For Brenda Lee fans Ace records is the place to be as this latest pairing of two classic LPs makes its appearance. It covers a phase of her life spanning the summer of 1962 until the spring of 1963, was a little more eventful, dramatic even, than the steady, measured grind of the preceding years, though this had more to do with events in her private life than with her professional activities, which had taken on an international dimension.
“Brenda, That’s All”, released in the wake of her US hits, ‘Everybody Loves Me But You’ and ‘Heart In Hand’, was assembled from three sessions held on 17, 18 and 21 May 1962, save for Why Me (cut on 8 March) and Fool #1, an earlier hit single dating back to 30 August 1961. Released on 15 October 1962, “Brenda, That’s All” lingered on Billboard’s LP chart for 22 weeks, peaking at #20.
That November, Brenda enjoyed a huge international hit with ‘All Alone Am I’, a single that lent its name to an LP of the same title. This was recorded over three sessions held on 8, 9 and 12 December 1962, with only the title track stemming from an earlier session held on 9 August. Released on 18 February 1963, the LP spent an impressive 31 weeks on the LP chart, peaking at #25.
As before, both albums, together with the singles, were recorded in Nashville under the direction of Owen Bradley.
On 30 December 1962, the luxury home Brenda shared with her mother in the Nashville suburb of Brentwood was destroyed by fire. Though there were no human casualties, Brenda was distraught over the loss of her beloved pet poodle, Cee Cee, and sentimental keepsakes such as her collection of eighty stuffed animals and the Gold Disc she had received for I’m Sorry. An electrical fault was found to be the cause.
In early March 1963, Brenda flew to Germany to make some German language recordings for the local market under the direction of orchestral maestro and fellow Decca artist Bert Kaemphert. She also found time to perform for servicemen at US bases before departing for England to undertake her second tour of that country, together with some British opening acts, for promoter Don Arden.
Brenda also had a burning secret that she found hard to keep: the following month she was pledged to marry 21 year-old Ronnie Shacklett at a ceremony in Nashville. The next phase of her life was about to begin.
By ROB FINNIS