Friday, 16 October 2015

"The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll Volume 8" by VARIOUS ARTISTS (1999 Ace Records CD Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...



"...Red Hot Lincoln..."

The eight instalment of Ace's "The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll" CD Series follows the same route as Volumes 1 to 7 – 30 cleverly sequenced Mono US 7" singles that hit the American Pop charts with a nice combo of the obvious and the obscure. Unlike preceding volumes none are in Stereo while only 4 of these tracks actually made the British charts. And all of this rare and hip material is presented to fans on both sides of the pond 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 do the 'Mojo Workout' as we shunt to the 'Bongo Stomp' in our 'Red Hot Lincoln' (and at our age too)...

UK and USA released November 1999 - "The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll Volume 8: Hot 100 Hits From 1954-1963" by VARIOUS ARTISTS on Ace Records CDCHD 750 (Barcode 029667175029) is a 30-track CD and breaks down as follows (74:07 minutes):

1. Shout! Shout! (Knock Yourself Out) – ERNIE MARESCA
February 1962 US 7" single on Seville 117 (peaked at 6)
March 1962 UK 7" single on London HLU 9531 (didn’t chart)
Credited as "Shout Shout" in the UK - Maresca also wrote "No One Knows" and "A Lover's Prayer" for Dion & The Belmonts

2. Whispering Bells – THE DELL-VIKINGS
May 1957 USA 7” single on Dot 45-15592 (peaked at 9)
August 1957 UK 7" single on London HLD 8464 (didn’t chart)

3. We Belong Together – ROBERT and JOHNNY
February 1958 US 7" single on Old Town 1047 (peaked at 32)
Never released in the UK
Robert Carr and Johnny Mitchell

4. Sorry (I Ran All The Way Home) – THE IMPALAS
January 1959 US 7" single on Cub K 9022 (peaked at 2)
May 1959 UK 7" single on MGM Records MGM 105 (peaked at 28)

5. Way Down Yonder In New Orleans – FREDDY CANNON
August 1959 US 7" single on Swan 4043 (peaked at 3)
November 1959 UK 7" single on Top rank JAR 247 (peaked at 3)

6. So Fine – THE FIESTAS
February 1959 USA 7" single on Old Town 1062 (peaked at 11)
May 1959 UK 7" single on London HL 8870 (didn’t chart)

7. Bongo Stomp – LITTLE JOEY and THE FLIPS
June 1962 USA 7" single on Joy 45K-262 (peaked at 33)
July 1962 UK 7" single on Pye International 7N 25152 (didn’t chart)
Little Joey is Joey Hall

8. Wicked Ruby – DANNY ZELLA and his Zell Rocks
January 1959 USA 7" single on Fox ZTSC-10057 (peaked at 71)
Not released in the UK
An Instrumental - the B-side of "Black Sax"

9. Tragedy – THOMAS WAYNE with The DeLons
October 1958 USA 7" single on Fernwood 109 (peaked at 5)
April 1959 UK 7” single on London HLS 8846 (didn’t chart)
Produced by Scotty Moore – Elvis' Guitar Player – also issued in the UK on an Export issue 7" single London HL 7075

10. Here I Stand – WADE FLEMONS & The Newcomers
November 1958 USA 7" single on Vee-Jay VJ-295 (peaked at 80)
Not released in the UK

11. Gee – THE CROWS
May 1953 USA 7" single on Rama RR-5 (peaked at 14)
June 1954 UK 7" single on Columbia SCM 5119 (didn’t chart)
The UK 45 is incredibly rare – booked at £2000+ in the Record Collector Price Guide - while the 78" version on Columbia DB 3478 is booked at £150.00

12. Don’t Be Angry – NAPPY BROWN
March 1955 USA 7" single on Savoy 45-1155 (peaked at 25)
June 1955 UK 7" single on London HL 8145 (didn’t chart)
Real name Napoleon Brown – "Don't Be Angry" was covered shortly afterwards by two R&B Vocal Groups - The Crew Cuts on Mercury 70597 (peaked at 14) and after that (also in 1955) by The Cadets on Modern 956 (failed to chart)

13. One Summer Night – THE DANLEERS
June 1958 USA 7" single on Mercury 71322 (peaked at 7)
October 1958 UK 7" single on Mercury AMT 1003 (didn’t chart)
The British 45 is rare – booked at £200 – as is the 78" (same catalogue no) at £40

14. Lotta Lovin' – GENE VINCENT & His Blue Caps
July 1957 USA 7" single on Capitol 3763 (peaked at 13)
August 1957 UK 7" single on Capitol CL 14763 (didn’t chart)

15. Ballad Of A Girl And Boy – THE GRADUATES
January 1959 USA 7" single on Shan-Todd ST-0055 (peaked at 74)
Not released in the UK

16. Bullwhip Rock – THE CYCLONES
July 1958 USA 7" single on Trophy T-500 (peaked at 83)
Not released in the UK
The B-side of "Nelda Jane" by Bill Taylor and Cyclones

17. Mojo Workout (Dance) – LARRY BRIGHT
January 1960 USA 7" single on Tide T-006 (peaked at 92)
Not released in the UK
A derivative of the Muddy Waters classic "I Got My Mojo Working"

18. Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart – THE FURYS
December 1962 USA 7" single on Mack IV 112 (peaked at 92)
May 1963 UK 7" single on Stateside SS 182 (didn't chart)
Written by James McEachin who would later become a TV actor in Tenafly and Perry Mason (also a successful novelist)

19. Air Travel – RAY and BOB
September 1961 USA 7" single on Ledo 1151 (peaked at 99)
Not released in the UK
Ray Appleberry and Bobby Swayne

20. Once Upon A Time – ROCHELL and THE CANDLES with Johnny Wyatt
November 1961 USA 7" single on Swingin’ 623 (peaked at 26)
Not released in the UK
Male quartet formed by Rochell Henderson

21. The Fool – SANFORD CLARK
June 1956 USA 7” single on Dot 15481 (peaked at 7)
October 1956 UK 7" single on London HLD 8320 (didn’t chart)

22. Speedoo – THE CADILLACS
October 1955 USA 7" single on Josie 785 (peaked at 17)
Not released in the UK

23. My Wife Can’t Cook – LONNIE RUSS
November 1962 USA 7" single on Four-J 501 [aka 4j 501] (peaked at 57)
February 1963 UK 7" single on Fontana 267263 TF (didn’t chart)

24. Running Bear – JOHNNY PRESTON
June 1959 USA 7" single on Mercury 71474 (peaked at 1)
January 1960 UK 7" single on Mercury AMT 1079 (peaked at 1)
Written by J.P. Richardson – aka The Big Bopper

25. The Mountain’s High - DICK and DEEDEE
July 1961 USA 7" single on Liberty F-55350 (peaked at 2)
September 1961 UK 7" single on London HLG 9408 (peaked at 37)
Dick St. John and Mary Spelling – it had been issued initially as the B-side to "I Want Someone" on Lama 7778 in April 1961 - when DJs flipped the record. Liberty F-55350 took over putting "The Mountain's High" on the A-side.

26. A Thousand Miles Away – THE HEARTBEATS
September 1956 USA 7" single on Hull H-720 (peaked at 53)
Not released in the UK
Vocal group that featured Johnny 'Shep' Sheppard who would become Shep & The Limelites – it was the B-side of "Oh Baby Don't" but DJs like Alan Freed flipped it and made "A Thousand Miles Away" the classic hit

27. Hey Girl, Hey Boy – OSCAR McLOLLIE and JEANETTE BAKER
April 1958 USA 7" single on Class 288 (peaked at 61)
Not released in the UK
Oscar McLollie was a Band Leader in the early 50ts – Jeanette Baker was in the Vocal group The Dots (Caddy Label)

28. Been So Long – THE PASTELS
January 1958 USA 7" single on Argo 5287 (peaked at 24)
Not released in the UK
Featuring DiFosco Ervin on Lead Vocals – later went solo as Big Dee Irwin and had a hit in April 1963 with "Swinging On A Star" on Dimension 1010

29. I Don’t Love You No More (I Don’t Care About You) – JIMMY NORMAN
April 1962 USA 7” single on Little Star 113 (peaked at 47)
Not released in the UK
Jimmy Norman Scott – was with the Vocal group The Viceroys

30. Hot Rod Lincoln – JOHNNY BOND
June 1960 USA 7” single on Republic 2005 (peaked at 26)
September 1960 UK 7” single on London HLU 9189 (didn’t chart)
Credited in the UK as "Hot Rod Jalopy"

NOTES: all tracks are in MONO

Volume 8 has an impressive 24-page booklet festooned with ROB FINNIS liner notes and cool pics - quality publicity photos of forgotten names like Robert & Johnny, Freddy Cannon, Danny Zella, The Graduates, Larry Bright and The Pastels. These snaps run alongside rare Trade Adverts for The Dell-Vikings, The Danleers, Nappy Brown, Rochell and The Candles, The Cadillacs and Lonnie Russ. 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 74+ minutes.

The DUNCAN COWELL Remasters are blindingly good – toppermost of the poppermost Audio quality on rarities like the blasting boogie of "Way Down Yonder In New Orleans" by Freddy Cannon sounding like it was recorded yesterday (really loudly too) while the 'my baby’s so doggone neat...' of "So Fine" by The Fiestas sounds amazingly clean. The last two tracks on here - "I Don't Love You No More (I Don't Care About You)" by Jimmy Norman (complete with a witty false phonecall at the beginning) and the amazing 'we was passing cars like they were standing still' boogie of "Hot Rod Lincoln" by Johnny Bond will thrill Rhythm 'n' Blues and Rockabilly fans to the core. In fact despite the disparate sources – the Audio is uniformly great throughout and will warm the cockrels of collector's hearts.

Volume 8 opens with a Frat Rock classic guaranteed to see beer spilled on mummy’s clean carpet - "Shout, Shout (Knock Yourself Out)" by Ernie Maresca – a man who penned several hits for Dion & The Belmonts (mentions "Runaround Sue" in the lyrics of "Shout, Shout"). Vocals Groups come at you in tempos next – the bopping "Whispering Bells" by The Dell-Vikings while the lovely smooch of "We Belong Together" by Robert and Johnny feels like the kind of gem that's going to turn up in a teen romance movie real soon. You don't hear tracks like The Impalas "Sorry (I Ran All The Way Home)" anymore – but here is has fabulous audio. I’m loving the crazy cross-genre duo of "Bongo Stomp" by Little Joey & The Flips which comes on like a Jungle Rhythm Vocal R&B dancer with a man singing like a big girl's blouse – and the mad-as-a-dingbat rhythms in "Wicked Ruby" by Danny Zella who was six-foot-three and 20 stone (get out of the way ladies).

Beautifully clear Audio also accompanies the echo-laden smooch of "Tragedy" – an old-fashioned love song sung by the crooner Thomas Wayne while the spirit of Buddy Holly meets Vocal Groups pervades the wonderful vocal arrangements on "Here I Stand" by Wade Flemons – a record you try to pin down but can't (Finnis rates it as near perfect 50ts Pop and he has a point). The uber-rare "Gee" by the smitten 'love that girl' Crows vocal group is basic for sure but magical too. Time to bop and dance and give it some quivering lip with the fabulous jiver "Don’t Be Angry" by Nappy Brown – sounding just brill as that blasting Saxophone solo comes sailing in. And it doesn’t get more Street Corner Symphony than "Once Summer Night" by The Danleers – here in best ever Audio. Homegrown Hero Gene Vincent makes a welcome insertion with his great 'want your lovin' all the time' of "Lotta Lovin'" – properly great Rock 'n' Roll.

As I said of Volumes 1 to 7 – what’s wicked about these Ace CD compilations is the oddities – finding gems you just don’t know. The whip-crack-away Jerry Lee Lewis piano-pumping boogie of "Bullwhip Rock" by Cyclones is the kind of R&R instrumental that sends fans into frenzy (what a genius choice – Wayne Brooks, Jr. is the rocking pianist). Re-working the Muddy Waters classic "I Got My Mojo Working" – Larry Bright's fantastic "Mojo Workout (Dance)" sounds like an American Gene Vincent with just as much passion and gusto (stunning inclusion). Superb audio accompanies the weird yet wonderful 'take a little trip to China' of "Air Travel" sounding not unlike a souped-up version of Sam Cooke's "Another Saturday Night". And the 'she was mine...' Vocal Group romancer "Once Upon A Time" is a brilliant inclusion too – never heard it before but a winner nonetheless (collectors will dig this).

An Elvis quivering vocal and plinking guitar bolster up the heavily echoed voice of Sanford Clark as he explains that "The Fool" told his 'baby goodbye' (not a great move apparently) - while the sheer aural blast of "Speedoo" by The Cadillacs is bound to do your speakers some damage if you don't control that volume dial. Funny, politically incorrect and possibly even sexist claptrap – "My Wife Can't Cook" is great fun nonetheless as Lonnie Russ explains about his dearly beloved's lack of culinary skills with gravy and beans (a worry that). Loving the drama of the drums combined with the strangely miked vocals for "The Mountain's High" by Dick and DeeDee – another brilliant choice that most collectors won’t have. Beautiful is the only way to describe The Heartbeats gorgeous delivery of the Vocal Group ballad "A Thousand Miles Away" – Shep’s vocal soaring against a backdrop of perfectly pitched voices. Fun R&B comes in the shape of "Hey Girl, Hey Boy" by Oscar McLollie and Jeanette Baker giving it some 'da da' and 'wee wee' as they size each other up. But then you're clobbered with genuine Vocal Group majesty – the truly wonderful "Been So Long" by The Pastels - Finnis quite rightly describing it as having a 'timeless quality'...

Like Volumes 1 to 7 – instalment No. 8 is an adventurous, period evocative, cleverly paced compilation that barely puts a foot wrong. Loving the damn lot. 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 Wop 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 Wop 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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