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Tony Martin

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Our Favourite Melodies - Great British Record Labels: Embassy
Our Favourite Melodies - Great British Record Labels: Embassy
Price: £10.41

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Or favourite maladies?, 20 Nov. 2016
No sniggering in the back rows! Embassy was the exclusive 'house' label for the Woolworths chain, starting life in November 1954, the idea being to offer 78rpm recordings (45's came in 1958) of popular music of the day at a budget price. These were 'cover' jobs, and if you weren't fussed by the original release (or knew), or perhaps more interested in the tune/melody, you could save a couple of bob per 78/45. For those with cloth ears, Embassy served a purpose. And it racked up prodigious sales.

The artists? Whatever happened to Mike Redway, Kay Barry, Ray Pilgrim et al? Who knows, but they gamely plied their trade at the weekly session, probably just for a flat fee. Maureen Evans had a half-life on Oriole (the 'proper' arm of Embassy), one or two others here cut for that label as well. No doubt top session men were employed, and by and large, they all stuck to the original version, but the arrangements were typically starchy. Mostly, the vocals are just about acceptable, tho avoid The Canadians and there are one or two ear-bleeders. 'Bud Ashton' was apparently a catch-all name for anyone who cut a guitar instro, to include "Nut Rocker" (?).

This takes me back to more innocent times (the first record I bought was an Embassy 78, back in 1954/55, as a birthday present for someone), before serious record collecting took hold. Major r&r/pop fans will run screaming, but as I said, Embassy served a purpose, might even have turned a few on to the Real Deal.

Angela Jones - Great British Record Labels: Triumph
Angela Jones - Great British Record Labels: Triumph
Price: £9.76

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The mistique of Meek., 20 Nov. 2016
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Of all the labels in this series, Triumph was by far the shortest lived. It didn't last more than 10 months, the catalogue amounted to a mere 14 singles and an EP and it scored but one major top tenner (title track) and glanced at a couple of lower listings. So what justifies the 'great' tag? Because for a brief moment, it was co-owned by the legendary Joe Meek, a would-be great record producer - at least, in his mixed up head. Disc one tells the Triumph 'story', with all its releases, including a Radio Lux jingle, and a spoken word intro from Meek himself, to excerpts from his meisterwerk by The Blue Men. Disc two, "The Ones That Got Away", are recordings originally meant for Triumph, but which Meek leased out to various other labels, such as HMV, Pye and Decca, with the added attraction of previously unissued material from Chris Williams & His Monsters, Charles Blackwell Orch., Eve Boswell, Chick Lewis and Bryan Taylor. As to the music, come on, it's 1960 and pop fare of the period, good, bad and indifferent.

As ever, a thoroughly informative liner note from compiler Roger Dopson, he suggests you hit [...] for even more detail. To my surprise, you can still get the book "The Legendary Joe Meek: The Telstar Man" by John Repsch via Amazon. Good reading.

Girls Gonna Bop: Rockin' Girls From The Late 50's
Girls Gonna Bop: Rockin' Girls From The Late 50's
Price: £9.71

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Frockabilly!, 10 Nov. 2016
Who'd have thought, a five star 'review' from me for this label? Well, it's a cracker, if you're a rockabilly, r&r fan, happy with countrybilly and a couple of teeners, even a hint of r&b, what's not to like? The very acceptable Jo Ann Campbell was a low point (?), so much better stuff littered about, many of which were new to me. Well, when I say 'new', I'd forgotten them, these tracks graced many a Euroboot back in the day. The average pace is mid- to rockin', fiery guitar (select a favoured picker), a little steel, piano and sax scattered about. Great titles and great vocals, these dames could rock with the best. All rounded off with a good set of notes by compiler and label head Bob Stanley, plus colour label scans. Definately worthy of investigation, doubt you'd be disappointed.

Slide Order Of The Blues - The Singles As & Bs 1952-1962
Slide Order Of The Blues - The Singles As & Bs 1952-1962
Price: £11.30

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Master of the slide guitar!, 2 Nov. 2016
Fans of blues/r&b and slide/bottleneck guitar, not forgetting his rasping, powerful vocals will know what to expect. Sub-title sums it up, "The Singles A's & B's 1952-1962", so a career overview, taken from Trumpet, Meteor, Flair, Checker, Modern, Chief, Vee-Jay, Fire and Enjoy. Who can forget his his signature slide riff on "Dust My Broom", played on his amped acoustic guitar. Much copied by many over the years, revisted here and there on t his set. If you've got a great riff - use it! Filed under blues, it's as much solid r&b, gets to rockin' here and there, tight little band provides great backup. Fine notes, full session details. The only reason I didn't give five stars is because there's a lot of Elmore out there.

Doo Wop Soda Shop - Atmospheric & Romantic Harmony Sounds from the '50s and '60s
Doo Wop Soda Shop - Atmospheric & Romantic Harmony Sounds from the '50s and '60s
Price: £9.91

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rare smooth doo wop., 3 Oct. 2016
If you like your doo wop low'n'slow, heed the sub-title: "atmospheric & romantic harmony sounds from the 50s and 60s". 24 dreamy sorta cuts, of which I was only familiar with The Fiestas, being the flip of their hit "So Fine" (not here). Frankie Valle & The Romans was a no-brainer, but as to the rest, well, ? I had to reach for my Big Boys Book of Doo Wop to check further! I think you'll have to be an afionada (a rich one at that) to be able to treat these names with casual aplomb. Same for the labels, such as Lena, Cindy, Fox, Curtis, Nu Kat, et al. The booklet offers a double page spread of colour label scans, plus three individual shots. (The Ravels offer "Lonely One" on Vee-Jay, but the label pic is of the A side, "Shombalor", credited to Sherrif & The Ravels). The notes, by label boss Bob Stanley, are generally pretty good, offering much detail on many acts, but this eases off in the last paragraph, minimal facts. As to the music, it's not bad, but being almost at funereal pace throughout, my mind did drift here and there. Could we have the top decks - these surely mainly B sides? - with some livelier content? Thinking about it, as a doo wop fan, maybe I should be giving a 3.5 star rating.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 16, 2016 11:20 AM GMT

Great Double Sided Singles - Great A Sides With Fantastic B Sides
Great Double Sided Singles - Great A Sides With Fantastic B Sides
Price: £10.50

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Double sided value!, 29 Aug. 2016
Back when, from '56 to '60, as here, it was counted an unexpected bonus if the flip of your eagerly anticipated buy was on par with the top deck. That's the reason for this nifty little set, compiled by Rog(er) Peyton, who in his youth (an onward) bought all these on 78/45. All bar one, being the Mooglows, which he ordered from two or three shops, no luck, it apparently being permanently out of stock. From pocket money, no doubt a paper round, to early work days, his rather fine taste is reflected in the titles herein.

For me, after a fair few years in the 'specialist' record biz, there's nothing rare here, but it's nice to see the actual pairings together, as opposed to many an A side appearing on numerous LP and later, CD compilations. So, from doo-wop (Moonglows, Rays), to cheesy pop (Kalin Twins), hairy instros (Eddie Smith, Jimmy & Nighthoppers), great teen rockers (Sammy Salvo flip) and points between, this brings back the memories for me, tho I was too young to appreciate the grandeur of the Guy Mitchell pairing (preferred his over Tommy Steele). One or two didn't fire me up, Billy Williams (I did prefer the flip), Bill Parsons a bit iffy, but that's personal taste. But overall, very enjoyable.

All these were UK releases, relevant numbers given - no surprise, a fair few London releases - and our Rog gives a paragraph of notes per act, including how we got the 'original' by John Zacherle.

Don't Knock Upon My Door - Six Dozen Great British B Sides
Don't Knock Upon My Door - Six Dozen Great British B Sides
Price: £9.58

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So what was the A side?, 25 Aug. 2016
72 Britpop B sides from the late 50's to early 60's might be a bit much to handle. Unless you're a fan of flips. First three - Billy Fury (title), The Krew Kats ("Peak Hour") and Marty Wilde ("It's Been Nice") are more than acceptable, a few others caught my ears. Good to hear Nero & The Gladiators "That's A Long Time Ago", which I bought back in the day, haven't heard for an age. One or two others, to include Johnny Duncan's "Rock-A-Billy Baby", Jim Dale's "Don't Let Go", Lonnie Donegan's "Talking Guitar Blues", others besides, but for me, too much of the pop schlock of the period to hold my interest. But it's a good value set, compiled by Roger Dopson, who also supplies excellent notes.

The Axeman Cometh - The Birth Of The Great British Guitar Hero
The Axeman Cometh - The Birth Of The Great British Guitar Hero
Price: £10.24

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Who was the guitarist?, 25 Aug. 2016
Late 50's/early 60's as here, you'd expect the bloke playing guitar to be in the group. Not necessarily so, for various reasons a session guitarist was sometimes called for. Said guitarist could be in the employ of the studio or label, or he could be moonlighting from an already established outfit. One way to work on your licks, for a modest fee (about £7 per session back then). Roger Dopson, compiler, offers 69 cuts, many well known, from the cream (?) of Britpop of the period, that were aided no end by the efforts of a session guitarist.

Take the opener, Cliff's classic "Move It". Cut July 24, 1958, it featured Ernie Shear on lead, with Ian Samwell on that buzzin' rhythm guitar. (In fact, no full Shads until February '59). Johnny Kidd used the talents of Alan Caddy and Joe Moretti, apart from Mick Green. (Even uncle Bert Weedon does a very creditable Moretti impersonation on Kidd's "Feelin'"!). Moretti pops up again on "Brand New Cadillac" and the only reason I bought Michael Cox's "Sweet Little Sixteen" was because of the guitar (Big Jim Sullivan). Tony Sheridan was a nifty picker, how about Vic Flick (John Barry Seven), Denny Wright, Eric Ford, Rhet Stoller, Albert Lee, Ritchie Blackmore, not forgetting Joe Brown. And all the rest, tho I have to admit the tracks by Geoff Goddard, Helen Shapiro and Tony Hatch let the side down somewhat. Personal taste. But overall, a not less than interesting set, focuses your thinking/listening and I picked up 'new' facts, courtesy Dopson's excellent notes.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 29, 2016 1:20 PM BST

A Rhythm & Blues Chronology 5 1949
A Rhythm & Blues Chronology 5 1949
Price: £20.21

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It rocks, it rolls, it delights the ear, 22 July 2016
It's 1949 and we have a rhythm'n'blues chart at last, thanks to the efforts of Jerry Wexler. This is rammed full of boogie'n'bop, jump'n'jive, a smattering of blues balladry, a very few raw (white) country acts, even a cajun cut, and it all hangs together beautifully. No doubt many of you will be familiar with the majority of the artists at least, if not all the toons and if you're new to the real r&b (as opposed to the sad present day pop version), you'll be in for a shock/treat. This the province of the hardened collector, check it out, this what rocks their boat! Plenty sax, piano, a little guitar, what with the big touring swing dominated big bands fading away (too expensive to run), smaller combos carry the load. And look/listen to the vocalists! Twelve page booklet has plenty to say, colour label scans, tasty b&w pix. Utterly essential, totally recommended, you NEED this! (Cheaper on MP3...whatever that is).

Extended Play...
Extended Play...
Price: £9.57

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Smooth doo-wop to pop, 22 July 2016
This review is from: Extended Play... (Audio CD)
Another early fave of mine, possibly my first introduction to White doo-wop (before I knew what doo-wop was). "A Teenager In Love" caught my ear, only a modest chart intem in the UK, robbed of a higher placing by inferior covers by Craig Douglas and Marty Wilde. The first 11 titles by Dion & The Belmonts, the balance by Dion solo, the whole lot spanning 1958/62. Looks like the EP's themselves are from various sources, couple from Stateside, pair from Vogue, maybe Leedon? Socking good doo-wop from "I Wonder Why", "I Can't Go On (Rosalee)" and the aforementioned "A Teenager In Love". After break-up with the Belmonts, Dion went solo and scored in the UK with "Lonely Teenager", "The Wanderer" and "Runaround Sue", sad to say, "Little Diane", a personal fave, what with its mad kazoo break, didn't chart. Nice...

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