Monday, 6 June 2016

"The Sound Of Fury" by BILLY FURY (2000 Decca 2CD MONO and STEREO Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"...It's You I Need..." 

Aged only 20 when he recorded it and self-penning all 10 of the songs - Liverpool's Ronald Wycherley and his May 1960 debut album "The Sound Of Fury" is the kind of mythical release that only grows with the passing decades.

Re-listening to this British legend in 2016 is a thoroughly brill experience – Billy Fury's Decca LP as good as you remember it and better. Now a staggering 56 years past - that 23-minute platter still thrills and you can completely get why British Rock 'n' Rollers and Rockabilly dudettes alike worship at its 10" feet. At times the whole LP even feels like Buddy Holly's lost Rock 'n' Roll album - or with Joe Brown and his pals sounding not unlike Scotty Moore and Bill Black doing their slap-bass echoed thing - the great Sun Records Rockabilly masterpiece Elvis Presley never made. Here are the Silver Suits and Brylcreem Quiffs...

UK released July 2000 – "The Sound Of Fury" by BILLY FURY on Decca 844 990-2 (Barcode 042284499026) is a 2CD Remastered set and plays out as follows:

Disc 1 - "The Sound Of Fury" Original MONO LP (22:27 minutes):
1. That's Love
2. My Advice
3. Phone Call
4. You Don't Know
5. Turn My Back On You
6. Don't Say It's Over [Side 2]
7. Since You've Been Gone
8. It's You I Need
9. Alright, Goodbye
10. Don't Leave Me This Way
Tracks 1 to 10 are his debut LP "The Sound Of Fury" - released May 1960 in the UK as a 10" LP on Decca LF 1329 (no US release). Produced by JACK GOOD - it peaked in June 1960 at No. 18 on the UK LP charts.

Disc 2 - BONUS TRACKS (44:30 minutes):
1. That's Love (Alternate Take - STEREO)
2. My Advice (STEREO)
3. Phone Call (STEREO)
4. You Don't Know (STEREO)
5. Don't say It's Over (STEREO)
6. Since You've Been Gone (STEREO)
7. It's You I Need (STEREO)
8. Alright, Goodbye (STEREO)
9. Don't Leave Me This Way (STEREO)
10. Maybe Tomorrow (Alternate Take - STEREO)
11. My Christmas Prayer
12. I Got Someone
13. Open Your Arms
14. Don't Jump
15. Magic Eyes
16. Sleepless Nights
17. Please Don't Go
18. If I Lose You
19. I Love How You Love Me
Tracks 11 to 19 in MONO

The Band:
BILLY FURY - Lead Vocals
JOE BROWN – Electric Guitar
ALAN WEIGHELL – Electric Bass
THE FOUR JAYS – Backing Vocals

The 12-page booklet features seriously in-depth and affectionate liner notes from CHRIS ELEY that go into the January 8th and April 14th sessions at Decca's Studio 3 in West Hampstead that produced the iconic album. The text is peppered with colour photos of his 1st UK EP "Maybe Tomorrow" on Decca DFE 6597 - a French Magazine cover in his gold jacket - a UK Decca Records Trade Advert for 'his first long playing record' - a black and white publicity photo with his fellow mucker Joe Brown - the cover of a Dutch reissue that doubled the LP up with Tommy Steele - and two different French EPs - one of which actually credits it as Billy Fury with The Four Jays.

Oddly there are no mastering or tape-transfer credits anywhere - but that's hardly important when you clap your weary lugs on the Remasters that are uniformly fabulous to the nth degree. The MONO LP sounds staggeringly clean for its age yet vibrant - the stripped-back Rockabilly set if the band to the background while Billy’s vocals is to the fore (all in a good way). But that's nothing to the STEREO takes on Disc 2 which I would describe as sensational. These are already great songs - but in STEREO! Wow is the only appropriate response. Some of the STEREO versions featured here first appeared in 1988 on the CD reissue of "The Sound Of Fury" on Decca 820 627-2 (with liner notes from the mighty JOHH TRACY – a former company employee who wrote tons of those early CD booklets). Good news is that with the exception of "Turn My Back On You" - CD2 will allow fans to sequence 9 of the 10 track LP in STEREO for the first time and that’s an Audio thrill I'll buy into any day of the week.

It opens on the very Sun Records Rockabilly of "That's Love" and continues with "My Advice" where the 'bop-bop-bop' backing vocals of The Four Jays (flown in especially for the sessions) feel like The Jordanaires giving support to Elvis as he 'uh-huh's' into the microphone. Decca chose "That's Love" as a lead off 45 in May 1960 with "You Don't Know" on the flip-side and Decca F 11237 rewarded them and Billy with a No. 19 Pop placing and an 11-week chart run. "Phone Call" is great stuff - a Blues shuffle that emphasises Joe Brown's guitar flourishes and Reg Guest's slinky piano fills. The first angst-ridden ballad comes in the shape of "You Don't Know" - a gorgeous vocal by Fury - Reg Guest giving in some tasteful piano. The STEREO version can only be described as beautiful - not just the execution of the song but Jack Good's smart Production. Probably closest to Presley's version of Crudup's "That's Alright" - "Turn My Back On You" is pure Rockabilly joy where Billy is "...gonna swing round honey...gonna turn my back on you..." - his Vocal aping a hero of his - Eddie Cochran.

Side 2 opens with the brilliant "Don't Say It's Over" - a piano roller that 'bah-doom's its way into your living room (great dancer). A two a.m. whiskey-sodden lounge-room Piano introduces the two-paced "Since You've Been Gone" which continues on that path until it decides around 1:25 minutes to go Bopper and then Rockabilly slap-bass's to the finish line. Great finger picking from Joe on the cool "It's You I Need" - yes indeed. Back to crooning with "Alright, Goodbye" where some girly is leaving our poor Billy with a broken heart (they're always doing that) while the finisher "Don't Leave Me This Way" is a very Presley rapid-paced piano bopper.

"...OK fellas..." - Billy Fury shouts to his tight band during "Don't Leave Me This Way" - hit me with that sound - and they do. Time to let "The Sound Of Fury" back into your world...kudos to all involved...

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