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Blue Gene

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Album Review

This 1963 album found Gene Pitney pursuing the blend of rock, pop, and pre-rock ballads that defined his unique style. The big highlight of this album is "Twenty Hours From Tulsa," a guilt-wracked Burt Bacharach/Hal David narrative about a man who strays from fidelity just 24 hours shy of reaching his true love. This song blended Pitney's operatic sense of vocal drama with a unique melody, combining country guitar twang and Latin-styled horn arrangements to create an international pop hit. Other memorable tracks on Blue Gene include "Yesterday's Hero," which layers dramatic horns over an unusual tango-styled melody to back up its story of a forgotten lover, and "Half the Laughter, Twice the Tears," a hard-hitting "beat ballad" about a cheater's remorseful second thoughts that uses some surprising heavy fuzz guitars in its punchy arrangement. Other tracks provide a surprising contrast to the pop/rock aspirations of those highlights: A straightforward cover of the pre-rock ballad "I'll Be Seeing You" finds Pitney paying an elegant tribute to crooners like Frank Sinatra over a jazzy, string-laden arrangement, and the Neapolitan-styled ballad "Answer Me, My Love" points the way toward the dramatic Italian-language ballads Pitney would soon record. However, Blue Gene falls short of greatness because the occasional track misfires: The biggest culprit is the title track, a gimmicky track whose too-cutesy style of wordplay undercuts its fairly likable melody. Despite this occasional misstep, Blue Gene is a stylish and likable collection of songs that will please Gene Pitney fans. ~ Donald A. Guarisco, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Blue Gene

Can't believe I finally found this old album. A friend loaned it to me in college and I loved some of the songs. Have been searching for years to fulfill my nostalgic memories of this time in my life! Thank you Freddie Phillips for sharing your album with me so many years ago! Blue Gene and Yesterday's Hero are my favorites, but love them all!

Stereo or not??

This is one of Gene's best albums, period. The "official" review puts down the title track, and I respectfully disagree. The tune "Blue Gene" (originally recorded by Gene Vincent) is on of the albums highlights. It has a totally cool guitar riff, and it's haunting melody and echoing background singers make this one of Gene's all-time greats. It was released as a single in France, but sadly, nowhere else.

My main concern with this i-tunes release is that the cover shown here states "Stereo" on the front. However, all of the music samples here are not, they are monophonic. The original LP was released in both Mono and Stereo versions, with the Stereo being absolutely fantastic and far superior. The only CD release was issued in the 90's out of the UK (on a two-fer disc), and sadly, the Mono master was used. It sounds to me like that same Mono master is the one being sold here, and that breaks my heart. I truly wish the Stereophonic version was finally made available to the public in digital format.

While ANY version of this great album is worthwhile, it is just ashame that the definitive (Stereo) version is still not available.


Born: February 17, 1941 in Hartford, CT

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

One of the most interesting and difficult-to-categorize singers in '60s pop, Gene Pitney had a long run of hits distinguished by his pained, one-of-a-kind melodramatic wail. Pitney is sometimes characterized (or dismissed) as a shallow teen idol-type prone to operatic ballads. It's true that some of his biggest hits -- "Town Without Pity," "Only Love Can Break a Heart," "I'm Gonna Be Strong," "It Hurts to Be in Love," and "Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa" -- are archetypes of adolescent or just-post-adolescent...
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Blue Gene, Gene Pitney
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Pop, Music, Pop/Rock
  • Released: Feb 1964

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