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After Laughter Comes Tears
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Album: After Laughter Comes Tears: Complete Stax & Volt Singles + Rarities 1964-65
# Song Title   Time
1)    Bar-B-Q
2)    Gone for Good
3)    Your Love Is All I Need
4)    After Laughter Comes Tears
5)    I Wish I Were That Girl
6)    What Will Tomorrow Bring
7)    Wondering (When My Love Is Coming Home)
8)    Deep in My Heart
9)    Give You What I Got
10)    Crying All by Myself
11)    Crowded Park
12)    Last Love
13)    Love at First Sight
14)    She's Moving Away
15)    He Hasn't Failed Me Yet
16)    Please Don't Leave Me
17)    Same Guy, The
18)    Young Man
19)    Can't Stay Away
20)    First Kiss
21)    Reap What You Sow
22)    Young and Foolish
 

Album: After Laughter Comes Tears: Complete Stax & Volt Singles + Rarities 1964-65
# Song Title   Time
1)    Bar-B-Q
2)    Gone for Good
3)    Your Love Is All I Need
4)    After Laughter Comes Tears
5)    I Wish I Were That Girl
6)    What Will Tomorrow Bring
7)    Wondering (When My Love Is Coming Home)
8)    Deep in My Heart
9)    Give You What I Got
10)    Crying All by Myself
11)    Crowded Park
12)    Last Love
13)    Love at First Sight
14)    She's Moving Away
15)    He Hasn't Failed Me Yet
16)    Please Don't Leave Me
17)    Same Guy, The
18)    Young Man
19)    Can't Stay Away
20)    First Kiss
21)    Reap What You Sow
22)    Young and Foolish
 
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Performer Notes
  • Wendy Rene isn't a name that comes up much when people talk about soul legends. Never famous, and active for only four short years, her legacy is in the archives with hundreds of other obscure soul acts of the early '60s. Listening to After Laughter Comes Tears, it's mind-boggling that the amount of talent and raw soul put forth by Rene failed to register with audiences of her day or be rediscovered earlier along the line. Sure, in 1994 Wu-Tang Clan built a track on their classic debut 36 Chambers on samples from the spooky organ-led tune that this collection takes its name from, and several years later Alicia Keys borrowed heavily from the same song with her composition "Where Do We Go from Here." DJs and collectors have paid top dollar for her increasingly impossible-to-find singles, but on a broader scale, Wendy Rene has gone largely unrecognized. Starting out as a teenager, Rene sang with short-lived Memphis group the Drapels. The Drapels sole four tracks (all included here) are strong, if standard, Southern soul of their era. Where Rene truly found her voice was on the songs recorded under her own name between 1964 and 1965. Included here is her entire recorded output; all the singles she sang on, as well as nine rarities and two completely unreleased tracks. Ranging from infectious upbeat dance-craze stompers to minor-key ballads of lost-love misery, this is '60s soul at its absolute best, and it's amazing it took almost 50 years to be reissued.
  • "Love at First Sight" sums up what makes Wendy Rene so powerful. This fairly plain soul song is the typical girl-meets-boy-at-the-dance tale, unremarkable on the surface and generally unassuming. In Rene's care, however, this B-side fodder is imbued with all the loneliness and heartbreak imaginable. Even in lines about happy new love, Rene sounds as if she's singing from the world's edge, gripping hollow promises from a new boy as tightly as possible, lest she fall into the abyss. There's a cold shadow over almost all of Wendy's strongest songs. "After Laughter Comes Tears" is absolutely haunted, but even the slight melancholy of "The Same Guy" and the corny lover-done-me-wrong story line of "Crowded Park" hint at deeper chasms of sorrow. That said, this collection is far from a downer. The jubilant opener, "Bar-B-Q," a ridiculous ode to summer cookouts, lacks any creeping dread, and if you're not paying close attention, it's easy to miss the well-concealed heartache in Rene's steamrolling vocals. Having all 22 known recordings in one place sheds light on just how incredible a performer the world missed out on at the time. The raw, smoky recording quality and electric performances by the Stax session musicians leave just the right amount of negative space for Rene to command the songs with a voice as potent as that of Irma Thomas, Barbara George, Aretha Franklin, or any of the more widely known names in soul history. ~ Fred Thomas
Professional Reviews
Spin (p.106) - "[The title song is] the highlight -- an eerie, elusive ballad about the pains of becoming an adult made better by the fact that Rene still wailed like a teenager."

Uncut (magazine) (p.100) - "[H]er best work shows a mature beyond-her-years insight that reigns supreme on the deliciously aching title track."
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