, “I Want Your Love,” also previously unreleased.

Sings Songs From Valley Of The Dolls opens with an energetic, theatrical rendition of “It’s Impossible.” Patty Duke's vocal performances on these tracks are quite a bit different from those on her first two albums. Basically gone is that young girl innocence, though the heartache is still there – it has simply matured. As she sings in “Come Live With Me,” “How fast it fades away/Love is a flower/That lives for an hour/Then withers and dies.” She really stretches on “Give A Little More,” turning in a truly interesting and very cool vocal performance.

The second side (the non-Valley Of The Dolls side) opens with “My Own Little Place,” which features a feisty, determined vocal performance by Patty Duke. In this one, she sings “I've my own little dreams of falling in love/So don’t change what I think, don’t change what I show/You’re only a stranger, so how would you know anyway/Go away.” This song was also released as a single.

A lot of these tracks feel like big productions, with strings. At times it feels a bit much, though I really like her version of “Learn To Live With Your Heartbreak,” mostly because there are hills and valleys. There are moments when the vocals are truly at the fore. This is a strong track. I also like her cover of “Roses Are Red,” which had been a hit for Bobby Vinton.

 “I Want Your Love” is a bonus track, previously unreleased. It was originally slated to close Sings Songs From Valley Of The Dolls And Other Selections, and that is the spot it has on this disc. Written by Arnold Goland (who co-wrote “Learn To Live With Your Heartbreak”), this is a somewhat cheerful song, despite lines like “People laugh and frown, people get me down/'Cause I’m so blue, longing for you.”

The second album, Sings Folk Songs – Time To Move On, is much more interesting to me. It’s so odd that it was never released before. It begins with “Colors,” one of my favorite Donovan songs. Her version includes banjo and harmonica, and has a different feel from the original. Patty follows it with an emotional vocal performance on Peter Yarrow’s “The Cruel War.” This is a really nice rendition. (This song originally appeared on Peter, Paul And Mary's first album.)

“The Best Is Yet To Come” is a fun, playful folk tune written by Ernie Sheldon, who also produced these recordings. He also wrote the album’s title track, “Time To Move On,” a song I really like. I love Patty's delivery on that song’s title line, a sweet, but determined whisper. There is some nice work on harmonica too. “Time To Move On” for me is one of the album’s highlights. Ernie Sheldon also co-wrote “And We Were Strangers” and “Shine For Me.”

Patty Duke covers Peter, Paul & Mary’s “Puff The Magic Dragon.” It’s a fairly good version, but not nearly as heartbreaking as it could be. It really retains its playfulness throughout, even during the verse when Jackie Paper has abandoned Puff. That verse usually depresses the hell out of me, but not this time. A much more interesting track is her take on Pete Seeger’s “Bells Of Rhymney,” a song she delivers in a spoken word style. I also really like her take on “Dona, Dona.”

Patty Duke turns in a playful rendition of the traditional song “The Housewife’s Lament,” in which she sings, “Beauty will fade and riches will flee/Pleasures they dwindle, and prices they double/And nothing is as I would wish it to be.” She also tackles “Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye,” and does a damn good job with it. That remains a pretty intense song. She ends her collection of folk songs with Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ In The Wind,” a good choice to follow “Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye.”

CD Track List

  1. It’s Impossible
  2. Come Live With Me
  3. Give A Little More
  4. I’ll Plant My Own Tree
  5. Theme From Valley Of The Dolls
  6. My Own Little Place
  7. Half-Hearted Kisses
  8. Roses Are Red
  9. A Million Things To Do
  10. Forever Yours
  11. Learn To Live With Your Heartbreak
  12. I Want Your Love
  13. Colors
  14. The Cruel War
  15. The Best Is Yet To Come
  16. And We Were Strangers
  17. Puff The Magic Dragon
  18. The Bells Of Rhymney
  19. Time To Move On
  20. Dona, Dona
  21. Shine For Me
  22. The Housewife’s Lament
  23. Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye
  24. Blowin’ In The Wind

Sings Songs From Valley Of The Dolls And Other Selections/Sings Folk Songs – Time To Move On was released on June 18, 2013 through Real Gone Music. Also released on that day was Don't Just Stand There/Patty (Patty Duke's first two albums on one CD).

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