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They say you can’t judge a book by its cover and you sure can’t judge a record by its title, but it’s often too tempting NOT to jump to conclusions when you see a record that seems to promising something particularly gripping by the title adorning the label.

But they say things like “you can’t judge a book by its cover” for a reason and that reason is because history has proven that when we expect too much from a few mere words designed to get your attention, we’ll frequently be let down.


Real Strong Mama
Surely any artist who billed herself as “The Lollipop Mama”, had to be worth the investment and thus it was reasonable to expect that a song where she was promising to confess whatever (presumably X-rated) sins had led to that rather colorful moniker in the first place was going to be something too hot to handle.

Instead this record suffers from a variety of problems, all of which seem pretty obvious and easy to fix, yet nobody involved seems to have recognized this in the control room and did anything about it, maybe hoping the catchy title alone would overcome the song’s weaknesses.

So as not to completely besmirch the name of Alma Mondy, let’s start off by saying she has shown in the past that she could live up to your hopes with Baby Get Wise, and even here she may indeed be the best thing on this outing, even if she’s also the most frustrating aspect of the record because with just one rather obvious adjustment she could be crushing this song.

Her problem here isn’t that she can’t sing, but that she’s singing too loudly, thinking this is the best way for her to be conveying excitement. Inmost cases however it’s not.

Though modulating your voice can be very effective, starting at full volume and never scaling it back is mostly annoying and off-putting, removing any nuance from what you’re singing and robbing the song of the very emotion you think you’re conveying with that full-throttled approach.

Unfortunately Mondy’s incessant shouting is not the only thing wrong with Miss Lollipop’s Confession as I’m starting to think the title is an admission of her guilt when it comes to stealing every line from other songs floating around the public domain.

Though certainly some creative liberties can be excused in this regard, when it comes to outright theft we have to draw the line somewhere, and with this there’s really not a single original thought in the entire record. Each and every line has been lifted from another source and it doesn’t matter that those sources have been plundered extensively over time like a pharaoh’s tomb, because in this case they didn’t stop at lifting just one or two bejeweled verses but instead plucked all of the gaudiest baubles and glued them to their stocking cap and tried calling it a crown.

Now when you combine these two offenses, grand theft lyrics and noise violation, you’re going to have answer to some charges being leveled at you in the musical courts.

No doubt her lawyers will argue that when she wasn’t intent on raising the dead with her delivery Mondy’s got a decent voice and surely there’s not a jury in the land that wouldn’t applaud her conviction in telling this recycled tale, so she might have some hope in winning over their sympathies and getting off with time served, or at worst a short sentence.

But if the prosecuting attorneys can manage to tie her in with the crimes her co-conspirators in the band commit on their end of this caper then she’s probably at risk of being sent to electric chair.


Never Know When To Stop
If ever you wanted an example of what a discordant arrangement sounds like, this is most certainly it.

Listening to Miss Lollipop’s Confession you would think that everybody in the room was either completely deaf or were completely cut off from the rest of the instruments (and the singer) while they were recording and thus unaware that nobody was following the same path you were embarking on.

The song starts off with a rousing horn flourish that has you slightly hopeful that what will follow might be pretty good. It’s slightly out of date in its mindset maybe, but not so much so that you wouldn’t overlook it if they just tightened it up as it went along. Once the others fall in however you curse yourself for your optimistic naivety as they all head off in opposite directions which only serves to exacerbate its conceptual flaws.

The saxophone trying to hold down the bottom isn’t low enough to suffice in the role it’s been given. A baritone played by someone with a greater lung capacity than is shown here could’ve carried off this simple riff to good effect, but a wheezy tenor just sounds sickly.

When Mondy shifts into the second stanza the sax abandons that riff altogether and starts improvising… badly. Not only has the tone not improved, but now it’s like a blind man trying to hit a Satchel Paige fastball… lots of wild swinging without ever connecting.

Meanwhile the piano is doing its best to sabotage what’s left of the song, darting in and out with no rhyme or reason, playing one passage which sounds as if Alex Burrell had been imported from a light jazz session from another studio without being told of the change.

Throughout this all Mondy seems convinced everything is going well, going so far as to actually encourage them to cut loose as she cries out with passion heading into Batman Rankins’ solo – ”Blow Batman!” – seemingly unaware that he was conspiring along with the others to wreck her career.

Actually what follows is the best part of the musical side of this, but that’s hardly saying much when all we have to recommend it is that Rankins manages to stay on course while the drummer provides an emphatic, but incredibly rudimentary, beat.

As the song heads down the stretch Mondy is wailing away vocally with such passion that if they’re smart her lawyers will use that evidence to enter an insanity plea and hope she’s merely committed for psychiatric evaluation rather than incarcerated.

Either way though she may not be seeing the light of day for a long time after this debacle.

Scream About The Jive I’m Putting Down
Without even checking the nearly eleven hundred reviews we’ve done to date it’s safe to say that none of 150 some odd artists (outside of fellow New Orleans singer Eddie Gorman) have had quite the swing between great and awful as Alma Mondy has so far.

The disparity of her first two sides could’ve been chalked up to her stylistic strengths and weaknesses – an uptempo rocker might’ve been in her wheelhouse while a slower ballad could just have been something she wasn’t comfortable tackling, no further explanation needed. But the relative misfire on Miss Lollipop’s Confession, an uptempo barn burner if ever there was one, would seem to refute that idea.

It’s safe to assume by the title that this was something that she was notorious for around New Orleans where she was a well-respected club act for her rocking performances, so that either means people in those clubs were a lot more drunk than even the Crescent City’s reputation for inebriation would suggest, or that when cutting this record it was she and the band who were drunk.

For the sake of their reputations I’m going with the latter explanation, but even so, that’s another charge she’ll be facing in this mythical court and public drunkenness is sure to add even more time to her sentence.

After this showing though we’ll let someone else bail her out.


(Visit the Artist page of Alma “Lollypop Mama” Mondy for the complete archive of her records reviewed to date)