Thursday, January 31, 2013

Patty Andrews

The last surviving member of the legendary Andrews Sisters, Patty Andrews, died yesterday at the age of 94.

You wouldn't think from reading these pages over the last four years that this would be a big deal for me. But one of the very first records I have ever held and fell in love with was "The Andrews Sisters In Hi-Fi."

My grandfather's record collection was always at my immediate disposal. Amidst the oddball records like "Dick Contino & His Accordion" or "The Three Suns On A Magic Carpet" was a surprising collection of vocal groups. The Drifters, The Everly Brothers, The Hollies, The Beatles of course and the Andrews Sisters.  In HI-FI! I loved this record.

It's mostly about the harmony, which to this day, is something that suckers me in everytime, especially that middle. Hard to detect and difficult to execute, it was Laverne not Patty, that blew me away with those subtle vocals that were so close to Patty and Maxine, sparks would fly with each revolution of the platter. But Patty was upfront, singing all those classics.

Capitol Records "hi-fi'd" many of its artists in the 50s, and it didn't always work. (Benny Goodman is one artist that immediately comes to mind.) Think of it as the original remastering. Sometimes the sound would lose its warmth and just become loud and abrasive. But not "The Andrews Sisters In Hi-Fi." This record is a killer from the drum sound to the clarity of the trumpets to of course, the impossible harmonies of The Andrews Sisters.

Go find this record.

Listen to two of my faves below. For Maxine, Laverne, and Patty.


misospecial said...

I did experience one of those strange "didn't know she was still alive" moments when I saw the news of Miss Andrews's passing yesterday. She lived a good, long life, that's for sure. I discovered the Andrews Sisters when I first saw Buck Privates on the afternoon movie at my grandma's house in west Texas. And yes, it was the harmonies... There was also something endearingly clumsy about their moves, and how cute they were in their WAC (or whatever) uniforms, with the impeccable iron hairdos, so different from the '60s hippie aesthetic I was drawn to.

It was some time before I discovered the Boswells, whose extraordinary musicianship and sidemen were worlds beyond the straight-ahead big-band sound of the Andrews goils, but the Andrews Sisters were their own thing: unambiguous, direct, and right on the beat.

jeff k said...

Yes, a second here for the Boswells, who are fantastic to listen to.

My introduction was also via Buck Privates and then my parents' record collection. The thing about the Andrews Sisters was not only could they sing but their dancing or whatever it was was great fun, and they always seemed to be enjoying themselves out there as much as the audience did.

My first 78 was their Chattanooga Choo Choo and their vinyl two-record greatest hits collection had its grooves worn down by my old Panasonic stereo. I can still see the cover. Listened to their "Hold Tight" yesterday along with "Rum and Coca Cola," credited with some interesting controversy to Morey Amsterdam.

A walk in the woods said...

"Rum & Coca Cola" is a longtime favorite song of mine. Sounds like when the world was innocent, even if it wasn't!

Anonymous said...

Great stuff, Sal. Thanks. Do you know who did the arrangements on that album?

Also, a third for the Boswells!

Bruce H.

Sal Nunziato said... credits on the LP at all. But it sure sounds like Billy May. It's got that hot sound. I have no idea if their paths even crossed. It's just a feeling.

And yeah...Boswells, baby.

Sal Nunziato said...

UPDATE: I forgot I had the CD.

Bruce..Vic Schoen on most, Gordon Jenkins on some.

buzzbabyjesus said...

My parents played a lot of Swing when I was growing up. At the time it made me mad, but it got under my skin anyway. Unfortunately there was no Andrews Sisters in my house. Just Ella Mae Morse and "Cow Cow Boogie", which I was about to share, but instead here's "The House Of Blue Lights". Dig the Jive at the top.