Sunday, 18 October 2015

"The Golden Age Of American Rock ‘n’ Roll Volume 9” by VARIOUS ARTISTS (2001 Ace Records CD – Duncan Cowell Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...



"...Let's Have A Party..."

After a near two-year wait from Volume 8 in November 1999 - the ninth instalment of Ace's "The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll" CD Series came in early 2001 and followed the same route as Volumes 1 to 8 – offering up 30 cleverly sequenced Mono US 7" singles that hit the American Pop charts with a nice combo of the obvious and the obscure. Like preceding volumes – some are in Stereo (five - see Track Notes below) and only a few tracks actually made the British charts (even though many are now well known).

And all of this rare and hip material is presented to fans on both sides of the pond by a British 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 have some 'Rang Tang Ding Dong' as we shake our 'Ooh Poo Pah Doo' at 'Fannie Mae' (when her mother's not looking mind)...

UK and USA released February 2001 - "The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll Volume 9: Hot 100 Hits From 1954-1963" by VARIOUS ARTISTS on Ace Records CDCHD 800 (Barcode 029667180023) is a 30-track CD and breaks down as follows (71:18 minutes):

1. I'm A Fool To Care – JOE BARRY
April 1961 US 7" single on Smash 1702 (peaked at 24)
June 1961 UK 7" single on Mercury AMT 1149 (didn't chart)
Originally issued on Jin 144 in 1960 – the reissue on Smash 1702 charted

2. Palisades Park – FREDDY CANNON (Frank Stay and his Orchestra)
April 1962 USA 7” single on Swan 4106 (peaked at 3)
June 1962 UK 7" single on Stateside SS 101 (didn't chart)

3. I Wonder Why – DION and THE BELMONTS
May 1958 US 7" single on Laurie 3013 (peaked at 22)
June 1958 UK 7" single on London HLH 8646 (didn't chart)

4. A Casual Look – THE SIX TEENS
March 1956 US 7" single on Flip 315 (peaked at 25)
November 1956 UK 7" single on London HL-U 8345 (didn't chart)
Rare on UK 45 (£350) or 78” (£50) – same catalogue numbers

5. Lonely Weekends – CHARLIE RICH
January 1960 US 7" single on Philips International 3552 (peaked at 22)
April 1960 UK 7" single on London HLU 9107 (didn't chart)

6. Fannie Mae – BUSTER BROWN
November 1959 USA 7" single on Fire 1008 (peaked at 38)
September 1960 UK 7" single on Melodisc 45/1559 (didn't chart)
Stereo Version

7. Shortnin' Bread – PAUL CHAPLAIN And His Emeralds
June 1960 USA 7" single on Harper 100 (peaked at 82)
October 1960 UK 7" single on London HLU 9205 (didn't chart)

8. I Really Love You – THE STEREOS
July 1961 USA 7" single on Cub K9095 (peaked at 29)
September 1961 UK 7" single on MGM Records MGM 1143 (didn't chart)
Stereo Version

9. Doctor Feel-good by DR. FEELGOOD and THE INTERNS
January 1962 USA 7" single on Okeh 4-7144 (peaked at 66)
May 1962 UK 7” single on Columbia DB 4838 (didn't chart)
Stereo Version - the British 70ts R&B band Dr. FEELGOOD took their name from this song – Dr. Feelgood is Willie Perryman aka Piano Red

10. Seventeen – BOYD BENNETT And His Rockets
May 1955 USA 7" single on King 45-1470 (peaked at 5)
October 1955 UK 7” single on Parlophone MSP 6180 (didn't chart)
The British 45 is a listed rarity at £350.00

11. Daddy's Home – SHEP and THE LIMELITES
March 1961 USA 7" single on Hull H-740 (peaked at 2)
June 1961 UK 7" single on Pye International 7N 25090 (didn't chart)

12. Bop-A-Lena – RONNIE SELF
January 1958 USA 7" single on Columbia 41101 (peaked at 63)
Not released in the UK

13. A Wonderful Dream – THE MAJORS
May 1962 USA 7" single on Imperial 5855 (peaked at 22)
September 1962 UK 7" single on London HLP 9602 (didn't chart)
Produced by Jerry Ragovoy

14. Bertha Lou – CLINT MILLER
December 1957 USA 7" single on ABC-Paramount 45-9878 (peaked at 79)
Not released in the UK

15. I’m Movin' On – MATT LUCAS
March 1963 USA 7" single on Smash S-1813 (peaked at 56)
Not released in the UK
A Hank Snow cover version

16. Coney Island Baby – THE EXCELLENTS
May 1962 USA 7" single on Blast BL-205 (peaked at 51)
Not released in the UK

17. No, No, No – THE CHANTERS
June 1961 USA 7" single on DeLuxe 6191 (peaked at 41)
Not released in the UK
Lead Vocals Larry Pendergrass - originally released October 1958 on DeLuxe 6177 that didn't chart – reissued in 1961 on 6199 and 6200 (charted).

18. Just Got To Know – JIMMY McCRACKLIN
September 1961 USA 7" single on Art-Tone 825 (peaked at 64)
April 1962 UK 7" single on Top Rank JAR 617 (didn't chart)

19. Rang Tang Ding Dong (I Am The Japanese Sandman) – THE CELLOS
April 1957 USA 7" single on Apollo 510-45 (peaked at 62)
Not released in the UK

20. Fever – LITTLE WILLIE JOHN
May 1956 USA 7" single on King 45-4935 (peaked at 24)
September 1956 UK 7" single on Parlophone R 4209 (didn't chart)
Covered by a huge number of artists over the years - Peggy Lee (1958), Elvis Presley (1960) and The McCoys (1965) all charted with the song on 45 and LP – the British 45 is a listed rarity at £200

21. Crossfire – JOHNNY and THE HURRICANES
April 1959 USA 7” single on Warwick M-502 (peaked at 23)
July 1959 UK 7" single on London HL 8899 (didn't chart)
His debut in the UK - was also issued on 78" with the same catalogue number

22. Baby Oh Baby – THE SHELLS
August 1957 USA 7" single on Johnson 104 (peaked at 21 in December 1960)
February 1962 UK 7" single on London HLU 9288 (didn't chart)
UK single is a listed rarity at £40 – the single was bought nearly three years after its release and then charted in late 1960 on the Billboard Pop charts

23. Let’s Have A Party – WANDA JACKSON
November 1960 USA 7" single on Capitol 4397 (peaked at 37)
August 1960 UK 7" single on Capitol CL 15147 (didn't chart)
Originally released in the UK in 1958 on a 4-track EP on Capitol EAP1-1041 as the lead off track – the British A&B-side 45 followed in 1960

24. Tonight (Could Be The Night) – THE VELVETS featuring Virgil Johnson
May 1961 USA 7" single on Monument 441 (peaked at 26)
Not released in the UK
Stereo version

25. Ooh Poo Pah Doo – Part 1 – JESSE HILL
February 1960 USA 7" single on Minit 607 (peaked at 28)
May 1960 UK 7" single on London HLU 9117 (didn't chart)

26. So Tough – THE ORIGINAL CASUALS
December 1957 USA 7" single on Back Beat 503 (peaked at 42 in February 1958)
Not released in the UK

27. Queen Of My Heart – RENE and RAY
May 1962 USA 7" single on Donna 1360 (peaked at 79)
Not released in the UK
Paul Venezuela (Rene) and Ray Quinones (Ray)

28. You Talk Too Much – JOE JONES and His Orchestra
September 1960 USA 7" single on Roulette R-4304 (peaked at 3)
November 1960 UK 7" single on Columbia DB 4533 (didn't chart)

29. Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind – THE FIVE KEYS
August 1956 USA 7” single on Capitol F3502 (peaked at 23)
October 1956 UK 7" single on Capitol CL 14639 (didn't chart)
In the UK "Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind" was the B-side to "That's Right" (the USA reversed this) – it's also a listed rarity on 45 in the UK at £150

30. If You Wanna Be Happy – JIMMY SOUL
December 1962 USA 7” single on S.P.Q.R. 45-3305 (peaked at 1)
April 1963 UK 7” single on Stateside SS 178 (peaked at 39)
Stereo Version – real name Jim McCleese

NOTES: all tracks are in MONO except tracks 6, 8, 9, 24 and 30 – which are in STEREO

Volume 9 has an info-packed 30-page booklet (two more pages than Vol. 8 and that was the largest) festooned with ROB FINNIS liner notes and cool pics - quality publicity photos of forgotten names like Paul Chaplain and his Emeralds, Stereos, Piano Red as Doctor Feelgood with his Interns, Ronnie Self, Matt Lucas, Little Willie John and The Cellos. These snaps run alongside rare Trade Adverts for Jimmy McCracklin, Johnny and The Hurricanes, The Shells, The Velvets, The Excellents, The Original Casuals and Joe Jones. 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 (all songs in chronological order) - 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 this CD compilation features a generous total playing time of 71+ minutes.

The DUNCAN COWELL Remasters are fantastically good – toppermost of the poppermost Audio quality on rarities like the swooning white boy Vocal Groups smooch of "Coney Island Baby" by The Excellents sounding like it was recorded yesterday (really loudly too) while the '...movin' and groovin' satisfies my soul...' of Wanda Jackson's superb girly rocker "Let's Have A Party" sounds fresh and alive. The shout and response song "Ooh Poo Pah Doo" by Jesse Hill shakes and shimmies while the sheer class of The Five Keys on "Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind" is pure Vocal Group Harmony gorgeousness and a real highlight on here. In fact despite the disparate sources – the Audio is uniformly great throughout and will warm the cockrels of collector's hearts.

Volume 9 opens with a blatant Fats Domino knock-off – the catchy New Orleans shuffle of "I'm A Fool To Care" by Joe Barry – a No. 1 in the Big Easy when it was originally issued in 1960 on Jin Records and then a nationwide hit again when reissued by Smash Records in 1961. Vocals Groups come at you in differing tempos – the white-boy bopping of "I Wonder Why" by Dion and The Belmonts while the lovely (and rare) smooch of "A Casual Look" by The Six Teens with a 13-year old Trudy Williams has sheet music pictured for it on Page 7. You're then hit with two dancefloor winners – the Presley-sounding "Lonely Weekends" from Charlie Rich (started off the decade with a bang in January 1960) and the utterly wonderful chug of "Fannie Mae" by Buster Brown – an R&B harmonica driven piece that reminds me of Little Walter at his Chess Records best. Another stepper that collector’s will love is the drums rumba of "Shortnin' Bread" by Paul Chaplain and The Emeralds – where apparently his baby loves the stuff.

Beautifully clear Audio also accompanies the echo-laden smooch of "Daddy's Home" – an old-fashioned Vocal Group number by Shep and The Limelites who came from The Heartbeats (see "A Thousand Miles Away" – track 26 on Volume 8). What a gorgeous song – I've had it on Rhino CD compilations – but never sounding as good as this. The same Audio magnificence applies to the wonderfully sappy "I Really Love You" complete with its 'dum dum dum' vocal backing. Bill Haley and His Comets would blush at the obvious knock-off "Seventeen" by Boyd Bennett and his Rockets – a great little 1955 Rock 'n' Roller that may as well be the bequiffed one under another name. Rock and Roll and Rockabilly fans will flip for a trio of blasters – first up is the joyful fun of "Doctor Feel-good" by Piano Red - the 70ts British R&B band with Wilko Johnson and Lee Brilleaux took their name from this 45 – a version done by Johnny Kidd and the Pirates. Then there's pure manic dynamite with "Bop-A-Lena" by Ronnie Self – and finally an irresistible lip-curling "Bertha Lou" by Clint Miller where she pickles his body from his head to his feet – his blood running wild (careful now). Matt Lucas attempts a rocking cover of Hank Snow's "I'm Movin' On" and wins - while The Chanters charms us with their 'don't kiss me anymore' pleas in "No, No, No" – here in best ever Audio.

As I said of Volumes 1 to 8 – what's wicked about these Ace CD compilations is the oddities – finding gems you just don't know. The recorded-in-a-bucket but crammed full of pure R&B feeling of "Just Got To Know" by Jimmy McCracklin reminds of heroes like Amos Milburn, Piano Red and Smiley Lewis. It might have more hiss than most would like - but the novelty tune "Rang Tang Ding Dong" is a rocking hoot nonetheless while the wild pace of the instrumental "Crossfire" will keep Saxophone blasters happy. Superb audio accompanies the weirdly cute 'darling I do' of "Tonight (Could Be The Night)" - the lead singer of The Velvets smoothly promising his gal a ring around her finger come the evening moonlight (good luck with that sweetie). Crude and lo-fi to the max – the romantic shuffler "Queen Of My Heart" exudes an innocence that could only have come from the period. And it ends with two politically incorrect winners – the 'even worry my pet' blabbermouth girlfriend song "You Talk Too Much" by Joe Jones is liable to elicit a slap in his kisser nowadays (it's tell-it-like-it-is lyrics was a sensation at the time and the trade adverts played on this) – while the fantastically witty don't-marry-a-pretty-wife song "If You Wanna Be Happy" by Jimmy Soul was a huge No. 1 for a reason (I loved the Kid Creole & The Coconuts tongue-in-cheek version of it in the 80ts).

Like Volumes 1 to 8 – instalment No. 9 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...

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...


No comments: