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In the Key of Heartbreak
     

In the Key of Heartbreak

by Jimmy Donley
 
Jimmy Donley might be most well known -- to those collectors who are familiar with him at all -- for the tracks he cut for Decca in the late '50s and early '60s, if only because that label was so much bigger than the others for which he recorded. The Decca material is represented well by Bear Family's The Shape You Left Me In compilation. This two-CD collection

Overview

Jimmy Donley might be most well known -- to those collectors who are familiar with him at all -- for the tracks he cut for Decca in the late '50s and early '60s, if only because that label was so much bigger than the others for which he recorded. The Decca material is represented well by Bear Family's The Shape You Left Me In compilation. This two-CD collection, however, focuses on his early-'60s recordings for the Tear Drop label. It includes not just the five singles issued by the company prior to his January 1963 suicide, but also ten more tracks the label put out between 1963 and 1966; about a couple dozen previously unreleased demos; yet a few more demos that came out on a 1999 CD; and a cut that appeared on a 1972 single. The early 45s (including a 1962 single issued under the name Kenny James) hold the most interest, Donley sounding rather like a white Fats Domino, an uncoincidental resemblance considering that some of Donley's material was covered by Fats. Donley's rich, bluesy, teary voice and the relaxed-yet-funky New Orleans-tinged arrangements (directed by a young Dr. John) produced some superior swamp pop on these sides, especially "Forever Lillie Mae." While it's not up to the very best of the genre, it's easy to see how some fans of the style might flip over it. The posthumous 1963-1966 singles were taken from demos, and while they're not as a whole up to the standard of the Tear Drop 45s that came out while Donley was alive (particularly as some were embellished by slightly awkward overdubs), they're basically OK to reasonably good. As for the many demos that fill out this collection, it's arguable as to whether they justify the size of a double CD, as the sound is pretty dry, usually featuring just Donley's voice and a piano or acoustic guitar. These do include Donley's version of "What a Price" (covered for a midsize 1961 hit by Fats Domino), some of the songs that appeared on his Tear Drop singles, and others that did not. Certainly they do help make this almost as comprehensive a summary of his post-Decca career as could be hoped for (though it doesn't have the four songs he recorded for Ace between his stints with Decca and Tear Drop). The thorough liner notes include reproductions of lyrics to ten Donley songs in his own handwriting, as well as annotator Tony Rounce's blunt assessment of the singer's character: "He was a poor excuse for a human being, if truth be told."

Product Details

Release Date:
12/06/2011
Label:
Ace Records Uk
UPC:
0029667048125
catalogNumber:
6704812
Rank:
65853

Tracks

Disc 1

  1. A Woman's Gotta Have Her Way
  2. Please Mr. Sandman
  3. Honey Stop Twistin'
  4. Hello Remember Me
  5. Think It Over
  6. Forever Lillie Mae
  7. Santa! Don't Pass Me By
  8. Baby, Heaven Sent Me You
  9. Loving Cajun Style
  10. You're Why I'm So Lonely
  11. Let Me Told You
  12. Just a Game
  13. I Really Got the Blues
  14. Forget the Past
  15. I'm Lonesome Without the Blues
  16. I'm To Blame
  17. Love Bug
  18. Strange, Strange Feeling
  19. My Forbidden Love
  20. Santa's Alley
  21. Forget the Past
  22. I'm Lonesome Without the Blues
  23. I'm To Blame
  24. Love Bug
  25. I Still Care
  26. Two Sides to the Story of Love

Disc 2

  1. Message To Huey/A Woman's Gotta Have Her Way
  2. Please Mr. Sandman
  3. Honey Stop Twistin'
  4. Santa! Don't Pass Me By
  5. Think It Over
  6. Forever Lillie Mae
  7. Loving Cajun Style
  8. Let Me Told You
  9. Just a Game
  10. I Really Got the Blues
  11. What a Price
  12. Stop the Clock
  13. Spare Me the Details
  14. Mathilda
  15. Rockin' Bicycle
  16. If That's the Way You Want It
  17. Little Cajun
  18. The Domino Twist
  19. Rose Mary
  20. It's You I'm Missing
  21. Our Last Goodbye
  22. Don't Fall in Love
  23. Don't You Know I Love You
  24. I Need You
  25. I Still Care
  26. If I Knew You Didn't Know Better
  27. Two Sides To the Story of Love
  28. You're Lonely Too
  29. It's Time To Say Goodbye
  30. I'll Keep On Movin'

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