Monday, 16 August 2010

“Rocks” by AMOS MILBURN. A Review of the 2009 Bear Family CD Compilation.

"…Let’s Get In The Mood…A Real Groovy Mood…Let’s Have A Party…"

Released June 2009 on Bear Family BCD 16926 AR, “Rocks” offers up 31 slices of primo Amos Milburn Rhythm ‘n’ Blues on the Aladdin label from 1948 through to 1957 – and at a whopping 82:38 minutes, doesn’t scrimp it on content or value for money.

Like all the titles in this extensive series, “Rocks” comes in a 3-way foldout card digipak with a large detachable booklet in the centre (48-pages for this one). The CD itself reproduces the 1956 7”single remake of his huge “Chicken Shack” song complete with its Aladdin Records label bag and that’s continued on the flap beneath the see-through tray (a nice touch).

The substantial booklet features extensive liner notes from Page 3 to 33 by BILL DAHL who did such stunning work on Bear’s “Sweet Soul Music” Series from 1961 to 1971 (see separate reviews for all 10 compilations). There’s even a Discography for all 31 tracks from Page 34 to 45 by MICHAEL CUSCANA, STBVE LaVERE and MICHEL RUPPLI, which in itself pictures each 78” and 45” at the base of every page (very tasty to look at). Good names like BILL MILLAR and COLIN ESCOTT contributed information and illustrations too.

The remastered sound is handled by CHRISTIAN ZWARG and is far better than previous CDs I’ve had of the same material.

Milburn was like Louis Jordan, Smiley Lewis and Fats Domino – an irrepressible force of rockin’ joy - and even when tracks like “Boogie Woogie” sound a bit rough, the ‘feel’ of a Saturday Night dive jumping with bodies going at it like Sunday’s never going to come permeates every track (lyrics above to “Let’s Have A Party”).

Given the vintage of the material, this CD is expensive, as most of Bear Family’s product is, but it’s the best representation of Milburn’s material I’ve ever seen.

If you want to get a taster for a reasonable cost – try the “All We Wanna Do Is ROCK” sampler for this series – 36 tracks and it’s cheap (see separate review). It has “Chicken Shack” on it – and it’s a monster…

In the vernacular – recommended the most big daddy-o.

PS: The "Rocks" Series by Bear Family features the following artists:

1. Pat Boone
2. Johnny Burnette
3. The Cadillacs
4. Eddie Cochran
5. Bobby Darin
6. Fats Domino
7. Connie Francis
8. Don Gibson
9. Glen Glenn
10. Bill Haley
11. Roy Hall
12. Dale Hawkins
13. Ronnie Hawkins
14. Screamin' Jay Hawkins
15. Wanda Jackson
16. Sonny James
17. Buddy Knox & Jimmy Bowen with the Rhythm Orchids
18. Sleepy LaBeef
19. Jerry Lee Lewis
20. Smiley Lewis
21. Bob Luman
22. Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers
23. Carl Mann
24. Amos Milburn
25. Ella Mae Morse
26. Ricky Nelson
27. Carl Perkins
28. Roy Orbison
29. Lloyd Price
30. Piano Red
31. Charlie Rich
32. Jack Scott
33. Shirley & Lee
34. The Treniers
35. Conway Twitty
36. Gene Vincent & His Blue Caps
37. Rusty York

The Bear Family "Rockin' Rollin'" Series features:

1. Johnny Horton
2. Marvin Rainwater
3. Marty Robbins Vol.1
4. Marty Robbins Vol.2
5. Marty Robbins Vol.3

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Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

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