The first 12 tracks were originally released on the 1956 Capitol LP Blue Jean Bop, from which sprang the late 1956 hit single Bluejean Bop (# 34 on the Billboard "Coming Up" charts, and its flipside Who Slapped John? - both very much what we had come to expect from Vincent and The Blue Caps following the smash success of Be Bop A Lula.
But the rest of the selections offer up a really odd mix of tunes, with tracks 5, 7, 9, and 11 carrying on the R&B/rockabilly sound associated with the group, while the rest leave you wondering what the Capitol executives and producers were trying to accomplish with, at the time, their only legitimate R&R star.
Gene Vincent was born to sing R&R - not old pop standards like Jezebel, Wedding Bells (Are Breaking Up That Old Gang Of Mine), Lazy River, and Peg O' My Heart which, in some spots, will have you wincing. Having said that, his rendition of Ain't She Sweet suggests that that might well have been the inspiration for another recording of the old tune in 1961 - by a group calling themselves The Beatles. He also does a very nice job on the 1948 Roy Acuff Country hit The Waltz Of The Wind, a ballad more suitable to his vocal range.
The second LP - Gene Vincent Rocks And The Blue Caps Roll - came out in 1957 and here again the contents [tracks 13 to 24] do not always fit the title, never mind the accepted image at that time of Gene Vincent. He does give a R&R treatment to By The Light Of The Silvery Moon and Frankie And Johnnie, but You'll Never Walk Alone just doesn't seem to belong here. And his effort is weak, as it is [although less so] on the Hank Williams classic Your Cheatin' Heart.
Tracks 13, 17 to 19 and 22 to 24 are vintage Vincent and you have to think that, had Capitol chosen to release as singles either or both the rock ballads, In My Dreams and Should I Ever Fall In Love Again, perhaps backed with the bouncy Flea Brain and/or It's No Lie, they'd have had another hit [or two] to add to the paltry six [one a double-sided hit] he had in 1956/57.
Like Buddy Holly [who was handled just as poorly by the Brunswick and Coral subsidiaries of Decca], it would seem that Gene's lack of hit singles owed less to his abilities than to the material fed to him by Capitol suits who, for the first critical years of R&R, never really knew what to make of the new sound.
This release, which has excellent cleaned-up mono sound, is paramount only for confirmed fans of Gene Vincent. In that regard I assigned it 4 stars, deducting one for the complete lack of liner notes - not even the original comments which must have been contained on the original vinyl sleeves.