Liner notes for the Cuddle Up with Claudine compilation
I never intended to be a Claudine Longet fan. Honest.
I'm just old enough to faintly remember Longet's days as a vilified tabloid queen, following her 1976 killing of skier/boyfriend Spider Sabich. I certainly would have recognized Andy Williams' name by then, and the evening news would have informed me that Longet was his ex-wife. Yet I didn't know the first thing about her singing and acting career. Such was the nature of her meager fame.
This is a typical perspective, nowadays. That awful event, and the subsequent trial, are her lasting legacy to pop culture. Some might remember her appearances in Williams' Christmas specials. Others might recall her one major acting role, opposite Peter Sellers in the 1968 film "The Party." But if you mention her name on the street, most folks will just scratch their heads and say "Um...didn't she shoot a skier or something?" It doesn't help that "Saturday Night Live"'s most legendary bad-taste gag is a mock sportscast where footage of crashing skiers is narrated as if Longet is taking "accidental" target practice. Ouch.
Admittedly, such notoriety prompted my own belated introduction to her music, long after she had retreated into seclusion. In the late '80s, I was hosting a weekly radio show at my university's student-run station, and I often dug into the station's extensive library of ancient vinyl, looking for curiosities to torment listeners. One night, I pulled out a well-worn compilation titled Music Box. It was just a cheap promotional sampler from A&M Records. The tracks were dominated by stalwarts like Herb Alpert and Sergio Mendes, but buried on the second side was a track called "It's Hard to Say Goodbye" by one Claudine Longet. I snickered perversely. Say, that's the woman from the Sabich trial! I grabbed the record, and played the tune on the air a few minutes later.
The startling thing was...I actually liked it. I couldn't even grasp why, but this was part of the intrigue. Sure, the song was nicely arranged and had a sweet melody, but the vocals were the key. Some strange nugget of magic in those lispy words. Sensual but not sexy. Haunting yet innocent. Sweet, yet pushed to the edge of saccharine nausea. I was simultaneously charmed and horrified. Pop music is littered with ingenues, but there was something especially magnetic about this one. Longet wasn't "darling," "coquettish" or "bubbly." She was almost emotionally blank. She asked me to fill in the space, myself. Was she melancholy? Gentle? Confessional? Seductive? Merely shy? Or did she just have a limited, soft-spoken voice which happened to perfectly suit this brand of fluffy pop balladry? Maybe the latter is closest to the truth.
In any case, I quickly added Longet's name to my mental shopping list. It didn't take me long to find a secondhand copy of Love Is Blue, the album which includes "It's Hard to Say Goodbye." That record only fueled my interest further. Over the next few years, I managed to find three of her other A&M albums (Claudine, The Look of Love and Colours), all at bargain-basement prices. I'd recurrently play them on my radio show, naturally -- her placid tunes were always a breath of fresh air after playing an ugly set of Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr and the Butthole Surfers.
My primary tastes stayed in a more adventurous, contemporary vein, but my soft spot for Claudine Longet endured in the background -- even if I never met another Longet fan, and gradually became aware that other French singers like Françoise Hardy and France Gall earned far more respect. After all, those women had stayed true to their European roots, rather than migrating overseas and marrying an American easy-listening icon. They also had more to offer than just cannibalized versions of other artists' hits. But, no matter...Claudine was still my girl.
Despite this fetish, another few years passed before I even knew she had other albums. There are scores of pop/rock encyclopedias and record guides, but it's not like you'll find Longet in any of them. What's a second-generation fan to do? I finally stumbled on her obscure fifth album (Run Wild, Run Free) at a parking-lot sale, and similarly discovered Let's Spend the Night Together about a year later. I needed the Internet to turn up copies of We've Only Just Begun and Sugar Me, and this was even further down the road. Of course, the latter three are the hardest albums to find, being her post-A&M sessions for Williams' own Barnaby label. There aren't as many copies of these, strewn around garage sales and thrift shops. Luckily, you don't have to worry about finding them. You have this compilation, instead.
Longet's showbiz career always seemed like somewhat a fluke, or a lucky stroke of circumstance. Needless to say, her success was largely due to Williams' patronage. They had originally met in Las Vegas. He was a superstar. She was a teenage dancer in the Folies Bergère. Legend has it that she had car trouble, and he stopped to help. Who could blame him? It was a chance meeting, straight out of the movies. Romance quickly blossomed despite the 14 years between them, and the two became a couple. After they were married in 1961, she took some time off for motherhood (a daughter, Noelle), but launched an acting career a few years later. She guested on television shows like "McHale's Navy," Dr. Kildare," "Twelve O'Clock High," "Combat!" and "Hogan's Heroes," and added some welcome femininity to the earlier "McHale's Navy" film. She also dutifully appeared in her husband's family Christmas specials, which soon became a holiday tradition. She had a second child (son Christian) in 1964, but her public life took an important turn in May, 1966, when she appeared on the series "Run for Your Life."
"Run for Your Life" was a NBC adventure show, starring Ben Gazzara as a man diagnosed with only a short time left to live. As a result, he decides to spend his remaining days traveling the world, straining to live as much life as possible before his abrupt demise. The Emmy-nominated series shared a creator and general format with its more famous precedent, "The Fugitive," and was a critical and commercial success during its 1965-68 run. Longet played Gazzara's romantic interest, a novelist based on Françoise Sagan (best known for writing Bonjour Tristesse). Yet it wasn't her acting which made the role most notable. During the first of her two appearances on the show, Longet crooned her version of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Meditation." The performance generated such a buzz that Herb Alpert offered her a contract with A&M Records.
The resulting debut, Claudine, remains her best-selling album, and her only RIAA-certified Gold release. The subsequent A&M records weren't as successful, though they all have some choice tracks. The blend of material was fairly consistent. Show tunes, international exotica, a film theme, a Beatle tune or two...a safe, crowd-pleasing mix of proven favorites. Still, she deserves a nod for giving exposure to before-their-time songwriters like John Denver, Randy Newman, Gordon Lightfoot and Paul Williams. Poor Randy even plays piano on Colours, for heaven's sake! As the albums continued to roll out, she added more film and television credits. Her shy, photogenic smile turned up in "The Name of the Game," "The F.B.I.," "The Rat Patrol" and, naturally, several episodes of "The Andy Williams Show."
Around this time, she landed her most famous acting role, co-starring with Peter Sellers in Blake Edwards' "The Party." As a gentle starlet fighting off the advances of her sleazy agent (played by the affable Gavin MacLeod, of all people), Longet is charmed and won over by Sellers' character, an accident-prone Indian actor named Hrundi V. Bakshi. Physical slapstick is the focus of this nearly plotless film, which arranges a parade of carefully choreographed set pieces within a swank, Hollywood dinner party. In Longet's primary scene, she picks up an acoustic guitar and sings for the other guests. The tune is a lovely Henry Mancini ballad, "Nothing to Lose." Her version was left off the soundtrack album, and only released on a 45 RPM single. It remains the most coveted track of Longet collectors.
Unfortunately, her near-autobiographical role in "The Party" didn't convince anyone that she deserved more starring parts. She acted in just one more film, a made-for-TV movie which is so undistinguished that it's known by three different titles ("How to Steal an Airplane," "The Scavengers" or "Only One Day Left Before Tomorrow," depending on whom you ask). Don't bother checking your video store. Meanwhile, the rest of her life was also in a downturn. Her record sales had leveled off and, more importantly, her marriage was ending. By 1970, she and Williams were separated, though they didn't formally divorce until five years later.
At this crucial juncture, Longet made a strange career move. Despite her crumbling marriage, she parted ways with A&M and signed with Williams' new imprint, Barnaby. "Even though the marriage was over, they had a friendship," explained former Barnaby president Ken Mansfield. "They were very involved with each other, and with the kids. They just got along well. They were very much in communication. She was around a lot. He was around a lot. They had a very good relationship, even though they were separated."
Williams had purchased the catalog of Cadence Records (where he himself recorded from 1957 to 1960), and intended Barnaby for reissuing tunes from the Cadence archives -- most notably, hits by the Everly Brothers, the Chordettes ("Mr. Sandman," "Lollipop"), Link Wray ("Rumble"), Johnny Tillotson ("Poetry in Motion") and Bill Hayes ("The Ballad of Davy Crockett"). The deal also encompassed the Candid label, a jazz/blues subsidiary which featured names like Memphis Slim, Lightnin Hopkins, Charles Mingus, Phil Woods and Otis Spann. Williams dove into repackaging these older records, but also managed some success with contemporary music, primarily due to two names: Ray Stevens and a young singer-songwriter named Jimmy Buffett. Stevens cracked the charts several times with songs like "Everything Is Beautiful," "The Streak" and a Grammy-winning version of "Misty," and became the anchor of Barnaby's roster. Meanwhile, the label released Buffett's debut, Down to Earth, which first sold poorly but gained momentum after his mid-'70s breakthrough. A second Buffett album, High Cumberland Jubilee, was recorded for Barnaby in 1971, but wasn't issued until five years later because the label supposedly misplaced the tapes. Imagine that frantic search! Belated as it was, this record was another important payday for Williams and Barnaby.
This was the environment in which Longet recorded her final albums. And here, the story catches up with this anthology. If you're holding the double-vinyl pressing, you have all but four of her Barnaby tracks. The compact disc drops seven more cuts, but you may not miss them. (The vinyl also includes one odd rarity: Longet's version of "Sleep Safe and Warm," the theme of the film "Rosemary's Baby." This is a mild incongruity, since it's an earlier B-side taken from the Love Is Blue era.)
Longet debuted on Barnaby with We've Only Just Begun, released in 1971. Though Run Wild, Run Free had arrived the year before, We've Only Just Begun is where her style truly makes the transition from the '60s to the '70s. This is obvious from the song choices alone, which draw from the new generation's hitmakers (Bread, the Carpenters, the Jackson 5) rather than the British Invasion or groovy, cocktail-lounge pop. Also, while Nick De Caro (who arranged all her previous albums, and produced Run Wild, Run Free) still guides Longet's music, he steers the sound toward a noticeable '70s feel, as bubbly bass lines and an intrusive storm of choral vocals add a contemporary, soft-rock flavor. This isn't just another background record for mellow, make-out sessions, but a more brassy, extroverted bid for the top 40. Longet's whispery vocals are mostly unchanged, but she does seem overwhelmed by the arrangements at times. Of course, some fans hardly cared about the music -- the come-hither shot of a tanned, bare-shouldered Longet on the cover was probably enough on its own to move a few copies. Those who opened the album's gatefold received another jolt: an even more seductive photo of her, this time wearing a strapless top which her exposed bustline barely held in place.
Typically, the record's main themes are love and romance, but a few quirkier tracks stretch Longet's range. The sharpest twists come with two Melanie Safka compositions, which insert flashes of protest. "Peace Will Come According to Plan" preaches about global unity, while making a gallant effort to prove gospel organ and bongos can fit into the same song. It almost succeeds, too! "What Have They Done to My Song, Ma" shows Safka's lighter side, but its sense of wry self-deprecation isn't quite captured by Longet's timid reading. Note how she carefully changes the hook's original syntax to the more grammatical "Look what they've done to my song, Ma." It's also hard not to giggle when her twee accent yields "Look what they've done to my bwain!"
The album's first single was "Broomstick Cowboy," a song originally written and performed by Bobby Goldsboro. Like other notorious Goldsboro hits ("Honey," "Watching Scotty Grow"), it's a rather cloying tune, but this enjoy-childhood-while-you-can lullaby is easier to swallow when switched to Longet's maternal viewpoint. The second single, "Electric Moon," was another experiment. Written (but never recorded) by Donovan, this sounds like an attempt to match the sing-along, gypsy feel of Mary Hopkin's memorable "Those Were the Days." While the lyric is mostly passive, the Old World instrumentation and lurching rhythm prompt feisty images of barroom handclaps and skirt twirls. With this package, you get a rare Spanish version of the song ("Como La Luna"), along with its flip side "Mucho Tiempo Mas" (originally "Long Long Time"). One of the album's prettiest tracks, the latter (also recorded by artists including Linda Ronstadt, Harry Belafonte, Rod McKuen and, again, Melanie) is closer to the intimacy of Longet's early work, with its minimal arrangement and wistful air of heartbreak. The detuned, rinky-dink piano is an especially neat touch.
The other tracks are predictable Longet fare. The highlights are her sweet readings of two Carpenters classics, "(They Long to Be) Close to You" and the title song. She puts her stamp on the former with some brief shifts into French language, plus an endearing flub in the first verse (substituting "all because" into "...every time you are near"). On the other hand, "We've Only Just Begun" is marked by its strong musicianship, which includes some surprisingly distorted guitar (buried deep in the mix, of course) and an unusually nimble bass line. Elsewhere, the Motown catalog earns two slots with the Jacksons' "I'll Be There" (featuring a spoken-word bridge to cover for Longet's vocal limitations) and Diana Ross' "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" (entirely translated into French by Longet herself). The saloon-piano sound of "Long Long Time" returns for the standard "Cry Me a River," which also squeezes in a blast of New Orleans jazz and some offbeat barbershop harmonies. Finally, there's a somewhat embarrassing, reverbed-to-the-skies version of Bread's "Make It With You," complete with wanton flute/sax licks and actual sex gasps during the fade. Oh Claudine, say it ain't so!
We've Only Just Begun failed to reverse Longet's commercial slide, but her label was willing to try again. Switching its distribution from CBS to MGM, Barnaby now placed her fate in the hands of Ken Mansfield. Mansfield was best known as the former manager of Apple Records' stateside offices, but had become Barnaby's president in 1971. He was also nurturing his production skills, and later worked with artists spanning Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter, Doyle Holly, David Cassidy and even Don Ho.
Mansfield was the creative force behind Longet's next album, 1972's Let's Spend the Night Together. One of her few acquaintances still willing to discuss her (a manslaughter trial has a way of sealing loose lips), he recently explained the record's strategy. "The concept was to do something really different with her, because she had this reputation for just doing these romantic little songs. We wanted to make her more contemporary, so the idea was to take well-known songwriters and match her up with them. So, basically every song was by a hot contemporary songwriter, whether it was Leonard Cohen, the Rolling Stones or whoever. It was just taking unusual material, putting her voice with it and then putting highly produced, synthesized sounds around her."
To that end, Mansfield hired a slew of top-notch session men, including bass legend Joe Osborn, drummer John Guerin, woodwind ace Tom Scott and not-yet-famous guitarist Larry Carlton. It's worth noting that Colours is the only other Longet album with full musician credits -- Mansfield obviously wanted to stress the players' expertise.
The sessions were cheerful, despite the excessive takes needed to capture Longet's weak voice. "She came into the studio and basically said, 'I'm here to work,'" Mansfield remembered. "She had no ego and no qualms. She would work 12 hours, if needed. If something wasn't right and I didn't like it, she wouldn't defend it and say 'Yes, it was.' She really trusted the musicians, the arranger and the producer. She was a great artist to work with, in terms of her studio attitude and general demeanor, as well as her own personal excitement. She was very much into it, and very much into just being the singer and letting everybody else do what they do."
Let's Spend the Night Together remains Longet's most poetic album. The airy instrumental which begins and ends the record acts as a conceptual frame, and several songs are further unified by a light "sleep" motif (which Mansfield admits was accidental). There's an earthy sense of band chemistry not found on her other albums, and the stereo effects allow individual parts to be easily heard. ARP synthesizers jump into a pivotal role (usually substituted for a trumpet, trombone or flute), and, thankfully, the choral voices of her previous record are dropped.
The songwriters collected on Let's Spend the Night Together are impeccable, though they were probably less than thrilled with these innocuous treatments. The highlights come early, with dreamy versions of Brian Wilson's masterpiece "God Only Knows" (the overdubbed harmonies in the closing are particularly sweet) and Paul McCartney's underrated "Every Night." The latter could be more expressive -- her hesitant delivery clips too many notes -- but when she reaches into her upper register for the wordless "ooh" passages, the track soars. Another jewel is her cover of Graham Nash's "Sleep Song," a timeless melody with a graceful lilt. The sparse arrangement of this waltz makes it one of her most affecting tunes ever.
Other songs thoughtfully blend love and remorse, sometimes evoking images of her own failed marriage. "Remember the Good" (written by Mickey Newbury, whose "Sweet Memories" had been crooned by her husband) seems especially personal with its resigned lyric and half-whispered vocal. A haunting recorder part sets the mood, along with a sea of ARP strings. Kris Kristofferson's "When I Loved Him" is a similar dab of romantic nostalgia, though it's marred by its ending: an extra minute of unfocused, piano-and-congas jamming which could have been lifted from a nearby Traffic album. Oh well...at least, the session cats found a place to show off their licks. Elsewhere, the stoic elegance of Leonard Cohen's "Hey That's No Way to Say Goodbye" is way out of Longet's emotional depth, but the arrangement has lots of fun with its goofy headphone bounces and twittering synthesizer fugue.
Four lesser tracks fill out the record. "Birds," a sorrowful ode taken from Neil Young's After the Gold Rush, gets a fairly straightforward rendition with some pleasing flute. "Wake Up to Me Gentle" is a mild little tune written by Mansfield himself, in which the metallic clamor of the Marxophone (an esoteric, autoharp-like instrument) simulates a ringing alarm. The title cut, easily the most radical reinterpretation, warps the Rolling Stones' original melody and chords, while slowing the tempo to a lazy, syncopated bounce. The almighty conga drums pop up again, and the breaks have some cute interplay between flutey ARP runs and George Harrison-like slide guitar. Listen for the peculiar "oom" sound which is looped on the backing track, and Longet's attempt to desexualize the lyric by switching the chorus to "Mama needs you more than ever." Then there's the most idiosyncratic piece of all: a bizarre medley of John Lennon's "Jealous Guy" and "Don't Let Me Down." (Mansfield's simple explanation: "I love medleys!") This one blends Lennon's then-current hit (here, changed to "I'm just a jealous kind" to fix the gender) with the "I'm in love for the first time..." bridge from the earlier Beatles song. The introduction's stilted bass line and Longet's blank "da da da dah" vamping (substituted for Lennon's whistling) may cause a few chuckles, but this is part of the track's naive charm.
"Remember the Good" and "Let's Spend the Night Together" failed to dent the singles charts, and Mansfield sheepishly describes the album's sales as "weak." This unsuccessful bid for a comeback was essentially Longet's last stand as a popular singer -- her time had passed. Still, her television work did continue. She grabbed a few more spots on variety shows, and even landed an acting role on "The Streets of San Francisco" in January, 1973 (as usual, her character was given the archetypal French name "Michelle"). Her final singing appearance was on her husband's 1974 Christmas special. Unfortunately, television would soon become her enemy.
Meanwhile, two more singles trickled out on Barnaby, and a new album titled Sugar Me was planned. For poorly documented reasons (the Andy Williams camp ducked recent inquiries), the record was finished but eventually shelved. Barnaby switched distributors again in 1974, and perhaps this was a factor. The Longet/Williams divorce in 1975 couldn't have helped. The Sabich scandal was probably the last straw, but I suspect the record's fate was already uncertain by then.
In any case, Longet's life changed forever on March 21, 1976, when she fatally wounded boyfriend Spider Sabich in the abdomen. The incident occurred in his own bathroom, and the weapon was an imitation Lüger pistol which he allegedly had been demonstrating. She had entered a relationship with the professional skier back in 1972, and she and her children moved into his Aspen, CO home a couple of years later. By 1976, the two were reportedly estranged. No one but Longet knows exactly what happened on that horrible day, and weighing the evidence falls outside the scope of this text. The bottom line is that she insisted the gun had fired accidentally. She avoided manslaughter charges, and escaped with a minor conviction for criminally negligent homicide. It was a trivial sentence: a mere 30 days in the local jail, plus two years of probation. While her official punishment was light, the damage to her reputation was catastrophic, and she permanently withdrew from the public eye. She has been quietly living in Aspen, ever since. In 1986, she married her former defense attorney, Ron Austin.
This could have been the end of her story, but the discarded Sugar Me sessions somehow resurfaced in 1993. Barnaby had been defunct since the late '70s, but Japan-based Century Records finally stepped in and licensed the forgotten material. However, some master tapes had been lost, so reputed titles like "Don't Shut Me Out" (another Bread cover), "Dream Baby" (the Roy Orbison hit?), "Rising Sun," "The Angel in Your Eyes" and "Life Is Full of Surprises" were missing. Instead, the revamped album collected the sides of three non-LP singles, plus six previously unreleased rarities. Note that a few of the latter tunes have obvious vocal glitches, which might have been fixed with another take or two.
Sugar Me has a more conservative sound than Let's Spend the Night Together, and several tracks curdle with stereotyped, easy-listening arrangements. This is particularly true of "Who Broke Your Heart" (an unsuccessful 1974 single, sometimes known as "Who Broke Your Heart and Made You Write This Song"). Wails of slide guitar recall the song's original country roots, but the generic bed of strings and backing voices is uncomfortably stuffy. The revised doo-wop of "Every Beat of My Heart" is similarly handicapped, and furthermore adds a corny dose of saxophone. An unusually full-bodied vocal from Longet almost saves the day, but not quite. "I Cannot Love You" (written by Peter Yarrow) is a little stronger, and has a power-ballad chorus resembling Nilsson's cover of "Without You." The delicate "You Set My Dreams to Music" is equally pretty, with an amusing intrusion of crickets in its coda. Interestingly, the song's co-writer is a young Steven Dorff, who later found major success scoring television shows like "Growing Pains," "Murphy Brown" and "Murder, She Wrote." The best of the more traditional tracks is "As If I Walked Away," a David Pomeranz song with some beautiful melodic turns. Warm lines of oboe breathe extra atmosphere into the mix.
The album brightens considerably with its more youthful tunes. The earliest tracks are probably "Guess Who I Saw in Paris" and "Anytime of the Year," which were on a 1971 single. The former is a Buffy Sainte-Marie composition, and sounds like a return to Longet's kitschy A&M period. A three-way dialogue between Bacharach-style trumpets, lonely accordion and vocal la-la's provides the main hook (this is one track where using session singers worked), while Longet poses rhetorical questions about a past rendezvous. The emotions feel deep and real, even if they're undercut with a dated line about getting "spaced." The song fades with some breathy thoughts in French. On the other hand, "Anytime of the Year" is one of the strangest tunes in Longet's catalog. Sort of an ethnic cousin to "Electric Moon," this rollicking jaunt alternates her dainty English verses with a Yiddish ensemble's spliced-in choruses. As if that's not weird enough, the epilogue requires her to preach. Can you imagine a French waif solemnly intoning, "There will come a time when the prophets' words come true/When Jerusalem, above all, guides our life"? Didn't think so.
Sugar Me's flirty title cut was once paired with "Every Beat of My Heart" on a 1973 single. Originally a hit for singer Lynsey de Paul, this one is driven by pounding piano chords and a notably acidic guitar line. The bouncy, McCartney-esque beat is hard to resist, even if the lyric is pure bubblegum. "You Don't Have to Be a Baby to Cry" is another fun tune, lifted by a jingle-jangle arrangement with hints of Christmas. Not many people could keep a straight face through a sappy line like "When you leave me, my golden rainbow disappears," but Longet pulls it off. The song also has nice double-tracked harmonies, and a darling giggle at the end. Finally, "All Alone Am I" wraps up the selections for this anthology. A smash for Brenda Lee, it was initially written in Greek by Manos Hadjidakis (more famous for the Oscar-winning "Never on Sunday"). This languid shuffle has an exquisite melody, plus the delightful quirk of an alien, two-line solo on something which sounds like a toy harpsichord. Later, a false ending is adorably botched, as Longet whines a few insecurities to the producer before being abruptly cut off. "But it's so uncomfortable to me," she sighs. Maybe this summed up her attitude toward fame, as well.
Claudine Longet has been retired from public life for 25 years, and the chances of a re-emergence are near zero. The mainstream media ignores her music, only seeking her thoughts on Spider Sabich, and she knows better than to open that subject again. News segments periodically revisit the case, but neither she nor anyone from her inner circle is talking to the press. Even recent Longet/Sabich episodes of "The E! True Hollywood Story" and A & E's "City Confidential" failed to lure her back, though the fairness of her portrayals suffered as a result. Presumably, she has a much simpler existence now, and would rather forget that she ever stumbled into show business.
There is no profound lesson to be drawn from Longet's story. We can't learn much from her life's choices, because she seemingly made so few choices at all. She was mostly a creature of circumstance, governed by accidents (a stalled car, a misfired gun) and powerful mentors (Williams, Alpert, Austin). And, of course, her records are hardly influential. The pop scene always includes a few ethereal kittens, but how many young singers have even heard of Longet? Why should anyone still care about her in the year 2002?
As the designer of the website which gave this compilation its name, I've wrestled with these issues for almost five years. True to form, Longet has never contacted me, nor have any of her family members. If she has a fresh perspective on the events of her life, she's keeping it strictly to herself. However, running the site is far from a thankless job -- there's no shortage of attention. I'm ever amazed at the steady stream of visitors curious about a minor singer whose original albums aren't even in print, except in Japan. What's more, these folks want information about her music, not morbid gossip about pistols and trials. So, yes, her fans are still out there. We're sparse, but loyal. We remember the good.