Wednesday, 7 October 2015

"The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll Volume 5" by VARIOUS ARTISTS (1997 Ace Records CD Remasters) - A Review By Mark Barry...



"...Love Potion No.5..."

The fifth instalment of Ace's "The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll" CD Series follows the same route as Volumes 1 to 4– 30 cleverly sequenced Mono US 7" singles that hit the American Pop charts (only "She Cried" by Jay & The Americans is in Stereo) with a nice combo of the obvious and the obscure (just 4 of these titles made the British charts). And all of it 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 take some 'Love Potion No.9' and do the 'Midnight Stroll' with that 'Little Bitty Pretty One' (if mama will let us that is)...

UK and USA released October 1995 - "The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll Volume 5: Hot 100 Hits From 1954-1963" by VARIOUS ARTISTS on Ace Records CDCHD 600 (Barcode 029667160025) is a 30-track CD and breaks down as follows (72:03 minutes):

1. Wiggle, Wiggle – THE ACCENTS
October 1958 US 7" single on Brunswick 9-55100 (peaked at 51)
January 1959 UK 7" single on Coral Q 72351 (didn’t chart)

2. Love Potion No. 9 – THE CLOVERS
August 1959 USA 7” single on United Artists UA 180 (peaked at 23 Pop & R&B)
September 1959 UK 7" single on London HLT 8949 (didn’t chart)
A Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller song

3. I'm Leaving It Up To You – DALE & GRACE
October 1963 US 7" single on Montel 921 (peaked at 1)
November 1963 UK 7" single on London Hl 9807 (peaked at 42)
Dale Houston and Grace Broussard – it was covered by Donnie & Marie Osmond in the summer of 1974 on MGM which peaked at No. 2 in the UK and No. 4 in the USA

4. You Cheated – THE SHIELDS
August 1958 US 7" single on Dot 15805 (peaked at 12)
September 1958 UK 7" single on London HLD 8706 (didn’t chart)
The Shields featured Jesse Belvin and Johnny "Guitar" Watson – originally issued on Tender 513 (Dot is the reissue) - initially recorded by the Vocal Group The Slades from Texas on Domino R-500 in early 1958.

5. It Will Stand – THE SHOWMEN
September 1961 US 7" single on Minit 632 (peaked at 61)
January 1962 UK 7" single on London HLP 9481 (didn’t chart)

6. Sleep Walk – SANTO and JOHNNY
August 1959 USA 7" single on Canadian American 109 (peaked at 1)
September 1959 UK 7" single on Pye International 7N.25037 (peaked at 22)
Brothers Santo and Johnny Farina

7. Nothin' Shakin' – EDDIE FONTAINE
July 1958 USA 7" single on Argo 5309 (peaked at 64)
October 1958 UK 7" single on London HLM 8711 (didn’t chart)
Real name Eddie Reardon

8. Happy, Happy Birthday Baby – THE TUNE WEAVERS
August 1957 USA 7" single on Checker 872 (peaked at 5)
November 1957 UK 7" single on London HL 8503 (didn’t chart)
Originally issued on Casa Grande 4037-45 in June 1957 – reissued by Checker in August 1957

9. Heart and Soul – JAN & DEAN
June 1961 USA 7" single on Challenge 9111 (peaked at 25)
July 1961 UK 7” single on London HLH 9395 (peaked at 24)
Jan Berry and Dean Torrence – Produced by Lou Adler – it’s a cover of a Hoagy Carmichael song which went to No. 1 on the Hit Parade for Larry Clinton in 1938

10. What's Your Name – DON & JUAN
February 1962 USA 7" single on Big Top 3079 (peaked at 7)
March 1962 UK 7" single on London HLX 9529 (didn’t chart)
Roland "Don" Trone and Claude "Juan" Johnson – Johnson had been with The Genies who had a small hit with "Who's That Knocking" in 1959 on Shad 5002

11. Little Bitty Pretty One – THURSTON HARRIS & THE SHARPS
October 1957 USA 7" single on Aladdin 398 (peaked at 6)
November 1957 UK 7" single on Vogue V 9092 (didn't chart)
Members of The Sharps later became The Rivingtons

12. Darling Lorraine – THE KNOCKOUTS
November 1959 USA 7" single on Shad 5013 (peaked at 46)
January 1960 UK 7" single on Top Rank JAR 279 (didn’t chart)

13. Tallahassee Lassie - FREDDY CANNON
May 1959 USA 7" single on Swan 4031 (peaked at 6)
June 1959 UK 7" single on Top Rank JAR 135 (peaked at 17)

14. Tell Me Why – THE BELMONTS
June 1961 USA 7" single on Sabina 500 (peaked at 18)
July 1961 UK 7" single on Pye International 7N.25094 (didn’t chart)
Dion’s backing group between 1957 and 1960

15. Over The Mountain, Across The Sea – JOHNNIE & JOE
May 1957 USA 7" single on Chess 1654 (peaked at 8)
August 1958 UK 7" single on London HLM 8682 (didn’t chart)
Johnnie Louise Richardson and Joe Rivers – Johnnie Richardson was later part of The Jaynetts who had a No. 2 hit in 1963 with "Sally, Go 'Round The Roses" on Tuff 369 (see Track 2, Volume 1)

16. Ka-Ding Dong – THE G-CLEFS
September 1956 USA 7" single on Pilgrim 715 (peaked at 24)
November 1956 UK 7" single on Columbia DB 3851 (didn’t chart)
Features Freddy Cannon on Guitar (see also Track 13 on this CD)

17. Underwater – THE FROGMEN
March 1961 USA 7" single on Candix 314 (peaked at 44)
May 1961 UK 7" single on Oriole CB 1617 (didn’t chart – withdrawn)
The British 45 was withdrawn and is consequently listed as a £100 rarity – but that sum doesn’t really reflect how hard it is to find a British copy

18. She Cried – JAY & THE AMERICANS
March 1962 USA 7" single on United Artists 415 (peaked at 5)
April 1962 UK 7" single on HMV/United Artists POP 1009 (didn't chart)
Features John "Jay" Traynor

19. Just A Little Bit – ROSCO GORDON
November 1959 USA 7" single on Vee-Jay VJ 332 (peaked at 64)
April 1960 UK 7" single on Top Rank JAR 332 (didn’t chart)

20. Sometime – GENE THOMAS
June 1961 USA 7" single on United Artists UA 338 (peaked at 53)
Not released in the UK

21. Ain't Gonna Kiss Ya – THE RIBBONS
January 1962 USA 7” single on Marsh 202 (peaked at 81)
Not released in the UK

22. Midnight Stroll – THE REVELS
September 1959 USA 7" single on Norgolde N-103 (peaked at 35
November 1959 UK 7" single on Top Rank JAR 235 (didn’t chart)
Original US issues of this single have the title as "Dead Man's Stroll" (mentioned in the lyrics) – changed slightly later to/and charted as "Midnight Stroll"

23. The Walk – JIMMY McCRACKLIN and His Band
February 1958 USA 7" single on Checker 885 (peaked at 7)
April 1958 UK 7" single on London HLM 8598 (didn’t chart)

24. Hey Little Girl – DEE CLARK
August 1959 USA 7" single on Abner 1029 (peaked at 20)
October 1959 UK 7" single on Top Rank JAR 196 (didn’t chart)

25. This Is The Nite – THE VALIANTS
November 1957 USA 7" single on Keen 3-4004 (peaked at 69)
Not released in the UK

26. Tell Him No – TRAVIS and BOB
March 1959 USA 7" single on Sandy 1017 (peaked at 8)
April 1959 UK 7" single on Pye International 7N.25018 (didn't chart)
Travis Pritchett and Bob Weaver – it was covered in the same month of March 1959 by two groups - The Jackson Brothers on Atlantic 6139 (didn’t chart) and Dean and Marc on Bullseye B-1025 which peaked at 44. Brothers Dean and Marc Mathis would later join The Newbeats

27. Bad Boy – THE JIVE BOMBERS
March 1957 USA 7" single on Savoy 1508 (peaked at 36)
Not released in the UK
Originally released as "Brown Gal" by Lil Armstrong in 1936 on Decca 1092

28. Stranded In The Jungle – THE JAYHAWKS
June 1956 USA 7" single on Flash FL-109 (peaked at 18)
October 1956 UK 7" single on Parlophone R 4228 (didn't chart)
The Jayhawks is the original version released in the same month (June 1956) as The Cadets version on Modern Records - which peaked slightly higher at 15 (see Track 14, Volume 1)

29. Duke Of Earl – GENE CHANDLER
December 1961 USA 7” single on Vee-Jay VJ-416 (peaked at 1)
February 1962 UK 7” single on Columbia DB 4793 (didn’t chart)

30. Goodnite, Sweetheart, Goodnite – THE SPANIELS
December 1953 USA 7” single on Vee-Jay VJ-107 (peaked at 24)
Not released in the UK

NOTES: all tracks are in MONO except Track 18 "She Cried" by Jay & The Americans - which is in STEREO

Volume 5 has a 20-page booklet festooned with ROB FINNIS liner notes and cool pics - quality publicity photos of forgotten names like The Valiants, Gene Thomas and the Vocal Group The Jayhawks. These snaps run alongside rare Trade Adverts for Santo and Johnny, Thurston Harris, Freddy Cannon and The Ravels. The two-page colour collage of British 45s in their label bags that was a feature on Volumes 1 to 4 has been replaced with smaller pictures of various US and UK 7" single labels throughout the text - Finnis connecting all the musical and historical dots as you read. Rob has also sequenced the disc (compiled by Trevor Churchill, John Broven and Finnis) and it plays like an old jukebox with a generous total playing time of 72+ minutes.

The DUNCAN COWELL Remasters are blindingly good – toppermost of the poppermost Audio quality on rarities like the Acapella scales of "You Cheated" by The Shields or the 'do I stand a chance with you' innocence of "What's Your Name" by Don & Juan. Despite the disparate sources – the Audio is uniformly great throughout and will warm the cockrels of collector's hearts.

Volume 5 opens with the finger-clicking cool of The Accents where they want girls to strut the "Wiggle, Wiggle" where it shows the most (naughty boys). Both The Clovers and The Showmen bring fun R&B dancers to the party – the lyrics to the Leiber/Stoller "Love Potion No.9" slaying all in its path - while Norman Johnson's aching croak of a voice is what makes "It Will Stand” so distinctive and catchy. The languid almost Shadows instrumental "Sleep Walk" by Santo & Johnny sounds 'so' clean - as does the fantastic frustration song "Nothin' Shakin'" where Eddie Fontaine is on bended knee begging for kisses but the poor schmuck is getting nowhere fast. Teen Romance comes at us with "Happy, Happy Birthday Baby" by The Teen Weavers while Teen Misery makes a showing with the eerily beautiful "You Cheated" by The Shields (great Audio too). More jaunty angst with "Tell Me Why" by The Belmonts (minus Dion) and "Over The Mountain, Across The Sea" has Johnnie & Joe convinced that the love of their lives waits for them somewhere over dem dar hills.

Boppers include "Ka-Ding Dong" by The G-Clefs and the 'um, um, um' of "Little Bitty Pretty One" by Thurston Harris. The manic "Heart And Soul" has Jan and Dean falling madly in love on a magic night (whoops) while Jay & The Americans are getting all Phil Spector melodramatic with "She Cried" where apparently her kisses aren't like before (don't you just hate it when that happens). The Gene Thomas ballad "Sometime" is a tiny bit rough around the saxophone tape edges but still sounds great - while The Ribbons give it some Girl Group warnings to the local boys about rationing their favours in "Ain't Gonna Kiss Ya" (ouch).

As I said of Volumes 1 to 4 – what is wicked about these Ace compilations is the oddities – finding gems you just don’t know. The gorgeous "I'm Leaving It Up To You" by Dale & Grace is new to me – but it's amazingly evocative of Saturday Nights holding someone tight on the dancefloor. Equally sweet is the Dion-sounding "Darling Lorraine" by The Knockouts – a sent from heaven smoocher. And the rare American 45 to the cool-as-menthol instrumental "Underwater" by The Frog Men is probably the only way UK fans will get anywhere near owning the uber-rare British issue (withdrawn on Oriole) – what a winner. Speaking of cool – Rosco Gordon gives it some Don Draper smooth on the wicked "Just A Little Bit" – a fab groover that will surely make its way into some slick advert selling the latest shiny motorised Euro wonder vehicle as the new season's must have.

Genius inclusions - The Revels are 'passing the cemetery' and witness a 'poor soul doing the Dead Man's Stroll' and this elicits hysterical giggles from the lead singer (what a winner) – while The Valiants feel instinctively that "This Is The Nite" for love (what with the stars out above). And who doesn't dig the shuffle of "The Walk" by Jimmy McCracklin in all its homemade gutbucket production magic. Dee Clarks channels his inner Bo Diddley with his "Hey Little Girl" as he feels an overwhelming need to carry the books of some bubble-gum chewing babette making her way to Chemistry Class. Travis & Bob come on like a cross between The Everly Brothers and Buddy Holly on the party pop of "Tell Him No" while The Jive Bombers have that salacious wink in their honeyed larynxes on the wonderful 'la-la-la-la' song "Bad Boy" presented here in its best-ever audio. And how good is to hear The Jayhawks original of "Stranded In The Jungle" which The Cadets charted in the same month (3 places higher). And it all ends on two classics of the period – "Duke Of Earl" by Gene Chandler (as he walks through this world) and the Vocal Group magic of "Goodnite, Sweetheart, Goodnite" by The Spaniels. I hate to leave you but it's time to go...

Like Volumes 1 to 4 – instalment No. 5 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 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: