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GUS BACKUS Bear Family BCD 15769 My Chick Is Fine ● CD $21.98
30 tracks, 77 min., recommended Backus is best known as one of the Caucasian members of the most successful racially integrated 50's vocal group, the Del Vikings. In truth, he only recorded with the Vikings for a while in 1957, and the recordings on this disc are his solo efforts, starting in 1958 with the title cut here and You Can't Go It Alone, which were recorded for Carlton. The remaining cuts - such as Little Kiss, Priscilla, For Stealing Her Away, Lost and Found - reflect two facts of Backus' life. First, most were recorded in the early 60's, the time when boisterous rock 'n' roll had been transformed into more polite rock and roll. Second, Backus, stationed in Germany while in the air force, decided to stay there to live, so many of these numbers were recorded in Europe and have a bit of a European pop feel. In some of the best of these numbers he sounds a little bit like Gene Pitney, who was popular during the same era. (DH)

BAILEY'S NERVOUS KATS Ace CDCHD 756 Get Nervous ● CD $18.98
26 tracks collection by obscure rock 'n roll band from Redding, California that had a big following in their local area in the late 50s and early 60s. Most of the tracks here were not originally issued. The Kats had a raunchy sound featuring the powerful lead vocals and guitar of Bob Smith who also wrote many of the songs here. There are also quite a few instrumentals which have a flavor that seems like a mix of surf and Link Wray.

THE BEAU-MARKS Unidisc 2023 The Best Of The Beau-Marks ● CD $13.98
The Beau-Marks were a popular 4 piece group out of Montreal, Canada in the early 60's best known for their hit Clap Your Hands which is featured here with rather muddy sound. This CD collects 18 of their ballads and rockers. Singer and piano player Joey Frechette has a pleasant pop voice but doesn't add too much excitement to the uptempo numbers. No worry though, because lead guitarist Ray Hutchinson and crew carry the load on rockers like Little Miss Twist/ Rock And Roll Has Got A Beat/ Rockin' Blues/ 'Cause We're In Love and others. (AE/FS)

FREDDIE BELL Bear Family BCD 15901 Rockin' Is Our Business ● CD $21.98

THE BELL NOTES Collectables 5918 I've Had It - The Very Best Of The Bell Notes ● CD $11.98
18 tracks recorded for Bob Shad's Time label in the late 50s. Includes the big hit title song, the minor hit Old Spanish Town and 16 more. 8 of the cuts, including I've Had It are in stereo
THE BELL NOTES: Baby, You Flip Me/ Be Mine/ Betty Dear/ Buckskin Sneakers/ Don't Ask Me Why/ Dream Street/ Dream Street/ I've Had It/ No Dice/ Old Spanish Town/ Old Spanish Town/ Protect My Love/ Sad Guitar/ Sad Guitar/ She Went That-A-Way/ Stay With Me/ That's Right/ You're A Big Girl Now

JOE BENNETT & THE SPARKLETONES Paris 7281 Black Snacks, Penny Loafers & Bobby Socks ● CD $18.98
20 tracks, 38 min., recommended
Though their only real claim to fame is their hit, Black Slacks, these youthful rock 'n' rollers certainly put out enough good material to make this disc a worthwhile addition to any 50's collection. The highlights laid down by these South Carolina natives include the aforementioned hits, plus Penny Loafers and Bobby Sox, We've Had It, Boys Do Cry, and Beautiful One. Youthful, innocent, and exuberant music from start to finish. (DH)

ROD BERNARD Ace CDCHD 488 Swamp Rock 'n' Roller ● CD $18.98
28 tracks, 69 min., recommended
Best known for his 1958 swamp pop hit recording of This Should Go On Forever, Rod Bernard also put out lots of other material in the same vein up through the mid-60's. This compilation focuses on the material he recorded for the Jin, Arbee, and Hall labels, with about half of the cuts previously unreleased. Featured numbers include the major hit mentioned above, plus Who's Gonna Rock My Baby, Forgive, I Might As Well, Fais Do Do, Diggy Liggy Lo, and credible cover versions of Lawdy Miss Clawdy, Thirty Days, Maybellene, and Shake Rattle And Roll. Overall, the jumps outnumber the ballads. There are several vintage photos; the sound quality is limited only by the source material, and the informative liner notes are written by Bernard's son Shane. (DH)

CHUCK BERRY Chess 01685 After School Session ● CD $9.98
15 tracks, 41 mins, highly recommended Newly remastered version of Chuck's first Chess album 1426 originally issued in 1957 with three bonus tracks. All of Chuck's early albums were loaded with hits, later to become standards for millions of rock bands. In this case there's School Day/ Too Much Monkey Business/ No Money Down/ Brown Eyed Handsome Man. Then again you always have the lesser known tracks - Wee Wee Hours/ Havana Moon/ Berry Pickin', etc. To gild the lily the three bonus tracks are all classics - You Can't Catch Me/ Thirty Days (To Come Home) and Maybelline. Mastering is superb with Berry voice and groundbreaking guitar and Johnny Johnson's piano coming through clear as a bell. Booklet has original cover and back liner plus new notes and discographical info. (FS)

CHUCK BERRY Chess 01687 St. Louis To Liverpool ● CD $9.98
15 tracks, 40 mins, recommended Newly remastered reissue of Chess 1488 from 1964 with three bonus tracks. This was Chuck's last classic LP & the last LP in the 60s with hits including a couple of "sequels" Little Marie (a sequel to Memphis) and No Particular Place To Go (a sequel to Maybelline) plus You Never Can Tell and the great Promised Land. There are a couple of fine instrumentals and Chuck shows his blues chops on The Things I used To Do and Merry Christmas. The three bonus tracks are from the same sessions as most of he other tracks on this release and are relatively undistinguished though the instrumental O'Rangutang makes nice use of the Dust My Broom riff. (FS)

CHUCK BERRY MCA MCAD 6217 Hail! Hail! Rock'n'Roll ● CD $9.98

JULES BLATTNER Hydra 27124 Teen Town ● CD $21.98
29 tracks, recommended
Some fine rock 'n' roll from St. Louis based singer and bass player with his band which were originally known as The Teen Tones, subsequently The Twist Tones and eventually The Jules Blattner Group. His band had a solid sound with fine sax and guitar work - the early tracks from 1959 and 1960 featured some particularly nice guitar from Bobby Caldwell and Jules himself provides some good fretwork on his version of fellow St. Louis native Chuck Berry's No Money Down. Most of the recordings here are from the period 1959 through 1967 and some of the mid 60s recordings have a rather generic 60s sound but there's some good performances throughout. Jules subsequently moved to the West Coast and performed and recorded regularly and the disc ends with a 1989 version of the Gary U.S. Bonds hit New Orleans which showed that Jules could still do some ballsy rock 'n' roll. Usual quality production from Hydra with notes, rare photos, discography, etc. (FS)


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