Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#624 in the Series) is Loey Nelson, Venus Kissed the Moon
I’ve wanted to do a piece on this Loey Nelson album almost since I started the website. What’s always stopped me has been the fact that it’s long been out of print, and it wasn’t available on any of the download nor streaming services. Also, nothing from it was on YouTube. So I could yap until I was New York Giant blue in the face and most likely, no one would have a clue what I was talking about. So I couldn’t really share this absolutely marvelous album without being able to hand out any samples to the class.
But alas! I’ve literally been checking YouTube on a regular basis, hoping some kind soul would upload at least a few of the tracks. Then when I checked yesterday, not only were there a couple songs, but I notice that besides the few songs that I considered as “must have” tracks have appeared, but the full album was now on YouTube. That’s said, I’m posting this quickly, you never know how long the goods are going to be available.
I hope you can feel the excitement in my words as I write this piece. I really have been wanting to tell everyone about this record for so long like I mentioned previously. I just got a chance to listen to it in its entirety and 22 years after its release, to me it plays as strong as ever. This is one of those rare albums that I absolutely adored the first time I played it and I have not tired of it whatsoever. I say that because I often have a running theme in my pieces. That is in most cases, the longer it takes me or people in general to “get into” an album the longer it stays with you, not the case with Loey Nelson.
I only had this on CD and for some reason I never noticed until just yesterday who comprised Loey’s backing band. I was blown away when I saw that the rhythm section was none other than Leland Sklar and Russ Kunkel. On guitar she had Jon Gordon. Jon has played with the likes of Suzanne Vega and Madonna. He now owns his own studio in New York City. He played the solo on “Luka.” The keyboard player was Charlie Giordano. Do you know that name? He’s now a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band having replaced the late Danny Federici.
It’s very hard to pigeonhole a genre for this album but I guess I must try somehow to let you know at least a little of what sounds like. I guess you can say soft jazz as a starting point but I don’t even feel comfortable with using that. Let me try this, if Diane Krall needed a perfect opening act for one of her tours, then she couldn’t go wrong if she gave Loey Nelson a call.
There are 12 tracks in all on “Venus Kissed the Moon.” The entire set is quite strong with a number of them needing special mention. The main song that has to be mentioned is a cover and it just may be my favorite cover of all time, especially if you narrow it down to those where the new artist completely changes the arrangement and “makes it her own.” The song I’m referring to is the Lulu classic “To Sir With Love.” I like this even better than the original as it’s much more of a moving rendition. She slows the track down considerably. Maybe the original would have been better for the movie, but as a song on its own? Then I’ll take this version. If I remember correctly this was the first song I heard from the album. I was so intrigued I had to hear the rest.
Another song that is absolutely incredible is the lengthy “Only the Shadow Knows.” Loey begins with the killer a cappella intro which leads into a great groove led especially by Leland Sklar’s bass line.
I would say the first song on side two “All or Nothing” could have made a great single but most of this music is just too good for top 40 radio. This track actually has a little bit of a “Blondie” feel to it as I can sometimes hear a little bit of Debbie Harry in her voice.
“Angels” is great if you want to hear the guitar work of Jon Gordon.
The album ends with a wonderful song called “Night Sky.” You can hear Loey at her vocal best as this on is accompanied only by piano with a little bit of accordion towards the end.
I hope you spent some time listening to this wonderful release on the video playlist below but if you only have a few minutes then at least listen to “To Sir With Love” and “Only The Shadow Knows.” I’ve added just those two songs in a second playlist which lies just below the full album playlist.
Lastly, I can’t find this available anywhere really, It’s long our of print and the download nor the streaming services carry it. That’s why I’m adding a link to Loey’s music on eBay.
I’d love to hear your opinions on this one.
(A Special Thank You to “tashikitten” for posting the music on YouTube)
- Morning Glory
- Only The Shadows Know
- Venus Kissed The Moon
- Railroad Track
- Gypsy Rose
- To Sir With Love
- All Or Nothing
- East Of The Sun
- Black Highway
- Night Sky
- Loey Nelson – vocals, guitar
- Russ Kunkel – drums
- Jon Gordon – guitar
- Leland Sklar – bass
- Charlie Giordano – keyboards
Here are just the two Highlighted tracks “To Sire With Love” and “Only the Shadow Knows.”