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Robin Wilson (SP-4153) ['68]

Discussion in 'A Small Circle of Friends: The Music Forum' started by JO, Apr 16, 2008.

  1. JO

    JO New Member Thread Starter

    Anyone ever heard this LP?

    [Oops. Wrong forum...perhaps one of you e-gents would be so kind as to...er, well -- you know.]
  2. Michael Hagerty

    Michael Hagerty Active Member

    I picked it up used about six years ago...expecting that I'd unearthed a marvelous lost A&M treasure (I'd only seen it on the inner sleeves before). It wasn't. Not a bad album, but not anything special, and no definable A&M "magic"...it could've been on any label.

    Michael Hagerty
  3. JO

    JO New Member Thread Starter

    Mike -- how would you characterize her singing? Additionally, the song list included unrecognizable titles save two selections...any detailed comment on the songs/arrangements?

  4. Michael Hagerty

    Michael Hagerty Active Member

    You know, I only listened the once six years ago. I'll put it back on the turntable tonight if I get a chance and then let you know.

    ---Michael Hagerty
  5. Michael Hagerty

    Michael Hagerty Active Member

    Meantime, James, here's what All Music Guide has to say about Robin and the album (apparently her only one):

    Robin Wilson is an extremely minor figure in '60s adult contemporary pop, managing only one album that didn't sell, in a style that was growing increasingly anachronistic even during the album's recording. Still, the 1969 album Robin Wilson is a minor classic of late '60s adult contemporary pop, triangulated somewhere between Harpers Bizarre, Barbra Streisand and Petula Clark.

    Wilson, a fetching brown-eyed brunette with a cute pageboy haircut and a tendency towards performing barefoot in a sailor suit, was born and raised in Hawaii and got her start working in the resort hotels on the islands. Her rich voice, which could manage both a brassy Ethel Merman bellow and a flirtatious croon, got her noticed by the headliners, which landed the young singer in Las Vegas and on the Merv Griffin Show, which got her signed to A&M Records in late 1968.

    Her album was produced by Allen Stanton and arranged by Nick De Caro, Don Costa and Mort Garson, but by the time it was released in 1969, Wilson's style of adult contemporary pop was fast fading out of favor: liner note blurbs from the likes of Milton Berle, Don Ho, Bill Dana and Joey Bishop were not exactly the bleeding edge of hipness at the time. More to the point, A&M had just signed the Carpenters, whose slightly cooler brand of white bread was more attuned to the greater public. Robin Wilson faded from view shortly thereafter. ~ Stewart Mason, All Music Guide
  6. LPJim

    LPJim Well-Known Member Moderator

    Apparently there was no mention of SP 4299 AIN'T THAT SOMETHING, her 2nd album which also didn't sell. I have a promo copy.
  7. Michael Hagerty

    Michael Hagerty Active Member

    Well, apparently I was underwhelmed...I went to my vinyl collection last night...and Robin's not there. I probably traded it the next time I went to the used store.

    If memory serves, though, the All Music Guide thing is pretty on target.

    ---Michael Hagerty
  8. Mr Bill

    Mr Bill Lego Master Model Builder Moderator

    I find Robin to be an enjoyable listen. Then I'm a bit of an anachronist myself -- people still look at me in disbelief when they learn I cannot stand the shrill screeches of Joplin, Zep or the piercing fingernails on chalkboard feedback of Hendrix.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    While I don't necessarily find anything disagreeable in the AllMusic Guide reviews (aside from forgetting her second LP), I disagree with the negative conotation they give "adult contemporary" music of the day. Not all music is everyone's cup of tea, but every artist is someone's favorite...

    --Mr Bill
    "two hours of Joplin & Hendrix or slit my wrists? Pass the razor blades, pal!"
  9. JO

    JO New Member Thread Starter

    Thanks, guys...I know I can always count on some valuable insight from you A&M vets. I'm gonna scour the used bins to look for the debute. (Three years between her two LPs suggests a major stylistic change.)

    Couldn't have said it better myself, Mr Bill.

    Here in SF, names like Hendrix and Joplin might as well be on a par with Jesus. To me, they both produced over-rated music. While it cannot be argued that Hendrix was an electrical guitar technical wizard -- for my nickel, all that showboating didn't produce enough honest music to keep my interest. (I have similar problems with Maynard, Doc, Hirt as trumpet players). As for Joplin -- I fail to hear any substantial unique or measurable talent. Period. On the other hand, groups like the Loving Spoonful or the Zombies exhibited superior songwriting skill, arrangement inventiveness, and performance abilities. Yet, because they didn't take themselves seriously (by presenting the pompous rock-god image), they're not held in high esteem. Make no mistake, the musicianship of such groups plays circles around Jefferson Airplane, Moby Grape, Big Brother, etc.
  10. Dave

    Dave Well-Known Member

    Robin clearly started off as a Liza Minnelli competitor, with a bit of Lulu mixed with Petula Clark, to becoming more of someone in Barbra Streisand territory, and yes, both of her albums clearly reflected the direction of Pop Music at the time and the ever-more prominent role of the female vocalist... With the myriad number of ladies putting out singles and albums, the climate for this really couldn't have been better! Ms. Wilson truly had the gift and the knack for her craft, which sadly was on its way to becoming passe, like much of the other "cabaret women" and "lounge gals" of this type, as things shifted towards their more progressively, mellifluously, brighter future... Some divas such as Vikki Carr, however successfully continued this trend, while you've also had the likes of Bette Midler turning this into Camp...

    Sure this thing easily got unseated from its throne by simply the emergence of more younger sounds and yet more changing tastes and more advanced musical styling entering the scenes, despite the production being so skillful and the backing so enormous, suggesting that this new trend had to equally have something in it for producers/musicians/arrangers, as well as being a vehicle for the performer... It had been done in the 1960's, in the Rock World becoming Psychedelic so it was the Easy Listening World's turn in the 1970's as The Takeover by The Younger Generation, Part Deux...!

    The debut sported the uncredited crew of musicians as well as the handful of arrangers and the then-current A&M producer of its time... While the secondary release seems to have by later, the musicians listed and the hottest producer and sound engineer of the time, Bones Howe, (with his earlier credentials beefing up The 5th Dimension, to producing/engineering the newfound Timberline) to help flesh-out yet another changing direction of this genre which clearly hung on to the structure of its earlier incarnation...

    Easy to see that as the younger artists were beginning to finally get their album entries that a lot of this had to adapt to what the shape of things were to come in the coming decade such as Disco and stuff moving at more of a faster tempo, yet slow enough to still qualify as Soft Rock and Easy Listening, and yet a Brand to be embraced by the Younger Crowd, who would appreciate this newfound territory, as the former incarnation clearly failed to hold their interest compared to this lively new fad...

    Look for this market to then be occupied by the likes of The Carpenters, Donna Summer, Yvonne Elliman, Captain & Tennille, Paul McCartney and Elton John, among the countless others...

  11. I found a copy of this one back in the mid 70s, and the only reference I'd had was her 45 ("Where Are They Now"), a #35 Easy Listening hit in Billboard in late '69. My take, which hasn't changed over the years, is that she was a good singer but she--and the arrangements--were annoyingly predictable. Her style had little bit of Barbra, Vikki and Pet, solid but nothing her own, unfortunately. The arrangements were also out of an obvious pop bag referencing those ladies and many more--in other words, been there, done that. When the Lp was released in early '69 it got scant notice--the single was off the charts by then--and that delay might have hurt her a lot (that, and the lack of TV exposure that also made it hard to succeed in a pop genre already overrun with plenty of talent vying for the same gigs).

    Being a lifelong veteran of listening to just about anything except opera and polka, I know the 'adult pop' frequency pretty well, and Robin was a talent that I believe was molded into the nondescript singer heard on her albums. That's because she was surrounded by the industry equivalent of hacks--people for hire with real but rote skills in production, arrangement, conducting, musicianship--sometimes capable of a certain genius (Costa was well liked by Sinatra, and that's enough for me, but he's also the guy who watered down Paul Anka's potential) but not the people who could have taken her talent and given it HER touch more than theirs (think Carpenters, guided but not stifled by the pros around them).

  12. Big Brother had *two* of the most (shamefully) UNDER-rated guitarists in one band...EVER: Sam Andrew and James Gurley!
  13. Steve Sidoruk

    Steve Sidoruk Founder, A&M Fan Net Moderator

    Robin guested on "And All That Brass," the Kraft Music Hall show that Herb hosted. Not near my collection at the moment, but seem to recall that she sang "What Now My Love."
  14. Steve Sidoruk

    Steve Sidoruk Founder, A&M Fan Net Moderator

  15. Sometime in the past year I found copies of the two Robin Wilson albums, SP-4153 and SP-4299. Since arriving they've been awaiting my attention, and I've just managed to get the second of the two digitally transferred to CD-R for posterity.

    The copy I have of AIN'T THAT SOMETHING is a white-label promo in an Ansel Adams black & white innersleeve. The older album, self-titled is a stock copy.

    I digitized the second one first because I happen to really like Laura Nyro's "Hand's Off The Man (Flim-Flam Man)" and have tolerated its recording by Streisand who I mostly dislike. Robin's version is a competent and similar-sounding rendition and I rather like it. Robin's vocals to me sound a good bit like Vikki Carr, another vocalist of the era that recorded a bunch of tracks that I liked.

    Still waiting for me to digitize is Robin's first album. With time tight in the month of December, it might take awhile.
    Bobberman likes this.
  16. An oddity about the second album. The spine has only the artist name and catalog number. No title.
    Bobberman likes this.

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