Music Review: Patti Page, From Nashville to L.A. – Lost Columbia Masters 1963-1969

Published on October 29th, 2013 in: Current Faves, Feminism, Music, Music Reviews, New Music Tuesday, Retrovirus, Reviews |

By Melissa Bratcher

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The new Patti Page release From Nashville To L.A.—Lost Columbia Masters 1963-1969 is comprised of unreleased masters from recording sessions in the 1960s. In those days, recording sessions consisted of laying down several tracks in a span of three or so hours, usually three or four songs live with an orchestra. The most commercial pieces would be put out as singles, others would be used as B-sides or album tracks, but there would almost always be songs that didn’t meet either criteria. From 1962-1970, Patti Page recorded almost 200 songs for Columbia. Fifty or so were singles; many were on albums. These leftovers, in no way inferior, are being released on From Nashville To L.A. for the first time.

The consistency of Patti Page’s voice is remarkable. On every track, she sounds at ease and strong, with her velvety rich tone. She covers a spectrum of styles: from gospel to jazz to pop and dips a toe into country. She does it all with the greatest of skill.

The surprisingly fresh and contemporary “When I Waltz With You” dates to the 1800s and was a favorite of Patti Page’s mother. She switches gears with the dramatic and gorgeous “I’m Losing You.” The sweet drum sound on “Just Dance On By” anchors the lightly rocking tune.

Karen Carpenter must have listened to a lot of Patti Page. “It’s Raining In My Heart,” recorded first by Buddy Holly and The Crickets, has smooth vocals and you can hear the sort of inflections that Carpenter was known for. I probably wouldn’t have noticed had I not been on a recent Carpenters binge. Like you do.

I loved the worldly-wise, elegant, and jazzy “Pickin’ Up The Pieces.” “Hallelujah I Love Him So” flat out swings. A hit for both Peggy Lee and Ray Charles, it is a delight with a ripping organ solo, wailing horns, and a nice bit of syncopation in the vocals. It’s a fun, great song.

A quartet of extra songs from Patti Page’s 1966 America’s Favorite Hymns album are simple and tasteful. She arranged and recorded “I’ll Live Up There” as a gift for her mother. “Just As I Am” is an uncomplicated duet with an organ. The piano line is delightful on “In The Sweet Bye And Bye” but even more delightful is the way she sings “beauty-ful.” It’s endearing.

From Nashville To L.A. hasn’t got a throwaway track on it. It’s chock full of well made, gorgeously sung, and neatly produced tunes. What a voice!

From Nashville to L.A.—Lost Columbia Masters 1963-1969 was released by Real Gone Music on September 30.

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