Greasy-haired, leather-clad, and trailing his gammy leg from a motorbike accident behind him, Gene Vincent cut as threatening a figure as Jerry Lee Lewis or Little Richard in conservative, mid-'50s America. A lack of variety and a dearth of truly outstanding tunes keeps him from the upper ranks of the original rock'n'rollers but he's definitely heading up the second-tier.
These fresh, uncluttered songs still sound wildly exciting 50 years after they were recorded. One good compilation is all you need for Vincent as the basic template of his songs didn't vary much - a daft title, vocals heavy on the echo, leaping percussion and frantic guitar licks prefaced by Gene hollering "Rock, Bluecaps, Rock!!" or some such exhortation.
Ironically, his best-known song, 'Be-Bop-A-Lula', doesn't stick to this formula: its slow pulsing throb being more akin to something like 'Heartbreak Hotel' than any of the raucous rockers elsewhere on this collection. Another slightly different song is 'Say Mama', a more rhythmic, driving tune and the only song here to feature saxophone.
'Who Slapped John?', 'Race With The Devil', 'Crazy Legs', 'Double Talkin' Baby' and 'Bluejean Bop' are all so infectious they ought to be quarantined.
Tired of the din and bombast of most contemporary rock music? Then do like John Peel used to do when he wanted to "flush everything away and start again" and tune in to Gene Vincent.