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The Very Best Of Billy J Kramer

The Very Best Of Billy J Kramer

20 Jun 2005

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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 17 Jun 2005
  • Release Date: 17 Jun 2005
  • Label: EMI UK
  • Copyright: 2005 Parlophone Records Ltd. This label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved. (C) 2005 Parlophone Records Ltd
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 1:11:39
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001JPZ096
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 29,440 in MP3 Albums (See Top 100 in MP3 Albums)

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Philip A.Cohen on 1 Mar 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is the latest in EMI's series of 4-CD box sets devoted to the label's 1960's beat group's, and the set follows the same pattern as the "Gerry & The Pacemakers" box, in that it gives you the complete released recordings(+ unreleased material) in mono sound, a previously unreleased 1964 concert in remixed stereo, and a reasonable sampling of the group's stereo versions. The sound quality is excellent(unlike the Gerry & The Pacemakers set where the vocals on the mono mixes sounded shrill)

Stereo gained acceptance from UK consumers several years later than in North America, and so EMI/UK believes that UK consumers would prefer the mono versions. In this series of box sets, even for those artists where some or all of the multitracks exist, EMI have opted to present the already released recordings via original 1960's mixes, remixing only where it was neccessary in order to obtain previously unreleased material.

The group's live E.P. appears in the set via the original mono mix, but you also get a complete composite concert in remixed stereo, taken from the two 1964 California shows from which the E.P. was derived. Apparently, the group played the same 11 songs at both shows, so it was a matter of selecting the best performances and recordings of each song. Be cautioned that the group could be quite ragged live. Billy's live singing is erratic. He sings off-key on the hits, but sings well on album tracks. He is not helped by a recording fault which renders bassist Ray Jones inaudible on some songs. This, and the absence of George Martin's piano playing renders the group's instrumental sound thin. In fairness, the group may have had difficulty hearing themselves due to the screaming audience. Still, it's an interesting documentation of that era.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Terry T on 18 Dec 2010
Format: Audio CD
A wonderful collection of sharp recordings and some unreleased tracks - a very good addition to EMI's sets - ie The Seekers,Herman's Hermits.
A set I will play quite often
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Peter Durward Harris #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 11 Dec 2003
Format: Audio CD
Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas were one of several Liverpool groups to achieve a measure of pop success in the early sixties. Like the Beatles, they were managed by Brian Epstein. The Dakotas really wanted to be an instrumental group, following the example of the Shadows in Britain and the Ventures in America. It was agreed that they would get to record their own music (included on this compilation) in return for backing Billy J Kramer. The lead guitarist of the Dakotas is the brother of Elkie Brooks, a singer who failed to make it in the sixties but eventually achieved success in the late seventies with Pearl's a singer and some other great songs. To be honest, the Dakotas' musicianship was better than Billy's singing, which was good but not great. However, it doesn't really matter – the songs and the music compensate for any limitation in the vocal department.
The first single by Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas was Do you want to know a secret, a song that the Beatles had already included on their debut album, Please please me. It made number two in the British charts. Next came two more Lennon-McCartney songs, Bad to me, which topped the UK chart, and I'll keep you satisfied, which made number four. Perhaps the best song they ever did was Little children, an American song that gave them their second and last British number one. This was recorded in preference to another Lennon-McCartney song (title unknown to me) that Brian Epstein and George Martin wanted to go with. However, they returned to the Lennon-McCartney songbook for From a window, which just made the UK top ten. After that there was only one more significant hit, a cover of the Bacharach-David classic, Trains and boats and planes, which didn't quite make the UK top ten – it peaked at twelve.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 28 Dec 2002
Format: Audio CD
When we talk about the British Invasion and the music of Merseybeat, then Billy J. Kramer (nee Billy Ashton) occupied the spot at the sedate end of the spectrum. In retrospect, it is clear his popularity was due to the fact that his manager was Brian Epstein who gave the singer several Lennon-McCartney songs to record. The most successful was his cover of "Do You Want to Know a Secret," which hit #2 on the British charts in 1963. The other Lennon-McCartney songs were "I'll Keep You Satisfied," "Bad to Me," "I'll Be on My Way," and "From a Window." Of course, all of these songs are included on this collection of "The Very Best of Billy J. Kramer." Kramer is not that great of a singer (evident on songs like "I Call Your Name") and once the Beatles kept everything they were writing for themselves, his career pretty much came to a halt ("Little Children" is probably the best of the rest). Still, Kramer was one of the more popular of the Merseybeat singers for a couple of years with his pop-rock offerings and even disregarding him there is the inherent historical interest in these "Beatles" songs. Yes, there are as bland as anything John and Paul ever wrote in the early years, which certainly explains why they were handed off to Kramer, but they are still Beatles songs and worth hearing at least once for that reason alone. Final Note: The Beatle's own version of "I'll Be On My Way" was released in 1994 from a BBC broadcast.
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