Monday, April 23, 2018

Natalie Cole - Budweiser Concert of the Month on Westwood One (1982)

So I'm wandering through a local record joint on Record Store Day this past Saturday and the above cover catches my eye. I vaguely remember Westwood One concerts and specials playing on the radio in the '80s, but they weren't appointment listening each week (unlike AT40). I quickly checked the cover and labels, but there was no mention of artist, no show insert, just a show number: BC-82-6. The LP was $4, so I bought it on a whim, hoping the 82 stood for 1982.

Once home, I put it on the turntable and, following a beer ad, heard the following introduction: "This time out, we travel to the Savoy* in New York for an hour with an elegant and sophisticated lady, Natalie Cole!" A quick search of Billboard magazine and the New York Times revealed that the episode played on Friday, March 26, 1982, recorded on November 17-18, 1981.

Billboard, March 20, 1982, p. 29
I have the germaphobe habit of cleaning used album covers with a disinfecting wipe because who knows where those things have been. It was as I was cleaning this LP's cover that I noticed an older, small price tag stuck in the upper right corner of the blank back cover:

$40?? Did I stumble upon a collector's item? Other than the above Billboard and NYT mentions, I can't find any info about this concert or show anywhere, so could be. Despite the poor editing and canned crowd noise, Cole and her band deliver the goods and the show is worth more than the $4 I paid. Anyhoo, I ripped a digital copy of the thing, so here ya go. Enjoy.

Side 1:
  • Intro
  • Sophisticated Lady (She's a Different Lady), originally on the 1976 album, Natalie
  • Lovers - 1977, Thankful
  • Mr. Melody - 1976, Natalie
  • I've Got Love on My Mind - 1977, Unpredictable
  • Smooth jazz version of "This Bud's for You"
  • silence for local ads
  • Nothin' but a Fool - 1981, Happy Love
  • The Joke is on You - 1981, Happy Love
  • Annie Mae - 1977, Thankful
  • Stevie Wonder-ish version of "This Bud's for You"
Side 2:
  • Inseparable - 1975, Inseparable
  • This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) - 1975, Inseparable
  • These Eyes - 1981, Happy Love, Guess Who cover
  • The Man With The Child In His Eyes - Kate Bush cover
  • Rick James-ish version of "This Bud's for You" incorporating "Give It to Me Baby"
  • silence for local ads
  • Piece of My Heart - Erma Franklin cover
  • Our Love - 1977, Thankful
And if you haven't subscribed to my YouTube channel, please do.

*The short-lived Savoy opened as a nightclub and rock venue in 1981 on the site of the Hudson Theatre. The Hudson Theatre originally opened on October 19, 1903, with the premiere of Cousin Kate, starring theatre legend Ethel Barrymore. Later, Hudson Theatre management transitioned when producer Henry B. Harris perished on the RMS Titanic. His wife Rene Harris survived and took over management for the Hudson Theatre, becoming the first female producer in New York City. Eventually, NBC purchased the Hudson in the 1950s for use as a television studio for live programs such as The Tonight Show. In 1980, concert promoter Ron Delsener refurbished the Hudson Theatre and renamed it the Savoy, an unsuccessful nightclub and rock venue. The former Hudson Theatre became a New York City landmark and is currently housed within the Millennium Broadway Hotel. [from]

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