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In the liner notes for Volume 2 of this wonderfully evocative CD reissue series ("The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll") – the collector-friendly British label Ace Records states - "...Once again only the best quality master tapes have been used in this compilation after months of research..." – and you have to say they kept their promise. After years of needle-drops by other less scrupulous reissue companies – the audio quality on this second CD volume is right up there. And even now in 2015 – 22 years after its initial release – Volume 2 is still on catalogue...

The second instalment follows the same route as Volume 1 – 30 cleverly sequenced Mono US 7" singles (only "You Belong To Me" by The Duprees is in Stereo) – a nice mixture of the obvious with the obscure/rare (three US numbers 1s while only 5 of these 30 American releases charted in the UK) – and all presented to fans by a record company that knows and cares and has a reputation to maintain. The full 18 volumes in Ace's "The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll" CD Series to 2015 are listed below. So while Link Wray's guitar has a 'Rumble' somewhere 'In The Still Of The Nite' - here are the details for 'Alley Oop' who's only looking to 'Get A Job' (if you get my 'Buzz Buzz Buzz')...

UK and USA released March 1992 - "The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll Volume 2: Hot 100 Hits From 1954-1963" by VARIOUS ARTISTS on Ace Records CDCHD 445 (Barcode 029667144520) is a 30-track CD and breaks down as follows (74:26 minutes):

1. Memphis – LONNIE MACK
June 1963 US 7" single on Fraternity 906 (peaked at 5)
July 1963 UK 7" single on Stateside SS 207 (peaked at 47)
An Instrumental of a Chuck Berry classic

2. I Sold My Heart To The Junkman – THE BLUE-BELLES
May 1962 USA 7” single on Newtown 5000 (peaked at 15)
June 1962 UK 7" single on HMV Records POP 1029 (didn’t chart)
Girl Vocal Group featuring Sarah Dash and Nona Hendryx from The Del-Capris and Patti LaBelle (as Pat Hunt) with Cindy Birdsong from The Ordettes

3. You Belong To Me – THE DUPREES
June 1962 US 7" single on Coed 569 (peaked at 7)
October 1962 UK 7" single on HMV Records 45-POP 1073 (didn’t chart)
A cover version of a Pee Wee King song from the 40s made famous by Jo Stafford in 1952. This track is in the only one on the compilation in Stereo.

4. Your Ma Said You Cried In Your Sleep Last Night – KENNY DINO
November 1961 US 7" single on Musicor 1013 (peaked at 24)
December 1961 UK 7" single on HMV Records 45-POP 960 (didn’t chart)

5. A Million To One – JIMMY CHARLES
August 1960 US 7" single on Promo 1002 (peaked at 5)
October 1960 UK 7" single on London HLU 9206 (didn’t chart)

6. Rockin’ In The Jungle – THE ETERNALS
August 1959 USA 7" single on Hollywood 68 (peaked at 78)
November 1959 UK 7" single on London HL 8995 (didn't chart)

7. Wild Weekend – THE ROCKIN’ REBELS
March 1963 USA 7" single on Swan 4125 (peaked at 8)
March 1963 UK 7" single on Stateside SS 162 (didn’t chart)
Credited as THE REBELS in the USA, THE ROCKIN’ REBELS in the UK. An instrumental recorded in late 1960 and initially released February 1961 on Mar-Lee Records 0094

8. Stay – MAURICE WILLIAMS and THE ZODIACS
September 1960 USA 7" single on Herald 552 (peaked at 1)
December 1960 UK 7" single on Top Rank JAR 526 (peaked at 14)

9. Down The Aisle Of Love – THE QUINTONES
September 1958 USA 7" single on Hunt 321 (peaked at 18)
First released in 1958 in the USA on Red Top 108 - Not released in the UK

10. Mountain Of Love – HAROLD DORMAN
April 1960 USA 7" single on Rita 1003 (peaked at 21)
April 1960 UK 7" single on Top Rank JAR 357 (didn’t chart)
Johnny Rivers had a No. 9 hit with the song in November 1964 on Imperial 66075 – Charley Pride also cut a Country version of the tune in 1982

11. Nag – THE HALOS
August 1961 USA 7" single on Seven Arts 709 (peaked at 25)
September 1961 UK 7" single on London HLU 9424 (didn't chart)
The Halos sang backing vocals on "Pretty Little Angels Eyes" by Curtis Lee on Volume 1 in this series

12. Let The Little Girl Dance – BILLY BLAND
March 1960 USA 7" single on Old Town 1076 (peaked at No.7)
April 1960 UK 7" single on London HL 9096 (peaked at 15)
Backing singers are The Miller Sisters

13. There’s A Moon Out Tonight – THE CAPRIS
January 1961 USA 7" single on Old Town 1094 (peaked at 3)
March 1961 UK 7" single on Columbia DB 4605 (didn't chart)
A Vocal group song originally released in 1958 on Planet 1010 (very rare -booked at $1000+), reissued in 1961 on Lost Nite 101 and thirdly on Old Town 1094 which finally charted in early 1961.

14. Get A Job – THE SILHOUETTES
July 1958 USA 7" single on Ember 1029 (peaked at 1)
February 1958 UK 7" single on Parlophone R 4407 (didn't chart)
A bopping Vocal group number 1 hit on both the POP and R&B charts in the USA – oddly it didn’t chart in the UK

15. You – THE AQUATONES
April 1958 USA 7" single on Fargo 1001 (peaked at 21)
May 1958 UK 7" single on London HL) 8631 (didn't chart)

16. Buzz Buzz Buzz – THE HOLLYWOOD FLAMES
November 1957 USA 7" single on Ebb 119 (peaked at 5 R&B and 11 Pop)
January 1958 UK 7" single on London HL 8545 (didn’t chart)
The Hollywood Argyles were formed by Gary "Flip" Paxton of SKIP and FLIP - see Track 22 on Volume 1.

17. I’ve Had It - THE BELL NOTES
January 1959 USA 7" single on Time 1004 (peaked at No. 6)
February 1959 UK 7" single on Top Rank JAR 102 (didn't chart)

18. I Know (You Don’t Love Me No More) – BARBARA GEORGE
December 1961 USA 7" single on A.F.O. 302 (peaked at 3 Pop, 1 R&B)
February 1962 UK 7" single on London HL 9513 (didn't chart)

19. Mister Lonely – THE VIDELS
July 1960 USA 7" single on JDS 5004 (peaked at 73)
July 1960 UK 7" single on London HLI 9153 (didn’t chart)

20. In The Still Of The Nite – THE FIVE SATINS
September 1956 USA 7" single on Ember 1005 (peaked at 24)
Not released in the UK

21. Church Bells May Wring – THE WILLOWS
May 1956 USA 7” single on Melba 102 (peaked at 62)
June 1956 UK 7" single on London HLL 8290 (didn’t chart)
Features Lead Vocals by Tony Middleton

22. That’s Life (That’s Tough) – GABRIEL & THE ANGELS
December 1962 USA 7" single on Swan 4118 (peaked at 51)
January 1963 UK 7" single on Stateside SS 150 (didn’t chart)

23. Rumble – LINK WRAY and HIS RAY MEN
May 1958 USA 7" single on Cadence 1347 (peaked at 16)
March 1959 UK 7" single on London HLA 8623 (didn't chart)

24. Let’s Stomp – BOBBY COMSTOCK
March 1963 USA 7" single on Lawn 2021 (peaked at 57)
March 1963 UK 7" single on Stateside SS 163 (didn’t chart)

25. Oh Julie – THE CRESCENDOS
January 1958 USA 7" single on Nasco 2006 (peaked at 5)
February 1958 UK 7" single on London HLU 8563 (didn't chart)
Lead singer Dale Ward re-recorded the song when he went solo as a B-side to “Letter From Sherry” on London HLD 9835 in January 1964

26. Little Darlin’ – THE GLADIOLAS
April 1957 USA 7" single on Excello 2101 (peaked at 51)
May 1957 UK 7" single on London HLO 8435 (didn't chart)
Written by Maurice Williams who also penned “Stay” – see entry 8

27. Teen Beat – SANDY NELSON
January 1959 USA 7" single on Original Sound 5 (peaked at 4)
October 1959 UK 7" single on Top Rank JAR 197 (peaked at 9)
This drum-based instrumental was reissued in the UK in December 1960

28. Diamonds And Pearls by THE PARADONS
September 1960 USA 7" single on Milestone 2003 (peaked at 18 Pop, 27 R&B in October 1960)
October 1960 UK 7" single on Top Rank JAR 514 (didn’t chart)

29. Alley Oop – THE HOLLYWOOD ARGYLES
March 1960 USA 7” single on Lute 5905 (peaked at 1)
June 1960 UK 7” single on London HLU 9146 (peaked at 24)

30. California Sun – THE RIVIERAS
January 1964 USA 7” single on Riviera 1401 (peaked at 5)
February 1964 UK 7” single on Pye International 7N.25237 (didn’t chart)

NOTES: all tracks are in MONO except "You Belong To Me” by The Duprees (track 2) - which is in STEREO

The 12-page booklet (written by ROB FINNIS in January 1993) now seems like a rather slight affair compared to the regular 24-page feast Ace treats its fans to in 2015. But don’t let that fool you – it’s packed to the gills with detail collectors hoover up – dates, names and musical connecting-the-dots. On the rear page of the booklet there is a colour collage of all those gorgeous British 45s in their funky Top Rank, Stateside, Columbia, London, HMV and Parlophone label bags. Finnis has also sequenced the disc and it plays like an old jukebox – and as you can see above – the playing time is more than generous.

The DUNCAN COWELL Remasters are what makes collectors itch with pleasure - blindingly good Audio quality on rarities like "You" by The Aquatones - popular R&B dancers like "Let The Little Girl Dance" from Billy Bland and real warmth on echoed Vocal Group turns like "Church Bells May Ring" by The Willows. Ace explains that lip-smacking in front of microphones can sound like clicks – as if its been dubbed from discs – but they assure us that these transfers are about 'real tapes' aimed at collectors who want the best and I have to say they've done an impressive job – especially given the wild and varying nature of each recording.

Volume 2 opens on a winner – a rocking guitar instrumental of a Chuck Berry classic "Memphis" by Lonnie Mack where the Illinois axeman sounds as cool as "Green Onions" (bit of a feat that). Girl group frenzy comes at you with the neck-jerker "I Sold My Heart To The Junkman" by The Blue belles featuring Nona Hendryx and Patti LaBelle - while the truly gorgeous "You Belong To Me" (here in Stereo) by The Duprees feels like something out of a Post World War II dancehall as glad-hearted soldiers smooch with their sweethearts. The decidedly Charlie Rich quiver-like vocals of Kenny Dino made "Your Ma Said You Cried In Your Sleep Last Night" a winner with the public (even if the writers and makers hated it - the liner notes explain) - while the ghost of Frankie Lymon lingers over "A Million To One" by Jimmy Charles where he sounds like a 12-year old trying to tell some teen babe the depth of his feelings towards her petticoats.

The bird calls of the bopping "Rockin' In The Jungle" by The Eternals practically guarantees its immortality while the echoed guitar instrumental "Wild Weekend" by The Rebels must have seemed so cool on jukeboxes back in the day. I've never liked either "Stay" by Maurice Williams or the dreadful "Little Darlin'" by The Gladiolas (even if they sound brill here) – better is the marital melodrama of the organ-driven "Down The Aisle Of Love" where the girl in The Quintones expresses the longing of a million teenagers. Harold Dorman is standing on the "Mountain Of Love" looking down at the city below hoping that his one-and-only will join him (might want to move on Harry) - while over on the other side of paradise The Halos can't wait to see the back of their lady who is apparently a bit of a "Nag" and will drive them all to an early grave.

As I said of Volume 1 – what’s great about these Ace compilations is the oddities – a fabulous guitar-driven-beat underpins the "la la la" chorus of "I've Had It" by The Bell Notes making them sound like Dion and his Belmonts on a good day - while the New Orleans swagger of Barbara George propels along the wickedly good "I Know (You Don't Love Me No More)". A pining "Mister Lonely" by The Videls crosses that line between white boy vocal groups and pure pop while the school of hard knocks is learned by the chick-obsessed Gabriel & The Angels in "That's Life (That's Tough)". But genius choice for the whole compilation has to go to the fab Frat Rock groove of "Let's Stomp" by the slightly rude sounding Bobby Comstock. "Let's Stomp" is the kind of brill upbeat Fraternity party tune that would bring life back to the decomposing corpse of an Algebra teacher. And how can you not love the guitar-rattling menace of "Rumble" by Link Wray and his moody gang of bikers The Ray Men - or the bopping chain-saw fun and games of "Buzz Buzz Buzz" by The Hollywood Flames.

We return to Elvis Presley hiccup vocal style on "Oh Julie" by The Crescendos (a great inclusion) while Sandy Nelson's drum-rattling "Teen Beat" still sounds amazing after all these decades. Vocal Groups provide the sporadic period Romance – the kiss that sets me on fire of "Diamonds And Pearls" by The Paradons – the let's go strolling in the park of "There's A Moon Out Tonight" by The Capris and the held-you-tight of "In The Still Of The Nite" by The Five Satins. And after all that musical nostalgia par excellence - it all ends on the brill shake your booty-thang of "California Sun" by The Rivieras where everyone is "out there having fun..." – and you can't help thinking - I'm gonna me some of that...

Volume 2 feels like a huge improvement over Volume 1 (which is a wee gem anyway). Volume 2 rocks more – is massively evocative of the period and cleverly paced too. But most important of all – it’s blindingly great fun to listen to - stirring up so many fond memories (even if you weren't there you will feel all "American Graffiti" after this).

But most of all you get a real sense of why UK fans in the 50ts and 60ts looked to the USA with such awe. The Yanks had it all – the cool - the cars - the girls - the film stars and best of all - the music. And there are seventeen more volumes where that came from...

PS: Titles in "The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll" CD Series are:
1. The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll: Hard-To-Get Hot 100 Hits From 1954-63 (Ace CDCHD 289, November 1991)
2. The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll Volume 2: Hot 100 Hits From 1954-1963 (Ace CDCHD 445, March 1993)
3. The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll Volume 3: Hot 100 Hits From 1954-1963 (Ace CDCHD 497, January 1994)
4. The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll Volume 4: Hot 100 Hits From 1954-1963 (Ace CDCHD 500, October 1994)
5. The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll Volume 5: Hot 100 Hits From 1954-1963 (Ace CDCHD 500, October 1995)
6. The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll Volume 6: 30 Hot 100 Hits From 1954-1963 (Ace CDCHD 650, January 1997)
7. The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll Volume 7: Hot 100 Hits From 1954-1963 (Ace CDCHD 700, November 1998)
8. The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll Volume 8: Hot 100 Hits From 1954-1963 (Ace CDCHD 750, November 1999)
9. The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll Volume 9: Hot 100 Hits From 1954-1963 (Ace CDCHD 800, February 2001)
10. The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll Volume 10: Hot 100 Hits From 1954-1963 (Ace CDCHD 850, September 2002)
11. The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll Volume 11: Hot 100 Hits From 1954-1963 (Ace CDCHD 1200, September 2007)
12. The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll Volume 12: 30 Hot 100 Hits From 1954-1963 (Ace CDCHD 1280, February 2011)

13. The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll: Special Country Edition (Ace CDCHD 845, April 2002)
14. The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll: Special Novelty Edition (Ace CDCHD 890, November 2003)
15. The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll: Special Doo W*p Edition 1953-1963 (Ace CDCHD 1000, May 2004)
16. The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll: Special "Bubbling Under" Edition – Regional Hits That Just Missed The Hot 100 1959-1963 (Ace CDCHD 1050, March 2006)
17. The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll – The Follow-Up Hits: Hard-To-Get Hot 100 Hits (Ace CDCHD 1190, January 2008)
18. The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll: Special Doo W*p Edition Volume 2 1956-1963 (Ace CDCHD 1230, May 2009)
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 26 July 2004
This CD covers all sorts of American Rock 'n' Roll music, there's a few jivers, some of which are Rock 'n' Roll Club favourites, some doo-wop and a fair number of smoochers. I personally would have liked more jivers as I prefer to get up and dance to music rather than just sit and listen, but if you're only after a CD to listen to, then this CD's not bad.
0Comment| 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 7 March 2016
Very good
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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