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Love Me

Johnnie Ray

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Album Review

Love Me combines 15 of Johnnie Ray's romantic ballads and uptempo pop numbers recorded for Columbia in the '50s, alongside three duets with Doris Day and six tracks recorded live at the London Palladium. While studio hits like "Cry" and "The Little White Cloud That Cried" have been readily available on CD for years, and the Doris Day duets are an acquired taste, the highlight of this package is the live Palladium material from 1954. Even in the studio, Johnnie Ray was an impassioned vocalist and performer, but that doesn't compare to the frenzy he could brew when in front of an audience. Ray would get so wound up he would drop to his knees and sob, earning him such mocking nicknames as "the Prince of Wails" and "the Cry Guy." Flippancy aside, the Palladium section reminds — or reveals, depending on your age — that for a few brief years, Johnnie Ray caused mass hysteria equal to that of Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley.

Biography

Born: 10 January 1927 in Dallas, OR

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Although practically deaf, Johnnie Ray's tear-inflected delivery tabbed him as an early-'50s sensation. Leaving Oregon for Detroit, Ray found a gig at the Flame Club, an R&B and jazz institution. In 1951, Ray signed with Columbia's R&B subsidiary Okeh Records, although "Cry," his histrionic million-seller that year, was a pop entry all the way, with background vocals by the Four Lads. Produced by Mitch Miller, "Cry" remained perched atop the pop charts for nearly three months. Ray encored...
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Love Me, Johnnie Ray
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