Wednesday, 9 September 2015

"Presenting Dion And The Belmonts/Runaround Sue" by DION and THE BELMONTS and DION (2000 Ace Expanded CD Remasters) - A Review By Mark Barry...




"...A Teenager In Love..." 

White Vocal Groups don't come much better or even 'cooler' than Dion & The Belmonts.

This beautiful-sounding 28-track single CD from England’s Ace Records offers fans two rare original albums - "Presenting Dion And The Belmonts" (1959) and "Runaround Sue" (1961) - as well as four bonus cuts relevant to the period (singles sides). It's been remastered to perfection by long-standing Audio Engineer DUNCAN COWELL and comes with a tasty 12-page inlay which repros the LP sleeves and provides some great photo memorabilia from Tia Douglass who ran the British fan club back in the day. There's a lot to get through - so once more unto the teenagers in love with our Italian Stallion Dion DiMucci who likes to wander (never mind that naughty Sue who prefers to runs around)...

UK released March 2000 – Ace Records CDCH 966 (Barcode 029667196628) breaks down as follows (71:33 minutes):

1. I Wonder Why
2. Teen Angel *
3. Where Or When
4. You Better Not Do That
5. Just You
6. I Got The Blues
7. Don't Pity Me
8. A Teenager In Love
9. Wonderful Girl
10. A Funny Feeling
11. I've Cried Before
12. That’s My Desire
13. No One Knows
14. I Can't Go On (Rosalie) *
Note: all 14 are in Mono. Because the extras have been mixed into the playing list – in order to sequence the debut album "Presenting Dion And The Belmonts" proper - use the following songs:
Tracks 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 are Side 1
Tracks 8 to 13 are Side 2
Tracks 2 and 14 * - "Teen Angel" and "I Can't Go On (Rosalie)" are Bonuses
The LP "Presenting Dion And The Belmonts" was released October 1959 in the USA on Laurie LLP-1002 and in the UK on London HA-U 2194

15. Runaround Sue
16. Somebody Nobody Knows
17. Dream Lover
18. Life Is But A Dream
19. The Wanderer
20. Runaway Girl
21. I'm Gonna Make It Somehow *
22. The Majestic
23. Could Somebody Take My Place Tonight *
24. Little Star
25. Lonely World
26. (I'll Remember) In The Still Of The Night
27. Kansas City
28. Take Good Care Of My Baby
Notes: tracks 15, 16, 19, 21, 22 and 23 are in Stereo – all others in Mono. Because the extras have been mixed into the playing list – in order to sequence the album "Runaround Star" proper - use the following songs:
Tracks 15 to 20 are Side 1
Tracks 22 and 24 to 28 are Side 2
Tracks 21 and 23 * - "I'm Gonna Make It Somehow" and "Could Somebody Take My Place Tonight" are Bonuses
The LP "Runaround Sue" was released November 1961 in the USA on Laurie LLP 2009 and December 1961 in the UK on HMV CLP 1539.

SINGLES:
Using those extra tracks fans can sequence the following eight American and British 45s in their entirety.

1. I Wonder Why [1] b/w Teen Angel [2]
May 1958 USA 7" single on Laurie 3013
July 1958 UK 7" and 78” singles on London HL 8646
Notes: A-side on the album "Presenting Dion And The Belmonts"; the B-side was non-album at the time; both are in Mono

2. No One Knows [13] b/w I Can't Go On (Rosalie) [14]
August 1958 USA 7" single on Laurie 3015
October 1958 UK 7" and 78" singles on London HL 8718
Notes: A-side on the album "Presenting Dion And The Belmonts"; the B-side was non-album at the time; both are in Mono

3. Don't Pity Me [7] b/w Just You [5]
December 1958 USA 7" single on Laurie 3021
February 1959 UK 7" and 78" singles on London HL 8799
Notes: both tracks on the LP "Presenting Dion And The Belmonts"; both are in Mono

4. A Teenager In Love [8] b/w I've Cried Before [11]
April 1959 USA 7" single on Laurie 3027
June 1959 UK 7" single and 78" singles on London HLU 8874
Notes: both tracks on the LP "Presenting Dion And The Belmonts"; both are in Mono

5.In The Still Of The Night [26] b/w A Funny Feeling [10]
July 1960 USA 7" single on Laurie 3059
Notes: A-side on the "Runaround Sue" LP - B-side on the album "Presenting Dion And The Belmonts"; both are in Mono

6. Somebody Nobody Wants [16] b/w Could Somebody Take My Place Tonight [23]
July 1961 USA 7" single on Laurie 3101
Notes: A-side on the "Runaround Sue" LP – B-side a non-album track – both are in Stereo

7. Runaround Sue [15] b/w Runaway Girl [20]
September 1961 USA 7" single on Laurie 3110
October 1961 UK 7" single on Top Rank JAR 586
Notes: the A-side is in Stereo, the B in Mono; both tracks on the "Runaround Sue" LP

8. The Wanderer [19] b/w The Majestic [22]
November 1961 USA 7" single on Laurie 3115
February 1962 UK 7" single on HMV Pop 971
Notes: both tracks are in Stereo – both tracks on the "Runaround Sue" LP

Remastered from original tapes – the AUDIO on both of these sets is superb – especially the STEREO cuts of the huge hits "Runaround Sue", "The Majestic" and "The Wanderer". And while the teenybopper angst of "A Teenager In Love" is the usual suspect on every Vocal Group CD compilation imaginable – it's those albums cuts in between that make this release such a blast. The Rogers and Hart smoocher "Where Or When" and the slow-as-a-glacier ballad "Wonderful Girl" must have been pull-em-close clinchers on the dancefloors of 1958 America - while the rumbling "I Got The Blues" sounds like Buddy Holly at Coral Records. It's not all great by any stretch of the imagination – "You Better Not Do That" is dreadful saccharine pop but the soaring vocals of "That's My Desire" in great White Boys Vocal Group stuff.

The conjugal infidelity of that heartbreaker "Runaround Sue" still sounds racy and rude in the best ways (I wanna meet this woman) while his cover of Bobby Darin's "Dream Lover" has a superb Dion lead vocal. "The Wanderer" stills raises a smile with its young-man swagger and bullish lyrics - but "Could Somebody Take My Place Tonight" (the stand-alone B-side to "Somebody Nobody Wants") sounds like the wishy-washy material Presley was doing in the early sixties – complete with a whiter-than-white "bing bong" girly chorus. Better is the romanticism of Vocal Group ballads like "In The Still Of The Night" and "Life Is But A Dream" while in the hands of Dion the R&B groover "Kansas City" has a wicked strut similar to "Runaround Sue" and "The Wanderer". The hand-clapping "greatest dance you ever saw" arrives with the impossibly catchy "The Majestic" where Mr. DiMucci does his hum before launching into that chorus...so cool...

Ace have serviced the whole of Dion's 60s and 70s catalogue across the years including a Take 1 of "Runaround Sue" on the CD compilation "Runaround Sue: The Best Of The Rest" (Ace CDCH 915) that has to be heard to be believed (as Take 2 was the master - it's like eavesdropping on Rock 'n' Roll history). But this is where that legend started and that’s Italian Stallion enough for me...

This review and hundreds more like it are part of my SOUNDS GOOD Music Books Series 

COOL 1960s MUSIC 
Exceptional CD Remasters 

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