Listen/Download – Brenda Lee – Is It True
I hope everyone had a chance to dig this month’s edition of the Iron Leg Radio Show. If you haven’t it – like the previous nine episodes – will be available in the Radio Show Archive (click on the tab in the header).
The tune I bring you today is especially groovy, for not one, but two very interesting reasons.
She is really remembered today mostly for her early rock tunes (edging up on rockabilly) and her later career as a country singer, but there was a period in the early to mid 60s where Brenda Lee was applying her powerful, emotion-laden voice to some very interesting material.
When I wrote about ‘The Crying Game’ I speculated on how she might have happened upon the tune, guessing (thanks to some help from my man Mack at This Is Tomorrow) that a regional charting of the Ian and the Zodiacs recording may have been the link.
Flash forward three years and another mid-60s Brenda Lee 45 pops up on my radar (on a friend’s sale list). I checked out the sound clip, dug the tune and managed to get it very cheaply.
Then I start to do some research on the tune and discover that Brenda Lee had in fact recorded the tune in the UK, in 1964 with (first interesting thing) Jimmy Page on guitar and Mickie Most producing!
‘Is It True’ is a great bit of beat group action with some muscular guitar by the aforementioned Mr Page that was a Top 20 hit in the UK and managed to break into the Top 40 in many US markets.
The (second) interesting thing is that lee recorded is it true on September 17, 1964, when a little tune called ‘The Crying Game’ (Dave Berry’s version) happened to be a Top 5 hit in the UK.
Whether Brenda Lee heard and dug the song, or had a demo passed to her by Geoff Stephens, it seems likely that she first encountered the song in the UK.
I may be among the minority that revels in this kind of minutae, but I find it fascinating.
If you get the chance, pick up the UK issue of the 45, which comes with a smoking version of ‘What’d I Say’ on the flip.
I hope you do to, and that you dig the song.
See you next week
*I just realized that ‘The Crying Game’ may be the most posted song in the history of Iron Leg