Monday, September 8, 2014

Donna De Lory-Donna De Lory (1992)

ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: September 8, 2014

It's not Madonna, but the lady who served as a long-time backup for the original Material Girl during the latter part of the 80's and well into the early part of the New Millennium. And coincidentally, she herself is a Donna—Donna De Lory, to be exact. A good friend of mine always tells me how these artists get their big start singing in the background for other established artists, and that is definitely true in De Lory's case. Belinda Carlisle, Carly Simon, Ray Parker, Jr., Kim Carnes, Santana, Martika, Laura Branigan, Selena and Bette Midler: some really cool company she had hooked up with (though I honestly don't remember hearing her singing backup for anybody in that list, even as many times as I've listened to Belinda, Ray, Laura and Selena over the years), but there was probably not a better singer in the pop music universe at the time to hook up with than the worldwide famous Madonna, who had emerged as a big-time pop superstar back in the awesome 80's. In some ways, I see De Lory as the early 90's mirror image of the original Material Girl; that's what I gathered after the first time I'd heard "Think It Over", which had to have been long before I even got her self-titled solo album and very well may be the only song I remember of De Lory's from my childhood.....and it's a good song to play over and over, too. Vocally and stylistically, the two ladies are a match—kinda that tantalizingly sweet purr going on with the voice (I myself picture De Lory sounding like a cat at times on this album) and that sugary, romantic playfulness going on with the lyrics. Except I'd say De Lory is more of a rocker while Madonna is pretty much just a mainstream popper. But just like Madonna, DeLory's music is enticingly catchy all the same, thanks to some nifty production. Some of that playful nature of hers is exhibited following the opener with the perky tune "Shiny Red World", then again on "It's My House" (this one's cute and catchy, and I like the part where De Lory sings 'this ain't no heartbreak hotel') and "Down For The Count" (you can tell from the title that somebody's gonna the knockout punch here, except it's De Lory's man and not De Lory herself, as she declares to him that their love is what's down for the count). It's not Madonna's "Like A Prayer", but Track #3's "Praying For Love" is heavenly pop bliss. Though another coincidence strikes up here in that the inclusion of the organ giving the song a sacred, religious overtone, much like the church organ does all throughout "Like A Prayer". And I may as well go ahead and serve up the third coincidence popped up in this discussion: Madonna herself providing the background vocals to "Just A Dream", one of her own hits from—coincidentally again (that makes four!)—her "Like A Prayer" album. Didn't even remember that song in the slightest; it's been too long since I listened to that album all the way through, and besides that, it wasn't among my favorites like "Oh Father", "Express Yourself" and "Keep It Together" were. It's one place where the rock element is very noticeable—here, plus Track #5's "Frankie (You Don't Need That Gun)" (I like the moody, suspenseful edge to the melody). There's a couple of tracks in particular where De Lory's voice is all high and mighty: the tenderly touching "Somewhere In My Heart" and "World With No Shame". Then if there was a song that I adored solely because of the beat, that would have to be the very last one, "You Got Love"; something in the funky way the rhythm swings and the way the melody bounces along alongside it that attracts me to it. De Lory may not have ever been a material girl in her own right, but she had all of the right materials for constructing such a wonderful collection of easy-to-like tunes here on her debut:

1. Think It Over
2. Shiny Red World
3. Praying For Love
4. Somewhere In My Heart
5. Frankie (You Don't Need That Gun)
6. It's My House
7. Just A Dream
8. World With No Shame
9. Down For The Count
10. You Got Love

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