Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Lonesome Rhodes - Sandy & Donna (1967)

The Memphis, Tennessee-based sister act the Lonesome Rhodes isn't well-known. But judging from this lone LP, the group deserved to be more popular.

The group was a duo comprised of sisters Sandy and Donna and they definitely could sing. The duo mixed folk and country along with cover songs and originals on this LP, which was produced by Chet Atkins. But despite the name producer and fantastic voices, they didn't have much success outside of country circles. None of their singles hit the pop charts and their album quickly fell into oblivion and has never officially come out on CD.

I myself might have ignored this group had it not been for the cool-looking colored-vinyl foreign pressing of this album I chanced across back in 2001 (see image at right). Didn't cost me that much either. Boy do I miss the days before the vinyl revival when you could get rare, high-quality stuff like this for bargain prices. But I digress.

The album really impressed me. One of the sisters, Sandy, wrote the original songs and virtually all of 'em are catchy in that special mid-'60s sort of way. The duo's two-part harmonies come off like a female version of the Everly Brothers, and work especially well on one of the cover songs, "I Wanna Be Free," best known in its version(s) by the Monkees.

AllMusic tells me that in 1973 Sandy Rhodes went on to release a solo album under the name Sandra Rhodes. It combined country and Southern soul, and became a cult favorite. It's the only album she released and this is the only Lonesome Rhodes release. But the sisters apparently continued to sing together throughout the years doing studio session work.

Colored vinyl has a reputation for sounding noisy, but my pressing of this album was reasonably quiet -- something you all will notice when listening to this rip, which sounds fab if I do say so myself. I also made scans of the discs and cover -- the back of which has liner notes by the late Skeeter Davis. I'd have liked to include the group's non-LP singles, but didn't have 'em all. Does anyone out there have anything more from this group?

Track list:
1. The Last Thing On My Mind
2. I Can't Grow Peaches On A Cherry Tree
3. Fully Prepared
4. Love Is
5. Make Like The Wind (And Blow)
6. Your Overpowerin' Love
7. I Wanna Be Free
8. Not This Time
9. The Least You Could Have Done
10. Nothin' But Heartaches Here
11. It's Rainin' Anyway
12. Blowin' In The Wind



  2. Hi
    Wonderful, very good Blog.!! with lots of good music.
    So thank you for some music I still didn't know.

  3. God, I LOVE this record. Thanks SO much for sharing it!

  4. Donna Rhodes released very good album "I See Love" on Epic in 1969, and one great 45's on Hi label in 1973.
    I See Love
    Hi Single

    1. Cool to hear this stuff, BayouAngel. I had no idea it existed. Thanks for posting it here.

  5. All you need to know about Sandra & Donna Rhodes, and Sandra's husband Charlie Chalmers and their various formations (Inc. solo, as RCR and Joint Venture) can be found here along with a number of mp3 downloads of individual album tracks and assorted single releases.

    Fill your boots!

    As an aside let me add my thanks for a consistently interesting, well written and entertaining music blog. Well done!

    1. Wow, thanks again for the info. Glad to see all this is out there. And also thanks for the compliment -- glad you enjoy this blog.

  6. Looks like a Taiwanese pressing, listing the year as the 56th year of the Republic founded in 1911.

    Lovely album

  7. wow, i can't remember the last time i was this surprised by a newly revealed side of a singer that was such a 180.

    i had never heard of these sisters, so i thought i'd check them out. i came back to say thanks, and saw donna rhodes' "i see love" in the comments. blown away! that girl was soulful! amazing the talent that just gets lost sometimes.

    big thanks to arrows and bayou angel

  8. Thanks very much. Your attention to quality rips is appreciated.