Ah Love Keely

:: Entire Album Zipped Up ::

So The Beatles have finally gone Vegas. Cirque Du Soleil's "Love" has been running at the Mirage since last summer, and for a couple hundred bucks, you can hear mash-ups of your fave fab songs, while watching a bunch of acro-dancers flitting about on stage, all within the lovely environs of America's most ridiculous city. But in fact, The Beatles went Vegas long before even the King did, by way of this record.

Dot Keely was 15 when she saw Louis Prima perform in her native Norfolk, VA. About a year later, she had joined his band (changing her name to Keely Smith) and a few years after that became his wife. The two of them, along with Sam Butera and The Witnesses became the ultimate Las Vegas lounge act, and to this day remain an icon of that city's early days.

When Prima signed with Capitol in the mid-50s, he insisted Smith be given a solo contract as well. Her records tended to move away from the jump blues and Italian loose cannon bombast favored by Prima, and toward straight pop balladry. In the early 60s, she ditched Prima and signed with Sinatra's Reprise label, and continued to work with arrangers like Nelson Riddle and Billy May. By the time The Beatles had become the flavor of the month, Keely's career was cooling, and she was more interested in spending time with family than spending nights in smokey Vegas lounges. These factors came together and the result was this album.

These days, schmaltzy versions of rock standards are fairly common (Pat Boone/Paul Anka) and always intentionally ironic. These Beatles covers fit right in minus the irony. One thing I can't not mention is Ms. Smith's tendency to pronounce "i" as "ah", perhaps because of her southern roots, or maybe just because she's a 50s hipster. In any case, it sticks out like a sore thumb on songs like "If Ah Fell" and "P.S. Ah Love You". Of course the arrangements serve to point out the huge gulf between the music of the cocktail generation and that of the teenagers who were about to take over the record business and give us a lifetime of "classic rock". I'm sure this record was used countless times by martini wielding 40 somethings in a vain attempt to find some connection with their eye rolling teenaged offspring, who by that time had no doubt moved on to edgier stuff like the Rolling Stones anyway.

I gotta hand it to Keely Smith and her collaborators though for recognizing good songs when they heard them. Whether or not the material is right for a Keely Smith is debatable, but maybe it was her way of passing the torch. Keely Smith still plays Vegas occasionally, by the way.

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Monday, March 19, 2007 8:31:00 AM

Great!!! I like Beatles' cuvvers and I like Keely. What a combination!!!

"the music of the cocktail generation" I had to laugh. I call them 'the cigarette generation' (LOL)

.... bbb (from the Pepsi generation)    

Thursday, March 22, 2007 2:33:00 PM

cool...!!..thanks for sharing...

love ya blog....found via WFMU's beware of...    

Thursday, March 22, 2007 4:26:00 PM

I'm not sure how I found this wonderful place. I think it came up on a Google search one night. That was last August. I've been here ever since.

..... bbb    

Thursday, March 22, 2007 10:41:00 PM

Anything Keely Smith does is OK with me. An excellent choice.    

Friday, March 23, 2007 1:18:00 PM

Thanks for this wonderful album
Never heard it before.

Friday, April 27, 2007 10:43:00 AM

beautiful album! thanks !
if you can take look to the LP Bossa n' Beatles of Rita Lee (Brazilian singer) and if you have time take a look to
Best Regards    

Monday, July 16, 2007 8:33:00 PM

I'd love to hear this but the download link no longer seems to work! Help!    

Saturday, March 22, 2008 2:22:00 AM

Oh, sadly the link is dead!    

Monday, May 19, 2008 6:38:00 PM

Oh man, I really, really, really want to listen to this. I've been looking for a copy for ages, and alas, the link is dead! Any chance you could re-up it? Please and thank you.    

Friday, October 17, 2008 1:25:00 PM

I'd love to hear this album but the link doesn't work :o(((
Please please please re upload.


Monday, March 05, 2012 10:18:00 AM

This sounds like the best album EVER - Keely Smith and the Beatles are of course two of my favorites! Please make the link work again?    

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