From the Vault...


Les Paul & Mary Ford
"16 Most Requested Songs"

© Columbia/Legacy Records

Year of Release: 1996


track listing
  • Put A Ring
    On My Finger
  • Fantasy
  • Jealous Heart
  • Big Eyed Gal
  • At The Sav-A-Penny
    Super Store
  • All Night Long
  • The Poor People
    Of Paris
  • Wonderful Rain
  • Jur
    (I Swear
    I Love You)
  • It's Been A Long,
    Long Time
  • A Cottage For Sale
  • Wrap Your Troubles
    In Dreams
    (And Dream Your Troubles Away)
  • East Of The Sun
    (And West Of
    The Moon)
  • Goodnight Irene
  • I Am My Love's
  • Lonely Guitar

  • WSVNRadio Archives
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    Les Paul & Mary Ford
    "16 Most Requested Songs"

    Back in the early days of rock and roll, there was a performer who was a great guitarist, like future stringers as Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix. His name was Les Paul. And, if it wasn't for him, we wouldn't be worshipping the great guitar playing of such talents as Clapton and company, because it was Les Paul who created the electric guitar (Gibson) as a solid-bodied musical instrument.

    With his great guitar playing, featuring his wife, Mary Ford's vocals in his early career, they recorded songs in the early stages of rock and roll, but they are really classified in the category of Easy Listening. Their most popular songs were recorded on the Capitol label (1955-1958). This week's review, 16 Most Requested Songs, is a collection from their Columbia label era (1958-1961), the label they recorded for after leaving Capitol Records.

    The first two songs on this album is a single (both sides!) that I used to have on an old Columbia 45: Put A Ring On My Finger and Fantasy. Les Paul's guitar licks in these songs are truly classic. Needless to say, I was quite thrilled when I found this single on CD, since it was not included on Les Paul's box set release, being the fact that the box set were songs from his Capitol label years.

    Jealous Heart has somewhat some country feel to it. (Which most songs in this collection have.) The next track, Big-Eyed Gal, is an instrumental, showcasing Les Paul's brilliant guitar playing. At The Sav-A-Penny Super Store is like listening to one of the early female singers of the 50s (Doris Day, Rosemary Clooney). The guitar lick Les Paul provides here sounds more like a synthesizer, rather than a guitar. It's fast acceleration can be compared to what Eddie Van Halen does in hard rock guitar playing.

    All Night Long has the style of a Connie Francis song. The Poor People Of Paris is another instrumental. This song was orginally instrumentalized by Les Baxter, in which his version reached #1 in 1956. Les Paul puts some pizzazz into his own version, making it more jazzy than the original by Baxter.

    Wonderful Rain is another soft-crooning vocal tune. Jura (I Swear I Love You), like Sav-A-Penny, has some fast played guitar licking. It's Been A Long, Long Time is the standard 1940s remake, and it features solo guitar playing in the country steel guitar style.

    A Cottage For Sale has the style of jazz, like when Linda Ronstadt recorded big-band/jazz classics with Nelson Riddle in the Eighties. Another soft-crooner, Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams (And Dream Your Troubles Away), is another relaxing, enjoyable song.

    East Of The Sun (And West Of The Moon) is another softy, and it's the third (and last) instrumental on this album.

    Goodnight Irene is another remake of the famous 1940s tune, which reached #1 by The Weavers & The Gordon Jenkins Orchestra. This song mostly focuses on the vocals rather than Les Paul's guitar playing, as previously heard throughout this album. The last remaining songs, I Am My Love's, and Lonely Guitar, like others, are soft-vocaled songs.

    This collection by Les Paul & Mary Ford is an excellent source in Easy Listening music. Not only that, but it features guitar works by a man who would become an inspiration to many, many future guitar players, who would develop their own musical style, just as Les Paul did when he started. Les Paul had the idea in rebuilding the guitar, and when it was all said and done, he helped established many inventions for the guitar that would have their own meaning and character for each. Of course, each character would blossom in many different ways: As in Les Paul's fancy guitar licks, to Duane Eddy's Twang style. From the psychedelic styles of Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton's Cream, to the blues of B.B. King and Stevie Ray Vaughan. All of these styles were invented by the instrument that was fully devloped by Les Paul: The Electric Guitar.

    Give a listen to his works with (or without) Mary Ford. You will hear a new development in guitar style being born. Even though it's Easy Listening, in some songs you just can't help but saying that it still sounds like Rock & Roll. Les Paul & Mary Ford mixes both rock and pre-rock (big band/jazz) together, and create an enjoyable work of music that is truly enjoyed by the older generations of music. And for today's newer generation, if they get tired of the same old hip-hop, rap and alternative, they can easily look back and see how rock and roll first started. It would be like discovering past history in the area of popular music.

    © All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Columbia/Legacy Records and is used for reference purposes only.

    Previous Review: #574
    Electric Light Orchestra--Electric Light Orchestra II
    Next Review: #576