Gene Vincent is one of those singers who has achieved greater recognition in hindsight than he did when he was recording music and performing live concerts. He had few hits on either side of the Atlantic, yet became cited by many singers and musicians as a major influence. Punk rocker Ian Dury even wrote a song about him. Gene gained a reputation as a wild man of rock'n'roll, presumably because of his live performances and his few hits, but his talents were not limited to the up-tempo rockers.
This double CD features all the essential tracks including Be-bop-a-lula, Woman love, Race with the devil, Lotta lovin', Dance to the bop and much else besides. Among the up-tempo rockers, there are fine covers of classic ballads such as You'll never walk alone, You belong to me, Summertime and Over the rainbow. The booklet notes writer points out that Gene was never tamed like Elvis was, but I wonder what might have been if he had been allowed to record more ballads than he actually did. His roots were originally in country music (Be-bop-a-lua was originally recorded as such, but nobody was interested, and was re-worked as a rock'n'roll song) but unlike some others with similar roots, this never showed in his recordings. This set includes a couple of Hank Williams covers (Hey good looking, I can't help it) but just about every rock'n'roll singer of the fifties covered Hank's songs, whatever their own roots.
This is a great compilation showing that Gene was more versatile than might be imagined from the image portrayed, but that versatility was never exploited. Most of the music here, particularly on the first CD, is about the style that you'd expect.
Gene Vincent Craddock -- hardly a commercial name to use in showbiz, and what with a gammy leg, bad teeth and a lack of good looks, you'd hardly believe this legendary rocker could even develop a career, but he became an idol of the biker brigade by appearing on stage to do his stuff clad in black leather from head to toe. He not only survived the car crash that killed his touring mate Eddie Cochran, but also coped with his painful leg via pills and alcohol. These ultimately led to bouts of poor health, and a few none appearances, yet he worked on and on, touring continuously, especially here in the UK, his adopted second home, turning out acceptable music right to the very end after signing for John Peel's Dandelion label. This album is a 'must have' in every rocker's collection, even it sadly has to replace all those old originals Capitol put out on vinyl! You won't find a better selection than this. The only downside is that its presented in a fold out booklet type format -- which seems common to the Metro Select label (perhaps for economy reasons). It doesn't fit nicely onto the shelf with other CDs in their conventional plastic jewel cases, but that's being rather fussy. The write up is informative, and is backed by a large fold out poster of Gene, complete with wrinkled cheek, greasy quiff, new teeth, smirk and all -- real cool! As with other (sometimes) well compiled product put out on this label which is worth a look, this is another nice one. Buy it!
From my earlier years as a fan of classic rock n roll Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps were the stuff of music legend. Jeff Beck a few years ago devoted an entire album to their music and especially Cliff Gallop their iconic guitarist.This 50 track set is amazing music at even more amazing price.There's just so much to enjoy here, the great hits, the wonderful covers including for me the definitive version of 'You'll Never Walk Alone' just listen to the band on this one. There's 'Lotta Lovin' which so far I've only had on a really old and worn 78, it's here and again the band are so tight, 'Baby Blue' 'Be Bop A Lu La', 'Blue Jean Bop','Crazy Legs', 'Lovely Loretta' and 'Frankie and Johnny' are all here and the sound is just superb. If you've so far not purshased a Gene Vincent album this is a great way to begin,I've already got some of his stuff but this is an absolute must have by a true giant of pop and rock music,as you listen to him and the band now you see just how much his sound has continued to inspire so many others through the years. As the cover says 'Listen and enjoy 100% rockabilly brilliance, music that went onto inspire The Beatles,The Clash, The Stray Cats,John Peel,and of course Ian Dury who wrote one of his best known songs about him 'Sweet Gene Vincent'.This is timeless music ready for a new generation, and still to be enjoyed to the full by all ages.Deseves to be heard all over the place as it was in it's heyday.He died young but left a truly remarkable music legacy for us all to enjoy again and again. AN ESSENTIAL PURCHASE BY ALL ROCK N ROLLERS !