Loey Nelson “Venus Kissed the Moon”

Posted 06 Feb 2012 in Albums of 1990, Albums of the 90s, Pop, Vocal

 

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.

–Larry Carta

(A Special Thank You to “tashikitten” for posting the music on YouTube)

Track Listings

Side One

  1. Morning Glory
  2.  Only The Shadows Know
  3. Venus Kissed The Moon
  4. Railroad Track
  5. Gypsy Rose
  6. To Sir With Love
Side Two
  1. All Or Nothing
  2. East Of The Sun
  3. Black Highway
  4. Angels
  5. Gabriel
  6. Night Sky

Personnel

  • Loey Nelson – vocals, guitar
  • Russ Kunkel – drums
  • Jon Gordon – guitar
  • Leland Sklar – bass
  • Charlie Giordano – keyboards

Links

Listen to Loey Nelson in it’s entirety below

Here are just the two Highlighted tracks “To Sire With Love” and “Only the Shadow Knows.”

Posted by Larry Carta

12 Comments

  1. Bill (07 Feb 2012, 0:13)
    Reply

    Just bought it. What does that tell you?

  2. Jason Badgley (08 Feb 2012, 13:49)
    Reply

    I thought you would get more comments on this…anyway, I liked it, generally. I don’t know that I was blown away by it, but she’s definitely talented and has a very soothing voice (I would say much better than Debra Harry, personally). I agree that it’s hard to categorize, but I probably wouldn’t say quiet jazz, although she has some jazz flavors in there. Some pop, one song was quite bluesy, and several were very country-tinted. Nice subtle instrumentation for the most part. I assume she wrote most of the songs (?). And you didn’t mention what happened to her…did she just quit the business or what? I’m always curious what happens to these people – do they just go get a job at the post office or something?

    • Larry Carta (08 Feb 2012, 16:03)
      Reply

      Jason, I’d love to have added something about what happened to her but I couldn’t find much. No website, no facebook page. There is video of her singing “How High the Moon” with Les Paul on YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgUI1gphPJc

  3. Bruce (08 Feb 2012, 14:36)
    Reply

    This is one of those gems that I have in my collection that no one knows about. Several tracks get played on a “favorites” play list on my house system. Now and then someone will hear one of the tracks and ask” Who is that?”. It’s one of those kind of albums.

    Thought I remembered hearing that she was the daughter of the Mayor of Milwaukee at the time of the recording.

    • Larry Carta (08 Feb 2012, 15:59)
      Reply

      Bruce, I had heard that back in the day as well. It turns out however, that it was her brother. His name was John Norquist.

  4. Heathor Kulber (09 Feb 2012, 14:23)
    Reply

    I played drums behind Loey in Milwaukee in the early 80’s – beautiful person! She actually wrote & performed “All or Nothing” when she was with our band, In the Hey/The Sirens. I heard she was doing hair out in Beverly Hills when she made this album – I’ve got it on CD from back in the day…don’t know what she’s doing now, Would love to know!

  5. Dave (15 Mar 2012, 9:35)
    Reply

    i must admit i have fallen in love with this record

  6. Brian (28 Jul 2012, 12:30)
    Reply

    I’ve had this CD since it came out in 1990 and I love it. I think I discovered Loey’s music through my public radio station KERA, back when they played great music. Amazon and CD Universe have the CD for $2:
    http://www.amazon.com/Venus-Kissed-Moon-Loey-Nelson/dp/B000008IUZ.
    http://www.cduniverse.com/search/xx/music/pid/4231200/a/Venus+Kissed+The+Moon.htm
    Loey was later the lead singer for Carnival Strippers on their album Reveal from 1994.

  7. GroovyKinda (24 Feb 2013, 22:32)
    Reply

    I got this album when it came out-I was program director at a small radio station in the 80’s- and I loved it so much I kept it when I left.
    It’s a really great album. A lost treasure that I bring out to share with friends. What a wonderful talent. One could only imagine how great her second album would’ve been.

  8. Chuck Padgett (14 Sep 2013, 19:33)
    Reply

    This album is one of my favorite blind discoveries from my years of used/bargain CD bin diving. Bought it not long after it came out and had a similar reaction. Loved it immediately and still do 20+ years on. And “To Sir Wih Love” is simply gorgeous. That cello! I sure wish she would play a show somewhere. Anywhere. I’d travel to be in the same room as that voice.

  9. BigFan (23 Oct 2013, 11:09)
    Reply

    I’ve had this CD for about 15 years. Picked it up in a bargain bin and loved it immediately. Every song is great. I would just echo what others have said about her.

    Still a vinyl junkie and only last week realized this was released on vinyl. Ordered a used copy through discogs and can’t wait for it to arrive. Also as was mentioned she released an album as the lead singer for Carnival Strippers. Just picked that up new on Amazon for $4 which included shipping. Came yesterday so plan on checking it out tonight.

    If you are able to buy the CD, or vinyl : ). You won’t be disappointed!



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