Dan Penn - Is A Blue Bird Blue? (1959-1973)

Dan Penn is an American singer and songwriter.

Dan Penn's first solo album came out in 1973, but he had been making recordings all the way through the 60s, most of them destined to be used as demos for songs recorded by other artists. Recently Ace Records released The Fame Recordings, which featured twenty four of his demos recorded at Fame Studios in 1964 and 1965. However there are still other obscure Dan Penn recordings to be heard, and this compilation brings together another twenty two of them, dating from 1959 to 1973. 
Before he decided to focus on songwriting and producing, he tried releasing singles under his own name (or pseudonyms such as Danny Lee and Lonnie Ray), but none of them ever went anywhere. The earliest was "Crazy Over You" b/w "You Don't Treat Me Right" on the Earth label in 1959. Other singles between 1962 and 1965 were "How's The World Treating You" b/w "Stop Calling Me Baby" (United Artists), "Close To Me" b/w "Let Them Talk" (Fame), "Just As I Am" b/w "Diamonds" (Fame), "I'm Your Puppet" b/w "Is A Blue Bird Blue" (MGM) and "Willie And The Hand Jive" b/w "I Need Someone" (MGM). "I'm Your Puppet" and "Just As I Am" can be found on The Fame Recordings, and all the other sides are here. After James & Bobby Purify took "I'm Your Puppet" to the Top 10 in 1966, Penn decided to focus just on songwriting and stopped releasing his own singles. Also featured here are five more great demos from his time at Fame which cannot be found on The Fame Recordings.
In 1967 he left Muscle Shoals for Memphis to work as a producer for Chips Moman's American Sound Studio. He never released any solo work whilst at American, which is a great shame, as two songs here from 1968 suggest he could have made a wonderful first album at this time - "Nice Place To Visit" and "Love Is Strange" (the former by Donnie Fritts, and the latter a dramatic reworking of the old Mickey & Sylvia hit) have big arrangements complete with strings and backing singers. The compilation is finished off by some early 70s recordings from his own Beautiful Sounds studio in Memphis, where he recorded his debut album.
Note that this compilation is pieced together from a variety of dusty sources, and some of the recordings aren't very good quality, so be prepared for some scratchy vinyl hiss!

More from Dan Penn



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ziggi said...

Wonderful wonderful wonderful!!!

Supersonic75 said...

Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for these Dan Penn albums.
Cheers Dan.