Tuesday, 13 October 2015

"The Whole World's Shaking: Complete Recordings 1963-1966" by GEORGE FAME (2015 Universal/Polydor 5CD Box Set Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"...I Say Yeah Yeah..."

Lick your lips in glee ye Gods of Mod. Like myself there can't be many 60ts music lovers across the world that didn't get a tad excited in the trouser area this Monday morning (12 October 2015) at the arrival of "The Whole World's Shaking: Complete Recordings 1963-1966" by GEORGIE FAME in my overexcited post-box. Even when it was announced months back for pre-order – I thought to myself - now there's a winner I need for my bulging CD shelves (there's an awful lot of bulging going on in this review I'm afraid).

Four albums from the period (all expanded with B-sides and Rarities in gorgeous gatefold card repro sleeves), 106 tracks in total (18 Previously Unreleased), a 48-Page Hardback Book with mucho unpublished plates, Five Quality Art Cards and a foldout Black and White Poster of Georgie and Mick Jagger having a natter. There’s even an unexpected and stunning Vocal Lead from Long John Baldry amongst the unreleased (track 19, disc 1). We’ve a huge amount of detail to get through - so once more good people of Blighty unto the Rhythm 'n' Blues Allnighter ('I say yeh, yeh' to that)...

UK released Monday 12 October 2015 (16 October 2015 in the USA) – "The Whole World's Shaking: Complete Recordings 1963-1966" by GEORGIE FAME on Universal/Polydor 4739865 (Barcode 602547398659) is a 5CD Box Set and breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 - "Rhythm And Blues At The Flamingo" (78:51 minutes, 23 tracks):
1. Night Train
2. Let The Good Times Roll
3. Do The Dog
4. Eso Beso
5. Work Song
6. Parchman Farm [Side 2]
7. You Can't Sit Down
8. Humpty Dumpty
9. Shop Around
10. Baby, Please Don't Go
Tracks 1 to 10 are his debut album "Rhythm And Blues At The Flamingo" – released January 1964 in the UK on Columbia 33SX 1599 in Mono only. It failed to chart and produced one British 7" single in January 1964 - "Do The Dog" b/w "Shop Around" on Columbia DB 7193 (tracks 3 and 9) which also failed to chart. The album was recorded 'live' in September 1963 and Produced by Ian Samwell with Glyn Johns as the Engineer. MONO Mix on CD.

11. Parker's Mood
12. Money (That's What I Want)
Tracks 11 and 12 are outtakes from the Mono LP sessions that first turned up in 2006 on the Japanese CD Reissue of the album on Polydor UIJY-93169
13. Molasses
Track 13 is a Previously Unreleased Stereo outtake from the LP sessions
14. Night Train
15. Bright Lights, Big City
16. Walking The Dog
17. Do-Re-Mi
18. Let The Sunshine In
19. You're Breaking My Heart
Tracks 14 to 19 were recorded by the BBC at the Camden Theatre in London in March 1964 in Stereo and first broadcast 5 September 1964 – they are previously unreleased on CD
20. Sister Sadie
21. Pig Foots
22. Funky Mama
23. Signifying Monkey
Tracks 20 to 23 were recorded live at The Blue Moon in Hayes, Middlesex in December 1964 (Mono Bootleg) and are Previously Unreleased.

Disc 2 – "Fame At Last" (59:43 minutes, 21 tracks):
1. Get On The Right Track, Baby
2. Let The Sunshine In
3. The Monkey Time
4. All About My Girl
5. Point Of No Return
6. Gimme That Wine
7. Pink Champagne [Side 2]
8. Monkeying Around
9. Pride And Joy
10. Green Onions
11. I Love The Life I Live
12. I'm In The Mood For Love (Moody's Mood For Love)
Tracks 1 to 12 are his 2nd album "Fame At Last" – released October 1964 in the UK on Columbia 33SX 1638 in Mono Only (peaked at 15 on the UK charts). Reissued in November 1969 on Starline SRS 5002 in Stereo – the Stereo Mix is used for this CD as is the word STEREO on the card repro sleeve.

13. Do-Re-Mi
Track 13 is a non-album Mono B-side to "Green Onions" – a UK 7” single released April 1964 on Columbia DB 7255
14. I'm In Love With You
15. Bend A Little
Tracks 14 and 15 are the Mono A and B-sides to a July 1964 Promo-Only UK 7" single on Columbia DB 7328
16. Madness
17. Tom Hark Goes Blue Beat
18. Humpty Dumpty
19. One Whole Year, Baby
Tracks 16 to 19 are the 4-track "Rhythm And Blue Beat" UK 7" EP released May 1964 on Columbia SEG 8334 in Stereo
20. Yeh, Yeh
21. Preach And Teach
Tracks 20 and 21 are the Stereo A and B-sides of a December 1964 UK 7" single on Columbia DB 7428. It was also issued in the USA in January 1965 on Imperial 66086 - a No. 1 in the UK - it peaked at No. 21 in the USA.

The 12-track "Fame At Last" LP became his first US album release in December 1964 on Imperial LP 12282 in Stereo but was credited as "Yeh Yeh" (after the hit single) and featured a rejiggered track list with omissions and additions. Using the following track numbers on Disc 2 - this box set will allow fans to sequence that album as follows...

Side 1:
1. Let The Sunshine In (2)
2. Yeh Yeh (20)
3. Get On The Right Track, Baby (1)
4. The Monkey Time (3)
5. Preach And Teach (21)
6. Gimme That Wine (6)
Side 2:
1. I'm In The Mood For Love (12)
2. Pride And Joy (9)
3. I Love The Life I Live (11)
4. Point Of No Return (5)
5. Monkeying Around (8)
6. Pink Champagne (7)

Disc 3 – "Sweet Things" (61:39 minutes, 21 Tracks):
1. Sweet Thing
2. See Saw
3. Ride Your Pony
4. Funny How Time Slips Away
5. Sitting In The Park
6. Dr. Kitch
7. My Girl [Side 2]
8. Music Talk
9. The In Crowd
10. The World Is Round
11. The Whole World's Shaking
12. Last Night
Tracks 1 to 12 are the Mono album "Sweet Things" – released May 1966 in the UK on Columbia SX 6043 (peaked at No. 6 on the LP charts). MONO Mix on CD.

13. In The Meantime
14. Telegram
Tracks 13 and 14 are the non-album Mono A and B-sides to a February 1965 UK 7" single on Columbia DB 7494 – peaked at 22
15. No, No (The River)
16. Blue Monday
17. So Long
18. Sick And Tired
Tracks 15 to 18 are the 4-track "Fats For Fame" UK 7" EP released May 1965 on Columbia SEG 8406 in Stereo
19. Like We Used To Be
20. It Ain’t Right
Tracks 19 and 20 are the non-album A&B-sides of a July 1965 UK 7" single on Columbia DB 7633 (the A is Mono, the B is Stereo) – peaked at No. 33 on the charts
21. Something
Track 21 is the non-album Mono A-side of an October 1965 UK 7" single on Columbia DB 7727 (its non-album B-side "Outrage" is Track 13 on Disc 4) – peaked at No. 23 on the charts

His 2nd American LP "Get Away" was issued 1966 in Mono only on Imperial LP 9331 and can be sequenced from Discs 3 and 4 using the following tracks...

Side 1:
1. Get Away (track 18, disc 4)
2. Sweet Thing (track 1, disc 3)
3. Ride Your Pony (track 3, disc 3)
4. Funny How Time Slips Away (track 4, disc 3)
5. Sitting In The Park (track 5, disc 3)
6. See Saw (track 2, disc 3)
Side 2:
1. Music Talk (track 8, disc 3)
2. Last Night (track 12, disc 3)
3. It's Got The Whole World Shakin' (track 11, disc 3)
4. El Bandido (track 19, disc 4)
5. The World Is Round (track 10, disc 3)
6. The "In" Crowd (track 9, disc 3)

Disc 4 – "Sound Venture" (59:41 minutes, 21 tracks):
1. Many Happy Returns
2. Down For The Count
3. It's For Love The Petals Fall
4. I Am Missing You
5. Funny How Time Slips Away
6. Lil' Pony
7. Lovey Dovey [Side 2]
8. Lil' Darlin'
9. Three Blind Mice
10. Dawn Yawn
11. Feed Me
12. Papa's Got A Brand New Bag
Tracks 1 to 12 are the Mono album "Sound Venture" – released October 1966 in the UK on Columbia SX 6076 (peaked at No. 9 on the LP charts).

13. Outrage
Track 13 is the non-album Mono B-side of an October 1965 UK 7" single on Columbia DB 7727 (its non-album A-side "Something" is Track 21 on Disc 3)
14. Move It On Over
15. Walking The Dog
16. High Heel Sneakers
17. Rockin' Pneumonia And The Boogie Woogie Flu
Tracks 14 to 17 are the 4-track "Move It On Over" UK 7" EP released November 1965 on Columbia SEG 8454 in Stereo
18. Get Away
19. El Bandido
Tracks 18 and 19 are the non-album Mono A&B-sides of a June 1966 UK 7" single on Columbia DB 7946 (peaked at No. 1 on the charts)
20. Sunny
21. Don't Make Promises
Tracks 20 and 21 are the non-album Mono A&B-sides of a September 1966 UK 7" single on Columbia DB 8015 (peaked at No. 13 on the charts)

Disc 5 – "Bend A Little: Demos, Rarities, B-Sides & Outtakes" (62:01 minutes, 20 tracks):
1. Money (That’s What I Want (IBC Version)
2. Let The Sunshine in (IBC Version)
3. Lonely Avenue (IBC Version)
4. You're Driving Me Crazy (IBC Version)
5. Kidney Stew (IBC Version)
Tracks 1 to 5 are Mono Demos recorded in 1963 at the IBC Studios by Glyn Johns – Previously Unreleased
6. Moanin' – Mono, Previously Unreleased
7. Gimme That Wine (Alternate Version) – Mono, Previously Unreleased
8. Bend A Little – Stereo Instrumental, Previously Unreleased
9. Saturday Night Fish Fry – Stereo cover of a Louis Jordan song, Previously Unreleased
10. Lil Darlin' (Alternate Version) – Stereo, Previously Unreleased
11. You’re Driving Me Crazy (Alternate Version) – Lou Donaldson cover, Previously Unreleased
12. Soul Stomp – Earl Van Dyke cover in Stereo
13. This Is Always – Stereo
14. Jelly Jelly – Billy Eckstein cover in Mono
15. Black Head Chinaman – Prince Buster cover in Stereo
16. Incense – Instrumental Backing Track in Mono – Previously Unreleased
17. Tan Tan's Tune – an Eddie Thornton cover in Stereo
18. Red Number Nine – A Tony Colton song in Stereo
19. Humpty Dumpty (German Version)
20. Yeah, Yeh, Yeh (German Version)
Tracks 19 and 20 are the German Language versions released as the B and A of a 1965 German 7" single on Columbia C 22 909

The box is larger than I’d expected it to be – about 10" x 8" and glossy. Inside are four expanded albums in gatefold repro card artwork (all of them) with a 5th Rarities CD ("Bend A Little") – all five in a red bandana sat in a hollow with a black ribbon beneath for easy pull-out extraction. The gatefold card sleeves are amazingly rendered and each CD is a picture disc (see my note below in Sound on format). On top of those is a beautifully laid out 48-page hardback book (approx. 8" x 8") featuring new indepth interviews with Georgie, many period photos, repros of the album artwork, rare EPs, trade adverts, pictures of the band at the famous Flamingo Club all topped off with extensive liner notes from CHRIS WELCH. Beneath the hardback is a glossy card pouch (same size at the book) that uses the box set’s artwork as its sleeve. Inside are 5 black and white high quality art cards (Georgie in various mod jumper poses) and one foldout black and white poster (Georgie standing beside a fireplace talking to a young Mick Jagger). They're lovely to look at if not a tad superfluous.

However – and without blowing my own trumpet here (not a good idea at my age) – it’s seems extraordinary to me that on such a carefully laid out and classily presented package - no one has thought to produce a single catalogue number anywhere on anything. Even the bonus disc - which is full of exclusive English and German 7" singles and previously unreleased material - shows no catalogue numbers? The info I’ve laid out above isn’t in the book, on the gatefold card sleeves for the albums, on the postcards or on the other side of the poster? Having said that – Georgie goes into a song-by-song analysis in the book that helps place their musical history. Don't get me wrong - this thing looks gorgeous - but for the cost and info nerds like me someone some should done a bit more research...

And as with the Bowie "Five Years" box set of September 2015 – I'd swear that these discs are Japanese pressed SHM-CDs - but it doesn't say so anywhere on the packaging (a bonus for us if they are of course - any takers on this?). What I can say is that the TRISTAM POWELL (Georgie's son, Georgie's real name is Clive Powell) and ANDREW WALTER Remasters (done at Abbey Road) from original master tapes are stunning – the best this material has ever sounded (with the exception of the notoriously murky "Flamingo" set). Famous liner notes writer and compilation maker DEAN RUDLAND tells us in the Compiler's Note at the end of the hardback book that worldwide searches of tape libraries across EMI's vaults was only now possible with the acquisition of EMI by Universal some years back. In the process they've gotten the best Audio sources and discovered a session from 6 June 1963 with Glynn Johns at the Producer controls. It's not Fame's earliest recordings (the R&B label stuff) but it is his earliest in the style presented here. SHM-CDs or not - these discs sound splendido. Now let's get to the music...

The Audio for "Rhythm And Blues At The Flamingo" has always been lo-fi to low-bucket – but as Georgie rattles off American city destinations in the opening James Brown cover of "Night Train" – it does at least sound more ballsy as the huge organ sound elicits enthusiastic hollers from the punters (you can just see the dudes and dudettes giving it some shimmy as you listen). It's easy to hear why "Do The Dog" failed as a single – it's joyful stuff for sure but it’s just 'too' rough and cluttered. I'd swear I can hear those drums on "Parchment Farm" a lot clearer and the R&B boogie of "Baby, Please Don't Go" brings it all home. The three outtakes from the 'live' session are more of the same – best of which is the new cover of Freddie Roach's "Molasses" – a 'yeah man' saxophone and organ grinder - and for me actually better than much of what's on the album!

I had expected the BBC Sessions to be weedy – nothing could be further from the truth – if anything they are everything the album should have been sonically. "Ladies And Gentlemen...This Is Rhythm And Blues!" the BBC announcer tells his audience in his best Radio 1 coolsville voice – the Blue Flames version of "Night Train" cooking both in terms of great Audio and tight playing. Once again Mr. Radio 1 introduces Jimmy Reed's "Bright Lights, Big City" and it allows Georgie's great vocals to shine – then things start to really cook as the fans clap along to the Rufus Thomas classic "Walking The Dog". The same happens with cool versions of "Do-Re-Mi" and "Let The Sunshine In" – ending on a genuine stunner – LONG JOHN BALDRY fronting the band for "You're Breaking My Heart" with Glenn Hughes soloing real slow and Bluesy on his Saxophone (yum yum). I had also expected the Bootleg to be Audio rubbish but I can hear why its been included – the Audio is better than good and the performances toppermost - especially the band cooking on a fast instrumental romp through Willie Dixon's "Pig Foot" (drop out here and there for sure but still wicked nonetheless).

The second Disc 2 kicks in – the Audio is shockingly good – all that brill R&B blasting out of your speakers – the whole sound stage for stuff like "Let The Sunshine In" and Motown's "The Monkey Time" – the girly vocals and brass jabs – all sparkling. The rhythm-section shuffle in "Pink Champagne" is fabulous – Fame's vocals fresh too. It's hard to do an instrumental diamond like "Green Onions" any kind of justice because its owned by Booker T & The M.G.'s – but Fame gives it a barnstorming arrangement that allows both the organ and Saxophone room to shine. The album closes on the Jazzy smooch of "I'm In The Mood For Love". Cool-city is the only way to describe the mod dancer B-side "Do-Re-Mi" (I can see why its so sought after by mod collectors) – unfortunately it's equally easy to hear why the sappy "I'm In Love With You" went only to demo-level only (the flip "Bend A Little" is far better). I'll admit that It's been decades since I last heard the Ska and Blue Beat EP – but what a blast the foursome are – and in great Audio too. It ends on the monster "Yeh, Yeh" (his first No. 1) with its superb "Preach And Teach" flip (surely a shoe in for one the great double-siders).

After the beautiful Stereo of "Fame At Last" – the return to the Mono of "Sweet Things" takes a bit of Aural getting used to – but the music is still hip. The funky-as-a-gnat's-knackers "See Saw" packs huge punch while "Sitting In The Park" is as echo-lovely as the Billy Stewart 1965 Chess original. We get all island Calypso with "Dr. Kitch" while Side 2 opens with a sweet version of Motown’s "My Girl". The drums on the 'so' 60ts "Music Talk" is a mod's wet dream as is his organ-drenched instrumental cover of the Ramsey Lewis nugget "The "In" Crowd". Both "The World Is Round" and the box set's namesake "The Whole World's Shaking" are fabulous Sixties R&B Jivers (I can just see the girls on the dancefloor blowing the sharp-dressed boys minds with their shimmy-shimmy-shake moves). Of the B-sides and EP Rarities I'm digging "In The Meantime" and "Sick And Tired" on the rarely seen or heard Fats Domino EP. But the best Audio is on the B-side "It Ain't Right" which is presented here in awesome Stereo – worth the entry price alone.

Disc 4 features Georgie Fame & The Harry South Big Band on the "Sound Venture" LP in the autumn of 1966. There's beautiful Mono clarity on "Down For The Count" as there is on his jazzy return to "Funny How Time Slips Away" (he did a slower version of it on "Sweet Things"). Massive punch too on the Clovers cover "Lovey Dovey" even though I don't like his version that much while the James Brown annihilator "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag" ends the album on a high (and rightly so). Fans will love the blindingly great instrumental B-side "Outrage" as they will the Stereo blast of Tommy Tucker's "Hi Heel Sneakers".

Collectors will breathe a sigh of relief that Disc 5 contains so much quality and not filler for the sake of it. The first five are from a recent find – 1963 Studio recordings produced by Glyn Johns as demos - including organised versions of Ray Charles' "Lonely Avenue" and Lou Donaldson's "You're Driving Me Crazy". Amongst the Previously Unreleased are slinky versions of "Moanin'" and the brassy "Bend A Little" which is in wicked Stereo with occasional girly vocals of "I really love you..." (what a find). We go old school 40ts R&B with Louis Jordan's "Saturday Night Fish Fry" – so well recorded it could be Joe Jackson in the 1980s. Slow jazz vibes sift in on a plume of cigarette smoke with "Lil Darlin'" (gorgeous Stereo) – but my faves here are the Tony Colton gambling song "Red Number Nine" and a stunning take on Earl Van Dyke’s "Soul Stomp" (again in amazing Stereo) – both brass/organ steppers that will have Mod dancers reaching for the talcum powder tins with a sense or urgency...

Beautifully presented and featuring stonkingly great Audio (discs 2 to 5 especially) – Georgie Fame has had this kind of homage due him for decades now. Well done to all involved and recommended like a slick 60ts tailored suit...

PS: there is also a 5LP Vinyl Version

This review and hundreds more like it are part of my SOUNDS GOOD Music Books Series - available to buy/lend on Amazon in COOL 1960s MUSIC (Exceptional CD Remasters) at the following link...

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