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Thoroughness (n) – Great care and attention to detail; comprehensively executed without omissions.

Obsession (n) – an unhealthy preoccupation with something; a persistent idea that can not be gotten rid of by reasoning.

I know which definition this entry falls under… do you?


My Life Was So Empty All Because Of You
I, for one, wish Eddie Mesner stayed single… if so he would not have married a women with a teenage daughter, Patty Anne, who had some marginal talent as a singer and songwriter which were brought to bear in the public eye because her new stepfather happened to have a record label where those talents could be exploited. For all we know that’s why her mother married him in the first place!

We’ve already skipped over Patty Anne’s previous singles, mentioning her in passing when she contributed a song as a writer, but otherwise treating her like so many other non-entities on the periphery of the rock scene.

But here we’re writing full length reviews of her own single, neither of which she wrote, and neither of which she really adopts much of a rock delivery in her vocals either, not because we think the record itself is worthy of taking its place in this exhaustive rock overview, but rather because of who is along for the ride… no doubt against their will and their better judgement… namely The Flames.

Their story is one we’re closely following, as they will have a long notable career in rock, but from the very beginning they appeared on so many records under so many different guises that keeping them straight is an arduous task.

On My Heart Is Free Again they’re not even the lead artist, simply drafted into a supporting role by Mesner to bolster his step-daughter’s voice and in normal circumstances – that is to say, if they were uncredited as they deserve to be for their nominal contributions – we’d skip this record altogether and not think twice about it.

But for some reason Mesner decided to give them label credit and so it gives us a little more (though still not much) incentive to take a look at it… all so we can criticize them roundly for this woebegone folly.

Our final excuse for including this record is so we can write a review that uses the term “woebegone folly” in a suitable context.

Now That I’m Sure
Right from the very first notes you’re not surprised to find this was a cover song.

But the way it’s delivered here you’d assume that, like the top half, it came from a country music source, but that’s not the case at all.

In fact this was recently done by Dan Terry’s Orchestra with Beverly Moran singing this is a vaguely sultry light-jazz manner.

That rather unexpected information makes Patty Anne’s slightly country-tinged vocal seem rather deliberate, suggesting that Eddie Mesner was thinking that with one country side backed by a rock vocal group and rock-based musicians led Maxwell Davis, they might as well try the same trick again with a this composition to give the single some uniformity and ensure that if the plug side went over well the audience would get more of the same with My Heart Is Free Again.

That might actually make plausible sense, though don’t quote me on it. Truthfully at times this side actually seems to be MORE country-oriented, at least in Patty Anne’s vocals, than Midnight was. Whereas there the effect was largely due to the melodic flow of the lines, here she’s mimicking the rural aspects of many a singer of the time… both country performers but moreover the pop performers who were tackling country material with an ever so slight twang.

I suppose she does a fair job of it, but what that delivery – or the pop-jazz composition from whence it came – has to do with courting a rock audience is beyond me. As for The Flames, whose presence you’d think would be counted on to bring that fan base in, they’re doing no such thing, singing with open-throated blandness in taking on a role that any studio chorus in the pop industry could’ve provided. Even Maxwell Davis falls prey to the countryfied trappings, giving the most responsibility in the arrangement to the tinkly honky-tonk piano.

In this company you start to appreciate Patty Anne’s vocal all the more. Yeah, it’s leaning too heavily towards a style we don’t have any fondness for, but she’s not a bad singer and if her mother would do the smart thing and divorce Eddie Mesner… or possibly shove him in front of a train and inherit Aladdin Records for herself (possibly having to off his brother Leo in the process… two killings for the price of one as it were), it’d be interesting to see what Patty Anne might’ve done without her step-father’s poor choice in material.

Surely The Flames would benefit from that development as well, because they got the short end of the stick here in every way… getting label credit for something that didn’t show them in their best light while almost certainly not getting paid much – if anything – in the process.

Still, as much as we might find a nice thing or two to say about some of the participants, we can’t bring ourselves to give them any substantial credit for a record that had such questionable origins and misguided aims.

So in the end chalk this up to an unwanted lesson on the disreputable nature of the business, the foolish musical tastes of their overseers and the obsessive compulsive nature of a reviewer not wanting to overlook a single release along the way, no matter how ill-fitting it may be.


(Visit the Artist page of The Flames for the complete archive of their records reviewed to date)