Sunday, 21 June 2009

“Somethin’ Else – The Ultimate Collection” by EDDIE COCHRAN. A Review of the February 2009 'Bear Family' 8CD Box Set.

"…No Harm Done…Just Havin’ Some Fun…On The Weekend…”

It's astonishing to think that when Ray Edward Cochran was taken from us in a freak car accident while on tour in England in April 1960 - he was only 6 months into his 21st year and had already clocked up over 200 recordings - the bulk of which are presented in this eagerly awaited and sumptuous box set...

"Somethin' Else - The Ultimate Collection" is typical of Bear Family's legendary excellence - released February 2009, 8 CDs are housed in label-themed 2CD jewel cases inside a 12"x12" Box Set offering up a huge 262 tracks. There's a beautifully illustrated album-sized 194-Page Hardback Book that is a truly a thing of beauty.

The set was compiled and prepared across several years by noted expert ANTOON VAN OLDEREN and Bear Family label boss RICHARD WEIZE. But this kind of quality and high-art finish doesn't come cheap - there's little change out of one hundred & fifty pounds - even online.

The remastering was handled by 'BOPPIN' BOB JONES, JAY RANELUCCI and PETER J. REYNOLDS - and being Bear Family - the sound quality is GORGEOUS - first generation tapes used, meticulous transfers - a typically superb job done. It's distributed in the UK by John Beecher's Rollercoaster Records of Chalford, Gloucestershire.

CONTENTS:
Disc 1, 35 Tracks, 74:13 minutes
Disc 2, 35 Tracks, 74:10 minutes
Disc 3, 34 Tracks, 76:45 minutes
Disc 4, 24 Tracks, 50:27 minutes
Disc 5, 24 Tracks, 60:04 minutes
Disc 6, 43 Tracks, 78:17 minutes
Disc 7, 28 Tracks, 62:09 minutes
Disc 8, 39 Tracks, 63:32 minutes

For US fans there's the first 3 singles on Ekko as The Cochran Brothers, the lone 7" on Crest, the 14 that followed on Liberty (A&B for each) and the 3 Liberty albums proper from 1957, 1960 and 1962. For UK fans there's the 13 London singles followed by the 10 Liberty ones and the 4 important albums - "Singin' To My Baby" (1958), "The Eddie Cochran Memorial Album" (1960), "Cherished Memories" (1962) and "My Way" (1964). I've checked and they're ALL on here.

The 70's to 90's gave us major EMI retrospectives - the "Legendary Masters" 2LP set from 1972, the 4LP "20th Anniversary" box from 1980 and the "Eddie Cochran" 6LP/4CD box of 1988 - the bulk of these are here too (with some omissions). On top of that, Tony Martin's ROCKSTAR label of the UK carried the flag for Cochran for years and put out 9 EPs and 9 LPs worth of material (much unreleased) - the bulk (not all) of these reissues are also here.

The songs themselves consist of master versions, alternate takes, stereo mixes, interviews, live tracks, false starts and studio chatter - and as you can imagine, it's a mixture of the great and the un-listenable (the stereo stuff on Disc 5 is thrilling while the live tracks are badly recorded and filled with screaming...)

THE HARDBACK BOOK:
The book is both gobsmacking and problematic. Firstly it's bent and curved when you take it out (other buyers have had the same) because the binding can't take the weight. And while the endless photographs of British, Irish, German, Spanish, Japanese, Dutch and even Israeli 7"s, 78"s, EPs and Albums are a wonder to behold and most are in colour - there's an unforgivable 'lack' of info beneath or beside them. Text should be embellishing all of these snaps - chart positions, B-sides, writers credits, what album it came off - but nothing - there isn't even release dates on them...

Take Page 161 - you're shown his July 1958 UK debut LP on London HA-U 2093 with another sleeve beneath it - Liberty LBY 1158. There's no explanation that LBY 1158 is the May 1963 reissue of HA-U 2093 - there's no track list for either LP - there's no rear sleeves pictured either. All the Rockstar photos are slightly blurred - like their copies of copies. And disappointingly there's no printed US or British discographies for easy reference - numerical pointers as to where the tracks are on this massive box. (I've created my own for fans in the 'Comment' box - both singles and albums).

What is good is the 5000-word essay by Stuart Coleman peppered with rare full-sized photos combined with stunning outtake stills and global posters for his 3 movies "The Girl Can't Help It", "Untamed Youth" and "Go, Johnny Go". My favourite photos are on Page 37 where the beautiful actress Yvonne Lime from "Untamed Youth" holds Eddie's cheeks in her hands with a look of pure affection and then on Page 66 there's Cochran and his flame Sharon Sheeley flicking through records racks in a Hollywood vinyl store - she clearly in love with him and unable to hide her pride.

The Discography between Pages 99 and 118 is more of a jazz-style date-by-date Sessionography compiled by Antoon van Olderen, STUART COLMAN, RUSS WAPENSKY and RICHARD WEIZE. 133 entries start with his earliest stuff in mid 1953 through to his last recordings in February 1960 for the "Boy Meets Girls" UK TV Show - including all session work and collaborations in between. You find out that the June 1961 UK single "Weekend" b/w "Cherished Memories" on London HLG 9362 has exclusive mixes - different to the US versions. And that "Git It" has Bass Vocals by none other than friend and fellow rock 'n' roller EDDIE COCHRAN. Also I count a little under 10 previously unreleased versions exclusive to this box, with the bulk of others having appeared on albums/CDs now long deleted.

Ultimately it's down to the music - and as I sit here listening to "Weekend" and "Jeannie, Jeannie, Jeannie" in STEREO - tears are in my eyes. God bless you Eddie Cochran wherever you may be...

Wallet-buster or not - and despite the book niggles - this is a stone 5-star recommended.

PS: this review is dedicated to "Boppin'" Bob Jones who died in April 2009 - he remastered 1000's of recordings for Ace Records, Bear Family and other top reissue labels and brought joy to millions of fans.

- DISCOGRAPHY - USA SINGLES -
Release Date Order USA 7” singles Discography for EDDIE COCHRAN
A-side backed/with B-side, Label and Catalogue Number, Year Of Release
[Bear Family “Somethin’ Else” 2009 8CD Box Set references]
(Note: Any other relevant and additional information)

COCHRAN BROTHERS [Eddie and Hank Cochran – not related nor brothers]
1. Mr. Fiddle b/w Two Blue Sing Stars (Ekko 1003, June 1955)
[A is on Disc 1 Track 8 – B is on Disc 1 Track 9]

2. Guilty Conscience b/w Your Tomorrow Never Comes (Ekko 1005, July 1955)
[A is on Disc 1 Track 10 – B is on Disc 1 Track 11]

3. Tired And Sleepy b/w Fool’s Paradise (Ekko 3001, May 1956)
[A is on Disc 1 Track 18 – Disc 1 Track 19]

EDDIE COCHRAN
4. Skinny Jim b/w Half Loved (Crest 1026, July 1956)
[A is on Disc 2 Track 1 – B is on Disc 2 Track 2]
(Note: there is another overdubbed version of the A “Skinny Jim” on the 1962 UK LP “Cherished Memories” on Liberty LBY 1109 and there are 4 takes of the B “Half Loved” – all are on this Bear Family Box)

5. Sittin’ In The Balcony b/w Dark Lonely Street (Liberty F-55056, February 1957)
[A is Disc 2 Track 7 - B is Disc 1 Track 31]

6. Mean When I’m Mad b/w One Kiss (Liberty F-55070, May 1957)
[A is Disc 2 Track 8 – B is Disc 2 Track 9]
(Note: this is the only Cochran single issued in a picture sleeve during his lifetime; it’s extremely rare and commands $1000+)

7. Drive In Show b/w Am I Blue (Liberty F-55087, July 1957)
[A is Disc 2 Track 12 – B is Disc 2 Track 10]

8. Twenty Flight Rock b/w Cradle Baby (Liberty F-55112, November 1957)
[A is Disc 2 Track 18 – B is Disc 2 Track 11 (missed B in the Sessionography)]
(A is Version 2, Version 1 is on his July 1958 debut British LP “Singin’ To My Baby”, London HA-U 2093)

9. Jeannie, Jeannie, Jeannie b/w Pocketful Of Hearts (Liberty F-55123, January 1958)
[A is Disc 2 Track 26 – B is Disc 2 Track 24]

10. Pretty Girl b/w Teresa (Liberty F-55138, May 1958)
[A is Disc 2 Track 25 – B is Disc 2 Track 28]
(Note: A is exclusive mix to the USA; there is a different version on the UK 7” single London HL-G 9464)

11. Summertime Blues b/w Love Again (Liberty F-55144, July 1958)
[A is Disc 2 Track 30 – B is Disc 2 Track 33 (Note British ‘A’ Differs To US)]

12. C’mon Everybody b/w Don’t Ever Let Me Go (Liberty F-55166, October 1958)
[A is Disc 3 Track 6 – B is Disc 3 Track 5]
(Note: A is known as the “Speeded Up” version and appears on both UK/USA 7” singles, but there’s a STEREO version with guitar overdub and running at the correct speed on the UK-only 1984 LP “Portrait Of A Legend” on Rockstar RSR LP 1008)

13. Teenage Heaven b/w I Remember (Liberty F-55177, February 1959)
[A is Disc 3 Track 8 – B is Disc 3 Track 9]

14. Somethin’ Else b/w Boll Weevil Song (Liberty F-55203, July 1959)
[A is Disc 3 Track 17 – B is Disc 3 Track 18]

15. Hallelujah, I Love Her So b/w Little Angel (Liberty F-55217, November 1959)
[A is on Disc 3 Track 26 – B is on Disc 3 Track 25]
(Note: A is a Ray Charles cover and the spelling of it doesn’t use an exclamation mark as his original did at the end of the word Hallelujah, but a comma. There’s two further versions of “Hallelujah…” – an echoed version with strings which first appeared on the UK’s 1980 4LP box set “20th Anniversary Album” on United Artists ECSP 20 and a STEREO version on the UK-only 1984 LP “Portrait Of A Legend” on Rockstar RSR LP 1008; both of these versions are on the BF box set. There are 10 versions of the B-side “Little Angel” – the master is an overdubbed version of Take 10. The other versions are Take 1, 3, 5, 6 9 and 2 further version of 10 – all are on this box. Also worthy of note is that the 1st version of Take 10 is exclusive to the Bear Family set – it’s a different STEREO cut to the one that appeared on the Rockstar LP of 1984.)

16. Three Steps To Heaven b/w Cut Across Shorty (Liberty F-55242, March 1960)
[A is on Disc 3 Track 32 – B is on Disc 3 Track 33]
(Note: A is Version 2 in Mono - a Version 2 in STEREO and Version 1 in MONO both appeared on the UK’s 1980 4LP box set “20th Anniversary Album” on United Artists ECSP 20; all 3 takes are on this Bear Family Box. The B-side master for “Cut Across Shorty” is a ‘speeded-up’ version of Take 21 – however, the ‘correct speed’ version of Take 21 appeared on the UK’s 1980 2LP set “20th Anniversary Album” on United Artists ECSP 20 while a STEREO version of the take appeared on the UK-only 1984 LP “Portrait Of A Legend” on Rockstar RSR LP 1008; all 3 takes are on this Bear Family box.)

17. Lonely b/w Sweetie Pie (Liberty F-55278, August 1960)
[A is on Disc 2 Track 32 – B is on Disc 2 Track 23]
(Note: there is a second version of A with overdubs available on the 1962 USA LP “Never To Be Forgotten” on Liberty LRP 3220; both takes are on this BF box.)

18. Weekend b/w Lonely [Liberty F-55389, December 1961]
[A is on Disc 3 Track 14 – B is on Disc 2 Track 32]
(Note: there is a STEREO version of “Weekend” on the UK-only 1984 LP “Portrait Of A Legend” on Rockstar RSR LP 1008 – both takes are on this BF box. “Lonely” is as per the A entry for number 17.)

- DISCOGRAPHY - UK SINGLES -
EDDIE COCHRAN - Release Date Order UK 7” SINGLES discography
With reference to where the tracks can be located on the Bear Family 2009 8CD Box Set “Somethin’ Else – The Ultimate Collection”

1. 20 Flight Rock b/w Dark Lonely Street, London HLU 8386 (April 1957)
[A is Disc 1 Track 28 - B is Disc 1 Track 31]

2. Sittin’ In The Balcony b/w Completely Sweet, London HL-U 8433 (June 1957)
[A is on Disc 2 Track 7 – B is on Disc 1 Track 29]
(Note: B is Version 1, Version 2 is on the British LP “Singin’ To My Baby”)

3. Summertime Blues b/w Love Again, London HL-U 8702 (September 1958)
[A is on Disc 4 Track 1 - B is on Disc 2 Track 33]
(Note: the A “Summertime Blues” is a different mix to the US version and exclusive to the UK single – the US version has reverb and fading at the end, the UK version is without reverb and has an ending. The B is the same for both UK and US singles, but there is a different overdubbed vocal version on the 1962 USA LP “Never To Be Forgotten” on Liberty LRP 3220)

4. C’mon Everybody b/w Don’t Ever Let Me Go, London HL-U 8792 (January 1959)
[A is on Disc 3 Track 6 – Disc 3 Track 5]

5. Teenage Heaven b/w I Remember, London HL-U 8880 (June 1959)
[A is on Disc 3 Track 8 – B is on Disc 3 Track 9]

6. Somethin’ Else b/w Boll Weevil Song, London HL-U 8944 (September 1959)
[A is on Disc 3 Track 17 – B is on Disc 3 Track 18]

7. Hallelujah, I Love Her So b/w Little Angel, London HL-W 9022 (January 1960)
[A is on Disc 3 Track 26 – B is on Disc 3 Track 25]

8. Three Steps To Heaven b/w Cut Across Shorty, London HLG 9115 (May 1960)
[A is on Disc 3 Track 32 – B is on Disc 3 Track 33]

9. Sweetie Pie b/w Lonely, London HLG 9196 (September 1960)
[A is on Disc 2 Track 23 – B is on Disc 2 Track 32]
(Same Takes but the A & B are reversed to the USA issue on Liberty F-55278)

10. Weekend b/w Cherished Memories, London HLG 9362 (June 1961)
[A is on Disc 3 Track 14 – B is on Disc 3 Track 34]
(Both A & B-side takes were exclusive to this UK release)

11. Jeannie, Jeannie, Jeannie b/w Pocketful Of Hearts, London HL-G 9460 (November 1961)
[A is on Disc 2 Track 26 – B is on Disc 2 Track 24]

12. Pretty Girl b/w Teresa, London HLG 9464 (November 1961)
[A is Disc 4 Track 6 - B is Disc 2 Track 28]
(Note: the A is an exclusive mix to the UK release; there is a different version on the USA 7” single on Liberty F-55138 – it’s also on the BF box)

13. Undying Love b/w Stockin’s ‘N’ Shoes, London HLG 9467 (November 1961)
[A is on Disc 2 Track 14 – B is on Disc 2 Track 19]

14. Never b/w Think Of Me, Liberty LIB 10049 (October 1962)
[A is on Disc 2 Track 22 – B is on Disc 3 Track 15]

15. My Way B/w Rock ‘n’ Roll Blues, Liberty LIB 10088 (April 1963)
[A is on Disc 3 Track 10 – B is on Disc 3 Track 11]

16. Drive In Show b/w I Almost Lost My Mind, Liberty LIB 10108 (August 1963)
[A is on Disc 2 Track 12 – B is on Disc 4 Track 20]

17. Skinny Jim b/w Nervous Breakdown, Liberty LIB 10151 (April 1964)
[A is on Disc 2 Track 1 – B is on Disc 3 Track 3]

18. C’mon Everybody b/w Summertime Blues, Liberty LIB 10233 (April 1966)
[A is on Disc 3 Track 6 – Disc 4 Track 1]
(Note: see 3 for Notes on “Summertime Blues”)

19. Three Stars b/w Somethin’ Else, Liberty LIB 10249 (December 1966)
[A is On Disc 3 Track 13 – B is on Disc 3 Track 17]
(A is exclusive to the UK single)

20. Three Steps To Heaven b/w Eddie’s Blues, Liberty LIB 10276 (May 1967)
[A is on Disc 3 Track 32 – B is on Disc 3 Track 20]

21. Summertime Blues b/w Let’s Get Together, Liberty LBF 15071 (June 1968)
[A is on Disc 4 Track 1 – B is on Disc 3 Track 4]
(Note: see 3 for Notes on “Summertime Blues”)

22. Somethin Else b/w Milk Cow Blues, Liberty LBF 15109 (1968)
[A is on Disc 3 Track 17 – B is on Disc 3 Track 21]

23. C’mon Everybody b/w Mean When I’m Mad, Liberty LBF 15366 (June 1970)
[A is on Disc 3 Track 6 – B is on Disc 2 Track 8]

24. Somethin’ Else b/w Three Steps To Heaven, United Artists UP 35361 (April 1972)
[A is on Disc 3 Track 17 – Disc 3 Track 32]

25. Summertime Blues b/w Cotton Picker, United Artists UP 35408 (July 1972)
[A is on Disc 4 Track 1 – B is on Disc 2 Track 6]
(B is on the United Artists 2LP set UAS 9959 “Legendary Masters No.4”)

26. Summertime Blues b/w C’mon Everybody, United Artists UP 35796 (March 1975)
[A is on Disc 4 Track 1 – B is on Disc 3 Track 6]
(Note: see 3 for Notes on “Summertime Blues”)

27. C’mon Everybody b/w Milk Cow Blues, United Artists UP 36121 (June 1976)
[A is on Disc 3 Track 6 – B is on Disc 3 Track 21]

28. C’mon Everybody b/w Don’t Ever Let Me Go, United Artists Silver Spotlight Series UP 603 (June 1979)
[A is on Disc 3 Track 6 – B is on Disc 3 Track 5]

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Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

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