Thursday, December 12, 2013
Kay Dennis S/T Pearce Records 1969
Kay Dennis S/T Pearce Records 1969 CAT #H-1118
This is cute. It's Kansas City lounge from the late 60's, so it is mixed with moments of Playboy jazz, rock, and to an extent, psych. The cover is incredibly stylistic for Kansas City, the mod art is well done, the colors pop, it looks amazing. It was recorded in the Cavern Studios outside of Kansas City which was an actual underground cave. It was a large, natural, open studio so everything recorded there sounds live. The recording is top notch, the players are capable and play well together, overall, it's a surprisingly well done package.
The LP itself has developed a collector's market around it. It's been discovered in two scenes, beat junkies and people exploring the world of private press LPS. There are some pretty absurd drum breaks, a goofy outro on a 7 minute rendition of the Doors' "Light My Fire," Bobby Hebb's "Sunny" has some jazzy breaks that would make a good samples, and there is a huge dance floor scorcher on Burt Bacharach's "Walk On By". The Private Press guys are always stoked on quality and the LP does have that. Most covers on the LP are enjoyable due to the players. Kay Dennis' vocals are unique. She's got a very childish tone and recalls 1950's white, female jazz vocalists, it's very endearing. However, it should be noted that these Private Press guys might be disappointed to find out Pearce Records was a small, regional label that released other Kansas City artists.
However, despite all these attributes, it's still a lounge album and there's a reason Kay Dennis wasn't performing far outside of Kansas City. Every song is a cover and doesn't stray far from the originals. The rarity of the LP and it's good moments cloud the vision of collectors. You can read the reviews of the LP online and most will praise it's attributes, but if you get past the highlights, there's no reason for a 7 minute rendition of "Light My Fire". The hit versions of songs like "What the World Needs Now," was all anybody ever needed. And, nobody in the history of music ever needed lounge act version of the "Impossible Dream."