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Early Girls, Volume 4
Early Girls, Volume 4
Price: £13.41

4.0 out of 5 stars What a Mixture, 14 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Early Girls, Volume 4 (Audio CD)
ACE seem to have gone out of their way to give you nearly all genres of music with this distaff CD . It could actually be it's downfall ,you need a broad church to enjoy all of what is on offer here . From Rock n Roll ,Country ,Soul,,R&B ,Teen Pop and a good dollop of MoR there is something for everyone but is it enough .Lets have a look .
Miss Brenda Mae Tarpley kicks of with her Rockabilly Dum Dum .This simple but catchy tune will get anyone's toes a tapping ,one of Brenda Lees hits both sides of the pond
Immediately calming things down on track two we switch to the utter sophistication of Nancy Wilson ,with How Glad I Am .Although mainly linked to night club style jazz vocals this catapulted her into the pop world.
Well known hits from the pop charts are included here,Walking Miracle ,The Essex ,Keep your Hands off my Baby by Goffin and Kings babysitter Little Eva and Atlantic records backing group The Cookies with a disc of their own Don't say Nothing Bad about my Baby
MOR fans will know doubt lap up Doris Day ,Secret love and Paper Roses ,Anita Bryant and to finally send them to sleep Tammy by Debbie Reynolds ,still it wasn't that bad a disc Berry Gordy loved it so much he made up the word Tamla the rest is history.
Now things get down and soulful ,,Theola Kilgore introduced by Sam Cooke's manager to Ed Townsend she kicked off her career with an answer record to Sams Chain Gang but here she is in fine voice with The Love of My Man lifted from The Soul Stirrers gospel song The Love of God .This smouldering rendition shows that she could have been as good as Aretha any day.

If you care for early Spector ,the Teddy Bears will not disappoint with Oh Why . To me this is as good as To know Him Is to Love Him .The Bears were Phil ,Marshall Leib and Annette Kleinbard .Kleinbard later changed her name to Carol Connors and had a successful career in song writing ,she must have known a lot about cars as she penned Hey Little Cobra for The Rip Chords .
Oh Why is a lovely wistful song and lays down the DNA for future Spector productions such as The Crystals ,There's no other Like My Baby .
This disc includes some notorious cover versions ,The McGuire Sisters [American Beverley Sisters if you have not heard of them ] sing The Moonglows Sincerely and Georgia Gibbs covers La Vern Bakers Tweedle Dee .Serious collectors will no doubt have the originals .
Now we come to two selections that might have been better included in ACEs Teenage Crush series .If you like the earlier Nancy WIlson what are you going to make of these teen anguish dollops of slush .
First off is, My Little Marine [I can tell you are worried already ] by Jamie Horton .Virtually unknown in this country Jamie started out as Gayla Peevey a child star from Ponca city Oklahoma she cut discs with titles such as Kitty in a Basket ,Daddy s Report Card ,Upsy Down Town ,Three Little Bunnies ,,yes you're getting the picture .As a teen she had a hit with Robot Man later recorded by Connie Francis .Completing this slush duo is The Tassels ,To a Soldier Boy both these numbers are trite ,banal and very cloying but do you know what I love them ,they give off the nostalgia of late fifties teen America .
28 tracks some good and bad, depending on your taste ,perhaps better bought cheaply second hand than new Enjoy .
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 2, 2015 4:47 PM BST

He's  A Rebel: The Girl Groups of the 60's
He's A Rebel: The Girl Groups of the 60's
Price: £4.58

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More of the Same, 14 Oct. 2013
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This 3 cd release from One Day Music is a companion CD to Will you Love Me Tomorrow ,The Girl Groups of the 50s-60s [ See My Review] . It has the same overall feel and my thoughts could apply equally to both releases . It's a pity that this release was not restricted down to two CDs as again we are presented with numerous clunkers spread over the three discs .
CD1 kicks off in fine style with the Crystals ,He's a Rebel but of course you all know it was not the actual Crystals singing .Written by Gene Pitney Spector could not wait to get the number recorded, with the Crystals out of town ,what the heck ,I own the Crystals name thought Phil ,lets get The Blossoms to record it and with the fabulous Darlene Love[Wright ] on lead it was a big hit ,probably not with the real Crystals though who heard the disc with their name on it ,firstly on a car radio .
Other strong songs on this disc are Tell Him by The Exciters who could have perhaps made it big in the UK had it not been for the fact that nearly everything they released was weakened by inferior cover versions
Soldier Boy ,The Shirelles and Dont Hang Up ,The Orlons ,He's Sure The Boy I love ,The Crystals ,all well known tracks .
Track 10 gives us The Duchess Of Earl not the copy answer record by the Pearlettes but a great doo-w*p offering by Bobbie Smith and the Dream Girls . This Detroit group released around 10 records from1959 through to 1965 on various labels ,their story is long ,to long for this review ] they were very acomplished ,appeared at the Apollo but somehow did not quite make the real big time in the girl group scene . Written by Maron Mc Kenzie Duchess has a different tune and words to the Gene Chandler hit but trouble was in store , Chandlers management kicked up a stink and demanded the writer credits as For Duke of Earl ,there was a capitulation from The Dreamgirls management who also lost heart in the record and stopped promoting it .
The Ronettes give a strong version of the old R&B number originally done by The Rays ,Silhouettes ,
Disc 2-3 Here we have old favourites such as Chains ,The Cookies ,He's so Fine ,The Chiffons The Wah-Watusi ,The Orlons
Uptown by the Crystals bears the unmistakeable sound of Spector ,originally Philles 102 we also have the flip What a nice way to turn Seventeen .
The Paris Sisters are well represented here but not their big one I Love How You Love Me . Despite the soft murmurings of Priscilla Paris I doubt if they would have ever have achieved fame had it not been for Spector .After rowing with him they signed with MGM but were commercial failures .
The Chantels give us Look in my Eyes and Still ,without doubt the finest singing voices of the girl group genre ,if you like what you hear get their The Best of the Chantels on Rhino simply sublime .
So to round up a fairly good selection ,60 tracks ,pretty cheap will give plenty of listening pleasure ,,just keep your finger on the skip button.

The Platinum Collection (International Release)
The Platinum Collection (International Release)
Price: £3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Silver Rather Than Platinum, 8 April 2013
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Unlike other great country soul artists like Arthur Alexander and James Carr who remain virtually unknown to the general public Percy Sledge will be remembered by all for his huge hit both sides of the Atlantic, When a Man Loves a Woman.
Percy who is a cousin of Jimmy[Steal Away ]Hughes grew up like so many black southern artists listening to white country music and the nasal delivery in his voice is clearly indicative of hill-billy and honky tonk singers . A prolific recording artist he has always preferred ballads to up tempo material .
When a Man Loves a Woman which was recorded in 1966 at Norala Sound Studio in Sheffield Alabama,seemed at first listen on playback to be a bit of a dud with out of tune musicians and also Percy himself singing off key ,but by the time a vocal chorus and horns had been added Quin Ivy and Rick Hall knew they had something rather exceptional ,a phone call to Jerry Wexler at Atlantic who grabbed it straight away and with Atlantic's distribution network this oddball with it's soulful descending bass line caught the public attention and gave Atlantic it's first Gold record
Two more big one's were to follow ,Warm and Tender Love and It Tears me Up. These were superb country soul recordings and had Sandy Posey Hershel Wiggington and Jeannie Green on backing vocal ,Jeannie's husband Marlin had played the country style guitar on When A Man''.
These three big ones are included on this CD along with other stand out tracks such as Out of Left Field which a lot of Percy aficionado's think is the best he has ever cut .Percy makes out very well on James Carr's ,Dark End of the Street and but is not so convincing on Solomon Burke's I'm Hanging up my Heart for You and his take on Presley's Love me Tender is open to debate.
From a personal point of view I wish the compiler had maintained the overall slow ballad feel throughout and not included two up-tempo numbers ,Put a Little Lovin' on Me and Love me like you Mean It ,but they are placed consecutively and some listeners may welcome a lively break.
Percy Sledge can be considered to be among the top five country soul artists and with his unique tremulous voice this bargain CD is a fitting example of his work.

Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £7.63

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Country but not too Country, 15 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Ultimate (Audio CD)
Ronnie Milsap's musicianship started when he was a child where he learnt to play classical piano and violin but as he grew he also listened to Rhythm & Blues ,Rock n Roll and a lot of country music..It is with Country that he is mainly associated producing a great many albums and winning during the 70s and 80s just about every country music award going.

His musical apprenticeship continued and from the mid 60s he had his own group played in JJ Gales group and had a hit of his own a R&B styling, Never had it so Good.. As a session player you can hear his key board work on Presley's Kentucky Rain.

Moving to Nashville in the early 70s Ronnie gained a contract with RCA and the hits started rolling out.many of which are on this CD. Stand out tracks here include Don Gibson's I'd be a Legend in my time ,which is the equal of the Roy Orbison version.Smoky Mountain Rain one of his biggest hits,,also avery creditable version of Jim Reeves 's ,Am I losing you.. Up-tempo numbers like Stranger in my House are handled very well and you appreciate what a great versatile voice Ronnie has . Also included on this album is his beautiful Lost in the Fifties Tonight where he takes the listener back to their teenage years and the dawn of Rock n Roll sung to the tune of, In the Still of the Night ,the fabulous doo-w*p tune originally recorded by Fred Parris and the Five Satins,simply sublime.
Die hard Milsap fans will probably have all the songs on this CD but it will be a good introduction to those of you who want to sample his work also to buyers who may not be out and out country fans .This is not the country music of nasal singing ,pedal steel guitars and honky tonk tunes .Many of these tracks have sweeping string orchestrations so more like, up-scale countrypolitan with Milsap sometimes sounding like Neil Diamond with a country tinge.

Get a Shot of Rhythm and Blues: The Arthur Alexander Story
Get a Shot of Rhythm and Blues: The Arthur Alexander Story
by Richard Younger
Edition: Paperback
Price: £29.50

5.0 out of 5 stars He was Alexander the Great but he should have been Greater, 13 Mar. 2013
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Back in 1962 I bought a London 45 rpm record of Arthur Alexander singing You Better Move On ,his melancholic voice stood out from the other R&B/Soul singers that I had collected and I wanted to find out more about him.Further recordings followed and slowly I built up my collection but not my knowledge of this low key hero.Over the years I managed to glean some facts about Arthur from magazine articles and then from sources on the internet .
No one I ever spoke to who had a passing interest in American music had ever heard of him but sadly they knew his songs from the mainly weak cover versions regularly pushed out by British beat groups.This seems to be the same state of play today. Everyone knows Anna[Go to him] by the Beatles but Arthur's original seems to draw a blank.
Fans of Southern Country Soul though revere him highly ,his voice being unmatched for displaying loneliness and despair .

Because of the fact that he didn't even seem to make the scale with regard to his fame I never expected any one would write a biography about him but Richard Younger did just that and the story he tells of Arthur's life like his voice is a rather sad one
Arthur grew up listening to records by Brook Benton , Percy Mayfield and Clyde McPhatter along with many other Black singers of the day but also into his listening conciousness he was taking in the White country sounds of the likes of Eddy Arnold and other Opry stars .When he finally got to record his second disc produced by Rick Hall,You better Move On ,it was rejected by nearly all the major companies ,too black ,too country even Chet Atkins who knew a good song when he heard it turned it down.Eventually the song was released on the Dot label in December 1961.

There then followed a slew of superb records ,with some of them written by Arthur but real success seemed to elude him and Arthur by this time was showing distinct signs of having drug ,drink and varying mental problems.

Dropped by Dot and unable to move his career forward his manager Noel Ball had not only trouble with Arthur but was suffering with Cancer himself but help was offered to Arthur from Fred Foster who had founded the Monument label and had done so much to advance the career of Roy Orbison .Foster was despairing though as no hits followed over a period of four years.

Arthur made records for a few more companies before dropping out of the business altogether again he seemed to hit a downhill spiral , arrested for vagrancy ,drug busts and bizarre behaviour that had him residing from time to time in mental institutions.Who could have perceived that a great songwriter and country soul singer would end up driving a school bus .

His song writing ability was recognised by the Beatles ,Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan who among many recorded Arthurs songs but here again he seemed to lose out ,not always getting the royalties he was due and with his lack of business knowledge coupled with his some what happy go lucky mental state disaster was never far away .Another terrible event befalling him was his son getting shot dead which again set him back .

To cut a well told story short Arthur after many years did get the chance to launch a comeback and record again but as usual his luck ran out and after feeling unwell in Nashville he passed away on 9th June 1993 he was only fifty three.

It is unlikely any one else will write another book about Arthur and there is probably no need for one anyway ,the author has done a really good job giving all the information that is probably available .I have read the book twice and feel that as Arthur's records will live on, this book will also help at last bring the name Arthur Alexander the king of country soul to the fore in the history of American music.

Roots Of Psychobilly
Roots Of Psychobilly
Price: £13.53

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just Psycho ,totally Crazy., 12 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Roots Of Psychobilly (Audio CD)
First track on this fabulous double CD rather sets the manic tone for the rest of the offerings .Love Me by The Phantom [Jerry or was it Marty Lott] cut this piece of mayhem in 1958 ,mayhem reined in the studio with band members going somewhat berserk. during the recording but then after his manager had done nothing with it for about a year ,Mr Lott managed to get the record released on Dot of all labels and with the assistance of croon king Pat Boone of all people..
Lots of pretty obscure no hit wonders on here and I wonder if the compilers recognising this thought they would throw in a few old favourites to help garner sales .Most collectors of Rockabilly which most of this is will already have Whoo Hoo ,,Rock A Teens ,Ghost Riders in the Sky,The Ramrods and Mule Skinner Blues ,The Fendermen but what the heck they are great to listen to and even dare I say somewhat sedate to other tracks here
Vocal tracks alternate with instrumentals ., Screams and yells pervade and we even have a Bo Diddley beat on Jungle Kip Tyler and the Flips,and when listening to Shombalor by Sheriff and the Ravels one wonders at what kind of marketing ,if any occurred when the disc was released.We even have, I Put a Spell on You ,Screaming Jay Hawkins which must have been pure R&B on it's release but who cares , what's in a name
If you are a serious collector or just someone who wants to go back and sample a time when not all Rock n Roll records made the charts then this is for you A great listen ,, remember Geffers told you so

Hound Dog: The Leiber and Stoller Autobiography
Hound Dog: The Leiber and Stoller Autobiography
by Jerry Leiber
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.95

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cool Cats and a Hound Dog., 12 Mar. 2013
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Of all the Jewish songwriters that inhabited New York's Brill Building just off Times Square in the 50-60s Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller are probably the most well known. In this book in collaboration with David Ritz each tells their story a couple of alternate pages at a time .How they met ,fortuitous meetings with Lester Sill ,The Bihari Brothers etc and about their song Hound Dog which had been originally recorded by, Big Mama Thornton and almost forgotten about till Elvis hit the charts with it.
.The stories come cascading out ,how they were warned off from getting too close to Presley ,their runaway success with a slew of hits with R&B group The Coasters ,their involvement with other music big guns of the time such as Phil Spector ,Don Robey ,Hi Weiss Shadow Morton,Jerry Wexler to name a few.
.They had to tread lightly when dealing with complications with the Mob also lightly in another manner in their handling of the tantrums of singer Peggy Lee.
.Naturally they give a good few pages over to the formation and running of the Red Bird label which they owned along with George Goldner ,,heavily involved was producer Shadow Morton and fellow Brill,writers Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry. Of interest to the reader will be a proposed but failed merger with Ahmet Ertegun's Atlantic records and then the demise of Red Bird with the duo virtually handing ownership to Goldner on a plate only for him to let it then slide ,ending up with him then selling all the master recordings to Nashville's Shelby Singleton.
This autobiography is very easy to read but I feel for myself and probably other readers who have a great interest in this period of American Popular music culture,there does not appear to be any startling revelations,nothing new that we have not gleaned before from other sources.but don't be put off by that ,its all here in one volume and with it's index, plentiful black and white photos and a list of their many compositions it is an interesting story,and a worthy addition to your Rock n Roll library.

Save the Last Dance for Me: The Musical Legacy of the Drifters
Save the Last Dance for Me: The Musical Legacy of the Drifters
by Tony Allan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.38

3.0 out of 5 stars Drift Along, 10 Feb. 2013
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I feel somewhat harsh only giving this book 3 stars and it is no fault of the author but of the Drifters themselves. I read my first biography of the Drifters over 40 years ago ,it was written by a then young author called Bill Millar ,I enjoyed it greatly ,it was a slightish volume and he gave all the facts and chart rundowns and also padded the story out with lots about other groups who were prevalent at the time ,I learned a lot ,Move forward to the present day and seeing this book on the Amazon site I decided to update things and see what this authors take on the Drifters enduring history might be. The book starts off well with the usual pre amble of explaining how singing groups came to the fore especially in the R&B field then he leads on with Clyde Mc Phatter and the formation of the group,this is where the trouble starts . With.all groups if they have any longevity it is inevitable that the members will change ,well with the Drifters the reader is bombarded with changes nearly every couple of pages ,the author notes this himself and exhorts the reader to keep up ,it is so mind numbing ,not only do some members leave but some then come back and then leave again Sometimes there are five in the group ,sometimes four then two ,one is a group member but does not sing..Added to all this membership mayhem is the fact of the Drifters manager George Treadwell who owned the Drifters name actually sacking the entire group en -mass e and employing another group called the Crowns to take their place.
The Crowns who became the Drifters had Ben E King as their lead singer and this perhaps for me was the classic line up . The singing style also changed ,out went the old jump tunes and in came string laden ballads with lovely latin backdrops ....Jerry Wexler hated the new line ups first offering produced by the very hot Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller ,There goes my Baby, proved Wex wrong and was a massive hit for the group. The Group in name has existed since around 1953 and member changes must number around 60, coupled with this were numerous breakaway Drifter groups consisting of one or more singers who had been in the main group plus all the fake groups masquerading as Drifters with no connections to them whatsoever.The author Tony Allan writes ,giving interesting follow up info on the main lead singers who have come and gone or died. There is a good list of the groups single releases but no index plus there is a good selection of pictures scattered throughout .So to sum up, the author has made a good job of the Drifters story right on to their involvement with British producers and writers but it is the sheer proliferation of line up changes that make it all a little hard going . On occasion when people tell me they went and saw the Drifters ,I always say ,yes, but which ones. Definitely a book for die hard fans of the Drifters and not for the casual reader.

Motown Summer
Motown Summer
Offered by Telstar Entertainment
Price: £3.85

4.0 out of 5 stars This may have you Dancing In the Street, 10 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: Motown Summer (Audio CD)
One look at the tracks on this triple CD renders any content revue superfluous They are all well known and many purchasers will probably have a good few of them already .As other revue's have stated the mixing is a bit of a mess .I have not the slightest idea who Bobby and Steve are but they do seem to have made a hash of it ,the great early Motown sides sitting rather uneasily with the more funky offerings .Perhaps not a release for the Motown connoisseurs ,but cheap, great for parties or in the car.

Say it One Time for the Broken Hearted: Country Side of Southern Soul
Say it One Time for the Broken Hearted: Country Side of Southern Soul
by Barney Hoskyns
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How Muscle Shoals met the Opry, 10 Feb. 2013
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Whether you are deep into South of the Mason Dixon line country soul, or just wanting to learn what it is all about this is a really excellent book. The author starts off with leading us through the mixing of black R&B with white country music so that we can build an understanding of how the various artists and arrangers arrived at the wonderful tracks that seemed to pour seamlessly out of companies such as Stax ,to name perhaps the most famous .Many readers will be surprised to learn that many of the great recordings of southern soul may have had Percy Sledge or Arthur Alexander as the star of the show but the backing musicians and singers were white,most of them steeped in the out pouring s of The Grand Ole Opry.To add to this during the segregation years even up to the mid 50s there were hardly any radio stations that catered for black tastes in music and many of the top singers dealt with in this book actually grew up listening to white country music .Little wonder that many of them went on to record country based soul albums .The author covers most of the top singers in this genre plus giving plenty of information about Memphis ,segregation and lots of background about Muscle Shoals and potted histories of the record companies I cannot praise this book enough and it may lead some readers on to the more heavy weight reading of authors such as Peter Guralnick [but see some of my other revues].There is an index ,which I find essential for reference work ,a good Bibliography,some black and white photo's ,plus a list of 40 masterpieces that the author has chosen as representative of the best of southern soul.

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