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on 15 February 2016
INTRODUCTION:

Before it became a part of Arista Records in the mid Seventies, Bell Records enjoyed a fascinating life. The label began life in 1952 when it was formed by Arthur Shimkin. The label pressed its own discs, with Simon and Schuster’s backing. Shimkin would offer cover versions of current hits at a lowest price of 35 cents a record, sold through dime stores, bookstores, and department stores. (In 2013, we can find CDs at Indigo, Chapters, Future Shops, Best Buys, Target, besides HMV store in Toronto. Pretty similar situation). If you are looking for cover versions of well known pop hits, this is the set for you. Bell Records was reactivated in 1966 and returned to prominence in the early Seventies when it signed teen heart-throb David Cassidy (who was unfortunately involved DUI recently). Other acts to impress as Bell re-entered the singles market included the Fifth Dimension, Tony Orlando & Dawn and Barry Manilow. One star it did not sign but perhaps should have was Carly Simon, whose father Richard L. Simon was the Simon in Simon and Schuster.

CONTENT:

This 3 CD set contains 60 songs, almost all cover versions of popular hits. This is a goldmine for collectors like myself. Since Amazon.ca did not provide a track listing, I have prepared a detailed song listing (with chart position, year and artists who did the pop versions), which is as follows:

Disc 1:
01 Baby Talk – Tom & Jerry (uncharted single, 1959)*this was Simon and Garfunkel; original pop version by Jan & Dean
02 Lotta Lovin’ – Artie Malvin (uncharted single, 1957)*original pop version by Gene Vincent
03 Roc-A-Billy – Ray Buckingham (uncharted single, 1957)*original pop version by Guy Mitchell
04 Diana – Barry Frank (uncharted single, 1957)*original pop version by Paul Anka
05 Lucky Lips – Dottie Evans (uncharted single, 1957)*original pop version by Ruth Brown; my favourite version is by Sir Cliff Richard
06 Short Shorts – Bill & Ronnie (uncharted single, 1957)*original pop version by the Royal Teens
07 Whispering Bells – The Checker Coat Boys (uncharted single, 1958)*original pop version by the Dell-Vikings
08 Knee Deep In The Blues – Bruce Adams (uncharted single, 1957)*original pop version by Guy Mitchell
09 Start Movin’ – Edna McGriff (uncharted single, 1957)*original pop version by Sal Mineo
10 Running Bear – Mark Devon (uncharted single, 1959)*original pop version by Johnny Preston
11 Don’t Be Cruel – Buddy Lucas (uncharted single, 1956)*original pop version by Elvis Presley
12 Say Man – Don Stacey (uncharted single, 1959)*original pop version by Bo Diddley
13 Ninety-Nine Ways – Barry Frank (uncharted single, 1957)*original pop version by Tab Hunter
14 Fabulous – Artie Malvin (uncharted single, 1957)*original pop version by Charlie Gracie (and also Steve Lawrence)
15 Great Balls of Fire – Bob Miller (uncharted single, 1957)*original pop version by Jerry Lee Lewis
16 Tallahassie Lassie – Herb Gale (uncharted single, 1959)*original pop version by Freddy Cannon
17 At The Hop – Barry Frank (uncharted single, 1957)*original pop version by Danny & The Juniors
18 Confidential – Buddy Lucas (uncharted single, 1957)*original pop version by Sonny Knight
19 Mr. Lee – Edna McGriff (uncharted single, 1957)*original pop version by Bobbettes
20 Stranded In The Jungle – Jimmy Leyden (uncharted single, 1956)*original pop version by the Cadets

Disc 2:
01 My Prayer – Dottie Evans (uncharted single, 1956)*original pop version by the Platters
02 Love Is Strange – Anne Lloyd & Bob Miller (uncharted single, 1957)*original pop version by Mickey & Sylvia
03 Love Me – Barry Frank (uncharted single, 1957)*original pop version by Elvis Presley
04 Witch Doctor – Jerry Ash (uncharted single, 1958)*original pop version by David Seville & the Chipmunks
05 Sleepwalk – The Codas (uncharted single, 1959)*original pop version by Santo & Johnny
06 Cindy, Oh Cindy – Artie Malvin (uncharted single, 1956)*original pop version by Vince Martin With The Tarriers
07 Don’t You Just Know It – Edna McGriff (uncharted single, 1958)*original pop version by Huey Smith & The Clowns
08 Searchin’ – Buddy Lucas (uncharted single, 1957)*original pop version by the Coasters
09 All Shook Up – Eddie Mercer & The Jimmy Carroll Orchestra (uncharted single, 1957)*original pop version by Elvis Presley
10 Theme From A Summer Place – Hal Stevens & Orchestra (uncharted single, 1959)*original pop version by Percy Faith; I am collecting as many versions of this song as possible; this is a great addition to my list
11 Banana Boat Song – Barry Frank (uncharted single, 1957)*original pop version by Harry Belafonte
12 A Teenager In Love – Johnny Newton & The Tags (uncharted single, 1959)*original pop version by Dion & The Belmonts
13 Love Letters In The Sand – Artie Malvin (uncharted single, 1957)*original pop version by Pat Boone
14 Let It Be Me – The Johns (uncharted single, 1959)*original pop version by Jerry Butler
15 Born To Be With You – Edna McGriff (uncharted single, 1956)*original pop version by the Chordettes
16 Never Be Anyone Else But You – Tommy Lynch (uncharted single, 1959)*original pop version by Ricky Nelson
17 You’ll Never Never Know How I Care – Bob Miller (uncharted single, 1956)*original pop version by the Platters
18 Johnny B. Goode – Sam Cee (uncharted single, 1958)*original pop version by Chuck Berry
19 Twilight Time – Barry Frank (uncharted single, 1958)*original pop version by the Platters
20 Honky Tonk – Studio ‘B’ Seven (uncharted single, 1956)*original pop version by Bill Doggett

Disc 3:
01 Singing The Blues – Bruce Adams (uncharted single, 1956)*original pop version by Guy Mitchell
02 The Fool – Edna McGriff (uncharted single, 1956)*original pop version by Sanford Clark
03 My Special Angel – Barry Frank (uncharted single, 1957)*original pop version by Bobby Helms
04 Sorry (I Ran All The Way Home) – Johnny Newwton & The Tags (uncharted single, 1959)*original pop version by the Impalas
05 A Worried Man – The Lyrics (uncharted single, 1959)*original pop version by the Kingston Trio
06 I’m Stickin’ With You – Bob Miller (uncharted single, 1956)*original pop version by Jimmy Bowen with the Rhythm Orchids
07 Handy Man – Scott Howard (uncharted single, 1959)*original pop version by Jimmy Jones
08 Susie Darlin’ – Bobby Rett (uncharted single, 1958)*original pop version by Robin Luke
09 Teen Beat – The Hickories (uncharted single, 1959)*original pop version by Sandy Nelson
10 Tennessee Waltz – The Cubs (uncharted single, 1959)*original pop version by Patti Page
11 Hound Dog – Buddy Lucas (uncharted single, 1956)*original pop version by Willie Mae ‘Big Mama’ Thornton, later made popular by Elvis Presley
12 The Three Bells – The Dawns (uncharted single, 1959)*original pop version by the Browns
13 Just Walking In The Rain – Edna McGriff (uncharted single, 1956)*original pop version by Johnnie Ray
14 Party Doll – Barry Frank (uncharted single, 1957)*original pop version by Buddy Knox
15 In The Middle Of An Island – Artie Malvin (uncharted single, 1957)*original pop version by Tony Bennett
16 Tears On My Pillow – Julie Town (uncharted single, 1958)*original pop version by Little Anthony & The Imperials
17 Stuck On You – Jerry Pearl (uncharted single, 1960)*original pop version by Elvis Presley
18 Whatever Will Be Will Be (Que Sera Sera) – Elise Rhodes & The Jimmy Carroll Orchestra (uncharted single, 1956)*original pop version by Doris Day
19 When My Dreamboat Comes Home – Buddy Lucas (uncharted single, 1956)*original pop version by Fats Domino
20 Deck Of Cards – Harvey Leeds (uncharted single, 1959)*original pop version by Wink Martindale

The sound is very well remastered, with vibrancy and clean with no hiss. Good job, One Day Music!

FINAL THOUGHTS:

You have to be careful in reading the “complete title”. This Bell USA label only covers the period from 1956-1960. Therefore, there will be no Partridge Family, David Cassidy, Barry Manilow and Fifth Dimension. All the songs are cover versions of the original hits. I was happy to find a rare version of Theme From A Summer Place. If you like cover versions, this set is for you. The audio is excellent, and the price is cheap (from sellers). This set is recommended.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
MUSIC FOR THE MILLIONS
GEMS FROM BELL RECORDS USA
1956 - 1960 is a strange one in the series because it oes not have the original artists on but is

`60HIT INTERPRETATIONS' It is on 3 CDS BUT Amazon have `scrunched' all the tracks and artists together which makes it hard to see which artist is by which track and vice versa.
So I've cleaned it up and spaced it out for you.
Grab these discs while you can because next year the laws on copy write will tighten up and fall in line with the Americans (God Bless `em).
(Now all we need to do is for them to stop putting region 2 on UK DVD releases to compensate?)

If you are cutting and pasting ignore the last track on CD3

CD1

1. Baby Talk - Tom & Jerry
2. Lotta Lovin - Artie Malvin
3. Rock-A-Billy - Ray Buckingham
4. Diana - Barry Frank
5. Lucky Lips - Dottie Evans
6. Short Shorts - Bill & Ronnie
7. Whispering Bells - The Checker Coat Boys
8. Knee Deep In The Blues - Bruce Adams
9. Start Movin' - Edna McGriff
10. Running Bear - Mark Devon
11. Don't Be Cruel - Buddy Lucas
12. Say Man - Don Stacey
13. Ninety-Nine Ways - Barry Frank
14. Fabulous - Artie Malvin
15. Great Balls Of Fire - Bob Miller
16. Tallahassie Lassie - Herb Gale
17. At The Hop - Barry Frank
18. Confidential - Buddy Lucas
19. Mr. Lee - Edna McGriff
20. Stranded In The Jungle - Jimmy Leyden

CD2

1. My Prayer - Dottie Evans
2. Love Is Strange - Anne Lloyd & Bob Miller
3. Love Me - Barry Frank
4. Witch Doctor - Jerry Ash
5. Sleepwalk - The Codas
6. Cindy, Oh Cindy - Artie Malvin
7. Don't You Just know It - Edna McGriff
8. Searchin' - Buddy Lucas
9. All shook Up - Eddie Mercer & Jimmy Carroll Orchestra
10. A Summer Place - Hal Stevens & Orchestra
11. Banana Boat Song - Barry Frank
12. A teenager In Love - Johnny Newton & The Tags
13. Love Letters In The sand - Artie Malvin
14. Let It Be Me - The Johns
15. Born To Be With You - Edna McGriff
16. Never Be Anyone Else But You - Tommy Lynch
17. You'll Never Never Know How I Care - Bob Miller
18. Johnny B. Goode - Sam Cee
19. Twilight Time - Barry Frank
20. Honky Tonk - Studio "B" Seven

CD3

1. Singing The Blues - Bruce Adams
2. The Fool - Edna McGriff
3. My Special Angel - Barry Frank
4. Sorry (I Ran All The Way Home) - Johnny Newton & The Tags
5. A Worried Man - The Lyrics
6. I'm Stickin' With You - Bob Miller
7. HandyMan - Scott Howard
8. Susie Darlin' - Bobby Rett
9. Teen Beat - The Hickories
10. Tennessee Waltz - The Cubs
11. Hound Dog - Buddy Lucas
12. The Three Bells - The Dawns
13. Just Walking In The Rain - Edna McGriff
14. Party Doll - Barry Frank
15. In The Middle Of An Island - Artie Malvin
16. Tears On My Pillow - Julie Town
17. Stuck On You - Jerry Pearl
18. Whatever Will Be, Will Be - Elise Rhodes And Jimmy Carroll Orchestra
19. When My Dreamboat Comes Home - Buddy Lucas
20. Deck Of Cards - Harvey Leeds
21. Copy Cats Stevie D'Or and the Dockers.
22 Comments| 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 7 August 2013
A 3CD set of 60 songs as against 26 on the Ace comp Rock'n'Roll Bellringers so really you need both if you're into Soundalikes-Bell were about the first label to do this sort of thing
Bell had the rights to the name Tom Jerry and this is NOT as many think Simon Garfunkel who had used this name on the BIG label before abandoning it.This info is on the Yahoo group for Phil Spector and sometimes comment on the HIT Group also on Yahoo.This latter group discusses Soundalikes and the Bullet/Hit conglomerate of labels is available on Cherry Red.
Anyone who likes covers should investigate
11 Comment| 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 27 December 2013
great.bit of oldies music, Love this old stuff this sort of sound will always be around. it is always nice to here
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 17 July 2014
A very good collection of oldies, which is good to reminisce with. Good value for money.
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on 16 May 2015
excellent
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on 24 January 2015
good
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse



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