Customer Review

26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mixing comedy and serious music alienated fans, 31 Aug 2006
This review is from: They're In Town (Audio CD)
Please note that this is a re-issue of an earlier double CD with a similar title but different packaging.

The Rocking berries were, when they chose to be, a brilliant pop group. They could also sing great comic songs. Their problem was that their fans did not appreciate this mix. So maybe the group would have had more success if they had left the comedy to the Barron Knights, the specialists at that kind of music. They had one other problem - they didn't write their own material so all their hits (and misses) were covers.

The group built up a huge reputation as a live act and secured a contract with Decca. They recorded two singles for Decca, neither of which charted in Britain although one (Wah wah wah woo) did well in Germany, where they were also known as great live performers. Decca dropped them but they soon got a contract with Piccadilly and it is their Piccadilly recordings that make up this compilation.

They began with a minor hit - a cover of I didn't mean to hurt you (Shirelles) that spent just one week in the UK charts, at 43. It might have been a much bigger hit but an extraordinary thing happened - their second single was rush-released almost immediately. The Tokens, a successfully American group, had made little impact in Britain (one minor hit - The lion sleeps tonight - which lost out to a cover by Karl Denver) but were about to release He's in town, which would surely have been a big UK hit for them, but the Rocking berries had heard their demo and recorded their own cover, which made the top three. As to the Tokens, they never had another British hit, all their best songs being hits via British cover versions.

The group seemed set up when they were initially given Funny how love can be, a song written by two members of another British group, the Ivy League. The Rocking berries recorded a brilliant version that would have been another huge hit. Unfortunately for them, the Ivy League decided to release their own version as a single so, as Piccadilly, was a subsidiary of Pye (the Ivy League's label), the Rocking berries were not allowed to release their version as a single but it is included here.

They had a minor hit with What in the world's come over you (a cover of a Dovells song), then scored their second and last big UK hit with Poor man's son (a cover of a Reflections song) that made the top five. This was followed by another Tokens cover (You're my girl) but it was only a minor hit, sales hampered by the simultaneous release of a four-track EP.

It was at this point that their comedy material started to alienate their younger fans and only one more minor hit followed - The water is over my head (a cover of an Eddie Hodges song). Several other singles all missed the charts but it didn't seem to bother the group for a while - they were very busy as a variety act and didn't need hits.

This comprehensive collection contains all their hits and failed singles, B-sides, EP and LP tracks. Most of the music is serious, their comedy mostly limited to live shows, but examples of their lighter side are evident in tracks such as Harvest of love (a song that you would expect to hear from the Wurzels or the Barron Knights), When I'm cleaning windows (a cover of the George Formby classic) and two children's songs (The laughing policeman, I know an old lady).
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4.2 out of 5 stars (12 customer reviews)
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Location: Leicester England

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