Tuesday, 20 October 2015

"The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll Volume 11" by VARIOUS ARTISTS (2007 Ace Records CD Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...




"...Apple Of My Eye..."

Volume 10 of Ace's "The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll" CD Series came out in 2002 - and after filling in with off-shoot CD compilations like 'Vocal Groups', 'Country' and 'Bubbling Under Hits' for five years – Ace returned to the numbers game in 2007 with another superb instalment (their 'eleventh'). Following the same route as Volumes 1 to 10 – it offers fans 30 cleverly sequenced Mono US 7" singles that hit the American Pop charts and features a nice combo of the obvious versus the obscure. Like preceding volumes some are in Stereo (in this case only two - see Track Notes below) and barely any actually made the British Pop charts even though many are now well known to collectors and oldies fans.

And all of this rare and hip material is presented to music lovers 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 'Let The Good Times Roll' as we indulge in some 'Finger Poppin’ Time' down at 'Smokey Joe’s Cafe' (all in the best possible taste of course)...

UK and USA released September 2007 - "The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll Volume 10: Hot 100 Hits From 1954-1963" by VARIOUS ARTISTS on Ace Records CDCHD 1200 (Barcode 029667029322) is a 30-track CD and breaks down as follows (72:02 minutes):

1. Jim Dandy – LaVERN BAKER and THE GLIDERS
November 1956 US 7" single on Atlantic 45-1116 (peaked at 17)
January 1957 UK 7" single on Columbia DB 3879 (didn't chart)
Real name Delores Williams – originally the B-side of "Tra-La-La" - the UK 45 is a listed rarity at £350.00

2. Ruby Baby – DION
December 1962 USA 7" single on Columbia 4-42662 (peaked at 2)
January 1963 UK 7" single on CBS Records AAG 133 (didn't chart)
Stereo Version. Written by Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller. 
Originally a hit for The Drifters in 1956 on Atlantic 45-1089

3. White Bucks And Saddle Shoes – BOBBY PEDRICK, Jr.
September 1958 US 7" single on Big Top 45-3004 (peaked at 74)
November 1958 UK 7" single on London HLX 8740 (didn't chart)
Real name Robert John Pedrick. Jr. 
Written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman/Produced by Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller.
Had a hit on both sides of the pond in 1968 as Robert John doing "If You Don't Want My Love"

4. Transfusion – NERVOUS NORVUS
May 1956 US 7" single on Dot 45-15470 (peaked at 8)
Not released in the UK (see Notes)
Notes: Real name Jimmy Drake (wrote the song too) - June 1956 saw a UK promo-only 7" single release on London MSD 1376 – no stock copies were issued

5. Lavender Blue (Dilly, Dilly) – SAMMY TURNER
June 1959 US 7" single on Big Top 45-3016 (peaked at 3)
July1959 UK 7" single on London HLX 8918 (didn't chart)
Produced by Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller – recorded in Mono.
Stereo copies are re-processed Stereo – Ace has used the Mono mix. 
The track was also featured on the Mono "Lavender Blue Moods" LP from 1960 on London HA-X 2246 which is pictured on Page 7 of the booklet

6. You're The Apple Of My Eye - THE FOUR LOVERS
April 1956 USA 7" single on RCA Victor 47-6518 (peaked at 62)
Not released in the UK
Features Frankie Valli and members of The Four Seasons – written by Otis Blackwell

7. Mathilda – COOKIE And HIS CUPCAKES
November 1958 USA 7" single on Judd J1002 (peaked at 47)
Not released in the UK
Cookie is Huey Thierry – originally released locally in Louisiana on Khoury’s 703 – repressed with extra reverb on Judd J1002.
The Judd version charted. Judd Records was owned by Jud Phillips – brother of Sam Phillips of Sun Records fame

8. Henrietta – JIMMY DEE and THE OFFBEATS
August 1961 USA 7" single on Dot 4-141 (peaked at 47)
Not released in the UK
Real names James DeFore – the first 45 Bob Dylan ever bought

9. One Track Mind – BOBBY LEWIS
August 1961 USA 7" single on Beltone 45-1012 (peaked at 9)
October 1961 UK 7" single on Parlophone R 4831 (didn't chart)
Stereo Version

10. I Need Your Lovin' – CONWAY TWITTY
March 1957 USA 7" single on Mercury 71086 (peaked at 93)
Not released in the UK (see Notes)
Notes: no UK 45 was released but it does feature as Track 1 on Side 2 of the April 1960 UK EP "I Need Your Lovin'" on Mercury ZEP 10069. 
A listed rarity at £150 (pictured Page 11 of the booklet).

11. Tennessee Waltz – BOBBY COMSTOCK & THE COUNTS
September 1959 USA 7" single on Blaze 45-349 (peaked at 52)
November 1959 UK 7" single on Top Rank JAR 223 (didn't chart)

12. Love Is Strange – MICKEY & SYLVIA
November 1956 USA 7" single on Groove 4G-0175 (peaked at 11)
May 1957 UK 7" single on HMV Records POP 331 (didn't chart)
Mickey Baker and Sylvia Robinson.
The British 45 is a listed rarity at £200 (the 78” is £50 with the same catalogue number)
Sylvia later formed the All Platinum label and had a hit (as Sylvia) with "Pillow Talk" in 1973 in both the US and UK

13. Pretend – CARL MANN
September 1959 USA 7" single on Phillips International 3546 (peaked at 57)
December 1959 UK 7" single on London HLS 9006 (didn't chart)

14. Drip Drop – THE DRIFTERS
May 1958 USA 7" single on Atlantic 45-1187 (peaked at 58)
August 1958 UK 7" single on London HLE 8686 (didn't chart)
Written by Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller – in the UK it was the B-side of "Moonlight Bay" – a listed rarity at £200.00

15. Chills And Fever – RONNIE LOVE
September 1960 USA 7" single on Dot 45-16144 (peaked at 72)
January 1961 UK 7" single on London HLD 9272 (didn't chart)
First released in early 1960 on Startime 45-5001 credited to Johnny Love And His Orchestra

16. Let The Good Times Roll – SHIRLEY & LEE
June 1956 USA 7" single on Aladdin 45-3325 (peaked at 20)
November 1956 UK 7" single on Vogue V 9059 (didn't chart)
Shirley Goodman and Leonard Lee – the UK tri-centre 45 is a listed rarity at £150.00

17. Miss Fine – THE NEW YORKERS
April 1961 USA 7" single on Wall 547 (peaked at 69)
Not released in the UK
Features Fred Parris of The Five Satins

18. I'm Stickin' With You – JIMMY BOWEN
February 1957 USA 7" single on Roulette R-4001 (peaked at 14)
March 1957 UK 7" single on Columbia DB 3915 (didn't chart)
The British 45 on a gold Columbia label is booked at £60

19. Breaking Up Is Hard To Do – JIVIN' GENE and The Jokers
June 1959 USA 7" single on Mercury 71485 (peaked at 69)
Not released in the UK
Gene Bourgeois - originally released on Jin Records 45-116 in early 1959 – reissued in July 1959 on Mercury 71485 (which charted)

20. Goodbye Baby – JACK SCOTT
November 1958 USA 7" single on Carlton 493 (peaked at 8 in 1959)
February 1959 UK 7" single on London HLL 8804 (didn't chart)
The British issue is credited as Jack Scott With The Chantones

21. This Little Girl's Gone Rockin' – RUTH BROWN
August 1958 USA 7” single on Atlantic 45-1197 (peaked at 24)
November 1958 UK 7" single on London HL-E 8757 (didn't chart)
Saxophone Solo by KING CURTIS – a listed rarity in the UK at £80

22. Last Chance – COLLAY and The Satellites
February 1960 USA 7" single on Sho-Biz 1002 (peaked at 82)
Not released in the UK
Real name Allen Callais

23. Record Hop Blues – THE QUARTER NOTES
February 1959 USA 7" single on Wizz 715 (peaked at 82)
Not released in the UK
An instrumental written by Anthony Sperry

24. Without Love (There Is Nothing) - CLYDE McPHATTER
November 1956 USA 7" single on Atlantic 45-1117 (peaked at 19)
Not released in the UK
See also "Lover Please" by Clyde McPhatter (Track 16, Vol. 6) and "A Lover's Question" (Track 12, Vol. 10)

25. Village Of Love – NATHANIEL MAYER And The Fabulous Twilights
April 1962 USA 7" single on Fortune UA 449 (peaked at 22)
July 1962 UK 7" single on HMV Records POP 1041 (didn't chart)
First issued February 1962 in the USA on Fortune 545

26. Fabulous – CHARLIE GRACIE
April 1957 USA 7" single on Cameo 107 (peaked at 16)
May 1957 UK 7" single on Parlophone R 4313 (didn't chart)
The British 45 on the gold-coloured Parlophone label is listed at £50

27. Peanut Butter – MARATHONS
May 1961 USA 7" single on Argo 5389 (peaked at 20)
June 1961 UK 7" single on Pye International 7N 25088 (didn't chart)

28. Smokey Joe's Café – THE ROBINS
October 1955 USA 7" single on Atco 45-6059 (peaked at 79)
Not released in the UK
Written by Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller

29. Come On Over – THE STROLLERS
April 1961 USA 7” single on Carlton 546 (peaked at 81)
April 1961 UK 7" single on London HLL 9366 (didn't chart)

30. Finger Poppin' Time – HANK BALLARD And The Midnighters
April 1960 USA 7” single on King 45-5341 (peaked at 7)
August 1960 UK 7" single on Parlophone R 4682 (didn't chart)

NOTES: all tracks are in MONO except tracks 2 and 9 – which are in STEREO

Volume 11 has an info-packed 28-page booklet festooned with ROB FINNIS liner notes and cool pics - quality publicity photos of forgotten names like Bobby Pedrick, Jimmy Drake as Nervous Norvus, Cookie & His Cupcakes, Shirley & Lee, The New Yorkers, Nathaniel Mayer and Hank Ballard (to name but a few). These snaps run alongside rare Trade Adverts for LaVern Baker, Bobby Lewis, Conway Twitty, Bobby Comstock, The Marathons, Jack Scott, Ruth Brown and The Robins. It even comes with a gorgeous colour photo of a drive-in theatre in St. Louis in Missouri (the 66 Park-In). The two-page colour collage of British 45s in their labels bags that was a feature on Volumes 1 to 4 has been replaced for Volumes 5 to 12 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 and ROB FINNIS (with help from John Broven, Bill Millar and other good names involved in reissue for decades now) – the clever sequencing makes it feel like an old jukebox (especially if you shuffle play) and it features a generous total playing time of 72+ minutes.

The DUNCAN COWELL Remasters are fantastically good – toppermost of the poppermost Audio quality on forgotten nuggets like the clever Dion reinterpretation of the Drifters 1957 Atlantic classic "Ruby Baby" – here in truly glorious Stereo – slowed down and 60ts sexy. There’s early Soul of a sort in the gorgeous vocal of Sammy Turner on the lovely "Lavender Blue" where his girl will be wet in a dilly dilly dress (despite your enthusiasm I’m not sure she’d approve of that on her wedding day Sammy). Uber clean transfer on the fantastic R&B bopper "Drip Drop" by The Drifters – Clyde McPhatter still thrilling after all these decades with that once-in-a-lifetime voice of his. In fact despite the disparate sources – the Audio is uniformly great throughout (like all the other volumes) and will warm the cockerels of collector's hearts that have wanted this quality on CD for decades now.

Volume 10 opens with an irrepressible R&B winner – Atlantic’s first true superstar LaVern Baker giving us the lowdown on her hero "Jim Dandy" who spends his days rescuing damsels in all modes of transportation (including submarines). Apparently 'everybody's chewing a candy bar and doing the bop' in the brilliant and unknown "White Socks And Saddle Shoes" by Bobby Pedrick, Jr. – while the car-crash song (literally) tells us of a fast-driving daddy (Nervous Norvus) who doesn't want to speed again in "Transfusion'" – as bizarre as the Fifties gets and bound to raise a laugh or two. You can hear an early Frankie Valli in the frantic white boy Vocal Group of "You're The Apple Of My Eye" – while the Lo-Fi recording of "Mathilda" is actually part of its 1959 gutbucket charm – a lovely lurch of a song that conjures up teenagers with their ears glued to radios swaying along to its simple beauty. More homemade angst comes at us with the excellent stepper "Henrietta" by Jimmy Dee – a sort of Lloyd Price shuffler mixed in with a Gene Vincent screamathon – the kind of single a young John Lennon would have adored and included on his "Rock 'n' Roll" LP sessions in 1974.

Beautifully clear Audio accompanies the hiccup vocals of "I Need Your Lovin'" by a clearly frazzled Conway Twitty while Bobby Comstock regrets introduced his friend to his baby as both of them then did the "Tennessee Waltz" out of his life. 'Lotta people take it for a game' Mickey and Sylvia warn us on the impossibly catchy "Love Is Strange" - while Carl Mann advises us to avoid the whole nasty business altogether in the 'you'll never be alone' fantasy world of "Pretend" (fabulous audio on this too). It may be too late for poor Ronnie Love who gets "Chills And Fever" by just holding his girl's hand (we daren't think about what happens to his metaphysical infrastructure when he pulls her close). Shirley & Lee have no such worries as they "Let The Good Times Roll" – a New Orleans dancer here in a 'thrill your soul' squeaky clean transfer.

As I said of Volumes 1 to 10 – what's wicked about these Ace CD compilations is the oddities – finding gems you just don't know. I've never heard the almost Dion & The Belmonts shuffle of "Miss Fine" by The New Yorkers – a hugely atmospheric shuffler featuring a great Sax solo. Be Bop Rock 'n' Roll comes at you in the shape of the almost sappy "I'm Stickin' With You" by Jimmy Bowen while Jivin' Gene nabs the title "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" from under Neil Sedaka's nose – an R&B shuffler that feels like Bobby Mitchell or Fats Domino (lovely piano rolls). The 'live it up' and 'see you later Mater' joy of Ruth Brown breaking free in "This Little Girl's Gone Rockin'" will get your feet tapping while the eerie Engineer count of "Last Chance" by Collay & The Satellites gives the 'why did you not treat me right' song a sort of Buddy Holly echo that’s kind of magical. Absolutely huge echo accompanies the Saxophone intro to the R&B shuffler "Record Hop Blues" – a wicked instrumental I've never heard before that comes complete with an almost seaside organ accompaniment (strange and cool).

We get terribly earnest as Clyde McPhatter tells in his clearest doomsday echo that he awoke this morning and his life was barren and bare because "Without Love (There Is Nothing)" - and who are we (mere mortals) to disagree. Another Vocal Group entry for Nathaniel Mayer and his clarion call to the "Village Of Love" - while Charlie Gracie has been listening to way too much Elvis Presley on the brilliantly Pelvis 'doo do doo' chant of "Fabulous" – probably my fave on here (stunning audio too). A cool trio of boppers finish off proceedings nicely – "Smokey Joe's Café" by The Robins (genius Lieber & Stoller tune), "Come On Over" by The Strollers (don't bring your papa or your mama) and Hank Ballard going for that house-is-rocking crowd-pleaser in "Finger Poppin' Time". But best of all is the Frat Party Rock of the fab "Peanut Butter" – The Vibrations urging all and sundry to open their big jars and spread the said-substance on their crackers – even if that sort of thing is illegal in certain States. Creamy indeed...

Like Volumes 1 to 10 – instalment No. 11 is an adventurous, period evocative, cleverly paced compilation that barely puts a foot wrong. In fact it may the best CD compilation yet. 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...


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