REVIEWS: Singer: Gloria Gaynor; Composer: Rachmaninoff; Singer: Perry Como


by Peter Cates

Gloria Gaynor

I Will Survive
Substitute; Polydor PD 14508, stereo seven-inch vinyl 45, released 1978.

Gloria Gaynor

Born in 1949, Gloria Gaynor grew up in Newark, New Jersey, living in poverty but commenting in her memoirs about a happy childhood with food on the table, lots of laughter and music emanating from the radio and phonograph. She mentioned Nat King Cole and Sarah Vaughan as her favorite singers, while acknowledging her father’s example as a guitarist and ukulele player in local clubs.

Gaynor and the late Donna Summers are two disco singers I enjoy a lot from the disco era, one I otherwise avoid and the 45 for this week contains two superb hits. A great one from the ‘70s.


2nd Piano Concerto
Franck Symphonic Variations – Alexis Weissenberg, pianist, with Herbert von Karajan conducting the Berlin Philharmonic; Angel S 36905, 12-inch stereo vinyl LP, recorded 1973.

Sergei Rachmaninoff

For anyone trying to pick just one recording of the Concerto or Symphonic Variations that would stand repeated hearings and give consistent satisfaction in the long run, this pairing, which is currently also available in CD or streaming format, is totally recommended. The late pianist Alexis Weissenberg (1929-2012) played with a refined, exquisite and powerful level of excellence while Herbert von Karajan’s conducting achieved depths of beauty beyond even his own usual level of excellence.

The Rach 2nd does not seem to be available presently in CD form but it might be found by scouring various CD websites. And, both it and the Franck can be heard via YouTube !

Perry Como

You Alone; Pa-paya Mama;
RCA Victor, 20-5447, 10-inch shellac 78 record, recorded 1953.

Perry Como

I have written about the great Perry Como (1911-2001) previously in this column, I find the two selections above very captivating novelty songs that were justifiably hits, and I wish also to cite the gifted arranger, Hugo Winterhalter (1909-1973); his charts for Como, the Ames Brothers, Buddy Clark, Jaye P. Morgan, Eddie Fisher, etc., gave these artists a quality of beauty, excitement and class that was priceless.

All of the above recordings can be heard on YouTube!


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