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VINTAGE ROCK 'N' ROLL & ROCKABILLY
The Innocents -> Bill Justis

THE INNOCENTS
WANDA JACKSON
JAN & DEAN
JERRY JAYE
JOHNNY & THE HURRICANES
JIMMY JONES
BENNY JOY
BILL JUSTIS

 

THE INNOCENTS Ace CDCHD 374 The Complete Indigo Recordings ● CD $18.98
If everything The Innocents recorded had sounded as good as Honest I Do, then the thought of their collected releases on the Indigo label would elicit spirited shouts of "Oh, happy day!" and "We are truly blessed!" But since nothing - with the possible exception of Gee Wiz - ever came close, a more reserved course of conduct seems appropriate. This CD offers 25 selections, including Little Blue Star/ I Know A Valley/ Sleeping Beauty. The only missing songs - they couldn't be found - are Tick Tock and the instrumental The Rat, which were recorded during the Honest I Do sessions and later sold to the Transworld label (#7001). Some cuts, like the cover of Jesse Belvin's Beware, are reasonably good, but too many are flat, uninspired, and dull. And their attempt at I'm A Hog For You is a disaster of unheralded proportion. Honest. (JC)

 
WANDA JACKSON Ace CDCHD 776 Queen Of Rockabilly ● CD $18.98
30 tracks, 69 mins, essential
This collection proves, if any proof were needed, that Wanda Jackson was the finest female rocker of the 50s and early 60s with this collection of 30 of her best rockin' sides. It's too bad that the market wasn't ready for a woman singer that was not only agressive but sensual too or she would have been a bigger name in rock - she had only one rock 'n roll hit, the all time classic Let's Have Party, and a whole slew of country hits. She had a wonderful voice that moved from sexy, breathy purr to country twang to raspy growl which she uses to great effect on the songs here. All her best rockin' sides are here - in addition to Party and the similarly themed follow-ups There's A Party Goin'On and Man, We Had A Party there's also her superb original song Mean Mean, Man, her great version of the R&B song Fujiyama Mama which was a monster hit in Japan where Wanda was treated like royalty and lots more. There's quite a few covers of rock and R&B standards like Money Honey/ Searchin'/ Kansas City/ My baby Left me/ Brown Eyed HandsomeMan/ Slippin' & Slidin' and others but Wanda gives them all her own individual stamp. She also shows her versatility with a superb version of the blues You Don't Know Baby. Accompaniments feature top West Coast sidemen like Joe Maphis, Merrill Moore, Buck Owens Roy Clark and others with one group of sessions that yielded Party featuring The Poe Kats from Arkansas with Vern Sandusky on guitar and Big Al Downing on piano. The disc is another high quality production with superb sound and a 12 page illustrated booklet with informative notes by Rob Finnis. (FS)
WANDA JACKSON: Baby Loves Him/ Brown Eyed Handsome Man/ Cool Love/ Fallin'/ Fujiyama Mama/ Funnel Of Love/ Hard Headed Woman/ Honey Bop/ Honey Don't/ Hot Dog! That Made Him Mad/ I Gotta Know/ Kansas City/ Let's Have A Party/ Long Tall Sally/ Man We Had A Party/ Mean Mean Man/ Money Honey/ My Baby Left Me/ Riot In Cell Block #9/ Rip It Up/ Rock Your Baby/ Savin' My Love/ Searchin'/ Slippin' And Slidin'/ Sticks And Stones/ There's A Party Goin' On/ Tongue Tied/ Who Shot Sam?/ Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On/ You Don't Know Baby

 
WANDA JACKSON Bear Family BCD 15629 Right Or Wrong ● CD $89.98
4-CD set of Wanda's 1954-62 recordings, including her unsurpassed Capitol rockabilly sides Hot Dog/ Fujiyama Mama/ Let's Have A Party/ Mean Mean Man/ There's A Party Goin' On etc. The set begins with her first 15 recordings for Decca, most done before she graduated from high school! These were pretty much straight country numbers, with hints of the unbridled sexuality she was about to unleash on the world, along with a host of other southern teens. In 1956 she walked into the Capitol studios and turned on the juice, spurred on by the hot backing of Joe Maphis, Buck Owens, Ralph Mooney, Merrill Moore, Big Al Downing, Billy Strange, Roy Clark and more. The next 6 years with Capitol produced 108 sides, many hits, lots of country classics, and some of the most dynamic female rockabilly ever. The enclosed book contains plenty of dazzling photos, detailed history and discography. Another triumph from Bear Family. (MB)

 
JAN & DEAN Sundazed 11035 Save For A Rainy Day ● CD $18.98

 
JERRY JAYE Hi 122 My Girl Josephine ● CD $21.98
15 tracks, 38 minutes, very good The 1st compilation ever of rockabilly & rockin' country by the guy who surprised everyone in '67 by having a huge hit with a cover of Fats Domino's title tune, a fine stripped down version using only a trio. This set showcases both his stints on Hi (& ignores his mediocre 1st LP) with 8 cuts from the 60s, including a few singles (Long Black Veil) & unreleased covers (Sugar Bee/ Pipeliner Blues), then skips ahead to 7 cuts from his 2nd Hi LP, "Honky Tonk Women Love Redneck Men" (Hi 32101 from '77), including Hot & Still Heating/ Drinking My Way Back Home & the title tonker. (GM)

 
JOHNNY & THE HURRICANES Black Tulip 39217 Red River Rock ● CD $18.98
31 tracks, 71 mins, highly recommended Led by saxophonist Johnny Paris (aka John Pocsisk) this group produced a series of immensely appealing instrumentals usually based around old folk or pop songs. In addition to paris the group featured the wonderfully cheesy organ sound Paul Tesluk and the dynamic guitar of Dave Yorko. This entertaining collection includes their big hits (Red River Rock/ Beatnik Fly/ Crossfire/ Reveille Rock, etc), lesser known titles (Joy Ride/ Hot Fudge/ Sheeba/ Sand Storm, etc) and 12 previously unissued tracks including an outtake of Beatnik Fly plus Caravan/ Jay Dee's Boogie Woogie/ Polly Wolly/ Tweedlee Deee, etc. 19 of the tracks here are in stereo. (FS)

 
JIMMY JONES Cub SE 38470 Handy Man ● CD $18.98
25 tracks, 59 min., recommended Jones entered the music world through membership in various 50's vocal groups - the Savoys, the Pretenders, the Jones Boys, and the Sparks of Rhythm - but didn't really strike it rich until he recorded Handy Man and Good Timing as a single. The program on this disc features many of those early 60's solo tracks, plus a few of his group numbers. It includes the two hits mentioned above, I Told You So, That's When I Cried, Say You're Mine, With All My Heart, Ee-I-Ee-I Oh, Dear One, My Precious Angel, and The Search Is Over. A generally upbeat set, with most numbers done in the rock/pop sound that was coming into favor at the time, and all featuring Jones's distinctive high tenor. Sound quality is acceptable; notes are minimal, and there are two nice color photos of the artist in the accompanying booklet. (DH)

 
BENNY JOY Ace CDCHD 703 Crash The Rockabilly Party ● CD $18.98
28 tracks, 72 mins, highly recommended Georgia singer Benny Joy was one of the very best of the second string rockers and his Spin The Bottle is a certified rockabilly classic that would set you back a small fortune to get the original on the small Tri-Dec label out of Florida. He was too frantic and wild to have made much of an impact in the 50's but his legendary status continues to grow with collectors. This collection features sides made for Tri-Dec, Antler and other small labels and most were not originally issued. They were first heard on a couple of While Label LPs in the 70s - for this set Ace have been able to turn up even more unissued sides. It's mostly uptempo rockabilly featuring dynamic guitar work by Big John Taylor including such gems as Little Red Book / Miss Bobby Sox/ Steady With Betty/ Ittie Bittie Everything (a great Buddy Holly flavored song)/ I'm Gonna Move and others. There are also a couple of instrumentals from Taylor and the occasional soulful ballad to cool things down a bit. Joy was as pure a rockabilly spirit as ever slipped on a pair of blue suede shoes! (FS/AE)

 
BILL JUSTIS Collectables 6018 Raunchy - the Very Best Of Bill Justis ● CD $13.98
19 Phillips International sides including his monster hit Raunchy plus Cloud 9/ The Stranger/ The Snuggle/ College Man/ Scroungie/ Rollin'/ Rollin', etc.

 

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