Divas Bassey and Warwick offer up comeback albums

By  Bill Dahl

Boogie pianist Sugar Chile Robinson, who had 1949 R&B smashes with “Numbers Boogie” and “Caldonia” for Capitol when his pint-sized legs were barely long enough to hit the pedals, is making a comeback at age 69.

Robinson recently headlined the Rhythm Riot Festival in Camber, England, his first British concert appearance in more than 50 years. He retired from secular musical pursuits in 1954.

The French Classics label has released a comprehensive CD, 1949-1952, of Robinson’s Capitol catalog.

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ShirleyBasseyCD.jpgWelsh diva Shirley Bassey is back with Get the Party Started, her first album in a decade; it drops March 18.

Bassey, perhaps best known for singing theme songs to the James Bond movies “Moonraker,” “Goldfinger” and “Diamonds Are Forever,” collaborates with writer-producers Catherine Feeney and Nikki Lamborn on the Decca effort. It includes their song, “The Living Tree,” as well as Bassey’s renditions of the title track  (a hit for Pink), “I (Who Have Nothing),” “I Will Survive” and “You Only Live Twice,” another Bond theme.

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DionneWarwickLookRight.jpgDionne Warwick returns to her sanctified roots with a new gospel CD, Why We Sing, out March 18 on Rhino.

The disc ranges from “Battle Hymn Of The Republic” to more contemporary fare, including duets with BeBe Winans; her sister, Dee Dee Warwick; and her son David Elliott. Her son Damon produced much of the album.

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The anthologies Stax Does the Beatles and Stax Sings Songs of Motown Records will hit the streets Feb. 26 on Stax Records, now owned by Concord Music Group.

Freshly compiled from the Memphis label’s archives, The Beatles disc draws from the Booker T. & the MG’s McLemore Avenue album as well as performances by Otis Redding, Issac Hayes, David Porter, the Mar-Keys and Carla Thomas.

Hayes’ mellow treatment of the Jackson 5’s “Never Can Say Goodbye” is joined on the Motown set by sides from Margie Joseph, the Staple Singers, Barbara Lewis and the Soul Children.

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JohnnyRivers1221.jpgJohnny Rivers is slated to sit down for an interview at the South by Southwest Music Conference in Austin, Texas, March 12-16.

Also scheduled to appear: Lou Reed and Daryl Hall. Rivers is working on a new album due out before year’s end.

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