Frankie Laine is my Mum's favourite singer and one of only two recording artists in my experience who have the power to thoroughly transport her emotionally, the other being Glenn Miller (I once came home from school to find her dancing with a squeezy mop to 'Moonlight Serenade').
I always thought of Frankie as a cowboy because of how he looked on this album cover and because he sang songs about riding through the desert in search of water and High Noon and, famously, the TV themes to 'Champion The Wonder Horse' and 'Rawhide', but he was in truth a Chicago-born Italian-American whose real name was Francesco Lovecchio.
The Italian (Sicilian) ancestry might account for the operatic feel Frankie brought to his singing. He had a truly remarkable voice. I loved it, and I loved the dramatic arrangements - the brass and the tango tempo shifts in 'Jealousy' - the overblown passion of it all. I've been wanting to get some of his stuff for years but it's a nightmare trying to find the original recordings in a sea of cheap compilations since in later life, like many singers of his generation, Laine re-recorded his big hits and the new versions are unlistenably awash with synthesised strings and drum machines - just awful.
This budget Hallmark LP was the one I grew up with - I expect Mum bought it in Woolies. I've seen it a few times in charity shops, but always in terrible nick. Today I found a near mint copy - for a quid.
Saddle up and show 'em how it's done, Frankie.
Frankie Laine - 'Jealousy' (1951)
Frankie Laine - 'Cool Water' (1955)