Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Brenda Lee In Blighty

BRENDA LEE-Is It True/What'd I Say U.K. Brunswick 05915 1964

One of the coolest, least known bits of 60's minutia occurred in 1964 when Brenda Lee went over to the U.K. to make a record. This happened after meeting producer Mickie Most while on tour in Britain and plans were hatched to have her return to record a session.  Most selected a number by the songwriting team of John Carter and Ken Lewis (2/3's of The Ivy League) "Is It True" for the topside and hired a host of top guns in the session world to provide musical backing. It was released in the U.K. on August 28, 1964.

"Is It True" is immediately characterized by Jimmy Page's trademark mid 60's session volume pedal guitar technique throughout the number.  It would be hard to say that it doesn't make the song and saying this serves to pay a great disservice to Brenda Lee's brilliant vocal job but one listen and it's pretty obvious whats driving the tune! The production is nailed tight with some great backing vocals and equally top notch instrumental backing.

"What'd I Say" is equally rocking thanks to Jimmy Page and Company (including session drummer extraordinaire Bobby Graham on both sides) and of course Brenda Lee's incredible delivery. Her version is every bit as wild as The Big Three's live version and could have easily been the A-side.

Brenda (left) with fellow "Ready Steady Go'ers" Millie Small, Helen Shapiro,
Lulu and Wayne Gibson & The Dynamic Sounds

"What'd I Say" was a U.K. only flip, the U.S. version paired it with "Just Behind The Rainbow" (Decca 31690).  The number reached #17 on both sides of the Atlantic and warranted an appearance on "Ready Steady Go" on August 21, 1964 to plug it.

"Is It True" was comped on Rhino's 60's "One Kiss Can Lead To Another: Girl Group Sounds Lost & Found" box set.

Hear "Is It True":


Hear "What'd I Say":


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