Illustrator: R.A. Andreas.
Photographer: R.A. Andreas.
Myrna Lorrie is a fixture in Canadian country music -- she was inducted into the Canadian Country Hall of Music Fame in 1989 -- but Bear Family's 2012 collection Hello Baby (part of their ongoing Juke Box Pearls series) spotlights her brief run at American stardom in the late '50s. She signed with Abbott, where her first recording was "Are You Mine," a duet with Buddy DeVal that she co-wrote (later recorded by George Jones & Margie Singleton and Loretta Lynn & Conway Twitty), but its flip, "You Bet I Kissed Him," gives a better indication of the kind of music Lorrie made during the late '50s. She was a teenager and she sounded like it -- bright, chipper, and cheerful, singing about new loves and broken hearts. The sentiment and sometimes the sound were tinted by teenage concerns but Lorrie was a forceful vocalist supported by a crack professional band, particularly when she shifted to RCA in 1957 for sessions produced by Steve Sholes and Chet Atkins. The latter helmed the hopping "Hello Baby," a boogie with just enough rockabilly to suit a sock hop, the sweet slow-dancing Lorrie original "Tradewinds," and a bit of island exotica in "On a Little Bamboo Bridge." None of these tore up the charts, however, and she soon returned to Canada, where she spent a few quiet years before returning as the host of a TV variety program. Hello Baby rounds up all the existing recordings for Abbott and RCA, including several unreleased songs, and while there may be a hair too many alternate takes (sequenced at some space apart from each other), this is charming music thanks in no small part to Myrna Lorrie's adolescent exuberance. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine