on 26 June 2013
Great brit rock and roll at the birth of brit pop!
Not just your usual collection of artists associated with early british rock and roll but a good cross section of rockers, they were there at the start and tried manfully to rock, despite the likes of larry parnes to turn them all into "all round entertainers" (and other things).
All the usual guys Cliff, Billy etc. But includes vince taylor, wee willy harris, neville taylor. These guys were regulars on the jack good progs etc but are rarely included on british rock and roll.
If you like me get a bit fed up with the brit RnR exchanging guitars breaks with trombones or other such nonsense when covering US RnR or Rockabilly, the artists must have been so fed up heaaring what the middle aged producers were doing to their vocals, they had no control over the productive out put unlike todays five minute 'stars' or simon cowell
I obviously knew most of this output but had not heard much from many others such as neville taylor, roy young, cuddley duddley
Give it a go, l did and was pleasantly surprised. Not too many trombones anyway!
I was born in 1948, we didn't get a television set until the mid-50s, our radio was limited to BBC stations, the only pop music show on TV (when we only had one channel) I can remember from that time is The 6-5 Special, and I didn't get a tranny (as in transistor radio, not the current usage) until about 1960-61 when I discovered the joys of Radio Luxembourg and, more or less, non stop pop music (plus Garner Ted Armstrong). I've also just remembered going regularly to the pictures (i.e. cinema) for the Saturday morning kids matinees where, before the show started, we used to sing pop songs with the words shown on the screen.
The truth is, however, I don't have much memory of those days and the music, just brief snippets, remembering names rather than songs and for many years I had, at best, a perhaps condescending attitude towards it, believing it to be a crude even feeble attempt by British artists to imitate a far superior American product. Oh how I laughed at the names -Eager, Pride, Fury, Wilde, Faith, Steele.
Thank god, I thought, for the Beatles and the Stones and the Searchers and the Hollies and all the rest of the emerging groups who consigned most of these bozos to the scrap heap. Only Cliff Richard managed to maintain a viable career over the following decades. Some, like Marty Wilde, maintained a career through 50's revival tours and by playing small clubs. Adam Faith, to the relief of many, went into acting and later became a financial wiz. Tommy Steele escaped into musicals. Shane Fenton reinvented himself in the 70's as Alvin Stardust. Many others just became the bloke next door. Billy Fury, a genuine talent, died young of heart failure.
And yet I still went and bought this--and had to change my mind. Well, at least a little if not a lot.
Some of it is exactly as I described it above. There's a Cliff track I've never heard of -Apron Strings- where he's blatantly imitating Elvis. And a few tracks later the obscure Don Lang sings an excruciating tribute to him -They Call Him Cliff.
But there is a vibrancy, an earnestness and some good singing among it. The opening track -Brand New Cadillac by Vince Taylor & the Playboys is, imitation or not (Cadillacs weren't exactly common even on the streets of London) is genuinely exciting. The second is Johnny Kidd and the Pirates on Restless, slower but with distinct similarities to Shaking All Over. Pity the rest of isn't as good, except intermittently, as these two openers. If imitation rather than innovation was the order of the day, there is nevertheless an infectious enthusiasm coming over from those early days of British Rock'nRoll which is still worth hearing.