Monday, 23 May 2016

"The Eddie Cochran Memorial Album" by EDDIE COCHRAN (Inside The 2009 Bear Family 'Somethin' Else: Ultimate Collection' Box Set Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"...You're Sure Fine Lookin'..." 

It's astonishing to think that when Ray Edward Cochran was taken from us in a freak car accident while on tour in England in April 1960 (Sunday the 17th on his way to London’s Heathrow) - he was only 6 months into his 21st year and had already clocked up over 200 recordings. Yet when it comes to CD – the fabulous Cochran is usually represented by a single disc ‘Best Of’ – few thinking to track down his LP legacy.

Well I’d argue that its time to go back to basics and hear his 2nd platter (posthumously) called "The Eddie Cochran Memorial Album" as a stand-alone. Despite its morbid title and artwork that wasn’t nearly as pretty as his July 1958 debut LP "Singin' To My Baby" - I'd argue it's a truly fantastic Rock 'n' Roll album that contains huge hits like "C'mon Everybody", "Three Steps To Heaven", "Summertime Blues" and "Somethin' Else" as well as other lesser-heard goodies like the rockin' "Jeannie, Jeannie, Jeannie".

You can get the album on this cheap-as-chips Hallmark CD - or do what I did - fork out big time. I found the tracks inside "Somethin' Else: The Ultimate Collection" by EDDIE COCHRAN – a mammoth Box Set typical of my favourite German reissue company’s legendary excellence. Released February 2009 on Bear Family BCD 15989 HK (Barcode 4000127159892) – “Somethin’ Else” gives punters best-audio 8CDs housed in label-themed 2-disc jewel cases inside a 12” x 12" Box Set offering up a huge 262 tracks. There's a beautifully illustrated album-sized 194-Page Hardback Book that is a truly a thing of beauty (yes ‘hardback’!). The set was compiled and prepared across several years by noted experts ANTOON VAN OLDEREN and Bear Family label boss RICHARD WEIZE. But this kind of quality and high-art finish doesn't come cheap - there's little change out of one hundred & fifty pounds - even online. A team consisting of 'BOPPIN' BOB JONES, JAY RANELUCCI, SAM SZCZEPANSKI (for Ivywood Productions) and PETER J. REYNOLDS handled the transfers and remasters. And being Bear Family - the sound quality is gorgeous - first generation tapes used - meticulous transfers - a superb job done. Here’s how to locate the album within the Box Set (3/6 = Disc 3, Track 6 and so on):

Side 1:
1. C'mon Everybody [3/6]
2. Three Steps To Heaven (Version 2) [3/32]
3. Cut Across Shorty (Speeded Up Version) [3/33]
4. Jeannie, Jeannie, Jeannie [2/26]
5. Pocketful Of Hearts [2/24]
6. Hallelujah, I Love Her So [3/26]
7. Don't Ever Let Me Go [3/5]

Side 2:
1. Summertime Blues [4/1]
2. Teresa [2/28]
3. Somethin' Else [3/17]
4. Pretty Girl [2/25]
5. Teenage Heaven [3/8]
6. Boll Weevil Song [3/18]
7. I Remember [3/9]
His 14-Track 2nd UK LP “The Eddie Cochran Memorial Album” was released in MONO on London HA-G 2267 in September 1960.

It was to be called "12 Of His Greatest Hits" and released just before the accident - but fate stepped in. Withdrawn and given the new moniker - Cochran's official 2nd LP opens on a stunner – "C'mon Everybody". Even now it gives me a thrill when he sings "...when you hear the music you just can't sit still...if you're brother won't rock...then your sister will..." This was young music and kids new that handsome Eddie was their kind of guy. Every bar band has cut their teeth on "Three Steps To Heaven" (not sure if they found the girl they love in Step 1 though). Marijohn Wilkin and Wayne Walker penned the witty rabbit and hare song "Cut Across Shorty" which Rod Stewart covered on his 2nd album "Gasoline Alley" in 1970. Next up is my fave-rave "Jeannie, Jeannie, Jeannie" - a fabulous Rock 'n' Roll rave up. There's a superb Rockstar Records reissue LP from may 1985 called "Portrait Of A Legend" that featured 10 STEREO tracks for the first time - one of which is a STEREO 'overdub with guitar' take of this stunning rocker - it turns up as Track 7 on Disc 5. Fred Dexter's "Pocketful Of Hearts" is a tad sappy but his cover of Ray Charles' "Hallelujah I Love Her So" lifts proceedings considerably. Dale Fitzsimmons provided "Don't Ever Let Me Go" - a very Buddy Holly influenced shuffling ballad.

Side 2 opens on another winner and teenage rebellion anthem – the 'too young to vote' song "Summertime Blues". It sounds great here - big acoustic guitar and those hand claps. Things get decidedly schlocky with "Teresa" - a 'cuter than a rosebud' crooner tune complete with awful girly vocals (best avoided). It's annihilated by the real deal - the 'sure fine looking' rumble of "Somethin' Else". What a tune and given full reign with the big remaster (a co-write with Sharon Sheeley). Cochran and songwriter Jerry Capehart pumped out the next three rockers - "Teenage Heaven" (featuring in the movie "Go, Johnny, Go!" in 1959 and was a hit single for Eddie on Liberty F-55177), "Boll Weevil Song" and the final ballad - the lovely and criminally forgotten "I Remember". It leaves you feeling that the whole album is one of the greats - albeit an overlooked one.

Issue No. 17,522 of The Daily Mail (Monday, 18 April 1960) headlined that 'Rock Star Dies In Crash' - picturing a smiling Cochran and the mangled British Taxi that took his life and injured Gene Vincent and Eddie's girl and songwriter Sharon Sheeley. Sad, sad, sad - better to remember him with this superb Rock 'n' Roll album...

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