As with the first release in this 2-volume series, Ace mixes some well-known hits dealing with death with some that were really buried deep. There are also fewer legitimate Billboard U.S. hits in this one (although a few more did hit the U.K. charts).
Probably the best-remembered here is Leader Of The Pack, the 1964 # 1 Hot 100 for The Shangri-Las late that opening year of the British Invasion. Going back a bit further is Tragedy by Thomas Wayne with The DeLons, a # 5 Hot 100/# 20 R&B in February/March 1959 on Fernwood 109, s record produced by Scotty Moore that would later be covered successfully by The Fleetwoods in 1961 and, to a lesser degree, by Brian Hyland in 1969. Many will also recall Dickey Lee's Laura (Strange Things Happen), a song inspired by a ghost story penned by 15 y/o author Cathie Harmon which reached # 14 Hot 100 in June 1965 on TCF Hall 102. Another of Lee's hits with the same theme, Patches, appears in Volume 1.
Another that made the R&B charts in 1953 (# 3) is The Bells by Billy Ward & His Dominoes, a funeral tune featuring the hysterical wailing of Clyde McPhatter, but the absolute gem in this collection, and one that has been extremely hard to find, is the November 1952 # 5 R&B hit, Goodbye Baby, by Little Caesar, which came out on Hollywood 235. With instrumental backing by Que Martin, this one deals with a murder-suicide at the end and was therefore not played by too many mainstream stations back then.
Horace Caesar, who also acted in a number of movies and TV shows, is not to be confused with several other artists calling themselves Little Caesar, including the one at track 4. That one, an instrumental, has Part 1 here and Part 2 in another obscure Ace release called Intoxical Strange And Sleazy Instrumental Sounds From The SoCal Suburbs.
The rest will be generally unknown to the average fan, although there are several that you might find interesting. Those who remember Long Black Limousine will likely recall the Jodie Miller 1969 hit version, but this one by Country One-Hit Wonder, Vern Stovall, isn't bad. The Year 2000 by Estelle features The Ronettes' Estelle Bennett Vann in a 1969 Laurie recording, while Hoagy Lands delivers the Bert Berns tune, White Gardenia, in another Laurie release, this time from 1968.
U.K. hits represented here include Nightmare by the female trio The Whyte Boots from 1969, and My Friend Bobby by Pamela Blue, a lament to a departed lover circa 1963. Terry Tyler's A Thousand Feet Below relates the suicide of a lover by jumping off a cliff (1963/64), and from another British female trio, The Beverly Sisters, you get Flight 1203. Some may recall their only U.S. hit from 1956/57, Greensleeves, on the London label.
As usual you get full details on the tracks and artists in the insert, something Ace is renowned for, and the sound quality, as always, is excellent. Diehard collectors will love it.