on 9 February 2016
For record-buyers of a certain age, the Coral label means only one thing – Buddy Holly! The rock era’s first ever singer-songwriter cut his solo hits with this subsidiary of the Decca Record Company formed in 1949. Prior to his emergence, Coral’s most famous artists were the McGuire sisters, Lawrence Welk, and Teresa Brewer (who married label manager Bob Thiele). Debbie Reynolds with the movie-promoted Tammy gives Coral its greatest success. There are many other artists on Coral, such as Johnny Burnette, Patsy Cline, Moon Mullican, our Canadian the Diamonds.
When Buddy Holly and his band the Crickets broke through in their native United States in 1957, they were marketed by Decca Records as separate acts: Brunswick for the Crickets and Coral for Buddy Holly.
Jerry Allison of the Crickets married Peggy Sue Gerron, the girl immortalized in song: Peggy Sue and Peggy Sue Got Married. Sonny Curtis is another Cricket who wrote More Than I Can Say (my favourite version is that by Bobby Vee). The Crickets later moved to Liberty label.
This Rave On: The Coral Story is a 2 CD set with 50 songs. The sound is quite clean with minimal hiss. The song listing, with the label & number, UK and US chart positions, is as follows:
01 Peggy Sue – Buddy Holly (61885)(UK 6/1957)(US 3/1957)
02 Rock, Rock, Rock – Jimmy Cavelle & His House Rockers (61728)(UK & US, uncharted)
03 Crazy Street – The Matys Brothers (61941)(UK & US, uncharted)
04 Rock ‘n’ Roll Boogie – The Alan Freed Rock ‘n’ Roll Band (61749)(UK & US, uncharted)* rare gem
05 Tear In Up – Johnny Burnette (61651)(UK & US, uncharted)* rare gem 1956
06 Black Denim Trousers And Motocycle Boots – Diamonds (61502)(UK & US, uncharted)
07 Lorraine – Buddy Covelle (62181)(UK & US, uncharted)
08 He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands – Barbara McNair (61972)(UK & US, uncharted)
09 To The Party – The Bay Bops (62004)(UK & US, uncharted)
10 Wooden Heart – Bobbi Martin (62285)(UK & US, uncharted)* rare gem
11 More Than I Can Say – Crickets (62198)(UK 42/1960)(US, uncharted) the original version
12 Angel Of Love - Charlie Gracie (62115)(UK & US, uncharted)
13 My Boy Flat Top – Dorothy Collins (61510)(UK, uncharted)(US 16/1955)
14 Eyes Of Tears – Marty Evans (62251)(UK & US, uncharted)
15 A White Sport Coat (And A Pink Carnation) – Johnny Desmond (61835)(UK & US, uncharted) Marty Robbins had the pop version
16 Real Wild Child – Ivan (62017)(UK, uncharted)(US 68/1958)* rare gem Ivan was Jerry Allison of the Crickets, with Buddy Holly on lead guitar
17 That’s My Desire – The Exotics (62268)(UK & US, uncharted)
18 (You’re So Square) Baby I Don’t Care – Buddy Holly (62283)(UK & US, uncharted)
19 Lonesome Train (On A Lonesome Track) – Johnny Burnette (61758)(UK & US, uncharted)
20 Moon’s Rock - Moon Mullican (62042)(UK & US, uncharted)* rare gem
21 Turn The Cards Slowly – Patsy Cline (61523)(UK & US, uncharted)
22 Sugartime – McGuire Sisters (61523)(UK 14/1958)(US 1/1957)
23 Soda Shoppe Rock – Jimmy Cavelle & His House Rockers (61689)(UK & US, uncharted)
24 Ricochet – Teresa Brewer (61043)(UK, uncharted)(US 2/1953)
25 Tammy – Debbie Reynolds (UK 2/1957)(US 1/1957)
01 Rave On – Buddy Holly (61985)(UK 5/1958)(US 37/1958)
02 Cool It Baby – Dorothy Collins (61711)(UK & US, uncharted)
03 Hurry Up, Buttercup – Charlie Gracie (62073)(UK & US, uncharted)
04 Rock Billy Boogie – Johnny Burnette (61918)(UK & US, uncharted)*rare gem 1957
05 Be My Bride – Charlie Phillips (61970)(UK & US, uncharted)
06 Angel Or Devil – Bobby Keene (62290)(UK & US, uncharted)
07 Dance On Pretty Clown – Andy Rose (62109)(UK & US, uncharted) he had a hit Just Young in 1958
08 Jenny Lee – Moon Muulican (61994)(UK & US, uncharted)* rare gem
09 I Love You Honey – Patsy Cline (61583)(UK & US, uncharted)
10 Peggy Sue Got Married – Crickets (62238)(UK 13/1959)(US, uncharted)
11 Rock Island Line – Don Cornell (61613)(UK, uncharted)(US 59/1956)
12 True Love Gone – Enchanters (61756)(UK & US, uncharted)
13 It Doesn’t Matter Anymore – Buddy Holly (62074)(UK 1/1959(US 13/1959)
14 Hearts Of Stone – Goofers (61305)(UK & US, uncharted) cover version of The Fontaine Sisters’ No. 1 hit
15 Blues Stay Away From Me – Johnny & Dorsey Burnette (62190)(UK & US, uncharted)
16 You Send Me – Teresa Brewer (61898)(UK, uncharted)(US 8/1957)
17 That’ll Be Alright – Ivan (62081)(UK & US, uncharted)* rare gem
18 There Was A Fungus Among Us – Terry Noland & The Anita Kerr Singers (62274)(UK & US, uncharted)
19 Lo-o-ve – Lemon Drops (62145)(UK & US, uncharted)
20 I Gotta Go Get My Baby – Marvin Rainwater (61342)(UK & US, uncharted)
21 Talk About My Baby – Sonny Curtis (62207)(UK & US, uncharted)* rare gem
22 Rock Me My Baby – Dorothy Collins (61922)(UK & US, uncharted)* rare gem
23 The Stroll – The Lancers (61930)(UK & US, uncharted)
24 I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter – Billy Williams (61830)(UK 22/1957)(US 3/1957)* rare gem
25 Vision Of Love – Explorers (62147)(UK & US, uncharted)
I personally have purchased the entire British Hit Parade series, from 1954 to 1961, which contained every charted a side singles that entered the UK chart during those years. I am glad to find that in this current The Coral Story, many rare songs, which I have been searching for, have not charted, thus a welcome new addition to my library.
The label is One Day Music, a re-issue label from UK, also has other similar releases, such as The Top Rank Story 1960 & 1961 (each 2 CDs)(reviewed elsewhere), The Pye International Story (2 CDs)(reviewed elsewhere) and Oh Boy: the Brunswick Story (2 CDs)(reviewed elsewhere)…these are the popular labels (Top Rank, Pye International, Coral and Brunswick) from the 60s.
If you like oldies from UK and US, this set is an enjoyable listening experience. But for collectors like myself, this set is like a goldmine with lots of rare gems. This set with such a cheap price is recommended, especially for collectors.
That's what we saw Coral as, way back when. The fact that the Holly "solo" records reached us in the UK with a Coral label rather helped. For some explanation of the Holly solo / Crickets "split", see my review of the Brunswick Story. A year or two later I rather belatedly found that there was another legendary rocker who had recorded for Coral in a '56 / '57 timeframe. That gent of course, was rockabilly legend Johnny Burnette, he of the Johnny Burnette Trio.
The Holly and Burnette tracks contained herein should be in everyone's collection. If by some faint chance you've not heard them, a single listen to these tracks should convince you of their merits. Elsewhere, there are a number of forced / inorganic rockers in this set i.e. attempts to emulate the sort of sound being put out by the Bill Haley band, and comparison of these to tracks like Holly's "Rave On" or Burnette's "Lonesome Train" highlights the strengths of the latter.
There's a fair amount of teen pop present but it's tinged with early fifties easy listening. Indeed tracks like those from Teresa Brewer and Debbie Reynolds take us right across to undiluted easy listening. This is where personal taste comes very much into things. I'd confess to be happy not to hear "Sugar in the morning, sugar in the evening, sugar at suppertime" ever again - with deep apologies to the McGuire Sisters - but I'm only too well aware that no two people's musical tastes are identical. These tracks are certainly representative of what was charting at the time, and One Day have done a perfectly good job in reflecting that in this collection.
If the above sounds a little jaundiced I should reassure the reader that there were tracks in the set that I found highly pleasing:
* The two Patsy Cline country numbers which come from very early in her career prior to the move to Decca are well up to her usual high standard
* Likewise the two tracks from Moon Mullican though in his case the numbers are post his main body of work on the King label. "Moon's rock" is a typically storming piano boogie. "Jennie Lee" is arguably even better, a fiddle backed amalgam of rock and western swing.
* Two good rockers from "Ivan" who was subsequently revealed to be Jerry Ivan Allison of the Crickets.
* Two fine examples of soft rock in the shape of "More than I can say" from the (non-Holly) Crickets, and, "Talk about my baby" from Sonny Curtis
* A pair of decent but semi-unknown doo woppers in the Enchanters and the Lancers. These were the Detroit Enchanters not the Garnet Mimms outfit.
A compromise score of four stars, reflecting a balance between what was around at the time from Coral (and I suspect One Day have managed to compile some of the more interesting aspects) and what you or I might want to listen to.