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OKEH 6882; MAY 1952



Subject: Judging Books By Their Covers.

Case: This record, which has a great title that conjures up all sorts of potentially mysterious, lurid, beguiling possibilities done by an artist with a great history of interpretive readings and released on a record label that has frequently exceeded expectations.

Result: Unfocused, pretentious and totally wrong for both the artist and genre.

Judgement: Never Judge Books – Or Records – By Their Covers.

For a more detailed, longwinded and redundant analysis, keep reading… otherwise go out and have some fun today and come back tomorrow instead.


Your Mind Is Some Other Place
For those following the website’s intended game plan and reading these reviews in order, you’ll remember that we just looked at another record by the experienced songwriting team of Howard Biggs and Joe Thomas – Big John Greer’s I Need You, a tune that was well-written and sung but done in by the pop touches in the arrangement.

In that write-up we said that while the quality of their work may vary, they were definitely very capable technicians with a knack for good melodies and strong stories.

Here’s a rather glaring exception.

The title is fantastic. Yes, it’s fairly simple but aren’t most titles when you only have a few words to get a message across? In these five words however they’ve suggested a very interesting scenario in which Annie Laurie is – presumably – going to be able to reveal why she’d say I Don’t Get My Kicks Anymore.

Is it because she’s matured and maybe settled down, thereby curtailing her nightly debauchery? Not that she was known for singing about such things in the past, but each song conceivably is told from a different character’s perspective and taking on that backstory would be particularly intriguing, especially if she was bemoaning all the wild times she gave up in exchange for some long term security.

Then again it may be that she’s depressed over her changed circumstances and so it would be a mournful song on the same subject. Or it could even be that takes on a defiant tone if she’s feeling trapped and venting her frustrations by singing with the fury she’s been forced to suppress in every day life as of late. The possibilities are endless.

Instead it’s a somewhat bitter harangue against her partner but curiously lacking any real venom in her delivery, probably because the music is so confusing and inappropriate, not just for the story but for rock ‘n’ roll itself, which means poor Annie Laurie doesn’t have any idea where she is, what’s going on or what she should be feeling about any of it.

I’m Wondering Why You Don’t Do The Things You Used To Do
On the flip side of this, which was perhaps Laurie’s best side to date, the label proudly touted producer Danny Kessler’s role in transforming a current pop song into a far more aggressive rock song on Lonesome and Blue.

You’ll notice that Kessler’s name is nowhere to be found on the label for THIS side and it may not be because he handed the reins over to Howard Biggs and Joe Thomas in that regard (though he certainly may have). But whether he did or not, he wasn’t about to publicize his association with this convoluted mess which features an overstuffed, directionless arrangement that makes this quite possibly the worst side Annie Laurie has released to date.

As good as Laurie usually is, she’s as lost here as everyone else, trying to convey anguish without ever getting a firm handle on the emotion. She goes from moaning to indignant to acerbic over the course of the song, all viable feelings to have I suppose when one is complaining I Don’t Get My Kicks Anymore, but there’s no rhyme or reason in the way they’re utilized, no sense of a natural progression in her mindset, or any real connection to the revelations she’s imparting.

Of course we can hardly blame her because with all the aimless noise going on around her, it’s a wonder she didn’t crack under the strain and strangle the musicians or producer on the studio floor.

To call this the worst arrangement on a rock release we’ve heard might not hold up if we were to carefully scrutinize and compare all the bad ones to date, but this is certainly one of the most ostentatious in its awfulness.

What they were going for here I have no idea. Usually you can see the jazz inclinations, or someone aspiring to placate pop music fans, but here there’s just mass confusion. The horns in the intro set a sort of black and white film noir scene with their drawn out notes, which makes no sense to the song’s plot, and then in the mid-section they respond to her complaints with convoluted riffs that have absolutely no mood to them. They aren’t sympathetic to her plight, condescending towards it, or frankly even aware of it.

Making this worse is the fact that none of this is at all appealing musically, certainly not for rock, but also not for any style of music that we could name. The parts seem to be chosen almost at random, the riffs are dull but too loud and yet played without any passion. The lead-in to the break is blaring and in your face, while the racket they’re making serves no purpose.

The only thing that shows any competency at all is the sax break and even that is mostly by comparison to the other horns who continue their reckless intrusion on your senses. Usually listening to music is an enjoyable pursuit, something we definitely get our kicks from, but this time we’re the ones saying I Don’t Get My Kicks Anymore when forced to endure this painful experience.

The whole record suffers from people who have no idea what their goal is other than to waste three minutes of your valuable time which is about the only thing they succeed in doing.

See, if you’d taken our advice at the beginning and let the quick summation of the record suffice and went out and had some kicks of your own, you’d have spared yourself another few minutes of wasted time.

Oh well, some people are gluttons for punishment I guess.


(Visit the Artist page of Annie Laurie for the complete archive of her records reviewed to date)