Welcome to The Weekend Stream, a relaxing weekly review of notable digital-only catalogue titles. There may be no CD or vinyl, but there's plenty of great new/old music to discover! This week, we've got long-lost pop from a teenaged star, a crop of country classics, cool West Coast jazz, freestyle hits, and more!
Child actor Jack Wild earned an Academy Award nomination for his role as the Artful Dodger in Oliver! - the same part Davy Jones once played onstage - and went on to star in television's beloved H.R. Pufnstuf and the big-screen Pufnstuf movie. Buddah Records snapped up the teenaged Englishman for three solo LPs of which A Beautiful World was the third. The album was produced and primarily written by British-Indian multi-hyphenate Biddu (Carl Douglas' "Kung Fu Fighting," Tina Charles' "I Love to Love"). It was Wild's final LP, although he did join Pye shortly after for a couple of single sides. Jack Wild passed away in 2006 at the age of 53.
Country singer-songwriter Sandy Posey decamped MGM Records for Columbia where she debuted with this 1972 LP produced by Nashville stalwart Billy Sherrill. Her lone long-player for the label, it featured a country reinvention of The Ronettes' classic "Be My Baby" as well as original songs co-written by Posey, a title track co-authored by Kenny O'Dell, and material by Sherrill and Larry Butler, Eddie Rabbitt, and Chuck Woolery (!).
Mickey Gilley, Mickey Gilley / You Don't Know Me / Put Your Dreams Away (Epic)
A trio of early Epic LPs from Mississippi-born country artist Mickey Gilley have hit streaming services. Collectively, these albums yielded numerous country hits including a quartet of number ones: "You Don't Know Me," "Lonely Nights," "Put Your Dreams Away," and "Talk to Me."
None other than B.J. Thomas wrote the liner notes for the original LP release of Wayne Carson, the lone original album from the songwriter behind such classic pop and soul hits as "The Letter," "Soul Deep," and "Always on My Mind." Wayne Carson was produced by Monument's Fred Foster and arranged by Glen Spreen. It features a clutch of Carson's own compositions and co-writes including "The Letter" (naturally!) and "No Love at All," a hit for both B.J. and Lynn Anderson.
Shorty Rogers, Courts the Count / Collaboration (with Andre Previn) (RCA/Legacy)
Trumpeter/composer Shorty Rogers was one of the pioneers of West Coast jazz. His career as a leader encompassed 40 years and numerous label affiliations - as well as a memorable turn providing music for the Looney Tunes short "The Three Little Bops" - plus collaborations with Elmer Bernstein, Stan Kenton, Herb Alpert, Bobby Darin, Peggy Lee, Lena Horne, and countless others. Two of Rogers' RCA albums - 1954's Courts the Count, celebrating Count Basie, and 1955's Collaboration with composer-pianist Andre Previn - hit digital services today as a reminder of Rogers' timeless talents.
The Cover Girls, Funk Boutique / Wishing on a Star (Epic)
Epic brings two EPs from New York freestyle group The Cover Girls to digital services today. The album versions of "Funk Boutique" and "Wishing on a Star" (the latter a cover of the Rose Royce hit) were originally found on the Girls' 1992 Epic album Here I Am which featured new vocalist Michelle Valentine, but the remixes on these collections are what set the dance floors ablaze. "Wishing on a Star" reached the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100 while "Funk Boutique" placed at a respectable No. 55. The "Funk" EP has four versions of that song plus another four of "Don't Stop Now" and one of "New York City Christmas." The "Wishing" EP offers a whopping eleven mixes of the tune plus an edit of "Thank You" to round out the set.