5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Most comprehensive compilation of Helen Shapiro's music yet released,
This review is from: The Ultimate Helen Shapiro (The Emi Years) (Audio CD)Commemorating the 50th anniversary of Helen Shapiro's first hit single, this is an excellent collection featuring 89 tracks that she recorded as a teenager. Over the next few years, these recordings will all fall into the public domain under British law, but the price of this compilation is such that it wouldn't be worth waiting. If one of those labels that specializes in music over 50 years old releases a comparable Helen Shapiro compilation in (say) five years time, the price won't likely be any better, though the booklet notes might be.
This set is divided into categories, which are sometimes arbitrary. The first CD is titled Singles and features the A sides of Helen's own hits, but is not limited to them as they only occupy the first dozen tracks. Her first four UK hits were also her biggest, with two of them (You don't know, Walking back to happiness) going all the way to number one and the other two (Don't treat me like a child, Tell me what he said) making the top three. After that, she had just one more top ten hit (Little Miss Lonely) and six minor hits, ending with a cover of Fever (Peggy Lee). The rest of the first CD no doubt includes failed singles.
The second CD is titled Hits of the 60's and features covers of other people's songs. It was common in those days for people to record cover versions, and I, for one, am just as happy to listen to covers of proven songs as to original songs. It is clear from other reviews that a lot of people don't like cover versions, but I knew that years ago. Helen recorded so many covers that you'll find more elsewhere in this set, as you'll see from the track listings of CD 1 and CD 3.
The third CD is titled Rarities, but I'm not sure if they all fit that category. Helen was the first singer to record It's my party (a few months before Lesley Gore) but it has been released on CD before on more than one occasion. It is included here because it was part of an album (Helen in Nashville) that appears in its entirety here in this set. The two tracks released as a single (Not responsible, Woes is me) are on CD 1, while the rest of the tracks from that album form the first ten tracks on CD 3. The booklet notes do not mention this fact; indeed, they just focus on Helen's general career and could be inserted into virtually any compilation of Helen's music and not be out of place.
This collection contains many of the tracks previously released on the double CD Very Best of, but does not replace it because in my review of that CD, I mentioned the obscure songs When I'm with you, I was only kidding, You won't come home and the intriguingly titled Daddy couldn't get me one of those. Only one of those four are featured here, and if I checked, I might find others. This is another outstanding collection of Helen's music, with some stuff that was previously hard to find along with the obvious hits and other previously released material.