Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sports Mentality

Hector Castro KILLED Stepdaughter For Crying During World Cup Game 06/28/10 10 McAllen, Texas

My friend Jeremy just emailed me the above news story along with the following appended observation:

"Funny, you never hear stories about people becoming murderous watching 'Classic Arts Showcase'".

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Thanks for all the "thanks." Please note that, to the best of my knowledge, not a single album that I have uploaded is in-print or has been in-print for a month of Sundays. Bit of a sad commentary on the current state of the record industry, doncha think?

Marian Bruce

Lucky To Be Me (Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden, Adolph Green)
Let Me Love You (Bart Howard)
It Never Entered My Mind (Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart)
Things Are Looking Up (George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin)
Something To Live For (Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn)
Looking For A Boy (George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin)
I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good) (Duke Ellington, Paul Francis Webster)
My One And Only (George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin)
A Ship Without A Sail (Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart)
No One Ever Tells You (Hub Atwood, Carroll Coates)
The Gentleman Is A Dope (Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II)
Don't Like Goodbyes (Harold Arlen, Truman Capote)

Marian Bruce (ldr), Joe Wilder (t), Everett Barksdale (g), Jimmy Jones (p), Al Hall (b), Marian Bruce (v) rec. late 1958

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Marian Bruce Logan's NYT obit

Marian Logan, 73, A Civil Rights Aide And Cabaret Singer

November 28, 1993

Marian Bruce Logan, a civil rights advocate, former New York City Commissioner of Human Rights and a cabaret singer in her youth, died on Thursday at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Medical Center. She was 73.

The cause was emphysema, her son, Warren Arthur Logan, said.

Mrs. Logan was an associate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and a campaign aide for several political figures, including Nelson A. Rockefeller, Robert F. Kennedy and Robert F. Wagner.

Mayor Abraham D. Beame appointed Mrs. Logan to head the Commission on Human Rights in 1977. During her two-year tenure she worked to stop the practice of redlining, by which banks and savings and loan institutions refuse to make mortgage loans to residents of certain areas. Efforts on West Side

Along with her husband, Dr. Arthur C. Logan, a surgeon, she was involved in efforts to stabilize the West Side as an integrated community during urban-renewal efforts there.

Mrs. Logan was a socially prominent fund-raiser who generated financial backing for both national and local civil-rights issues and causes, particularly those of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Mrs. Logan was at one time the only Northern board member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. She also raised money for the Congress of Racial Equality and the Urban League.

In 1971 the Citizens Union presented Dr. and Mrs. Logan with awards for outstanding public service for their prominence in campaigning for civil rights and better public health.

During her career in show business she sang using the stage name Marian Bruce. In the 1940's and 1950's she starred in the first all-black show to be presented in a Miami Beach nightclub. She also sang in Europe.

Mrs. Logan's husband died previously. She is survived by her son, who lives in Manhattan, and a sister, Esther Harris of Philadelphia.
Dr. Arthur Logan was Duke Ellington's personal physician. Both he and his wife were also close personal friends of Ellington. Legendarily, "The Duke," reportedly as "great" a hypocondriac as he was an artist (!), spent much of his down time "on the road" on the phone with Dr. Logan.

Marian Bruce appeared on half the tracks on Luther Henderson's MGM album, Last Night When We Were Young, and also a track or two on Clark Terry's Duke With a Difference. A fine singer!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

London in Japan

Julie and Don

For those of you who read Japanese, my Q & A with Julie London music director, Don Bagley, has just gone up on the EMI (Japan) Records website. An edited, journalized version of the interview appears in this month's (and, alas, the final issue of) Swing Journal (Japan) magazine. These were done in conjuction with the label's mass release of all of London's recorded material for the Liberty label. Some 30 discs. In Japan, of course. Heaven forfend that any record outfit in this country would see fit to carry out such an auspicious undertaking.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The New Julie* La Rosa (* aka Julius)

Can't find the jacket for this. But it sounds just as good---make that GREAT---without it. A desert island disc for me. . .if there ever was one.

Now I know
Somedays there just ain't no fish
My favorite things
Lonely town-Ohio-bye bye blues
Out of this world
I got plenty o' nothin'
Free and easy
Change partners
Luck be a lady

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Kartoon Korner

Pinky Winters Record Date

After completion of her new CD yesterday. L to r: musicians Ralph Penland, drums; Ron Anthony, guitar; la Winters; Pete Christlieb, tenor sax; Tom Warrington, bass; Jim Cox, music director, piano, Hammond B3 organ.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

This is Gene Stridel

After You've Gone
Every Time Is The First Time
The Sweetest Sounds
One More Mointain
My Romance
It's You Or No One
How Blue The Night
My Life Before You
Song Of The Gypsies
True Love
Hearts Were Never Meant To Be Broken.

Another of John Hammond’s sixties discoveries was Gene Stridel. Curiously, the producer’s liner notes for the singer’s 1964 Columbia LP do not cite Stridel’s past as a rhythm and blues vocalist. Instead, mention is only made of his long history as a cocktail lounge singer. But in fact, The Striders, the group Gene once sang with, had an extensive history both in the recording studio and in live performances. The Striders, with Stridel, had recorded as early as 1948 for Capitol, and had also backed singer Savannah Churchill on a number or recordings, including her rhythm and blues classic, “Walking by the River.” One thing seems certain, either that Hammond was not aware of this somewhat less than acceptable---from a jazz purist point-of view--- background. Or else, Stridel withheld the information. Whichever was the case, there is no question that Stridel was equally adept as a r ‘n’ b shouter AND jazz-oriented singer as evidenced by the tracks from his lone lp, release, This is Gene Stridel.

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

This just in

Sunday, June 20th 4:00 pm $30

Students (21 and under with ID) - $15

"Two by Two for Father's Day"

Sue Raney & Alan Broadbent

Kalil Wilson & Dan Marschak

VENUE: Kirk Douglas Theatre

9820 Washington Blvd, Culver City CA 90232ticketsThe Kirk Douglas Theatre is the Jewel of the Culver City Theater District.

Free Covered Parking at Culver City City Hall, enter on Duquesne Ave.

The Unknown Rodin

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Friday, June 18, 2010

Audrey Morris on SSJ

These are my original English language liner notes that have been translated into Japanese for the new SSJ Records release "Afterthoughts," by singer-pianist Audrey Morris.

Jazz lore abounds with strictly-jazz pianists who added singing to their bag of tricks at the behest of overeager club owners and band managers. Most famously leaping to mind are Nat King Cole and Jeri Southern. Add to that list also, singer-pianist Audrey Morris. It was 1947, she was right out of high school and touring as (strictly) a pianist with all-girl band, the Chordettes (not the vocal group). Six months into her tenure, the band's arranger Gene Gifford insisted that Morris sing his chart of Peggy Lee's “What More Can a Woman Do?” “I don't sing,” Morris insisted. “You do now,” he said. And she's been singing ever since.

“I was pretty terrible,” she recalled to reported journalist Justin Hayford in 2002. How good or bad she actually was that night in Watertown, New York is now lost within the dim recesses of time. But there's no question that by the time she made her disc debut in 1955 on “X” Records she had little to be embarrassed about in the singing department. Nor in her piano playing as well. For no less than the great Oscar Peterson wrote the following note to her in 2004:

“I learned a lot. . .about approaching ballad playing and trying to interpret the meaning of its lyrics through the piano and my group. You may not know it, but you have been held in great esteem by the various members of the jazz world that have appeared with you in the London House [in Chicago] , including yours truly. All I can say is, Chicago be proud, for Audrey is in the house.”

The musician went on record several other times with similar praise of Morris, as have many other musicians and jazz journalists, with more than a few of them describing her along the lines of a Chicago living jazz legend. It should be noted that the deeply modest singer-pianist will alert you to incidents of such praise only with great reluctance.

Born on that city's south side, Morris began piano lessons at age nine. After finishing grade school, she commenced music studies at the city's American Conservatory of Music. But the Morrises didn't have much money, and by the time she was fifteen her formal studies came to an end. Not long after that, we pick up her story on the road with the seven-piece aforementioned Chordettes. Followed a year later by her return to Chicago and a strong two decades of work in nearly every one of that city's (also) legendary night spots, the Sherman House, the London House, and Mister Kelly's. . .just for starters. But during that time, she made only one more foray, after her '55 debut, into the recording studio, in the summer of 1956, and her memorable meet-up with Marty Paich and the Hollywood String Quartet for her The Voice of Audrey Morris on Bethlehem. This having taken place four month's before Frank Sinatra's match-up with the Quartet on his benchmark Close to You album.

And then. . .it was radio silence for the next thirty years (paralleled by the rise of rock and roll) until Morris decided to take matters into her own hands and record her music herself. The first product of her undertaking, for her Fancy Faire label, is this one, Afterthoughts, recorded as an LP in 1984 and featuring herself on piano and her (late) husband of three decades, sax man Stu Genovese

I asked how she'd arrived at this decision to record herself.

“It really wasn't a decision. A friend ran a recording studio and offered me the time for free after hours. There had been a few songs that friends had wanted me to record and so I went into the studio and did them. And that was that. But then when I played them for. . ..” At this point Morris' overwhelming modesty kicks in again. “I hope this doesn't sound self-serving, but I played the four-track CD for Oscar [Peterson] and he insisted, 'Get back in there!' Meaning the recording studio. And that was the beginning of Afterthoughts. It was subsequently played of radio stations around here [Chicago]. And it did okay.”

Afterthoughts mostly features Bruce Robbins on piano (except on five CD bonus tracks). As for why a first-rank player should chose another pianist to back her on vocals, Morris explains:

“I'm afraid,” she tell me somewhat abruptly.


“Of everything,” she says. “Including accompanying myself on piano. “

Hard to believe.

While a few of the songs on this release are inarguable chapters of the Great American Songbook such as “I'm a Dreamer Aren't We All,” “These Foolish Things,” and “A Ghost of a Chance” and a few others are arguably standards such as Arthur Hamilton's “Rain Sometimes,” and “You Are for Loving,” the bulk of the repertoire might be unfamiliar to many listeners. I asked Morris if she could recall how such offbeat items as “Mira,” “His Own Little Island” and several others came her way.

“'Mira” I picked picked up from the stage version of Lili, 'But I Loved You' I got from a recording by Jack Jones, who recorded it before Frank Sinatra did. But most of my knowledge of songs comes from [noted Chicago personality] Studs Terkel's radio program, The Wax Museum, where he played all kinds of interesting recordings. A beautiful show. A beautiful man. That's where I first heard 'His Own Little Island'” (The program debuted on Chicago radio in 1944 and ran for many years.)

Afterthoughts has since been followed by three other self-produced projects concluding with 1999's Round About. All four are each so masterful that they go a ways toward making up for thirty years of lost recording time.

Not long before I contacted her on behalf of SSJ Records, Morris told me she'd received a phone call from her brother who was in Japan.:

“He was in a restaurant and on the sound system came Afterthoughts. He almost fainted.” Morris told me that the phone call had played into her decision to have SSJ reissue the album. Amazing that your [and SSJ's] phone call came to me just a few days later.” She added, “It all reminds me of how Japan has always been very good to me from the very beginning when I started to release my own recordings”

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Renée Raff on SSJ

These are my original English language liner notes that have been translated into Japanese for the new SSJ Records release "Among the Stars," by singer-pianist Renée Raff

“I came to London in my late teens to study at the Royal College of Music,” Raff begins. “I got my degree and then I started working in clubs. I played solo at various places, including Ronnie Scott‘s, Grosvenor House, Les Amabassadeurs,“ she continues in a phone call from her home in New York City.

Clearly, her early professional career was a far cry from from a few years earlier in her native South Africa.

“When I was eleven years old in Cape Town, I was listening to stuff like Nat ‘King’ Cole’s ‘Frim Fram Sauce.‘ But nobody was into that kind of music at all. That’s what I listened to on my little gramophone, and stuff like Annie Get Your Gun. And it was Nat ’King’ Cole who was my main musical influence. I was playing by ear when I was six. Whatever I heard, I could play. Nobody knew anything about jazz. There was no place to perform music like that in South Africa. No one was singing “Makin’ Whoopee” at age ten but me.”

One of the other London spots she played was Hutch’s Casanova. Could that locale have been owned, I wondered, by the legendary British entertainer, commonly known far-and wide as simply Hutch? In 1924 the 24-year-old Grenada born singer-pianist had left for Europe, where he became a “pet” of the international set and various members of the Royal Family. Now long-forgotten, he became, the highest paid performer in Britain and one of the biggest stars during the twenties and thirties in the UK (he died in 1969).

“By any chance,” I ask Ms. Raff, “was the Casanova operated by---I can only call him--- the legendary Leslie Hutchinson”?

“Yes, in fact it was.”

“He was something of an historic figure!,” I offer.

“A monument,” she says.

“A great artist,” I add.

“Absolutely!,” Raff emphatically agrees.

During this period in the early 1957, she informs, “I met someone in Paris and came to the U.S. to get married to him. I then quickly started looking around trying to get work. I began at the lowest common denominator, The New Yorker Room at the old Commodore Hotel. Then I got a good agent at MCA [talent agency]. I worked at Peacock Alley in the Waldorf for a whole summer. At a place called The Apartment. Eventually, also, at Jilly’s.“ The latter was a long-running saloon, located on West 52d Street in Manhattan and a favorite gathering spot of celebrities in the 1960's, especially Frank Sinatra whenever he was in New York . But the latter locale was much later.

Shortly after her arrival in the U.S., Raff also began “tramping the streets of New York with some tapes that I’d done. Going from record company to record company; in the end, one record company, Audio Fidelity, liked it. That was 1964. The a & r guy [listed on the eventual album as “producer”] was Barry Oslander. Between the two of us, we dug up the original material I performed on the album. It was well-recorded at Don Elliott’s studio, and [the arranger] Billy Byers mixed it himself. I think Billy brought a lot of humor to the arrangements. What he did with [Gerry Mulligan‘s] “Butterfly With Hiccups” I thought was very funny. I remember a lot of the musicians on the date. Don Elliot, J.J. Johnson, Jerome Richardson, Osie Johnson, Milt Hinton, Hank Jones. On the four tracks where I played piano, I had Ernie Furtado on bass and Barry Galbriath on guitar. Don Elliot was the person who suggested that I study with John Mehegan at Julliard. Don also suggested that I study with Phil Moore [musical mentor of Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne et al]. Phil taught me how to get things going with an audience: ‘Baby,’ he said, ‘if you don’t get their feet moving. . ..’”

“At what point did you work at Jilly’s,” I ask and learn that she was originally hired to work there in 1969 for two weeks, but Frank Sinatra walked in one night, heard her, and proclaimed for all to hear, “The chick sings okay.” That’s all it took; her booking was extended to nearly a year. “That was an incredible time during which things really happened for me. There was a brilliant piano player-writer-singer by the name of Bobby Cole. . ..”

Chiming in, I tell her that the long-deceased musician, not well-known in the U.S, happens to be “a 'name' to many Japanese music lovers even today." I went on to explain that the vast majority of web pages devoted to Cole on the internet originate in Japan. “I had no idea,“ she says, happy to learn that her friend’s artistry had not been forgotten after all.

“Bobby and I were very close. He was my mentor, my idol. I was his protégé. That’s where I wanted to end up, working opposite him. And I finally did! Every night there were two separate trios on the same bill [at Jilly‘s]. It took me a long time to get there. Bobby was the main act. He would do twenty minutes, and then I would do my thing. We worked very hard, he from ten to four a.m., me from nine to three. But I was at his feet. I was listening all the time. I learned a great deal from Bobby. I just thought he was the best that I had ever seen. And for some odd reason, he liked me, liked my work. We had every celebrity in the book seated around the piano bar. I’m sitting there playing, and Ethel Merman is looking at me, and Norman Mailer, and Jack Jones is sitting there. And one night I look over and somebody says, “You got a nice feel, babe.“ It was Erroll Garner! I didn’t even know he was there. It was dark in the room. I nearly passed out.”

I mention that legend has it that Sinatra could sometimes be a bit disruptive in this public saloon that he, nevertheless, considered his almost very own private playroom.

“That’s putting it mildly. I mean. . .I saw it all. You just kept on moving. You learned to play “Fly Me to the Moon” when dishes were flying. It was a way of life. Sinatra came in all the time. We’d get a phone call: ‘He’s coming in, he’s coming in!’ He’d come in with his entourage. They’d have their special table. I was very careful when I sang in front of Sinatra. If he didn’t like you, you were out. But he was very nice to me. I thought the Kitty Kelly Sinatra book was very bitchy. The truth was he was a very nice man. True, he could be bad on occasion. He would get drunk and throw firecrackers. Jilly had an apartment above the club and he and Sinatra would toss pies down on people. They thought that was very funny. They’d throw firecrackers when Bobby [Cole] was playing, but nothing could stop Bobby. You learned to be tough there. [Laughs] There was only one thing I held against Sinatra which was his color choice. Orange! The whole of Jilly’s was orange, He loved orange. The bar stools were orange, the banquettes were orange. Orange! Orange! Orange,” she laughs.

In 1970 Bobby Cole put together a show called “The World of Jilly Rizzo” and he took it to Las Vegas.

“There were five of us brought from back east, and we went into the lounge at Caesar’s Palace. It ran for about three weeks. Bobby sang, played. I sang, played. We had a violinist, John Blair, who was at that time unique. He played an amplified violin. And a drummer and a bass player. That was the group. It was a continuous thing of songs. It just went on and on and on for about 45 minutes, all original material. Sinatra came in, and I saw him sitting there about five rows from the front, his piercing blue eyes looking at me. I’d never actually been on a stage singing to him, always in a club where he was sitting somewhere else.” From the tone of Raff’s voice, it was clear that the experience was, at least, momentarily unnerving.

“When we were in Vegas we used to hang out with Sinatra after the show. He loved the group, he loved ‘The World of Jilly Rizzo.’ ”Nancy Sinatra liked one of the songs in the production, “Flowers,” which I sang in the show, and she recorded it.”

Cole had less success, however, in interesting Nancy’s dad in his songs:

“Bobby tried to sell some of the songs he’d written to Sinatra, but usually they were very theatrical, quite a lot about aging and dying. They weren’t exactly cheerful songs. Sinatra wasn’t into that. Bobby had a very European sensibility as a songwriter. His material, I would say, was almost in the vein of Brecht-Weill.” (Perhaps Cole would have had better luck with the somewhat later, more reflective Sinatra.)

Raff rounds out her recollections of Bobby Cole:

“He had a heart attack [he died in 1996 at age 64] outside a place where he had worked earlier that night. He just dropped dead. He had a heart condition. A giant talent. After Bobby died, I phoned one of his friends. ‘Do you think Bobby was as good as we thought he was?,’ he asked me. ‘Better than that,’ I said. I could tell you stories one day about Bobby Cole that you wouldn’t believe. Funny, funny things.”

Not long after her run in Vegas, Raff began to phase out her professional activities.

“I stopped worked seriously when I met my second husband. I just started having fun. Both my sons are lawyers, one is also a pilot,” she digresses, then continues:

“When I came in, little clubs were already on their way out. I should have been around in the 1940s. I would have loved to have worked the Carlyle on a regular basis, but I only played there one night when I subbed for Bobby Short.“ (At least she subbed for the best.)

“The desire to perform is still there,” she then tells me.“ I sit and play the piano and sing at home all the time. It’s very hard to find real listening rooms today. I still do the occasional odd gig here and there. Parties, that sort of thing. People call me up. . .. But steady club gigs, I don’t do anymore.” She pauses a beat, then adds, “I’d love to, though.”  --- Bill Reed

Monday, June 14, 2010

Real George

The Joker
In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning
Get Me To The Church On Time
Feeling Good
I Was Doing All Right
Black Coffee
No More
Music Maestro Please
This Is The Life
In a Shanty In Old Shantytown
Talk To Me Talk To Me
You're Nobody Til Somebody Loves You

Impressionist George Kirby singing and sounding like himself and no one else.

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Saturday, June 12, 2010

New SSJ Releases

Audrey Morris
Renée Raff
Ted Rosenthal
Eiji Taniguchi w/ Eden Attwood
Pinky Winters

The above just-reissued Pinky Winters CD collects her first LP along with the rehearsal session for the 1954 album, and the Pinky/Zoot Sims sessions from around the same period. . .for a total of twenty tracks. Coincidentally, today Pinky takes part in a full-band rehearsal for her next CD, Winters in Summer (her 10th), a bossa affair featuring some of SoCal's finest players. I've been privileged to attend most of the smaller-scale rehearsals, and I've never seen Pinky in a happier or more creative state. The album will be recorded in late June with a scheduled release date of early 2011 on SSJ Records.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Not my idea. . .

But it just might work. Why don't they try stuffing old copies of The Collected Works of Ayn Rand (aka Alice Rosenbaum) down the oil well in the Gulf?



Monday, June 07, 2010

Claire, I declare! Hogan, that is.

I'm Always Drunk in San Francisco
Boozers and Losers
Good Times
I'll Pay the Check
Whiffenpoof Song
Sometime When You're Lonely
Falling In Love With Love
After the Ball
Travelin' Light
I'm Gonna Laugh You Right Out
Here I Go Again

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Dorothy Dean Day Redux

DDD went down in flames when Dennis Cooper's original blog was hacked to death, but he is now slowly resurrecting various posts here. Hard to believe that Dorothy became a rather staunch Christian in her final days. But as the saying goes: "Whatever gets you through the night." Arrived there via AA. Which reminds me of one of my favorite jokes. It seems that:

Two comics encounter one another on the street. One says to the other:

"Where're you headed?" To which the other replies:

"An AA meeting."

"But you're not an alcoholic," says comic one. To which the other funny guy replies:

"Yeah, I know. But I need the floor time."

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Fire up the Muntz

Back in the paleolithic era of steam-driven television (when I was in high school), I thought that the Howard Duff - Ida Lupino TV series "Mr. Adams and Eve" was just about the funniest thing on the medium. There were 66 episodes circa 1957-58. Alas, the series was never revived after it went off the air (some sort of legal entanglements). Thus, all I possessed to help reinforce these favorable sentiments was a recollection of some of the plot outlines.

One that I recall involved "Howard Adams" and "Eve Drake", the movie stars Duff and Lupino played on the show, developing guilty consciences over the commercial direction their film careers had taken, and so they participated in a little theatre, experimental production of something called---get this!--- "Dinosaur on a Bicycle."

Another episode had to do with one of the couple being loaned out to another studio with the result that both ending up appearing in separate GWTW knockoffs.

Another episode I recall had Eve believeing that she had been invited to a dinner party, but it turned out that the occasion was a cocktail party, with the famished actress having to drink too moony martonis. I mean too many martinis in order to snag olives to solve her hunger problem (you hadda be there, I guess).

And then, not long ago, my friend Alan gave me a DVD burn of two of what might possibly be the few scraps that remain of Mr. A & E (most epidoes are believed lost). After taking a look at them, it turns out that my memory of the show's quality---IMHO--- was not all that far off-base after all. If Noel Coward had written a sitcom for 4-Star TV Productions, this might be the way it would look. All in all, not exactly Comedie Francaise, but still pretty funny stuff for mid-fifties commerical TV. (Olive Carey and Lee Patrick!!!!!!) And check out that low-key laugh track.



pt. 2

pt. 3

If you would like to see the other Adams and Eve in my possession, the one where Eve Drake is the surprise guest on "This is Your Life," please let me know. Or a real "This is Your Life" where Ida Lupino herself is the subject. (Warning: contains Keefe Brasselle content.)

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Lola/Edie Wants YOU

arr and cond by Dean Elliott
1. A man, a man, a man
2. Candy
3. Put your arms around me
4. Goodbye my lover
5. Aren't you kinda glad we did
6. I've got a crush on you
7. Here 'Tis
8. All of you
9. There's a man in my life
10. Think of me
11. Do what you gotta do
12. He's my guy

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