Sunday, 18 July 2010

“Hellooo Baby! You Know What I Like! – A Wiggle In Her Walk And A Giggle In Her Talk” by THE BIG BOPPER. A Review of the 2010 Bear Family CD.

"…You Know What I Like…”

Released July 2010 in Germany, the CD “Hellooo Baby! You Know What I Like!” has 31 tracks and runs to a generous 73:26 minutes. There’s a lot on here, so let’s get to the details…

Bear Family BCD 17109 AH will finally allow The Big Bopper’s fans to sequence all 6 of his rare US 7” singles – and then follow them with the tribute songs that came after his untimely loss at the age of only 28 (he died in a plane crash in early February 1959 with Richie Valens and Buddy Holly). It breaks down as follows…

BIG BOPPER
1. Chantilly Lace b/w Purple People Eater Meets The Witch Doctor [Tracks 1 and 9] March 1958, D Records 1008
(Reissued September 1958 on Mercury 71343, charted at Number 3)

2. Monkey Song (You Made A Monkey Out Of Me) b/w A Teen-Age Moon [Tracks 18 and 19]
1958, Mercury 71312 (credited to THE BIG BOPPER with THE ECHOES)

3. Big Bopper’s Wedding b/w Little Red Riding Hood [Tracks 3 and 2]
1958, Mercury 71375

4. Someone’s Watching Over You b/w Walking Through My Dreams [Tracks 17 and 15]
1959, Mercury 71416
[Note: the A-side is Version 2 and the B-side is Version 1 – there are other Versions on this CD]

5. It’s The Truth Ruth b/w That’s What I’m Talkin’ About [Tracks 14 and 16]
1959, Mercury 71451
[Note: the 45 A-side is Version 1 – Version 2 of the song (Track 7) is on the album]

6. Pink Petticoats b/w The Clock [Tracks 4 and 11]
1959, Mercury 71482

TRIBUTE SONGS by OTHER ARTISTS

1. Bopper 4860009 by DONNA DAMERON (1959, Dart 113) [Track 25]
2. The Man I Met (A Tribute To The Big Bopper) by RAY CAMPI (1959, D Records 1047) [Track 26]
3. Three Stars by EDDIE COCHRAN (1966, UK 7” on Liberty LIB 10249) [Track 27]
4. That Makes It by JAYNE MANSFIELD (1965, Original Sound OS 51) [Track 28]
5. She Giggles by DON TERRY (1959, Lin Records 5018) [Track 29]
6. Chantilly Lace Cha Cha by BILL KIMBROUGH (1959, D Records 1053) [Track 30]

His lone US album “Chantilly Lace” issued December 1958 on Mercury MG-20402 [Mono] can now also be sequenced using the following tracks:

Side 1:
1. Chantilly Lace [1]
2. Pink Petticoats [4]
3. The Clock [11]
4. Walking Through My Dreams [8] (Version 2)
5. Someone Watching Over You [17] (Version 2)
6. Old Maid [12]
Side 2:
1. Big Bopper's Wedding [3]
2. Little Red Riding Hood [2]
3. Preacher And The Bear [6]
4. It's The Truth Ruth [7] (Version 2)
5. White Lightning [10]
6. Strange Kisses [5]

Finally - Tracks 24 and 31 are “Purple People Eater Meets The Witch Doctor” and “Sweet Lips” by GORDON RITTER [performing as Rick Johnson] and were recorded as a demo session in July 1958 for KTRM Radio Station in Beaumont, Texas – they are newly released on this CD.

The gatefold card digipak sports a superlative 50-page attached-booklet with photos from the fateful Winter Dance Party Tour, heartfelt and informative liner notes by JOHNETTE DUFF (with co-operation from family & friends) and an ANTOON VAN OLDEREN/ANDY BROWN Discography (Van Olderen runs a truly fabulous Eddie Cochran online website). The discography features photos of those original 7” singles and even pictures the press release that came with Donna Dameron’s single (recorded while he was alive, posthumously released). Like so many of Bear Family’s issues, the booklet is a thing of beauty and liable to make fans beam from ear to ear. Then there’s the SOUND…

The original masters tapes have been given the polish of their lives by Bear Family’s own JURGEN CRASSER. I’ve raved about this guy before – his work on the award-winning “Blowing The Fuse” R&B Series (1945 to 1960) and the subsequent “Sweet Soul Music” Series (1961 to 1970) jumps to mind - simply mind-blowing (check out reviews of them). You haven’t heard these Bopper tracks until you’ve heard his careful remastering of them. The sound is huge, clean and a revelation.
Musically – there is dreck on here for sure (one too many Chantilly soundalikes), but when he wasn’t hamming it up and took on a ballad like say “Walking Through My Dreams” or a rocker like “White Lightning”, The Big Bopper had a voice that was a cross between Charlie Rich and Elvis Presley – impressive to say the least. And listening to the fully sequenced “Chantilly Lace” album now (50 years after the event) is both great fun and an eye-opener.

Jiles Perry Richardson will probably always be a one-hit wonder in the annals of pop history, but he deserved more – and at least he is now properly remembered in this top-drawer CD reissue.

The mighty Bear Family does it again folks. Respect given and respect due…

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Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

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