Wednesday, 7 October 2015

"The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll Volume 6" by VARIOUS ARTISTS (1997 Ace Records CD Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...



"...Come Go With Me..."

The sixth instalment of Ace's "The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll" CD Series follows the same route as Volumes 1 to 5 – 30 cleverly sequenced Mono US 7" singles that hit the American Pop charts with a nice combo of the obvious and the obscure. "I Wonder (If Your Love Will Ever Belong To Me)" by The Pentagons, "The Shape I'm In" by Johnny Restivo, "Lover Please" by Clyde McPhatter and "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow" by The Rivingtons are in Stereo - while only the Vocal Group classic "Little Star" by The Elegants made the British charts. And all this hipster material is presented to fans by a record company that gives a damn - with a hard-won reputation across four decades of reissue quality (best tape sources used – no needle drops). The full 18 volumes up to late 2015 are listed below. So lets sip on a 'Tall Cool One', succumb to that 'Itchy Twitchy Feeling' and do the 'Love Bug Crawl' with that 'Real Wild Child' (all in the best possible taste of course)...

UK and USA released January 1997 - "The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll Volume 6: Hot 100 Hits From 1954-1963" by VARIOUS ARTISTS on Ace Records CDCHD 650 (Barcode 029667165020) is a 30-track CD and breaks down as follows (73:03 minutes):

1. Shirley – JOHN FRED and The Playboys
December 1958 US 7" single on Montel SJM 1002 (peaked at 82)
Not released in the UK

2. Come Go With Me – THE DELL-VIKINGS
January 1957 USA 7” single on Dot 15538 (peaked at 4)
April 1957 UK 7" single on London HLD 8405 (didn’t chart)
Originally released in the USA December 1956 on Fee Bee FB-205

3. Black Slacks – JOE BENNETT and THE SPARKLETONES
July 1957 US 7" single on ABC-Paramount 9837 (peaked at 17)
August 1957 UK 7" single on HMV Records POP 399 (didn’t chart)

4. Lollipop – RONALD and RUBY
February 1958 US 7" single on RCA Victor 47-7174 (peaked at 20)
March 1958 UK 7" single on RCA Records RCA1053 (didn’t chart)
Lee "Ronald" Morris and Beverley "Ruby" Ross

5. Ten Commandments Of Love – HARVEY and THE MOONGLOWS
August 1958 US 7" single on Chess 1705 (peaked at 22)
October 1958 UK 7" single on London HL-M 8730 (didn’t chart)
Featuring Harvey Fuqua

6. Love Bug Crawl – JIMMY EDWARDS
October 1957 USA 7" single on Mercury 71209 (peaked at 78)
January 1958 UK 7" single on Mercury 7MT 193 (didn’t chart)
Originally issued on Wednesday Records H8OW-0976/7 in the USA – a private pressing of a few hundred copies.
The British issue on 78" and 45" are known Rockabilly rarities – 78" at £50 and the 7" at £500.

7. Do You Want To Dance – BOBBY FREEMAN
March 1958 USA 7" single on Josie 45-835 (peaked at 5)
June 1958 UK 7" single on London HLJ 8644 (didn’t chart)

8. Hard Times (The Slop) – NOBLE "THIN MAN" WATTS & His Rhythm Sparks
November 1957 USA 7" single on Baton 249 (peaked at 44)
May 1958 UK 7" single on London HLU 8627 (didn’t chart)
Instrumental

9. Imagination – THE QUOTATIONS
November 1961 USA 7" single on Verve VK 10245 (peaked at 79 on Cashbox)
January 1962 UK 7” single on HMV Records POP 975 (didn’t chart)

10. I Wonder (If Your Love Will Ever Belong To Me) – THE PENTAGONS
September 1961 USA 7" single on Jamie 1201 (peaked at 84)
Not released in the UK
Rick Nelson recorded a version of the "I Wonder..." song – US released April 1964 as the flipside to "The Very Thought Of You" on Decca 31612

11. At My Front Door – THE EL DORADOS
August 1955 USA 7" single on Vee-Jay VJ 147 (peaked at 17)
Not released in the UK

12. You're So Fine – THE FALCONS
March 1959 USA 7" single on Unart UR 2013 (peaked at 17)
June 1959 UK 7" single on London HLT 8876 (didn’t chart)

13. Tall Cool One – THE WAILERS
May 1959 USA 7" single on Golden Crest CR 518 (peaked at 36)
October 1959 UK 7" single on London HL 8958 (didn’t chart)
An Instrumental - Takoma Rock 'n' Roll band (not Bob Marley's backing group)

14. The Shape I'm In – JOHNNY RESTIVO
September 1959 USA 7" single on RCA Victor 47-7559 (peaked at 80)
July 1959 UK 7" single on RCA Records RCA 1143 (didn’t chart)

15. Little Star – THE ELEGANTS
June 1958 USA 7" single on Apt 45-25005 (peaked at 1)
August 1958 UK 7" single on HMV Records POP 520 (peaked at 25)

16. Lover Please – CLYDE McPHATTER
February 1962 USA 7" single on Mercury 71941 (peaked at 7)
April 1962 UK 7" single on Mercury AMT 1174 (didn’t chart)
Formerly the Lead Singer with The Drifters (on Atlantic Records)

17. Charlena – THE SEVILLES
December 1960 USA 7" single on J.C. Records 116 (peaked at 84)
Not released in the UK
Reissued in the USA June 1963 on Galaxy 721

18. Pledging My Love – JOHNNY ACE
March 1955 USA 7" single on Duke 136 (peaked at 17)
March 1961 UK 7" single on Vogue Pop V 9180 (didn't chart)

19. Itchy Twitchy Feeling – BOBBY HENDRICKS with Jimmy Oliver's Orchestra
June 1958 USA 7" single on Sue 706 (peaked at 25)
October 1958 UK 7" single on London HL 8714 (didn’t chart)

20. Priscilla – EDDIE COOLEY and THE DIMPLES
September 1956 USA 7" single on Royal Roast 621 (peaked at 20)
February 1957 UK 7" single on Columbia DB 3873 (didn’t chart)

21. Hold Back The Tears – THE DELACARDOS
April 1961 USA 7” single on United Artists UA 310 (peaked at 81)
June 1961 UK 7" single on HMV Records POP 890 (didn’t chart)

22. You Can Make It If You Try – GENE ALLLISON
September 1957 USA 7" single on Vee-Jay VJ 256 (peaked at 36)
April 1958 UK 7" single on London HLU 8605 (didn’t chart)

23. Real Wild Child - IVAN
July 1958 USA 7" single on Coral 9-62017 (peaked at 68)
October 1958 UK 7" single on Coral Q 72341 (didn’t chart)
Jerry "Ivan" Allison – the drummer with Buddy Holly's Crickets – the song is written by Johnny O'Keefe who put it out as a US 7" single in April 1958 on Brunswick 9-55067 credited as Johnny O'Keefe and The Dee Jays. Covered by Jerry Lee Lewis in 1958 at Sun and by Iggy Pop in 1986 on A&M

24. Quarter To Four Stomp – THE STOMPERS
January 1962 USA 7" single on Landa 684 (peaked at 100)
April 1962 UK 7" single on Fontana H 385 (didn’t chart)

25. Don't You Just Know It – HUEY (PIANO) SMITH & The Clowns
March 1958 USA 7" single on Ace 545 (peaked at 9)
June 1958 UK 7" single on Columbia DB 4138 (didn’t chart)
The Clowns featured Lead Vocalist Bobby Marchan

26. I'm Walkin' – RICKY NELSON
April 1957 USA 7" single on Verve V 10047 (peaked at 4)
June 1957 UK 7" single on HMV Records POP 355 (didn't chart)

27. I Love An Angel – LITTLE BILL & THE BLUENOTES
June 1959 USA 7" single on Dolton No. 4 (peaked at 66)
August 1959 UK 7" single on Top Rank JAR 176 (didn't chart)

28. Short Shorts – ROYAL TEENS
January 1958 USA 7" single on ABC-Paramount 45-9882 (peaked at 3)
February 1958 UK 7" single on HMV Records POP 454 (didn't chart)
Originally released in the USA in 1957 on Power Records 215

29. Hide And Go Seek, Part 1 – BUNKER HILL
June 1962 USA 7” single on Mala 451 (peaked at 33)
November 1962 UK 7” single on Stateside SS 135 (didn’t chart)
Real name David Walker who later sang with The Mighty Clouds Of Joy

30. Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow – THE RIVINGTONS
January 1962 USA 7” single on Liberty 55427 (peaked at 48)
February 1962 UK 7” single on Liberty LIB 55427 (didn’t chart)
Members of The Sharps became The Rivingtons – see also "Little Bitty Pretty One" by Thurston Harris & The Sharps (Track 11, Volume 5)

NOTES: all tracks are in MONO except Tracks 10, 14, 16 and 30 - which are in STEREO

Volume 6 has an impressive 20-page booklet festooned with ROB FINNIS liner notes and cool pics - quality publicity photos of forgotten names like The Elegants, (the real) Beverly Ross of Ronald and Ruby, The Royal Teens and The Rivingtons. These snaps run alongside rare Trade Adverts for Jimmy Edwards, Nobel & Watts, The Pentagons and The Sevilles. The two-page colour collage of British 45s in their labels bags that was a feature on Volumes 1 to 4 has been replaced with smaller pictures of various UK and US record labels throughout the text - Finnis connecting all the musical and historical dots. Compiled by Trevor Churchill, John Broven and Rob Finnis – the clever sequencing makes it feel like an old jukebox and it features a generous total playing time of 73+ minutes.

The DUNCAN COWELL Remasters are blindingly good – toppermost of the poppermost Audio quality on rarities like the Rockabilly girl/guy bop of "Black Slacks" by Joe Bennett & The Sparkletones or the 'what a thrill...crawling up my spine...' echoed-vocal sauciness of "Love Bug Crawl" by Jimmy Edwards. Despite the disparate sources – the Audio is uniformly great throughout and will warm the cockrels of collector's hearts.

Volume 6 opens with the R&B drum-shuffle of John Fred promising he’ll take his girl "Shirley" around the world (well maybe around Baton Rouge is his bus-fare holds out). Beautifully clear Audio accompanies Vocal Groups The Dell-Vikings and Harvey & The Moonglows who offer happiness and heartache in equal measure - The Dells pleading for her nibs to "Come Go With Me" while Harvey Fuqua of The Moonglows wants to lay down the "Ten Commandments Of Love" first before he gets all kissy-kissy with his baby (really Harvey). Rock 'n' Roll and Rockabilly fans with love the properly great jiver "Love Bug Crawl" by Jimmy Edwards (sounds 'so' clean) - as does the sappy "Do You Want To Dance" where Bobby Freeman sounds suspiciously like he needs singing lessons and not another teen pose. Far better is the instrumental Saxophone and Guitar shuffler "Hard Times (The Slop)" by Noble "Thin Man" Watts where he sounds like he's going to invent a dance craze like the Mashed Potato any second now (great stuff). More Vocal Group 'my, my, my' bending of phrases hits you with an awesome-sounding "Imagination" by The Quotations while The Pentagons are listening to voices deep within that echo their worst manly fears - "I Wonder (If Your Love Will Ever Belong To Me)". The El Dorados have a crazy little mama come knock, knock, knocking "At My Front Door" while The Falcons have nothing but swooning admiration for their baby doll in their lovely Vocal Group gem "You're So Fine".

As I said of Volumes 1 to 5 – what’s wicked about these Ace CD compilations is the oddities – finding gems you just don’t know. The cymbal and piano instrumental "Tall Cool One" by The Wailers is fab stuff – very Pink Panther in places and surely a shoe-in for a belated TV theme. The quivering-lip-vocals of Johnny Restivo gives the wickedly catchy "The Shape I'm In" an Elvis Presley/Charlie Rich 60ts cool. Equally fun is the copycat Clyde McPhatter vocals of Bobby Hendricks on the brilliantly titled "Itchy Twitchy Feeling" - while the recorded-in-a-leaking-bucket "Charlena" by The Sevilles is Low Fi for sure but still massively atmospheric and sounding as vibrant as it did when first pressed in 1961.

Whenever I hear Johnny Ace’s immortal smoocher "Pledging My Love" from 1955 - I always think of a fabulous Aretha Franklin non-album B-side cover version of it which was doubled with a song called "The Clock" on the flip of "Share Your Love With Me" on Atlantic 2650 in 1969. That and Paul Simon's name-checking of the tragic Johnny Ace in his wonderful "The Late Great Johnny Ace” song on the massively underrated "Heart And Bones" album in 1983 (check out both of those masterpieces). Eddie Cooley is determined to get his ring on the finger of "Priscilla" (great Saxophone solo in the centre) while the heartbroken Delacardos have to "Hold Back The Tears" if the girl's name is even mentioned (tissue anyone).

Genius inclusions – you can’t help think that Buddy Holly’s drummer Jerry ‘Ivan’ Allison teleported to some hedonistic future when he wrote "Real Wild Child" – because two genuinely wild men of Rock 'n' Roll (Jerry Lee Lewis and Iggy Pop) both returned the compliment by covering the fabulous rocker on Sun Records in 1958 and A&M Records in 1986. What a great inclusion "Real Wild Child" is and the 1958 Coral Records original sounding so full of that Rock 'n' Roll danger. And I don't care how familiar how the 'ah ah ah – aye o' vocals of "Don't You Just Know It" by Huey Piano Smith is – the song is still joyous R&B fun.

Teenyboppers might have swooned to Ricky Nelson's matinee good looks but I still prefer the Fats Domino original of "I'm Walkin'" to his cover – better is the slow and smoochy Saxophone of "I Love An Angel" by a fawning Little Bill & The Bluenotes - here in awesome clarity. There are few words to describe the 'uh man dig that crazy chick' of the marvellously naff "Short Shorts" by The Royal Teens (but we like it anyway man). And Volume 6 ends with a double-whammy of Audio magnificence - the shouting of David Walker (later with The Mighty Clouds Of Joy) masquerading as Bunker Hill on the genuinely nanny goat raucous "Hide And Go Seek" (someone literally bleats like a goat in the background) – and the 'funniest sound I ever heard' of "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow" by The Rivingtons - whose lead singer needs to seek psychiatric help as soon as possible...

Like Volumes 1 to 5 – instalment No. 6 is an adventurous, period evocative, cleverly paced compilation. But most important of all – it’s blindingly great fun to listen to - stirring up so many fond memories. So even if you weren't there - you will feel all "American Graffiti" after a night in with this CD compilation. But most of all you get a real sense of why UK fans in the 50ts and 60ts looked to the USA with such awe. The Yanks had it all – the cool - the cars - the girls - the film stars and best of all - the music. And there are seventeen more volumes where this came from...

PS: Titles in "The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll" CD Series are:

1. The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll: Hard-To-Get Hot 100 Hits From 1954-63 (Ace CDCHD 289, November 1991)
2. The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll Volume 2: Hot 100 Hits From 1954-1963 (Ace CDCHD 445, March 1993)
3. The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll Volume 3: Hot 100 Hits From 1954-1963 (Ace CDCHD 497, January 1994)
4. The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll Volume 4: Hot 100 Hits From 1954-1963 (Ace CDCHD 500, October 1994)
5. The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll Volume 5: Hot 100 Hits From 1954-1963 (Ace CDCHD 600, October 1995)
6. The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll Volume 6: 30 Hot 100 Hits From 1954-1963 (Ace CDCHD 650, January 1997)
7. The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll Volume 7: Hot 100 Hits From 1954-1963 (Ace CDCHD 700, November 1998)
8. The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll Volume 8: Hot 100 Hits From 1954-1963 (Ace CDCHD 750, November 1999)
9. The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll Volume 9: Hot 100 Hits From 1954-1963 (Ace CDCHD 800, February 2001)
10. The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll Volume 10: Hot 100 Hits From 1954-1963 (Ace CDCHD 850, September 2002)
11. The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll Volume 11: Hot 100 Hits From 1954-1963 (Ace CDCHD 1200, September 2007)
12. The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll Volume 12: 30 Hot 100 Hits From 1954-1963 (Ace CDCHD 1280, February 2011)

13. The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll: Special Country Edition (Ace CDCHD 845, April 2002)
14. The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll: Special Novelty Edition (Ace CDCHD 890, November 2003)
15. The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll: Special Doo W*p Edition 1953-1963 (Ace CDCHD 1000, May 2004)
16. The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll: Special "Bubbling Under" Edition – Regional Hits That Just Missed The Hot 100 1959-1963 (Ace CDCHD 1050, March 2006)
17. The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll – The Follow-Up Hits: Hard-To-Get Hot 100 Hits (Ace CDCHD 1190, January 2008)

18.  The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll: Special Doo W*p Edition Volume 2 1956-1963 (Ace CDCHD 1230, May 2009)

This review and hundreds more like it can be found in my SOUNDS GOOD Music Book Series - BLUES, GOSPEL, RHYTHM 'n' BLUES and ROCK 'n' ROLL - Exceptional CD Remasters is available to buy/download at Amazon at the following link...

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