Tuesday, 15 May 2018

"Three Six Nine! The Best Of Shirley Ellis" by SHIRLEY ELLIS (April 2018 Ace Records CD Compilation - Nick Robbins Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"...Back Track..."

Everything about this CD is right - the beautifully laid-out booklet with genuinely informational and affectionate liner notes from HARRY YOUNG (stunning photos many in colour) - the first time on CD nature of much of the material - Sixties Soul etc. There's just one problem for me - the music is uniformly awful.

UK released 27 April 2018 - "Three Six Nine! The Best Of Shirley Ellis" by SHIRLEY ELLIS on Ace CDTOP 1516 (Barcode 029667087728) is a 24-Track CD Compilation of NICK ROBBINS Remasters (64:07 minutes total playing time).

1. The Clapping Song (Clap Pat Clap Slap)
2. The Name Game
3. The Nitty Gritty
4. Don't Let Go
5. Takin' Care Of Business
6. Such A Night
7. Get Out
8. Kansas City
9. (That's) What The Nitty Gritty Is
10. Bring it On Home To Me
11. C.C. Rider
12. I Never Will Forget
13. I See It, I Like It, I Want It
14. The Puzzle Song (A Puzzle In Song)
15. Ka Ta Ga Ta Boom Beat
16. One Sour Note
17. You Better Be Good World
18. Ever See A Diver Kiss His Wife While The Bubbles Bounce About Above The Water?
19. Birds, Bees, Cupids And Bows
20. Soul Time
21. Waitin'
22. Sugar, Let's Shing-A-Ling
23. Back Track
24. Yes I'm Ready
Tracks 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 13, 16 and 17 are in MONO - all others in STEREO

Shirley Ellis had three huge chart hits "The Nitty Gritty", "The Name Game" and "The Clapping Song (Clap Pat Clap Slap)" - but her first LP and single was inflicted with the then clever idea of audience rants and raves (a live vibe) - probably cool at the time but it now feels so dreadfully dated and there's seven or eight tracks of it. Throw in that much of the rest of the material feels like sub-standard Soul ravers made to measure be it Salsa or Calypso or whatever dance trend was tearing up the dancefloors at the time - and song-after-gimmick-song massively underwhelms.

Take the Christmas record "You Better Be Good, World" with its 'Peace Be Unto You' lyrics and warbling vocals - it's just dire Sixties Pop. Despite her fantastic looks and likeable persona - her voice is also only good but not great. Only the single "Get Out" or the raver "Birds, Bees, Cupids And Bows" and the genuinely Northern Soul-exciting "Soul Time" liven proceedings. I feel like a ham saying this - but I found most of it hard going instead of a newly discovered thrill.

I love Ace Records and their Soul Reissues are par-excellence and always have been. But in this case I urge Soul Fans and interested parties to nab a listen to the whole disc first before purchase because for me this is only saved by tracks I already have...

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