New Releases: March -> December, 2011
Vintage Rock 'n' Roll & Rockabilly
Chuck Berry  -> Conway Twitty + Books + LP

 

 

NEW BOOKS & MAGAZINE

 

SURF BEAT Rock 'n' Roll's Forgotten Revolution by Kent Crowley ● BOOK $19.95
Paper, 256 pages, counts as five CDs for shipping
Between the death of Buddy Holly and the arrival of The Beatles, rock 'n' roll was at a low ebb. But something was stirring on the coast of Southern California, and Surf Beat tells the story of the rise of surf music in the early 60's. In the beginning, it was a youthful, primitive instrumental music powered by loud electric guitars and amps; its pioneers were bands like The Belairs and The Surfaris. Later on, to the disgust of the hardcore surfers, vocals were added-as exemplified by The Beach Boys and Jan & Dean-to create a more sophisticated version of the music. Kent Crowley has exhaustively researched this subject over many years and has packed this book with anecdotes and insights from musicians, surfers, engineers, producers, and record label bosses. The first comprehensive account of surf music from its' regional roots through its' international craze heyday to its current cult status among revivalists and fans, Surf Beat also delves into surfing and surf culture to give a through look into this fascinating world. Additionally, Surf Beat makes a perfect companion piece to two recent compilations, "The Downey Story: Landlocked" (Ace 1308 - $18.98) and "The Dore Story: Postcards From Los Angeles 1958-1964" (Ace 1293 - $26.98). (GMC)

 
UGLY THINGS #32 ● BOOK $8.95
176 pages, perfect bound full color cover, essential
Features extensive coverage of the great Paul Revere and the Raiders during the psychedelic years of their career, including a revealing interview with Mark Lindsey and a look at post Raiders psych-pop project The Brotherhood. Moving across the pond, to celebrate the world of Freakbeat with exclusive interviews with Dee Christopholus of Wimple Winch and Don Fardon of The Sorrows. Also includes part 2 of an interview with Billy Harrison of THEM, as well as coverage of under-appreciated '60s greats like The Sloths, $27 Snap On Face, and more. Of course, you get a Pretty Things update. Add to that coverage of the 1960's Virginia based record label Raven Records, '70s Punk pioneers The Vibrators, a collectors guide to The Rolling Stones, plus fantastic CD, DVD, Vinyl and Book reviews a-plenty. I've said it before and I'll say it again: this is the best music magazine going right now and every issue's a killer read from start to finish. If you don't dig this man, you are totally L7! Counts as four CDs fo shipping. (JM)

 
ROCKABILLY The Twang Heard Around The World An Illustrated History edited by Michael Dregni ● BOOK $29.98
Hardback, 232 pages, counts as 14 CDs for shipping
Gorgeous, copiously illustrated, coffee table book devoted to rockabilly. Starting off with Elvis at Sun it covers many of Sun's great and lesser known names (Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Warren Smith, etc.) then spreads out to encompass rockabilly around the country (Buddy Holly, Wanda Jackson, Jimmy Lloyd, Gene Vincent, etc.) then looks at some of the artists who kept the rockabilly spirit alive in the 1960s (Jack Scott, Ronnie Hawkins, etc.) and then on to the rockabilly revivals in Europe and the rest of the world. There are sidebars on session musicians, instruments used and more. Though not a comprehensive history of the genre there's lots of useful information provided by writers like Greil Marcus, Peter Guralnick, Robert Gordon, Deke Dickerson and others plus interviews and reminiscences with Wanda Jackson, Carl Perkins, Scotty Moore, Tav Falco, Cliff Gallup, Dale Hawkins, etc. and topping it all off are the more than 600 illustratetions including photos, concert posters, record labels, memorabilia and collectibles.

 

NEW COMPACT DISCS

 
CHUCK BERRY Bear Family BCD 17139 Rocks! ● CD $24.98
32 classic Chess sides from one of the true architects of rock 'n' roll whose songs have been covered by more artists than just about any performer except possibly Elvis but Chuck also wrote all his songs. Includes just about all his chart hits from 1955 through 1965 - Maybelline/ Thirty Days/ Roll Over Beethoven/ School Day/ Rock & Roll Music/ Johnny B. Goode/ Little Queenie/ Sweet Little Rock 'n' Roll and many other great sides that helped define rock 'n' roll. Includes 52 page booklet.
CHUCK BERRY: Almost Grown/ Around & Around/ Back In The U.S.A./ Beautiful Delilah/ Betty Jean/ Brown Eyed Handsome Man/ Bye Bye Johnny/ Carol/ Dear Dad/ Go-Go-Go/ Jaguar And Thunderbird/ Johnny B. Goode/ Let It Rock/ Little Queenie/ Maybellene/ Memphis, Tennessee/ Nadine (Is It You?)/ No Money Down/ No Particular Place To Go/ Oh Baby Doll/ Promised Land/ Reelin' And Rocking/ Rock And Roll Music/ Roll Over Beethoven/ Run Rudolph Run/ School Day (Ring! Ring! Goes The Bell)/ Sweet Little Rock And Roller/ Sweet Little Sixteen/ Thirty Days (To Come Back Home)/ Too Much Monkey Business/ You Can't Catch Me/ You Never Can Tell

 
THE BONZO DOG (DOO DAH) BAND EMI 947 497-2 A Dog's Life ● CD $29.98
3 CDs, 72 tracks, 230mins, highly recommended
Falling somewhere between Monty Python and The Firesign Theatre, the great Bonzo Dog (Doo Dah) Band put out a string of fantastically bizarre albums, starting in 1967, that are still a blast today. Mocking just about everything in British and American culture, these art school misfits made five sublime albums in just about as many years, all of which are collected here, plus more than a handful of "Extra Treats." I'm the Urban Spaceman, probably the best actual song here and a modest top-five hit in 1968 was produced by none other than Paul McCartney, who song-writer Neil Innes would pay back in a way with his future project "The Rutles." The five albums are all classics and the bonus tracks are a real treat, but the unfortunate thing about this collection is, that despite the wonderful production and thorough track compilation, there isn't a single line of notes accompanying this set. They have missed a grand opportunity to make the definitive "Bonzos" release and tell their story along with the music, which is a shame. Nonetheless, I can still heartily recommend this collection, its still quite the surrealist smorgasbord. Among the bonus tracks, you get such choice cuts as I'm Gonna Bring A Watermelon To My Girl Tonight/ Alley Oop/ Mr. Apollo (German Version,) by the "Bonzos" and Labio Dental Fricative by Vivian Stanshall Sean Head Showband featuring Eric Clapton, and more. (JM)

 
JOHNNY BURNETTE Jasmine 157 Rock And Roll Dreamer ● CD $15.98
2 CDs, 48 tracks, 108 min., very highly recommended
"The Rock And Roll Trio" album on Coral might be the best rock and roll LP ever issued, and "Tear It Up" isn't far behind. This reissue offers up those two albums and the two original Liberty LPs: "Dreamin'" and "Johnny Burnette."" Disc 1 is all Trio stuff and it bristles with a wild energy rarely captured in recording studios. Disc 2, on the other spindle, finds Burnette in crooner incarnation, and while he manages some excellent moments (including the well known Dreamin' and You're Sixteen), he also turns Hank William's wonder Settin' The Woods On Fire into a puddle of musak, thanks largely to the background singers. Okay, it isn't that bad, but it's a long way from The Train Kept A Rollin'. So Disc 1 is essential and Disc 2 is hit or miss, but still with enough cool to be worth it. (JC)

 
RIC CARTEY & FRIENDS El Toro 1041 Georgia Rockers ● CD $18.98
34 tracks, 79 mins, very highly recommended
Another great regional rockabilly collection from El Toro - this time devoted to the vibrant scene in Georgia - primarily in the capital of Atlanta. There are ten cuts by Whaley Thomas Cartey or as he was better known, Ric Cartey. His first single was the Jerry Reed rockabilly song Oooh-Eee backed with Cartey's own teen pop ballad Young Love recorded for the local Stars label. After covers of Young Love by Sonny James and Tab Hunter were big hits Cartey was signed to RCA and although he never had a hit he turned out some fine rockabilly with Jerry Reed usually on guitar. Cartey must have been quite a blues fan as he covered two Little Walter songs - My Babe was covered by several other artists but I don't know of anyone else covering Mellow Down Easy and his Scratching On My Screen is a reworked version of Washboard Sam's Digging My Potatoes complete with washboard! Cartey's band The Jiv-A-Tones recorded one single - both sides are here including the fabulous Flirty Gertie. The only other familiar name here is Dave Dudley with his gently rockin' Where There's A Will, from 1959. Most of the rest of the artists are unknown except to diehard rockabilly collectors but there are some terrific sides with fine vocals and hot guitar work from artists like Sammy Smith With The Rebelaires, Kid Rock & The White Trio (no, not that Kid Rock), Rusty Howard with Chuck Joyce & His Chain Gang Boys, The Carpenter Brothers and others. Judging by the quality of the sides here Atlanta was a real hotbed of great rockabilly and if things had been different could have given Memphis a run for its money. One of the best rockabilly collections I've heard in a while. Superb sound and informative notes from Dave Penny. (FS)
CHUCK ATHA: Ooh-Eee (What You Do To Me)/ WALT BENTON: Do It Again/ THE CARPENTER BROTHERS & THE RHYTHM BOPPERS: Don't Cry Little Darling/ RIC CARTEY: Born To Love One Woman/ Heart Throb/ I Wancha To Know/ Let Me Tell You About Love/ Ma Heart Belongs To You/ Mellow Down Easy/ My Babe/ Scratching On My Screen/ Ooh-Eee/ Young Love/ MIKE CUSHMAN & THE INTERLUDES: Me And My Guitar/ LITTLE JIMMY DEMPSEY: Bop Hop/ DAVE DUDLEY: Where There's A Will There's A Way/ BARRY ETRIS: I've Met My One And Only/ JUNIOR GRAVLEY WITH THE ROCK-A-TONES: You Lied To Me Honey/ BILL HOLDEN & THE JIV-A-TONES: Fire Engine Baby/ RUSTY HOWARD WITH CHUCK JOYCE & HIS CHAIN GANG: Let's Rock/ KID ROCK & THE WHITE TRIO: Please Be Mine/ JOE MOON & THE STARS OF NOTE: Live It Up/ WEYMAN PARHAM: Hang Loose/ HIRAM PHILMON: I'm Lonesome Baby/ You Gotta Love Me Baby/ SAMMY SMITH WITH THE REBELAIRES: Alaska Rock/ JOE SOUTH: I'm Snowed/ SPECK & DOYLE (THE WRIGHT BROTHERS): Music To My Ear/ DEAN STEVENS & THE JIV-A-TONES: Flirty Gertie/ CLEVE WARNOCK: My Baby Is Gone/ OTIS WHITE & THE HILLROCKERS: Shape Up/ ROD WILLIS: The Cat/ JOHN WORTHAN: The Cats Were Jumpin'/ Too, Too Many

 
AL CASEY El Toro 1036 I'm A Guitar Man ● CD $26.98
Two CD set, 59 tracks, very highly recommended
Complementing El Toro's recent Hal Harris release and Rev-Ola's Grady Martin issue this great set puts the focus on another superb session guitarist whose career has been overshadowed by that of the artists he recorded with. Most of the recordings here are from the period 1955 through 1960 made for more than a dozen different labels - most in his home state of Arizona. Al's first work as a session guitarist was accompanying Sanford Clark on his big hit The Fool and a couple of years later provided some more unique guitar sounds on Jody Reynolds' classic Endless Sleep - both included here. In an interesting twist of fate Al's band was joined by a young guitar player Duane Eddy in 1957 as a second guitarist and the group recorded the hot instrumental Ramrod which was issued under Duane's name though that great lead work is by Al. A year later when Duane was a star, Jamie reissued an overdubbed version of Ramrod and subsequently Al joined Duane's band as second guitarist! In addition to more cuts backing Sanford Clark and Jody Reynolds Al also provided dynamite work behind Jimmy Johnson (his rockabilly classic Cat Daddy), Dave Lowe, Gene Maltais, Judy Faye, Don Cole, Loy Clingman, Ted Newman and others. There are also a dozen cuts issued under Al's name - half vocal and half instrumental and while no great shakes as a vocalist most of his songs have hot guitar breaks. In the late 50s Al moved to the West Coast and became a founder of the surf guitar movement and acted as session guitarist for the like of Elvis, The Beach Boys, Dean Martin and others. It's a real treat to hear all these tracks together and realize what a talented and versatile musician Al was - mostly rock 'n roll but with some country and jazz elements. Sound quality is superb and there are informative notes by Dave Penny. (FS)
THE BARKER BROTHERS (MONTY & FREDDY): Hey Little Mama/ AL CASEY: A Fool's Blues/ Come What May/ Guitar Man/ If I Told You (Wouldn't Know It All By Myself)/ Juice/ Keep Talking/ She Gotta Shake/ The Pink Panther/ The Stinger/ Willa Mae/ Give'n Up/ (Got The) Teen-Age Blues/ The Adventures of Frank N Stein/ SANFORD CLARK: 9LB. Hammer/ A Cheat/ A Cross-Eyed Alley Cat (unissued)/ Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens (unissued)/ Don't Care (unissued)/ Every Minute Of The Day (unissued)/ Lonesome For A Letter/ Modern Romance/ New Kind Of Fool/ Ooo Baby/ The Fool/ Usta Be My Baby/ LOY CLINGMAN WITH AL CASEY & THE ARIZONA HAY: Time Wounds All Heels/ DON COLE: Saturday Nite Party Time/ Sweet Lovin' Honey/ Snake Eyed Mama/ JIMMY DELL: I've Got A Dollar/ JERRY DEMAR: (She Wantsa) Lover Man/ DUANE EDDY & HIS ROCK-A-BILLIES: Caravan/ Ramrod/ JUDY FAYE: Rocky-Rolly-Lover Boy/ JOE D. JOHNSON: Rattlesnake Daddy/ JIMMY JOHNSON WITH AL CASEY & THE ARIZONA HAYR: Cat Daddy/ How About Me? pRETTY bABY/ DAVE LOWE: A Tramp/ GENE MALTAIS: Lovemakin'/ The Bug/ JOE MONTGOMERY: Planetary Run/ JIM MURPHY & THE ACCENTS: I'm Gone, Mama/ Plumb Crazy/ TED NEWMAN: Plaything/ JODY REYNOLDS: Daisy Mae/ Endless Sleep/ Fire Of Love/ Beulah Lee/ Tight Capris/ DICK ROBINSON & HIS MAKEBELIEVERS: The Boppin' Martian (Gibo Miban Gibo)/ 'FRANTIC' JOHNNY ROGERS: Sassy/ LONESOME LONG JOHN ROLLER: Hay Momma/ Long John's Flagpole Rock/ JIMMY SPELLMAN WITH AL CASEY: Doggonit/ JIMMY SPELLMAN WITH THE SUNSET RIDERS: It's You, You, You/ THE STORMS: Tarantula/ Thunder/ THE TADS: The Pink Panther

 
THE CRICKETS Jasmine 161 I Fought The Law ● CD $13.98
30 tracks, 66 mins, highly recommended
Although The Crickets were never to achieve the greatness that they had when Buddy Holly was their leader they continued to turn out some mighty fine records and helped to perpetuate the style that Holly created. This features all the recordings made by the group between 1958 and 1960 along with some solo performances by various members. When Holly and The Crickets split in 1958, Jerry Allison and Joe B. Mauldin brought in Buddy's long time friend and playing associate Sonny Curtis who became the group creative center with his fine singing, guitar playing and considerable songwriting talent (he wrote many of the songs here) and Earl Sinks as lead vocalist. Earl Sinks, who was strongly influenced by Holly is featured as lead on most of the group tracks here including the Holly song Love's Made A Fool Of You, the lovely doo-wop style ballad Deborah and one of the groups most well known songs I Fought The Law - a Sonny Curtis composition that has become an iconic rock 'n' roll classic. Sonny Curtis was a better singer so it's shame he only sang lead occasionally and is featured on two outstanding songs here - Baby My Heart and More Than I Can See. He also provides excellent lead guitar on most other cuts. David Box is the lead singer on two songs and is the weakest singer here though his performances are fine. The solo cuts are a mixed bag - the best is the rocking It's All Over by Nikki Sullivan who had been a member of the original Crickets for a while. The songs by Curtis and Earl Sinks (under the name of Earl Henry) are pleasant, if unmemorable. The two novelty cuts by Jerry Allison as Ivan are appalingly bad and are included for completeness. Sound quality is excellent and the booklet has informative notes. (FS)
THE CRICKETS: A Sweet Love/ After It's Over/ Baby, My Heart/ Baby, My Heart (Alt Take)/ Deborah/ Don't Cha Know?/ Great Balls Of Fire/ I Fought The Law/ Just This Once/ Love's Made A Fool Of You/ More Than I Can Say/ Peggy Sue Got Married/ Rockin' Pneumonia And The Boogie Woogie Flu'/ Rockin' Pneumonia And The Boogie Woogie Flu' (Alt Take)/ Smooth Guy (Fast Version)/ Smooth Guy (Slow Version)/ So You're In Love/ So You're In Love (Alt Take)/ Someone, Someone/ Time Will Tell/ Ting-A-Ling/ When You Ask About Love/ Why Did You Leave/ SONNY CURTIS: Red Headed Stranger/ Talk About My Baby/ EARL HENRY: My Suzanne/ What'cha Gonna Do?/ IVAN: Frankie Frankenstein/ That'll Be Alright/ NIKKI SULLIVAN: It's All Over

 
THE CRYSTALS Legacy/ Spector 61288 Da Doo Ron Ron ● CD $11.98
18 tracks, 47 mins, essential
Not many Girl Groups were as good as the Crystals, and this is their best stuff in the best collection that has ever been put together for them: He's A Rebel/ Da Doo Ron Ron/ Uptown/ Then He Kissed Me/ He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss)/ He's Sure The Boy I Love, plus a whole bunch of not as famous, but just about as great other tunes, all classic recordings produced by the (place your own superlative here) Phil Spector, all newly remastered from original master tapes. (JM)

 
JACKIE DESHANNON Ace CDCHD 1290 Come And Get Me - Complete Liberty & Imperial Singles 2 ● CD $18.98
26 tracks, 67 mins, very highly recommended
The first volume of Ace's collection of DeShannon's Liberty singles (Ace 1243 - $18.98) tackled the beginning of her career in the early 60's; this set (the second of three) picks up in 1964 and takes us through 1967. And what we are given is an assortment of tracks-all singles, although some were UK releases-that further show Jackie's talents as a singer (on the covers) and as an exceptional songwriter in her own right. She does Buddy Holly proud on rowdy versions of Oh Boy! and I'm Looking For Someone to Love, and sings the Bacharach/David compositions A Lifetime of Loneliness/ Come and Get Me Windows and Doors, and the peerless hit What the World Needs Now with a skill and feeling rivaled only by Dionne Warwick. And as always, her own songs sit alongside the pros as beautiful pieces of pop masterworks: a cool fast mix of When You Walk in the Room/ Don't Turn Your Back on Me/ I Remember the Boy/ Are You Ready For This, and two gossamer collaborations with Randy Newman, Hold Your Head High and She Don't Understand Him Like I Do, which are worth the price of admission all by themselves. Upon listening to this collection, it's easy to see that Jackie's mid 60's work reached a peak in her career; it will be interesting to see what Vol. 3 has in store. Meanwhile, fans of singer/songwriters, 60's pop, and plain old good tunes will lap this music up like fine wine. (GMC)

 
DION & THE BELMONTS Jasmine 153 Teenagers In Love, 1957-1960 ● CD $15.98
2 CDs, 43 tracks, 103 mins, highly recommended
Here's something that I have been wanting for a long time; a comprehensive collection for Dion & The Belmonts that includes all the hits, plus a whole bunch of tracks covering the groups original three-year recording run. This even features the first two tracks that Dion sang on when they group first were signed to the Mohawk record label; the ridiculous western themed The Chose Few and Out In Colorado which feature Dion's vocals plopped down on top of tracks by Hugo Montenegro orchestra. Things get a lot better from there, and that beautiful street corner vocal group sound that Dion & The Belmonts perfected will dominate most of the rest of the tracks. I Wonder Why/ Teen Angel/ No One Knows/ Don't Pity Me/ A Teenager In Love/ Lonely Teenager/ That's My Desire, and many, many more great tunes. (JM)

 
WERLY FAIRBURN El Toro 1043 My Heart's On Fire, 1953-1959 ● CD $18.98
30 tracks, highly recommended with reservations
The reason for the reservations is that the first 25 tracks on this collection were previously reissued on Bear Family 15578 (along with four additional cuts) however what sets this apart are the last five tracks which features excellent live performances on the Louisiana Hayride from between 1955 and '57. Despite his few strong rockabilly sides (I'm Jealous/ All The Time/ Everybody's Rockin'), Werly Fairburn was more upbeat hillbilly than rocker, more at home with a steel guitar and a fiddle behind him than he was with hard driving drumming and strumming. He was good, though. And this disc collects most of his recordings between 1953-59 for Trumpet, Capitol, Columbia, Savoy, Sand Milestone (his own label). His best known song is probably I Guess I'm Crazy, a posthumous hit for Jim Reeves, but there are plenty of pleasers here, including Telephone Baby/ Speak To Me Baby/ That Sweet Love Of Mine, and My Heart's On Fire. The Louisiana Hayride sides are fine renditions of his commercial releases. Excellent sounds and informative notes by Dave Penny. (JC/ FS)

 
BILLY FURY Jasmine 154 Maybe Tomorrow - The Billy Fury Story, 1958-60 ● CD $15.98
Two CDs, 50 tracks, 123 mins, recommended
Billy Fury (born Ronald Wycherly) from Liverpool was one of the finest rock 'n' roll artists to emerge in Britain in the late 50s. With a style obviously influenced by Elvis and similar smoldering good looks he soon became a teen idol though in spite of influences Billy was definitely his own man and wrote a good number of his songs. Although most of his hits were rock ballads he was also a fine up tempo rock 'n' roll singer and had some excellent backup groups. He was also a controversial performer whose on stage antics led him to be banned from performing in several cities! Disc 1 opens up with six solo demos made in 1958 - four Elvis covers and two originals. Sound quality is rough but the performances are impressive. Disc 1 also includes his Decca singles from 1959 and 1960 - a mix of ballads and rockers including his hits Maybe Tomorrow and Margo (Don't Go). It also includes all the tracks from his "Sound Of Fury" LP - accompanied by a first class band and singing all original songs this is considered by many to be the best British rock 'n' roll album of the era. The first disc is rounded out by some live performances from radio shows including a hot version of My Babe where he duets with Gene Vincent and is given great guitar accompaniment by Joe Brown. Side two features a bunch of solo demos by Billy of songs intended for the "Sound Of Fury" album - some of which did not appear on the final album along with an alternate take of Maybe Tomorrow and stereo mixes of songs issued on singles and LP. 12 page booklet has informative notes on Billy's career. (FS)

 
LESLEY GORE Ace CDCHD 1307 Magic Colors - The Lost Album With Bonus Tracks,1967-69 ● CD $18.98
25 tracks, 67 mins, highly recommended
In the first half of Lesley Gore's career-roughly 1963-65-she had a string of Top 10 hits including It's My Party/ Judy's Turn to Cry, and the feminist classic You Don't Own Me. All of these were done under the supervision of Quincy Jones and the two had a golden partnership until Jones went off to compose film scores in 1965. The second half of Lesley's career began with partnering up with Four Seasons producer Bob Crewe, who gave her a "sunshine pop" makeover that resulted in a Top 20 hit in 1967, California Nights. What happened next is the subject of this collection; Lesley and Crewe cut a series of tracks that were to supposed to be released as the "Magic Colors" album. When the title cut flopped as a single, the label (Mercury) cancelled the release; for the first time, that lost album appears on CD. Like California Nights, the songs here are prime sunshine pop-full of exuberance, feel-good numbers that should have burned up the radio, but inexplicably failed to do so. Lesley's soaring voice matched with Crewe's (and, on assorted tracks, Jack Nitzsche and Steve Douglas) production moxy created some memorable tracks, like I'm Fallin' Down/ You Sent Me Silver Bells, and It's a Happening World. Among the bonus tracks, are failed singles like the Crewe-produced follow up to California Nights/ Summer and Sandy, Small Talk-written and produced by the team behind the Turtles' hits-Look the Other Way and its' B-Side Take Good Care (Of My Heart), and I'll Be Standing By - all products of the Philadelphia triumvirate of Thom Bell, Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. Lesley's versatility is aptly demonstrated by working with such stylistically different producers and arrangers, and anyone who thinks that Ms. Gore's talents begin and end with It's My Party and You Don't Own Me (like I did) needs to hear this CD pronto and be proven wrong, wrong wrong! (GMC)

 
BILL HALEY & HIS COMETS Hydra 27112 On The Air ● CD $22.98
32 tracks, 74 mins, highly recommended
Back in print. Certainly this is most appealing to Bill Haley fanatics, but casual fans (like me) will find a lot to love about this collection as well. This CD features radio shows Bill Haley & His Comets did in 1962 for Armed Forces Network, recorded over in Frankfurt, Germany. By '62 Bill Haley's hit years were definitely behind him, but he could still put on a great performance and could retain fantastic players to back him up. This has a ton of music and a ton of interview material in-between. Haley is charming and upbeat, the band is hot, the interviewer is cheesy. You'll get versions of the big hits, of course--Shake Rattle & Roll/ Rock Around The Clock, etc. -- stabs at new hits, like The Peppermint Twist, etc, as well as other lesser known songs, some of which he'd not recorded before. The sound is a little off, but only on a couple small moments, not enough to be a distraction. All in all, a great historical document, with lots of great Rock 'n' Roll, plus a big thick booklet with rare info, stories, etc., that Haley fans will love. (JM)

 
RONNIE HAWKINS Jasmine 592 Dynamic Ronnie Hawkins - Early Album Collection ● CD $15.98
Two CDs, 49 tracks, highly recommended
Two CD set with 49 tracks comprising all four albums issued by Roulette in 1959 and 1960 which also included most of the singles issued during this period. The first disc with "Ronnie Hawkins" and "Mr Dynamo" features his hard driving rockers and rock ballads with his own band The Hawks with great lead guitar by Jimmy Ray Paulman, piano from Willard Jones and Levon Helm on drums. It includes his first two hits - his cover of Chuck Berry's Thirty DaysForty Days and Young Jessie's Mary Lou. The rest of the materials is fine originals (Wild Little Willie/ Need Your Lovin (Oh So Bad)/ One Of These Days/ Hey Boba Lou, etc) and excellent copvers of rock 'n' roll and R&b classics (Ruby Baby/ Dizzy Miss Lizzy/ Honey Don't/ Sick And Tired, etc). The second disc features his two thematic LPs - "The Folk Ballads OF Ronnie Hawkins" and "Ronnie Hawkins Sings The Songs Of Hank Williams" - these were recorded in Nashville with standard studio musicians (Grady Martin, Bob Moore, Floyd Cramer, etc.) though Levon Helm is also on drums and on the first session Robbie Robertson is featured on guitar and turns in some fine solos. Ronnie's performances of songs like Sometimes I Feel LIke A Motherless Child/ Wayfaring Stranger/ John Henry/ The Death Of Floyd Collins/ Hey Good Lookin'/ Weary Blues From Waiting and Ramblin' Man are fine, unfortunately the ever present Anita Kerr Singers make these performances less rewarding that they could have been. There is a bonus track Ballad Of Caryl Chessman - a plea to spare the life of the convicted robber and rapist (not murderer - he was sentenced to death for what was considered the kidnapping of his rape victim - at the time a capital crime in California) that was only ever issued as a single. (FS)
RONNIE HAWKINS: Baby Jean/ Brave Man/ Clara/ Cold Cold Heart/ Dizzy Miss Lizzy/ Dreams Do Come True/ Fare Thee Well/ Forty Days/ Hayride/ Hey Boba Lou/ Hey Good Lookin/ Honey Dont/ Horace/ I Cant Help It (If Im Still In Love With You)/ I Gave My Love A Cherry/ I Hear That Lonesome Whistle/ Im So Lonesome I Could Cry/ Jambalaya/ John Henry/ Lonely Hours/ Love From Afar/ Love Me Like You Can/ Mary Lou/ Mister And Mississippi/ My Girl Is Red Hot/ Need Your Lovin (Oh So Bad)/ Nobodys Lonesome For Me/ Odessa/ Oh Sugar/ One Of These Days/ One Out Of A Hundred/ Ramblin Man/ Ruby Baby/ Sick And Tired/ Someone Like You/ Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child/ Southern Love/ Summertime/ The Ballad Of Caryl Chessman/ The Death Of Floyd Collins/ Therell Be No Teardrops Tonight/ Virginia Bride/ Wayfaring Stranger/ Weary Blues From Waitin/ Whatcha Gonna Do (When The Creek Runs Dry)/ Wild Little Willy/ You Cheated, You Lied/ You Win Again/ Your Cheatin Heart

 
ROY HEAD & THE TRAITS Norton 358 Live It Up! Wild Texas Rock n' Roll, 1958-1962 ● CD $14.98
16 tracks, 40 min., highly recommended
The early stuff, recorded in Texas between 1958-62, this album collects both sides of the six TNT 45 rpms and both sides of both Renner singles. Their sound is remarkably consistent and consistently remarkable, considering that the earliest sides were cut when the group was still in high school. And as if that weren't enough, the booklet features an interview with (original Trait) Dan Buie, who reminisces about the wild stage antics of Roy Head, among other topics. A nice release all around. (JC)

 
WANDA JACKSON EMI Gold 397120-2 The Ultimate Collection ● CD $11.98
Available again at a lower price. One of the great female rockabilly and country artists of the 50s and 60s this budget priced two CD with 50 tracks recorded for Capitol includes one CD of country sides (I Gotta Know/ In The Middle Of A Heartache/ Slippin'/ Tears Will Be The Chaser For The Wine/ Fancy Satin Pillows, etc) and one CD of raucous rock 'n' roll (Let's Have A Party/ Money Honey/ Hard Headed Woman/ Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On< etc). Not as attractively packaged as collections from Ace and Bear Family this is the perfect way to get some of Wanda's best recordings at an unbeatable price.
WANDA JACKSON: A Girl Don't Have to Drink to Have Fun/ A Woman Lives for Love/ Both Sides of the Line/ Brown Eyed Handsome Man/ Candy Man/ Cold Cold Heart/ Crazy/ Fancy Satin Pillows/ Fujiyama Mama/ Funny How Time Slips Away/ Hard Headed Woman/ Honey Bop/ Honey Don't/ Hot Dog! That Made Him Mad/ I Gotta Know/ I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry/ If I Cried Every Time You Hurt Me/ In the Middle of a Heartache/ It Doesn't Matter Anymore/ Jackson/ Jambalaya/ Kansas City/ Let's Have a Party/ Lonely Weekends/ Long Legged Guitar Pickin' Man/ Long Tall Sally/ Mean Mean Man/ Memphis Tennessee/ Money Honey/ My Baby Left Me/ My Baby Walked Right out on Me/ My Big Iron Skillet/ Right or Wrong/ Riot in Cell Block Number Nine/ Rip It Up/ Silver Threads and Golden Needles/ Singing the Blues/ Slippin'/ Slippin' and Slidin'/ Stupid Cupid/ Tears Will Be the Chaser for Your Wine/ The Box It Came In/ The Violet and the Rose/ Two Separate Bar Stools/ Who Shot Sam?/ Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On/ Yakety Yak/ You Win Again

 
JOHNNY JANO El Toro 1038 Rocking And Rolling, 1956-58 ● CD $17.98
23 tracks, 48 mins, almost highly recommended
Complementing El Toro's recent Al Ferrier collection this is another fine slab of rockabilly - Louisiana style - which is not a whole different to Memphis Style. Only eight of the tracks here, recorded between 1956 and 1958 were originally issued as singles on Excello, Goldband, Hollywood and Showtime but thanks to research in the vaults in the 1980s a whole bunch of excellent unissued songs and alternate takes were discovered which makes up most of the rest of the album. Johnny was an excellent singer accompanied by tough small bands - in the case of Excello, some of the tracks featuring the fine guitar work by Guitar Gable and the Goldband sides feature blues inspired guitarist Johnny Duhon who turns in a fine rendition of Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown's Okie Dokie Stomp. Sound quality is excellent and there are informative notes by Dave Penny. My only disappointment is the lack of inclusion of the sides he records around the same time for Lyric and his own Jador label. They may, or may not, be as good as the tracks here but I think it would have been worth including to round out the picture and give us a bit more value for our money. (FS)

 
BUDDY KNOX Jasmine 595 Party Doll And Other Hits ● CD $15.98
26 tracks, 54 mins, highly recommended
I've always enjoyed the music of West Texan Wayne "Buddy" Knox. With his warm vocals and gently swinging and thoroughly infectious songs it always seemed appropriate that he was born in Happy, Texas. This superb disc features most his Roulette recordings cut at Norman Petty studios in Clovis, New Mexico or New York between 1956 and 1960 as well as his first Libert single. It leads off with his big hit Party Doll and includes such fine sides (many of them written by Knox) as Rock Your Little Baby To Sleep/ Storm Clouds/ Somebody Touch Me/ Hula Love/ Devil Woman/ Swingin' Daddy/C'mon Baby and others including his controversial I Think I'm Gonna Kill Myself which Buddy makes sound positively cheerful! He also does a few rock 'n' roll and R&B covers like Rockhouse/ Maybelline and Mary Lou and makes them distinctively his own. Backing his fine vocals are the Rhythm Orchids which included Jimmy Bowen on bass and the brilliant Don Lanier on lead guitar. Lanier's guitar playing is sometimes reminiscent of that of Buddy Holly which makes one speculate as to whether there was a West Texas rockabilly guitar style. Incidentally it is thought to be Holly accompanying Knox on the excellent Swingin' Daddy recorded in Seattle in October, 1957. The later sides have more of a pop flavor but are rescued by Buddy's always engaging vocals. Excellent sound and informative notes by Bob Fisher. (FS)

 
BRENDA LEE Bear Family BCD 16686 Rocks ● CD $24.98
35 tracks, 87 mins, very highly recommended
Though best known for a string of rock ballad hits in the 60s starting with I'm Sorry in 1960, Brenda Lee was one of the finest female rock 'n' roll singers with an incredibly expressive voice and a great rasp that made her rock 'n' roll offerings extremely exciting. Brenda made her first recordings in 1956 when she was 11 years old and although her earliest sides sound a bit immature she rapidly acquired a maturity that belied her age. Although her producers favored a pop approach with strings and vocal choruses Brenda's great voice is front and center on these recordings. Most of the tracks here were recorded between 1956 and 1961 and includes her early hits One Step At A Time/ Dynamite/ Rock Around The Christmas Tree/ Dum Dum and Sweet Nothin's along with other great sides like Rock The Bop/ Here Comes That Feelin'/ Ring-A-My Phone and two of my personal favorites Love You Till I Die and Let's Jump The Broomstick. And showing her versatility she does fine versions of R&B songs like Kansas City/ Talkin' 'Bout You and What'd I Say and fine rocking versions of pop standards Baby Face and BIll Bailey, Won't You Please Come Home. Sound quality is superb and 52 page booklet has extensive notes by Todd Everett, loads of great photos and full discographical information. One caveat - a few years ago Ace put out a CD by Brenda called "Queen Of Rock "n' Roll" (still available) featuring 28 of the tracks here so if you have that you would be getting this for seven additional songs and a bigger booklet. (FS)
BRENDA LEE: (If I'm Dreaming) Just Let Me Dream/ Ain't That Love/ Anybody But Me/ Baby Face/ Bigelow 6-200/ Bill Bailey, Won't You Please Come Home/ Crazy Talk/ Doodle Bug Rag/ Dum Dum/ Dynamite/ Heading Home/ Here Comes That Feeling/ Hummin' The Blues Over You/ Is It True/ Jambalaya (On The Bayou)/ Just A Little/ Just Because/ Kansas City/ Let The Four Winds Blow/ Let's Jump The Broomstick/ Little Jonah (Rock On Your Steel Guitar)/ Love You 'Till I Die/ My Baby Likes Western Guys/ One Step At A Time/ One Teenager To Another/ Ring-A-My-Phone/ Rock A Bye Baby Blues/ Rock The Bop/ Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree/ Sweet Nothin's/ Talkin' 'Bout You/ That's All You Gotta Do/ The Stroll/ Weep No More My Baby/ What I'd Say/ When My Dreamboat Comes Home

 
JERRY LEE LEWIS Spectrum 753 322-6 Fireball! The Collection ● CD $18.98
2 CDs, 41 tracks, 110 mins, highly recommended
I have long though that Jerry Lee Lewis' recordings for Smash records are some of the most underrated in music history. People tend to put Jerry Lee Lewis' career into two segments; his early fiery rise to the top and the handful of amazing records that he did for Sun records in the '50s and then his later mellowed down Country music successes of the late '60s through the '70s. Guess what, though: from right out of the gate with Smash records in 1963, Jerry Lee started doing great work. This fantastic set covers Jerry Lee Lewis' best work throughout his tenure at Smash and contains a whole bunch of red-hot rockers, a mess of stone cold Country classics and a number of downright weepers all done like no one else could. This collection fires right up with the 1963 mono album version of Great Balls Of Fire, which is only the second greatest version of the song, then keeps tearing it up through versions of Roll Over Beethoven/ Hit The Road Jack/ Walking The Floor Over You, and Lonely Weekends. The collection lets up the pace a bit by track six, his powerful rendition of Joe South's Walk A Mile In My Shoes, but that isn't the end of the barnburners by a long shot. I think what the collection does the best, though, is that it shows the wide variety and depth of the talent that Jerry Lee Lewis had/has, not the least of which is his talent for working his own name into songs no matter who the actual songwriter is. Country fans especially will like this, Rock 'n' Roll fans will also like this, even some Rhythm & Blues fans will like it as well, everyone should dig a little deeper into Jerry Lee Lewis' catalog, most will be glad that they did. (JM)
JERRY LEE LEWIS: Baby (You've Got What It Takes) (with Linda Gail Lewis)/ Before The Snow Falls (with Linda Gail Lewis)/ Break Up/ Crazy Arms (Featuring Dennis Quad - From the "Great Balls Of Fire" OST)/ Don't Boogie Woogie/ Don't Put No/ Down The Line (Live)/ Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream)/ Flip Flop And Fly/ Fraulein/ Funny How Time/ Georgia On My Mind/ Great Balls Of Fire/ Hey Baby/ High Heel Sneakers/ Hit The Road Jack/ How's My Ex/ I Can Still Hear The Music In The Rest Room/ It Makes No/ Jack Daniels Old No.7/ Life's Little Ups And Downs/ Lonely Weekends/ Long Tall Sally/ Louisiana Man/ Me And Jesus (with Linda Gail Lewis)/ No Particular Place To Go (Live)/ Pen And Paper/ Roll Over Beethoven/ Secret Places (with Linda Gail Lewis)/ Sexy Ways/ She Thinks I Still Care/ She Was My Baby (He Was My Friend)/ Slipping Around/ The Hole He Said He'd Dig For Me/ The Wild Side Of Life/ Turn On Your Love Light/ Walk A Mile In My Shoes/ Walking The Floor Over You/ Wolverton Mountain/ Working Man Blues/ You Win Again

 
LITTLE RICHARD Bear Family BCD 17138 Rocks ● CD $24.98
31 tracks, 73 mins, essential
I guess it's pretty obvious why this is essential: the greatest tracks by one of the top five greatest artists of all time, it's a no brainier. Since Little Richard wasn't exactly known for his ballads, this "Rocks" collection contains all of the songs that made him famous and that changed the world. If you need a refresher, that means; Tutti Frutti/ Ready Teddy/ Slippin' And A Slidin'/ Long Tall Sally/ Rip It Up/ Lucille/ The Girl Can't Help It, etc., etc., Amen! If you have all those and need some more enticement, this collection also features such lesser known, but still great, tracks as Baby/ Miss Ann, fine versions of Kansas City, and Lawdy Miss Clawdy. Most of the collection are his classic recordings from 1955-1959,we also get to go as far back as 1951 with Get Rich Quick, and forward into the '60s (with one stop at 1970) for a handful of cool tracks like Bama Lama, Bama Loo/ Dew Drop In. I really can't imagine a more essential collection of Rock & Roll out there than this one for the man who invented it all! (JM)
LITTLE RICHARD: All Around The World/ Baby/ Baby Face/ Bama Lama Bama Loo/ By The Light Of The Silvery Moon/ Dew Drop Inn/ Get Down With It/ Get Rich Quick/ Good Golly Miss Molly/ Heeby-Jeebies/ Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey/ I Got It/ I'll Never Let You Go (Boo Hoo Hoo Hoo)/ I'm In Love Again/ Jenny, Jenny/ Kansas City/ Keep A Knockin'/ Lawdy Miss Clawdy/ Little Richard's Boogie/ Long Tall Sally/ Lucille/ Miss Ann/ Ooh! My Soul/ Ready Teddy/ Rip It Up/ She Knows How To Rock (Rock Me)/ She's Got It/ Slippin' And Slidin'/ The Girl Can't Help It/ True Fine Mama/ Tutti Frutti

 
TRINI LOPEZ Ace CDCHD 1314 Sinner Not A Saint - Complete King & DRA Recordings ● CD $18.98
29 tracks, 71 mins, highly recommended
When the name Trini Lopez is spoken today, one of two images comes to mind: either the singer of If I Had a Hammer or the anti-social Pedro Jimenez, one of the Dirty Dozen in the film of the same name. And if his music is thought of beyond If I Had a Hammer, then it is the sides he cut for Reprise that spring to mind. But Lopez had a recording career long before he signed with Reprise in 1963, and it is those early recordings that form the basis of this CD. First with the King label out of Cincinnati, and then with Los Angeles' DRA label, Lopez spread his singing and songwriting wings. Coming off as a cross between Ritchie Valens (one of his models), Buddy Holly, and Gene Vincent, Lopez cut some excellent sides for both labels including cult faves Sinner Not a Saint/ The Search Goes On, and Nobody Loves Me. Other must-hears: Rock On/ Jeanie Marie/ Rosita, and covers of Annie Laurie's 1957 R&B hit It Hurts to Be in Love and the Skyliners' Since I Don't Have You. Released in their original versions for the first time on CD, these tracks present a Trini Lopez who already possessed the talent that would eventually make him a star. (GMC)

 
BOBBY LORD Bear Family BCD 16524 Everybody's Rockin' But Me ● CD $21.98
The first ever CD of Bobby Lord's vintage recordings. Bear Family has carefully selected his finest proto-rockabilly, upbeat country and pop recordings for Columbia from 1954-1960. The collection also features three previously unissued numbers from 1956 and '60, plus the complete January, 1956 session (two days after Elvis recorded Heartbreak Hotel) that produced Beautiful Baby and Lord's blazing cover of Johnny Cash's hit So Doggone Lonesome. Elvis's bassist and drummer stayed around to work the session. Also featured is the original recording of Boudleaux Bryant's Hawk-Eye, later a chart single for Frankie Laine! The star sidemen include Chet Atkins, Hank Garland, Harold Bradley, Grady Martin, and two of Hank Williams's Drifting Cowboys.
BOBBY LORD: Ain't Cha Ever Gonna?/ Am I A Fool/ Beautiful Baby/ Everybody's Rockin' But Me/ Hawk-Eye/ High Voltage/ I Can't Do Without You Anymore/ I Know It Was You/ I'd Rather Be Blue/ Just Wonderful/ No More, No More, No More/ Party Pooper/ Pie Peachie Pie Pie/ Run, Honey Run/ Sack/ Sittin' Home Prayin' For Rain/ So Doggone Lonesome/ Swamp Fox/ The Fire Of Love (1)/ The Fire Of Love (2)/ Too Many Miles (Down The Road)/ What A Thrill/ Why Should I Cry/ You Robber You

 
BOB LUMAN Snapper SROLL 844 Red Hot! ● CD $9.98
Fine 28 track collection featuring a selection of recordings made by the excellent vocalist Bob Luman. His earliest sides from 1957 and 1958 are hard driving rockabilly with a band that included guitarist James Burton. In 1959 he moved to Warner Brothers where his sound was softened into a more pop country flavored style resulting his big 1960 hit Let's Think About Living and then he moved into a straight country style. This collection features all these aspects with a selection that includes Red Cadillac And A Black Moustache/ Red Hot/ Your Love/ Svengali/ My Baby Walks All Over Me/ Let's Think About Living/ Make Up Your Mind, Baby/ Meet Mr. Mud/ Jealous Heart/ I Love You So Much It Hurts, etc.
BOB LUMAN: All Night Long/ Bad, Bad Day/ Buttercup/ Class of '59/ Dreamy Doll/ Everytime the World Goes Round/ I Know My Baby Cares/ I Love You Because/ I Love You So Much It Hurts/ Jealous Heart/ Let's Think About Living/ Make Up Your Mind, Baby/ Make Up Your Mind, Baby (Fast Version)/ Meet Mr. Mud/ My Baby Walks All Over Me/ Oh, Lonesome Me/ Precious/ Red Cadilac and a Black Moustache (Version 2 With Chorus)/ Red Cadillac and a Black Moustache/ Red Hot/ Svengali/ Throwin' Kisses/ Try Me/ Whenever You're Ready (Let's Fall In Love)/ Why, Why, Bye, Bye/ You Win Again/ You've Got Everything/ Your Love

 
THE MARKETTS Ace CDLUX 006 Outer Space, Hot Rods & Superheroes ● CD $24.98
24 tracks, 54 mins, highly recommended
Well, kids here's another entry in Ace Record's Limited Edition series (you know the drill, only 1500 copies exist worldwide) and it's another instrumental band from the early/mid 60's. This time the Marketts, who hit with the trippy Out of Limits in 1964 and the Batman TV show theme in 1966, get the treatment with this collection of material the band cut for Warner Brothers between 1963 and 1966, including rare tracks from later 45s and one previously unissued side from the Out Of Limits session. The Marketts' story is really the story of one Joe Saraceno, a Hollywood mover and shaker who, according to the liner notes, "was and remains the world's most successful producer of rock instrumentals." Although there were a couple of ensembles with anonymous (except for mainstay writer/guitarist/arranger Mike Gordon) musicians for live performances, the Marketts' were basically a studio creation of Mike and Joe's featuring some of the best LA. Session musicians (people like Carol Kaye, Leon Russell, Glen Campbell, Tommy Tedesco, Hal Blaine, and Plas Johnson) and arrangers (Jack Nitzsche and Ernie Freeman) of the era. Quite a few of these tracks were hits and it's easy to see why; the high quality of playing on original numbers like Come See, Come Ska/ Napoleon's Solo/ Richie's Theme/ Vanishing Point, and Miami's Blue is truly something to behold. The TV theme covers - The Avengers, Batman, Tarzan - are nothing to sneeze at either; and then there's the crown jewel of Out of Limits, an iconic and definitive example of surf instrumental music at its' best. If you're a fan of instrumental rock, this CD is a must own. (GMC)

 
RICKY NELSON Jasmine 529 Rockin And Boppin' - The Best Of The Early Years ● CD $15.98
2 CDs, 56 tracks, 121 mins, highly recommended
Unlike my boss Frank, I love pretty much all of Ricky Nelson's classic recordings, not just the ones with James Burton and Joe Maphis on them (although those are certainly some of the best). Ricky Nelson had that "It" factor certainly, but I have always thought that he deserved more Rock 'N' Roll street cred than he ever really got, and I know at least The Cramps agreed with me. This collection features most of his famous early hits: It's Late/ Be-Bop Baby/ Poor Little Fool/ Lonesome Town/ Stood Up/ Believe What You Say/ Never Be Anyone Else But You, etc.; songs that he famously covered: I'm Walkin'/ Boppin' The Blues/ My Buckets Got A Hole In It/ My Babe, etc.; and plenty of lesser known, but still well loved songs, like I Can't Help It/ My Rifle, My Pony, and Me/ Down The Line/ I'm Confessin', and so on. Also included are stereo versions of many hits and other tracks. The one odd thing about this collection is the exclusion of a couple of his great hits, Travelin' Man, and Hello Mary Lou, among other tracks that should certainly be on here. Despite the oddly excluded tracks, there are definitely enough great tracks to fill up these two disks and all sound great. (JM)

 
ROY ORBISON Charly SNAP 296 At The Rock House ● CD $12.98
37 tracks, 77 mins, highly recommended
Originally released in 1961, "At The Rock House" was not so much a proper album, but Sun records cobbling together the best of what they had the rights to after Roy Orbison had hit big on Monument records. So, although released in '61, the tracks were mostly recorded in 1957. Certainly none of that is necessarily a bad thing, because what Orbison recorded for Sun records was fantastic and easily represents the best of his pure Rockabilly numbers, often featuring his hot guitar work. This new edition comprises the original '61 album, with such great cuts as Devil Doll/ You're My Baby/ Rock House/ Ooby Dooby/ Problem Child, etc, plus singles versions of 7 songs Go Go Go/ Chicken Hearted/ I Like Love, etc. and 11 tracks of demos and recordings unreleased from the time including killer versions of The Clown/ Domino, and Claudette, and then seven undubbed versions of songs from the album. Since Charley has the rights to the original Sun masters, the sound here is pretty much as good as it gets. All in all, a feast for Roy Orbison fans, of which I am a big one, and as such I highly recommend it to others. (JM)

 
BOBBY PEDRICK JR. Cat KIng Cole 1017B From The Beginning ● CD $17.98
27 tracks, 64 min., recommended
Bobby Pedrick, Jr. is perhaps best known for his 1979 #1 pop hit Sad Eyes, which he released under the name Robert John (his first and middle names). But back in 1958 at the advanced age of 12 years, Pedrick had a national hit with White Bucks And Saddle Shoes (included here), and it is those early (mostly 1960s), pre-Robert John recordings for the Big Top, Shell, Duel, and Diamond labels gathered here. As one might guess these tracks lean toward the lighter side of rock, occupying the same musical terrain as, say, Neil Sedaka. Four previously unreleased tracks (I Found Out About Love/ The Game Of Love/ Faded Blue and Rock Boppin' Baby) are included to tempt superfans. Also two cuts as by Bobby And The Consoles and two as by The Inferno have been included at the end, as has one Robert John cut (Hushabye). (JC)

 
ELVIS PRESLEY Memphis Recording Service 10027460 G.I. Blues - The Cafe Europa Sessions ● CD $67.98
4 CDs, 103 tracks, 250 mins, recommended for big Elvis fans
It's hard to look at the original "G.I. Blues" album as anything but the beginning of the end for the Elvis Presley that we heard on all of those amazing early Sun records. Sure, Elvis had many fine moments throughout the '60s and '70s, but this album, with it's mostly lackluster performances of mostly lousy songs, was a harbinger of things to come. The wild Rockabilly cat was gone, and in its place was a corporation that was churning out product, with little regard for quality, let alone the spirit, of Rock & Roll. All that said, if you are huge Elvis fan, you will still probably dig this, it's a hell of a package, with a 100 page booklet, with all kinds of photos, recording information, and so on. The four CDs are comprised of the original album in its entirety plus three and a half disks of alternative takes of all of the songs. So you get instrumental takes, different vocal takes, fast takes, slow takes, etc. So a real smorgasbord for rabid fans of the Big E, with over four hours of studio out-takes and studio banter. All recordings are remastered from original RCA tapes in 24bit 192khz stereo. Aside from the title track and his version of Carl Perkins' Blue Suede Shoes, there aren't any songs on here that I would want to hear more than once in any version. It's not that I don't love Elvis, I do, but only the fans more devoted than me will really want this. (JM)

 
ELVIS PRESLEY RCA Legacy 93534 Young Man With The Big Beat ● CD $129.98
Five CDs, 83 tracks, very highly recommended
A tribute to Elvis in the year 1956 - the year that he became a worldwide sensation and changed the face of popular music forever. The first two discs in this set features all the original master recordings - most that should be familiar to most rock 'n' roll but here they are again with superb sound quality including all those classic hits - Heartbreak Hotel/ Blue Suede Shoes/ I Want You, I Need You, I Love You/ Don't Be Cruel/ Hound Dog/ Love Me Tender/ Love Me and all those other songs that have become imprinted into rock 'n' roll's DNA. The third disc features three different live performances from 1956. The first two from the Frontier Hotel, Las Vegas and Robinson Memorial Auditorium, Little Rock are superb though they have been issued before. The third features 10 songs from the Hirsch Youth Center in Shreveport on December 15th is appearing here for the first time and finds Elvis and band in fine form in front of a VERY enthusiastic audience. Sound quality here is not as good as on the earlier sets but is certainly acceptable. The fourth disc starts with four session outtakes from Elvis's first RCA session including I Got A Woman and Heartbreak Hotel/ Lawdy Miss Clawdy and Shake, Rattle & Roll and disc ends with interview held at the Warwick Hotel in New York in March and the fifth disc continues with more interviews and a couple of radio spots. The set is accompanied by an 80 page 12"x12" book with a day-by-day chronology for the year plus tons of rare photos, press articles, record labels, album covers and other memorabilia and a package of posters, photos and other memorabilia. All housed in a beautiful 12"x12"x1" slipcase. Counts as 12 CDs for shipping. (FS)

 
ELVIS PRESLEY Sony Music (UK) 915472 The Real Elvis - The Ultimate Elvis Presley Collection ● CD $11.98
Three CD set, 90 tracks, highly recommended
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. European copyright laws mean that anything more than 50 years old is in the public domain and record companies having been having a field day with Elvis releasing literally hundreds of CDs - often at very low prices. In order to compete Sony Music who own RCA and the Elvis catalog have issued this very low priced three CD set featuring 90 of Elvis's best sides recorded between 1954 and 1961 including most of his chart hits from this period. The discs are looseley arranged with the first disc being mostly up tempo rockers (Jailhouse Rock/ Blue Suede Shoes/ Don't Be Cruel/ Shake, Rattle & Roll/ I Got Stung, etc.). The second disc is mostly ballads (Love Me Tender/ Blue Moon/ Don't/ Love Me, etc. and blues (Baby, Let's Play House/ A Mess Of Blues/ Dirty, Dirty Feeling, etc. and the third disc is about half gospel (Peace In The Valley/ Swing Down Sweet Chariot/ Mansion Over The Hilltop/ Working On The Building, etc) plus more ballads, blues and rockers. The blurb on the back tells us that the "albums are mastered from original RCA recordings" so there's no doubt as to the provenance of this material. If you don't have much Elvis this is a chance to hear Elvis at his best when he was young and really cared about the music he was making before his "handlers" directed him towards material that didn't do credit to his great voice. No notes but what more can be said about the man! (FS)
ELVIS PRESLEY: (Maries The Name Of His Latest Flame/ (Therell Be) Peace In The Valley (For Me)/ (Youre So Square) Baby I Dont Care/ A Big Hunk O Love/ A Fool Such As I/ A Mess Of Blues/ All Shook Up/ Anyplace Is Paradise/ Anyway You Want Me (Thats How I Will Be)/ Are You Lonesome Tonight?/ As Long As I Have You/ As Long As I Have You/ Baby Lets Play House/ Blue Moon/ Blue Suede Shoes/ Blueberry Hill/ Cant Help Falling In Love/ Dirty, Dirty Feeling/ Dont/ Dont Be Cruel/ Fever/ G.I. Blues/ Girl Next Door Went A Walking/ Got A Lot O Livin To Do!/ Hard Headed Woman/ Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?/ He Knows Just What I Need/ Heartbreak Hotel/ His Hand In Mine/ Hound Dog/ I Beg Of You/ I Believe/ I Believe In The Man In The Sky/ I Dont Care If The Sun Dont Shine/ I Got Stung/ I Need You So/ I Need Your Love Tonight/ I Want You, I Need You, I Love You/ I Will Be Home Again/ If We Never Meet Again/ Im Gonna Walk Dem Golden Stairs/ Im Left, Youre Right, Shes Gone/ In My Fathers House/ Is It So Strange/ It Is No Secret (What God Can Do)/ Its Now Or Never/ Jailhouse Rock/ Joshua Fit The Battle/ King Creole/ Known Only To Him/ Little Sister/ Long Tall Sally/ Love Me/ Love Me Tender/ Loving You/ Make Me Know It/ Mansion Over The Hilltop/ Mean Woman Blues/ Milky White Way/ My Baby Left Me/ Mystery Train/ Old Shep/ One Night Of Sin/ Pocketful Of Rainbows/ Poor Boy/ Rip It Up/ Rock A Hula Baby/ Shake Rattle & Roll/ Silent Night/ Stuck On You/ Surrender/ Swing Down Sweet Chariot/ Take My Hand, Precious Lord/ Take My Hand, Precious Lord/ Thats All Right/ The Girl Of My Best Friend/ Tonight Is So Right For Love/ Too Much/ Trouble/ True Love/ Trying To Get to You/ Tutti Frutti/ Wear My Ring Around Your Neck/ Whats She Really Like/ When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again/ Wooden Heart/ Working On The Building/ Young And Beautiful/ Young Dreams/ Youre A Heartbreaker

 
JERRY RAINES Night Train 7089 Dangerous Redhead ● CD $13.98
Available again. 28 tracks from fine obscure Louisiana rocker recorded between 1959 and 1981 - mostly late 50s/ early 60s. Jerry is a fine singer and his music has a strong R&B and swamp pop flavor. Includes sessions with his own band the Vikings as well as tracks with a studio band including Roy Montrell, Mac Rebennac, Lee Allen & Big Boy Myles. Includes a couple of unissued studio sides along with a bunch of forgettable demos with only piano or acoustic guitar accompaniment.

 
GLENN REEVES Bear Family BCD 16658 Johnny On The Spot ● CD $21.98
This 25 track collection is the first and only compilation of music by an important but little-reissued singer and songwriter. Includes the original demo recording of Heartbreak Hotel, one of the most important recordings in rock 'n' roll. All eight singles by Glenn Reeves issued on TNT, Republic, Atco and Decca in the 1950s are included! Also here are six unissued 1950s recordings and a very rare single from the 1960s on the Envy label. There are rare photographs and interviews with Reeves's friends and family. The comprehensive 44-page booklet by Martin Hawkins covers all of Glenn's various careers as a singer, songwriter, disc jockey, TV star, music promoter and more.

 
CHARLIE RICH Ace CDCHD 1298 It Ain't Gonna Be That Way - The Complete Smash Session ● CD $18.98
29 tracks, 69 mins, very highly recommended
Before his 70's renaissance at the hands of Nashville producer Billy Sherrill, Charlie Rich's most noteworthy period was the 18 months he spent Mercury Records' Smash subsidiary. Starting in 1965 and on into 1966, Rich produced some of his most adventurous music; mixing R&B, Jazz, and Country and performing songs mostly written by himself or his wife, he created a sound uniquely his own and these tracks are considered to be as close as we would ever get to the "real" Charlie Rich. Of these songs, the only one that was hit was Mohair Sam - written by Dallas Frazier- but there's many fine compositions that deserved to hear by the masses: ballads like It Ain't Gonna Be That Way/ I Can't Go On or A Field of Yellow Daisies (which, in fact, was a minor hit for Smash, cashing in on Rich's newfound success in the 70's); and up tempo jivers like Everything I Do is Wrong and Just a Little Bit of Time. For those keeping score, these tracks were originally released as the Smash LPs "The Many New Sides of Charlie Rich" (1965) and "The Best Years" (1966); in 1992, Mercury issued three additional tracks from these sessions that had never been released before. But for the first time it's all here in one place: the glorious gospel inflected You Can Have Her and I Washed My Hands in Muddy Water, the Ray Charles-style of Down and Out, the rock and roll of When My Baby Comes Home, and the update of his Sun classic Lonely Weekends. If you're a fan of Charlie's, this CD is mandatory. (GMC)

 
BILLY RILEY Bear Family BCD 17122 The Outtakes ● CD $44.98
2CD, 79 tracks, highly recommended
Bear Family recently launched a series where they have culled through the archives and begun compiling "outtake" collections of assorted artists (the list so far includes Johnny Cash, Janis Martin, the Everly Brothers, and Gene Vincent). This set geared toward cult rockabilly god, Billy (Lee) Riley, contains alternate takes and false starts (some with studio chatter, some without) of 12 tracks Riley recorded for Sun Records between 1956 and 1959. Bear Family's claim that these recordings have never been released before is not strictly true as alternate versions of I Want You/ She's My Baby/ Pearly Lee, and Wouldn't You Know appeared on a 1990 Bear Family Riley compilation, "Classic Recordings 1956-1960." And their claim that the set includes the outtakes to every Riley Sun single is certainly not completely accurate. Nitpicking aside, the set is catnip for Riley fans, rock 'n' roll historians, and rockabilly junkies. For most people, trying to tell the difference between one take of She's My Baby (aka Red Hot) or Flying Saucer Rock 'n' Roll and another is a daunting proposition at best, boring at worst; for those so inclined, it's nirvana and you know who you are. The transfer quality is excellent, there's a 68 page booklet with never-seen-before photos of Riley in the studio, as well as a revised and expanded Sun discography, detailed track-by-track commentaries, and new interview material by Sun historian Hank Davis. So what are you waiting for? (GMC)

 
THE RONETTES Legacy/ Spector 61286 Be My Baby - The Very Best Of The Ronettes ● CD $11.98
18 tracks, 56 mins, essential
There are not that many perfect records in the history of Rock 'n' Roll--plenty of great ones, but a small number that achieved perfection-but The Ronettes with Phil Spector at the helm arguably made five of them! Be My Baby/ Baby, I Love You/ The Best Part Of Breaking Up/ Walking In The Rain, and I Can Hear Music, all here sounding crisp and clean and as good as I have ever heard them. On top of those masterpieces you get thirteen other great tracks from the groups legendary 1960's recordings. Some cuts, like So Young/ I Wonder, and Born To Be Together, would be enough to make a great career for most other artists; for The Ronettes, they were just icing on the cake. You want to fill your home up with music, just put this collection on and crank it up; it will rock your house to the foundation. Collection also features brand new liner notes by the great Lenny Kaye. (JM)

 
SAM THE SHAM & THE PHARAOS Sundazed 11219 THe MGM Singles ● CD $16.98
28 tracks, 71 mins, highly recommended
Now this is a hell of a lot of fun. Can you dig it? And don't write Sam The Sham and The Pharaohs off as a jokey two-hit wonder band; they were a fantastic outfit with some serious players. This collection gathers up all of the band's classic MGM singles, plus rare non-album tracks and more, all taken from original masters. Garage Rock, Tex-Mex, Rhythm & Blues, frat Rock, Hoo-Doo music, call it what you want, its all here ready to make it a party. Wooly Bully/ Ju Ju Hand/ Red Hot/ Li'l Red Riding Hood/ (I'm In With) The Out Crowd/ Black Sheep/ Banned In Boston, etc. Cool packaging and solid liner notes by Scott Schinder top it all off. They sure as hell don't make 'em like Sam The Sham and the Pharaohs anymore, that's for sure! (JM)

 
SANTO & JOHNNY Jasmine 164 Sleepwalk - The First Two Stereo Albums ● CD $13.98
24 tracks, 57 mins, highly recommended
This has pretty much everything you would want from a Santo & Johnny collection: all of their biggest hits and most dynamic performances, presented in crisp and clear sound. You get their stellar originals, like All Night Diner/ Sleepwalk/ Slave Girl/ Lazy Day, etc., along with their unique take on such standards as Caravan/ Summertime/ Somewhere Over The Rainbow/ Blue Moon/ Deep Purple, as well as takes on some of the current Rockers of the day like Chuck Berry's School Days, and Bill Justice's Raunchy. Fans of Santo & Johnny will certainly be pleased, but any fan of guitar instrumentals will surely dig as well. (JM)

 
JACK SCOTT Jasmine 178 1957-1960: Touch Me Baby, I Go Hog Wild ● CD $15.98
Two CDs, 64 tracks, 154 mins, very highly recommended
I've always had a great fondness for the early recordings of Jack Scott (no, he's not related!). With his distinctive somber baritone voice, catchy and highly repetitive songs (mostly written by Jack himself), his solid acoustic rhythm guitar, sturdy backing by his group and vocal support from the superb appropriately named Chantones (possibly the best ever vocal back up group) he produced memorable music that really gets under your skin. With the exception of the five CD box set on Bear Family this is the best retrospective of his early recordings (1957 to 1960) and features all his hits during this period. It includes made for ABC Paramount, Carlton, Top Rank and Guaranteed and includes such classics as Leroy (and an early unissued demo called Greaseball) his intense ballads (Jack was one of the very best rockaballad singers) My True Love/ With Your Love/ What In The World's Come Over You (which meant a lot to me when I was a teenager about a thousand years ago), a glorious rendition of Hank Williams' No One Will Ever Know, the pounding gospel Save My Soul, the incessant Geraldine, the wonderful minor key and very Italian sounding Bella (Scott's real name is Giovanni Scafone), the catchy The Way I Walk (where the album 's title song comes from) and many more. The first disc mostly features Jack's singles while the second features demos and unissued songs along with tracks from three of his Top-Rank LPs "I Remember Hank Williams, ""What In The World's Come Over You" and "The Spirit Moves Me." The Hank Williams tribute is a disappointment - Jack's singing is superb but the syrupy strings and vocal choruses ruin it. "What In The World" is much more rewarding - a fine collection of rockers and ballads with sparse instrumental arrangements and the great Chantones providing vocal backup. "Spirit" finds Jack and The Chantones tackling a selection of African- American spirituals (When The Saints Go Marching In/ Joshua Fit The Battle Of Jericho/ Roll Jordan Roll/ The Gospel Train, etc. and doing a terrific job. Jack was such a talented and versatile artist it's a shame that he never really became a giant star - maybe his style was too meaty for the early sixties market. Sound is superb and there are informative notes by Groper Odson (possibly a pseudonym!) (FS)
JACK SCOTT: Am I The One/ Apple Blossom Time (Demo)/ Baby Marie/ Baby She's Gone/ Baby, Baby/ Bella/ Bo's Gone To Jail (Demo)/ Burning Bridges/ Cold, Cold Heart/ Cool Water/ Crazy Heart/ Cruel World/ Down By The Riverside/ Ezekiel Saw The Wheel/ Fancy Meeting You Again/ Found A Woman/ Geraldine/ Go Wild Little Sadie/ Good Deal Lucille/ Goodbye Baby/ Greaseball (Demo)/ I Can't Escape From You/ I Can't Help It/ I Could Never Be Ashamed Of You/ I Need Your Love/ I Never Felt Like This/ I Want To Be Ready/ I'm Dreaming Of You/ I'm Satisfied With You/ Indiana Waltz/ Is There Something On Your Mind/ It Only Happened Yesterday/ It's My Way Of Loving You/ Joshua Fit The Battle Of Jericho/ Just A Closer Walk With Thee/ Leroy/ Little David Play On Your Harp/ Lonesome Mary/ Midgie/ My Heart Would Know/ My King/ My True Love/ No One Will Ever Know/ Oh, Little One/ Old Time Religion/ Patsy/ Roll Jordan Roll/ Save My Soul/ So Used To Loving You/ Swing Low Sweet Chariot/ Take My Hand, Precious Lord/ Take These Chains From My Heart/ The Gospel Train/ The Way I Walk/ There Comes A Time/ They'll Never Take Her Love From Me/ True Love Is Blind/ Two-Timin' Woman/ What Am I Living For/ What In The World's Come Over You/ When The Saints Go Marching In/ With Your Love/ You Can Bet Your Bottom Dollar/ Your Cheatin' Heart

 
THE SHANGRI-LAS Charly SNAXCD 625 Remember ● CD $18.98
2 CDs, 38 tracks, 1 hour 32 min., very highly recommended
You could draw a straight line from the Shangri-Las to the Ramones. (Both capitalized on street tough, leather-clad personas that were both fictional and true. Both had less-than-ideal personal lives that they used in the service of their music. And then there's the hair-style issue and the fact that they sound similar, especially if you imagine the ubiquitous tambourine of the S-Las being replaced by chainsaw guitars.) But that's neither here nor there. What matters is this Charly release in book form, sort of, that collects the hits and throws in worthy-but-overlooked B-sides (e.g., The Train From Kansas City), album-only tracks (e.g., What's A Girl Supposed To Do), and just plain rarities (e.g., an alternate version of Give Him A Great Big Kiss), including some live stuff, radio spots (Revlon #1 How Pretty Can You Get), and the Shadow Morton demo of Dressed In Black. Some of the teen angst in three-minute musical dramas seem a touch dated and excessive, but then that's part of the charm. Excellent packaging (the cover photo is a knees-down shot of the girls in black stileto-healed boots!), booklet notes that are fun to read, and a few cool photos. A great way to get all the Red Bird sides and more. (JC)

 
WARREN SMITH Charly SROLL 810 Rockabilly Legend ● CD $9.98
30 tracks, 72 mins, highly recommended
Previously available as Charly 8119 and now repackaged. This CD brings together all of Warren Smith's Sun sessions that were previously issued on various albums. Listening to this CD it is quite apparent that Smith was as equally at home with country material as he was with rockabilly. To put it simply the man could really sing! Rock'n'Roll Ruby/ Ubangi Stomp/ Red Cadillac And A Black Moustache and Uranium Rock were four of the best rockabilly recordings ever made. C&W tunes like I'd Rather Be Safe Than Sorry and Goodbye Mr. Love got lost in the shuffle but in retrospect they stand up well with the hits of the era. Previously unissued tunes include Hank Snow Medley/ Sweet Sweet Girl/ Dear John and a snippet of Old Lonesome Feeling, a tune he later cut for RCA, plus alternate takes of Rock'n'Roll Ruby, Uranium Rock and others. (AE)

 
CLYDE STACY Bear Family BCD 17152 Hoy Hoy ● CD $21.98
This CD is a comprehensive look at the career of Clyde Stacy, a man who grew up in Tulsa, went to school in Lubbock with Buddy Holly, had a minor hit with a rocking version of the R&B song Hoy Hoy and charted with the ballad So Young (the first chart success by a Lubbock artist), moved to Scranton, appeared on 'Bandstand' and other TV shows, recorded in New York with top session men, saw many hits in Canada, and is still working country, blues, and rockabilly venues. His part in the story of rock 'n' roll has been little-known but is told here in words, pictures, and rocking music. This disc features all 12 tracks issued on six singles on the Candlelight, Bullseye, and Len record labels between 1957 and 1961 plus another 10 vocal and instrumental tracks not originally issued - many with Big Al Downing on piano!
THE FOUR FLAMES: Scotch On The Rocks (instr)/ Transquilizer Cins (instr)/ CLYDE STACY: A Broken Heart (Is So Hard To Mend)/ Baby Shame/ Be My Love/ Dream Boy/ End Up With The Blues/ Good Rockin' Tonight/ Honky Tonk Hardwood Floor/ Hoy Hoy/ I Sure Do Love You Baby/ I'll Try/ Live And Learn/ Nobody's Darlin'/ Once In A While/ Return To Me/ Sit'in Down Crying/ So Young/ Summertime Blues/ Well I Love You/ You Want Love/ You're Satisfied

 
NINO TEMPO & APRIL STEVENS Ace CDCHD 1301 Hey, Baby! The Nino Tempo & April Stevens Anthology ● CD $18.98
24 tracks, 62 mins, highly recommended
Brother and sister duo Nino and April cut some fine records for Atlantic and White Whale in the early and mid 60's. This compilation brings together the best of those sides, as well as solo singles by April (cut for MGM, Imperial and King) and Nino. Together, the duo had an infectious charm--whether remaking Tin Pan Alley standards (Deep Purple/ Sweet and Lovely/ Whispering) or delivering catchy 60's pop (All Strung Out/ You'll Be Needing Me Baby/ The Habit of Lovin' You Baby/ Alone Alone)-while apart April was capable of some memorable performances, notably Love Kitten and Lovin' Valentine, and Nino's Beach Boys-ish Boys Town is a small gem. While the Atco material has been around for a while (see: 1965's Hey Baby album re-issued by Tartare), this is the first collection to showcase their White Whale folk rock period, and it's this material-with it's sparkling pop exuberance-that makes this CD worth having. In short, this high quality 60's pop from an under-rated (some would say unexpected) source. (GMC)

 
CONWAY TWITTY Bear Family BCD 15982 The Ballads Of Conway Twitty ● CD $24.98
33 tracks, 79 mins, very highly recommended
A great collection featuring some of the earliest ballad recordings of Country superstar Conway Twitty when he was a great rock 'n' roll singer. Conway recorded in a number of styles and always sounded good and convincing. This collection is drawn from his recordings made for MGM along with one cut each from his Mercury and Sun recordings (the latter originally unissued). He was one of the best ever rock-ballad singers featuring heatfelt lyrics delivered with great intensity and his It's Only Make Believe was a deserved no #1 hit and there are other fine ballads like The Story Of My Love/ Heavenly and Lonely Blue Boy - all cowritten by Twitty. Twitty's covers of well known R&B songs (Pledging My Love/ Blueberry Hill/ What Am I LIving For) and Tin Pan Alley standards (You'll Never Walk Alone/ Unchained Melody) are exceptionally well executed; without a doubt, he makes these songs totally his own. The highlights are many, but one of our favorite tracks is his superb cover of Big Jay McNeely's There is Something On Your Mind, which features one of Twitty's very best vocal performances. This is primo stuff and a most welcome addition to any music library. (GMC)

 

Back To New Release Index

 Back To Home Page


Roots & Rhythm
P.O. Box 837
El Cerrito, CA 94530 USA
Toll Free Order Line : 888-ROOTS-66

© 2017 Roots & Rhythm. No part of this site may be reproduced without written permission