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Tony Martin

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Son Of A Gun - Anthology 1956-1962
Son Of A Gun - Anthology 1956-1962
Price: £10.39

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yes, very pleasant without rockin' my boat too much, 30 Nov. 2015
Personally, I think Clark is a trifle overrated as a rockckabilly/r&r singer, what with his limited vocal style, but generally, what he did he did well. I'm hardly an authority on the man, having only bought "Son Of A Gun" in period, catching up as the years progressed. On top of this, I think it's international law that you can't mention Sanford without giving space to producer Lee Hazlewood. Content here is from Dot, Jamie, Trey and Project, ranges from rockabilly ("The Fool"), mild rockers, oddball stuff and pop/rock/country. Most of it is well enough performed (think Rick Nelson in style) and is enjoyable. Excellent notes by compiler Roger Dopson add to a tidy and enjoyable set.

That'll Be The Day - Five Dozen Dodgy British Cover Versions
That'll Be The Day - Five Dozen Dodgy British Cover Versions
Price: £7.87

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Aural self-flaggination!, 23 Nov. 2015
Wanna laugh? A double set of 66 innocent American toons, given the full benefit of British starch and reserve, from the mid fifties on. From camp to cringe, we certainly couldn't get to grips with making r&r.

For all the wrong reasons, I derived some perverse pleasure from the content, starting with Larry Page's assassination of "That'll Be The Day", a choice (?) opener and harbinger of what was to follow. Compiled by Groper Osden, his rather excellent notes pull no punches, words such as 'utter dud', 'diabolical', 'thoroughly useless' and 'diabolical' litter said notes. Truly, an excess of embarrassment! Sad really, most of the vocals are pretty good, it's the backing that kills things. And the fact that one or two here are trying a format that was alien to them - Dickie Valentine and Dennie Lotis Spring to mind.

Still and all, there's a degree of innocent charm in all this. You can imagine the sound engineers, in their white lab coats, horrified at the thought of the needle going into the red; session men puzzled by the looseness of the original, which couldn't be written down; producers yearning for the rigours of quickstep and foxtrot.

Maybe I was in forgiving mode, but I actually enjoyed some of this, in a 'knowing' sort of way. This the stuff we had to contend with, I wonder how many teens were suckered into buying some of these? I mean, Dickie Valentine was 33 when he recorded "Teenager In Love"!
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 22, 2016 12:54 PM GMT

Gold Star Rockers: Eddie Cochran & Friends
Gold Star Rockers: Eddie Cochran & Friends
Price: £11.05

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Check out the loose Eddie Cochran connection, 15 Nov. 2015
Now here's a mighty entertaining set. A glance at the title and sub-title (not to mention the rather spiffy front cover pic) would have you reasonably guessing at the goings on at the Gold Star recording studios, Hollywood, in the hands of Eddie Cochran. Well, sort of. The Cochran connection goes back to his earliest days, from 1956 on, as one of the Cochran Bros (no family connections!) as vocalist, songwriter, and lead guitarist/session player.

Far from all these cuts were recorded at Gold Star and EC doesn't play on everything here. Some artistic connections are tenuous at best (e.g., the Burnette brothers were chums), but the whole makes for a mighty enjoyable r&r set at minimal money. (Those with a good selection of Rockstar releases,mother 'home' of Eddie Cochran, might have a minor beef). Highlights are many, not least the blasting double header, "South's Gonna Rise Again/Red Hot Rockin' Blues" by Jesse James, aka Lee Denson. In fact, Denson leads off with some fine r&r, a Cochran co-write from 1957. Eddie also appears as a backing vocalist on some Gene Vincent numbers, from his "Record Date" sessions, in between takes popping off to cut his "Summertime Blues". Ray Stanley was an important figure in Cochran's early career, trouble is, no one seemed to tell him that he was no great shakes as a vocalist. And why did he take credit for Eddie's superb instro, "Pushin'"? Minor complaints really, more than compensated by much else.

Compiler Dave Penny has done his usual excellent job in gumming it all together, backed up by his superfine liner notes. I learned one or two things, and left space for one or two questions. All the usual label/number info, colour scans of labels can be found beneath the CDs in the trays. Treat yourself, you deserve it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 24, 2015 7:22 AM GMT

Soul For Dancers: Out On The Floor Firecrackers That Ignited The Northern Soul Boom - [Double Disc]
Soul For Dancers: Out On The Floor Firecrackers That Ignited The Northern Soul Boom - [Double Disc]

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No, it's R&B and well worth a listen, 31 Oct. 2015
If you're an r&b fan, even a r&r fan, there's much to commend this set. Add in a soupçon of gospel (mainly in delivery), a hint of jazz and some blues and you've got the measure of this compilation. Don't let the headline titling put you off! A few cuts from the 1950's, mostly early 60's, this timespan alone should tell you that you're not in 'soul' territory yet. With the benefit of hindsight, I guess you can hear where the music's going, but to my ears, t'ain't there yet. I meantersay, when I bought Ray Charles, Bobby Bland, Eddie Bo, Benny Spelman, Arthur Alexander, maybe one or two others here, I don't think the term 'soul' was in general use re a musical genre. In fact, much of what I bought I'd be happy enough to describe as black pop of the period - so shoot me!

Compiled and noted by Lois Wilson, she's nailed together a rather handsome comp, which brought me many a happy memory. I was familiar with the majority of the acts (tho not all the toons), and of the few artists new to me - Bruce Cloud, Willie Cobbs, The Great Nathaniel, Johnnie Mae Matthews, Eloise Carter, Martha Carter, Louis (Blues Boy) Jones and Annie Williams (a few?) - all were up to snuff, some more so than others.

I bought two 45's here totally on spec, based on artist name and title. Bunker Hill's "Hide And Go See Pts 1&2" on Stateside, a raucous workout, great vocal, nonsense lyric and unvaried four-to-the-bar drumming, backed by Link Wray's band, think I played it a couple of times, binned it. (For some reason, it was briefly popular at r&r record hops late 70's/early 80's). T'other was by Nathaniel Mayer & The Fabulous Twilights, "Village Of Love", definitely eye-catching in print and it delivered a screaming vocal, with a doo-woppish backing, slightly dodgy sound (blame the Fortune Records studio) and barely crack two minutes (think it was on HMV). Money well spent!

Usual FV presentation (here in a 'normal' CD case), loadsa colour label scans, notes per artist. I still think the title/s might mislead at a casual glance, would prefer "R&B For Dancers", but as I've said before, I'm a fussy old tart. (Talking of ambiguous titling, go check FV's earlier release, "Motor City: The Motown Vocal Group Sound", featuring a wealth of doo-wop and r&b...nice).

Extended Play
Extended Play
Price: £8.24

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another deiified legend, 16 Oct. 2015
This review is from: Extended Play (Audio CD)
He burst onto the r&r scene in '56 with the classic "Be-Bop-A-Lula", an international hit (with three bites at the UK chart!), then the hits got a bit smaller, "I'm Going Home" being his last UK charter, a humble #36 in August 1961. Mind you, those other few UK hits were mainly quality, helped in large part by his superb (original) backing band, the sanctified Blue Caps. This was our first brush with rockabilly, had we known it, thanks in large part to his guitarist, Cliff Gallup. All this came to me later, I was but a schoolboy in 1956. Truth be told, I never was much of a Vincent fan, a statement that could get me lynched in certain quarters nowadays. "Pistol Packin' Mama", not one of his best, being pop r&r, looms large in my memory only because it reminds me of a Saturday job in a small supermarket on Wimbledon Broadway in 1960.

But there is quality stuff here, premier r'billy/r&r among lesser items. If you want a more concentrated sample of Vincent/Blue Caps/Gallup, get your ears around 20 of their finest on "The Great Rock'n'Roll Stringbenders" on Righteous Records.

Extended Play... Original EP Sides
Extended Play... Original EP Sides
Price: £8.24

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh boy!, 15 Oct. 2015
For some reason, as I write this, no track listing! Whatever, as a dedicated Holly fan, all the cuts are like old friends to me, and I can still sing along to 'em all (not a pleasant sound, I assure you). Many UK hits here, from "That'll Be The Day" from '57 thru to his last chart entry in 1968, a double header "Peggy Sue/Rave On", here as individual tracks. As we all know, Buddy was killed in a plane crash on February 3, 1959, along with The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens and in his so-short recording career, he cut many a r&r masterpiece that went on to influence many a future pop star. He covered all musical bases for me, rockabilly (before I knew the term and musical style - "Blue Days Black Nights" as an example), a hint of what I'd learn was rhythm'n'blues, first-rate pop r&r, excellent rockaballads and the odd wimpish ballad (e.g. "Raining In My Heart") which I tolerated because it was Buddy Holly. He was the first artist to get me rooting around in 'back catalogue', for I was a schoolboy when he was in his pomp. In fact, the very first vinyl album I blew thirty-odd bob on was "The Buddy Holly Story", first released in March 1959, obscenely soon after after that tragic air crash, tho I guess I didn't buy mine until 1960, due to financial considerations.

There are 31 titles on this disc, all of which I owned, many on the EP (extended play) format. If you're a r&r fan, you may have some of these already - good man! - but if not, Holly is an ESSENTIAL buy! For me, pure nostalgia, wrapped around some great music. (So much so, that I've re-read my hardback "Buddy The Biography" by Phillip Norman, 1996 vintage. Good news, Amazon have the 1996 paperback reprint available, I urge you to get it, probably the best book available on Buddy Holly).

Goodbye Texas, Hello Tennessee, 1950 - 1962
Goodbye Texas, Hello Tennessee, 1950 - 1962
Price: £6.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yahee, good country set, 9 Oct. 2015
Probably better known in the UK as a character actor in numerous film and TV westerns, e,g, "Rawhisde" as Pete Nolan, than a country vocalist. But that he was, started recording for Bullet Records in 1945, to Blue Bonnet in 1947, by 1948 he was at MGM, thru to 1973. He probably enjoyed a more successful vocal career as drunken alter ego Ben Colder.

We forgo the early Bullet and Blue Bonnet material, it's MGM all the way here, more or less two sides of Wooley, first 13 cuts span 1950/58, basically hillbilly, with a very fine backing combo, heavy on the steel guitar. His first hit, "Are You Satisfied", oddly didn't feature in any U.S. country chart, but managed a lowly 95 on the Billboard listing. Come '58, he scored a #1 on country and pop with the novelty rocker "The Purple People Eater", even a respectable #12 on the UK chart. (I seem to recall it by Don Lang - am I dreaming?).

"That's My Pa" finally hit the top country spot in 1962, a novelty pop and country item and the only Sheb Wooley record I bought (it didn't mean a thing over here). Which prompted his first album, "That's My Pa And That's My Ma", made up of previous cuts and material specific to the LP. This was the more dedicated country side of Sheb, and it's here in its entirety. Getting towards the Nashville sound, but nothing to really take offence over. ("That's My Ma" a heartfelt recitation).

Vocally, Wooley had a pretty powerful voice, think Johnny Cash in timbre, and he was a nifty songwriter. I enjoyed this well enough, it'll have plenty of appeal to country fans.

Motor City: The Motown Vocal Group Sound
Motor City: The Motown Vocal Group Sound
Price: £8.36

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Motown's doo-wop roots!, 1 Oct. 2015
Casual glance at the track listing, all the usual suspects, Miracles, David Ruffin, Spinners, Temptations, Contours, Marvin Gaye, well known Motown artists, and I'm not a Motown fan. Nor much of a soul fan of the Motown stylie.

So I was gratifyingly satisfied by what I heard, from the Marv Johnson opener - solid slow r&b from '59 (in fact, the very first issue on Tamla) - to more in similar style, plus a great big dollop of doo-wop thru the 89 tracks! Slow and mid-pace mainly, identifiably doo-wop, with a hint of what was to come. I did not know, f'rinstance, that the Temps were rooted in doo-wop; it makes sense, of course, so please excuse my ignorance. Perhaps I should've taken note of the sub-title to this set, 'The Motown Vocal Group Sound'.

Many names were new to me, Voice Masters, Chico Leverett, Satintones, Cap-Tans, Ty Hunter, Ruben Fort, Popcorn & The Mohawks and Lamont Anthony (aka Lamont Dozier), all these from CD1! Later in the set, I don't think these Equadors were the same as the group on RCA, the Valadiers were the first white group signed by Berry Gordy, Singin' Sammy Ward was a bit of an old-style blueser much more that was new to me.

Every act gets a write-up, across the eight different labels - Tamla, Motown, Miracle, Gordy, Mel-o-dy, Anna, Tri-Phi and Harvey. Colour scans of the labels are the only pictorial content, apart from an 'outtake' cover shot of the Temps. This set was compiled by Laurence Cane-Honeysett, notes by Dave Rimmer, I still can't get over it, me diggin' a Motown set, whatever next? If you're into r&b and doo-wop, do check this out, I'm pretty sure you'll get max pleasure. That cover shot may put some off, but as Bo succinctly put it, you caint judge a book by looking at the cover. Amen to that!

All About The Girls
All About The Girls
Price: £9.49

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pity there's no "Doo lang doo lang doo lang", 28 Sept. 2015
This review is from: All About The Girls (Audio CD)
Sub-titled 'Lost Girl Group Gems Of The 1960s', worthy of brief mention. Why brief? Because I'm only sure of two of the acts, Robin Clark and The Chiffons, and even here the songs were new to me. For me, enjoyable 4/5 tracks at a time, purely shrieking content minimal. Nice notes, plenty of b&w pics, nice colour label scans. Perhaps I'll grow to like it more as I play it a bit at a time. A line from the press release sheet sums it up a treat..."Teenage traumas, doo-daps, sha-la-las and doo-tangs by the bucketload".
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 7, 2015 9:59 PM GMT

Songs For Swinging Ghosts
Songs For Swinging Ghosts
Price: £9.92

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Spooky or what?, 28 Sept. 2015
December 1960 (or more likely, early '61), I slapped down 6/4d for a copy of "Mandrake" b/w "The Witch's Twist", a fine double sided guitar instro by er, Mandrake (Philips PB 1093). So 55 years pass, I've never heard anything else by him (was it a 'him'?), until about 10 minutes ago, with the aid of Dave Burke (Pipeline co-editor, the mag for instro folk) and Google. Mandrake was the pro name for Vinnie Rogers, session guitarist, used a home-made guitar, had about five singles on U.S. Columbia, died in 1965. Bit of an anti-climax really...

This release is aimed at the casual Halloween buyer, 24 tracks, 13 of which are instrumentals, the long mysterious Mandrake being my main reason for getting this, well worth it. Mind you, there are some sad vocals to put up with, e.g., Max Bygraves, or Mike & Bernie Winters, and some of the instro content migh test your patience (Ted Heath, Tony Hatch and Frank Weir as examples). About the only other vocals that raised my interest came from Johnny Otis and Lord Sutch, soft spot for the Kay Starr version. So, for me, the instro content to the rescue, overall not too bad.

Chris Williams & The Students' first single "The Monster" was written and produced by Joe Meek in '59, he certainly had an influence on Charles Blackwell. The Scorpions became Phoenix in the late 60's, The Ravens were an American outfit. Weirdest of the lot is by Janine de Wayleyne, playing her ondes Martenot, which to me sounds like a theremin. According to the notes, nothing's known about The Vampires, tho Parlophone thought them worthy of this A and B. In fact, all these cuts from UK labels, Decca, Columbia, Oriole, Capitol, etc.

To call it a mixed bag is something of an understatement. Dreadful, weird, interesting, even fascinating and tell me, what's that sleeve all about? Looks a bit hippy to me! Still, I've found out about Mandrake, that alone elevates it to 3.5 stars.

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