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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sweet Gene Vincent, 4 April 2011
Dangerous Dave (Berkhamsted, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Blue Jean Bop/Gene Vincent Rocks (Audio CD)
There is a tendency to think that albums per se as opposed to mere collections of singles didn't really come into being until the 60's. That was certainly not the case for Gene Vincent whose albums often appeared to have distinct personalities of their own. The twofer here illustrates the point.

The first of the pair, "Blue Jean Bop", has a most curious running order, strictly alternating rockers and ballads. The impression it gave was that Capitol were rather unsure of their audience i.e. was this rock'n'roll stuff really going to last? Shouldn't they try and appeal to some grown-ups? (If that's the case then they shouldn't have chosen that cover piccie where the boys look like they're just having a break between pinching hubcaps!). The rockabilly numbers are all great with at least 3 - "Bluejean Bop", "Who slapped John", and "Jump Back" - being amongst his best. And you need all of these for the magnificent Gallup solo's. However the ballads have a lightweight and strangely old-fashioned production, though they're not without charm.

For the 2nd album, not present here, Capitol went the whole hog on R'n'R. It's almost as if they took the rockers from the first one and moved it all up a gear. In the process they managed to generate one of the true rockabilly classics.

By the 3rd, "Gene Vincent Rocks and the Blue Caps Roll", the sound had changed significantly. The highly accaimed and influential Cliff Gallup had been replaced by Johnny Meeks. Whilst both had come from a country background their output was very different. Meeks had more of an electric sound with a shimmering ballad feel. The other change was the addition of the "Clapper Boys". Not only did these guys provide the distinctive clapping sound on many records, they also provided background vocals in a kind of doowop manner. Apparently Gene, who had by now been on tour with black vocal groups, wanted to add this sound into the mix.

Intriguingly the overall results achieved on this album are almost the opposite to the first. With the exception of "Rollin' Danny" which exudes lascivious menace, the main rockers are pleasing but not overly strong. The ballads however are excellent. The sound is much fuller with the Gene confidently projecting above a raft of Clapper Boys oohs and aahs. The greatest of the lot is "Never walk alone". I have to add that I have always been convinced that it was Gerry Marsden's attempt to cover this arrangement which led to the famous Kop anthem coming into being. Another oldie, "You belong to me" isn't far behind. The "in-between" numbers also come across well. "Silvery Moon" is a match for the little Richard version of this song albeit very different. From the timing I'm not sure which of these actually came out first i.e. who influenced who. The version of "Frankie and Johnnie" that appears here is the best I have heard. After a slow to medium, very deliberate, guitar intro, all the new elements click into place and Gene ratchets up the tension as the song develops. Overall the production on this set allows Gene to show off his vocal talents, in a way that hadn't been possible hitherto, from haunting melisma on the slowies to a Penniman rasp (which even appears in an impressive reading of "Your Cheating Heart").

If this collection had included album no. 2 then I'd have had no hesitation awarding 5 stars. As it is it's still 4 and a bit and a very good buy.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars economic priced first and third LP re-issued on CD, 8 Aug. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Blue Jean Bop/Gene Vincent Rocks (Audio CD)
Gene Vincent really was the greatest rocker of them all and it is good news to see two early LP's reisssued at such a price. Blue Jean Bob is a real classic LP and one wonders how far he could have gone had his career been less of a personal disaster but that never showed in the great stage performances. If you haven't got these two or want to preserve the originals gettem now!
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Blue Jean Bop/Gene Vincent Rocks
Blue Jean Bop/Gene Vincent Rocks by Gene Vincent (Audio CD - 2001)
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