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Music Review: Connie Stevens – The Complete Warner Bros. Singles

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Concetta Rosalie Ann Ingoglia, professional name Connie Stevens, was born in 1938 into a musical family in Brooklyn, New York. In her early teens she moved to Missouri where she joined a vocal group called The Foremost, which included the future members of The Lettermen. At 16 she found herself in Los Angeles, marking her professional start in the entertainment industry.

Her big acting break came playing the role of Cricket Blake on the television series Hawaiian Eye for four seasons, 1959-1963. After a couple of guest appearances on the TV series 77 Sunset Strip, she recorded a duet with one of the show’s stars, Ed Byrnes. The novelty song, “Kookie Kookie Lend Me Your Comb,” was a big hit, reaching number four on the Billboard Magazine Pop Singles Charts.

During the ’60s she balanced her acting and singing careers. She released 16 singles for the Warner Brothers label, six of which made the charts. Her biggest hit was “Sixteen Reasons,” which reached number three.

Real Gone Music has now gathered her singles for Warner Brothers, plus a few extra songs including “Kookie Kookie Lend Me Your Comb” for a two-disc, 36-track set, The Complete Warner Bros. Singles.

Remastered from the original tapes, the result is a crystal clear listening experience from these mostly half-century-old songs. Be aware, however, that except for the Byrnes duet, all the songs are presented in mono. Stereo recordings for some of the material does indeed exist but the decision was made to go with the recordings of the original singles rather than album tracks, which included more of a stereo sound.

Much of the material has been unavailable for years and, in some cases, decades. Well known songs like “Too Young To Go Steady,” “Why’d You Wanna Make Me Cry,” “Mr. Songwriter,” and “Now That You’ve Gone” combine with such lesser known tunes as “Why Do I Cry For Joey,” “There Goes Your Guy,” “A Girl Never Knows, “If You Don’t Somebody Else Will,” and “And This Is Mine” to form the definitive Connie Stevens release.

Stevens had a good if not powerful voice, which fit the type of lightweight pop material presented here well. Her music in general has a very pre-Beatles sound and will probably only appeal to fans of that era. Nevertheless, The Complete Warner Bros. Singles offers an enjoyable trip back in time with one of the early ’60s female sex symbols, making for an overall nice return to a long-gone era.

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