Tuesday, 28 June 2016

"Gee Whizz" by CARLA THOMAS (2012 Japan/Europe WEA CD Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"...The Masquerade Is Over..."

Part of the massive Japanese CD reissue campaign 'Atlantic 1000: R&B Best Collection' Series of CD reissues (see my online list - in excess of 250 titles) - this "Gee Whizz" CD by CARLA THOMAS is cheap at under six quid (the original 1961 American vinyl LPs are rare)

Originally released 7 November 2012 in Japan on Warner Brothers WPCR-25670 - this 'Euro' reissue oddly re-uses the Japanese packaging - but is a European pressed disc on WEA 8122-79704-3 (Barcode 081227970437) using the 2012 Japanese Remaster.

The '1000' in the title refers to their price code - each features a budget price tag of 952 Yen which (depending on exchange rates) is roughly $9 to $11 for US customers, £5.50 to £7.50 for UK buyers and 8 to 9.20 Euros for Europeans (with P&P added on of course). As of 2016 - roughly speaking they weigh in at about £10 sterling (or less) per title INCLUDING post - which is the cheapest I've seen quality Japanese CDs ever go for. Those reissued in Europe (like this one) often for half that.

And what's really enticing is that all issues feature 2012 and 2013 Digital Remastering (DSD) with many titles reissued that were long out of print (and due sonic upgrades) – or new to CD entirely. They come in standard jewel cases (NOT mini repro sleeves – nor SHMs) with an inner booklet containing the lyrics and description etc and an outer Obi strip. The CD label design will usually mimic the original release too.

1. Gee Whiz, Look At His Eyes
2. Dance With Me
3. A Lovely way To Spend An Evening
4. Your Love
5. Fools Fall In Love
6. To The Aisle
7. The Masquerade Is Over
8. A Love Of My Own
9. Promises
10. It Ain't Me
11. For You
12. The Love We Shared
Tracks 1 to 12 are the album "Gee Whizz" – released 1961 in the USA on Atlantic 8057 (Mono) and Atlantic SD 8057 (Stereo) – the STEREO mix is used for this CD (Tracks 1, 9 and 11 in Mono).

The 12-page booklet reproduces the front and rear artwork of the 1961 LP and has English lyrics to all the songs – some liner notes from 2012 in Japanese and little else. The Audio is great – really clear and punchy.

I wish I could say this is a long lost Soul gem – but the music is dreadfully twee in places – especially for a 60ts Soul LP on Atlantic Records. Corny versions of The Drifters "Dance With Me" and "Fools Fall in Love" are drowned in 'bop' backing singers and overdone syrupy strings. The three Mono cuts turn out to be 7" single versions of "Gee Whizz, Look At His Eyes", "Promises" and "For You" (the rest of the album is Stereo). The incessant crooner strings infect most of the songs - with the ballads "The Love We Shared" and "The Masquerade Is Over" coming out best of a bad bunch.

Cheap, sounds great and nice presentation - but you wish it could be decent Soul instead of teen angst dressed in ribbons and bows...

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