I love these London American releases, and again another interesting collection of 28 tracks with excellent sleeve notes. A lot of these songs never made the UK charts and are new to me, so the sleeve notes about them are interesting to read. And I'm not sure if some of these songs even crossed over to the UK.
So it's a great compilation from that era, but it's not a collection of the biggest hits. A lot of lesser known recordings from the London American label at the start of it's greatest years. I've rated it 4 but 5 for the presentation and sleeve notes.
The latest in Ace's London-American series maintains the high standard of the first three with a mix of the well-known and the relatively obscure. Everything about this series is good: track selection and liner notes are done by people who are music fans just like the people who'll buy it. I'll be playing this until the next one comes. Thanks Ace.
Another brilliant volume in this fantastic 'Ace Records' series. 1959 must have been quite a year for music. This cd shows a good range of musical styles and the quality of these records never dips below 7 out of 10 (many are 10 out of 10). There are too many great songs to mention all of them but my favourites are 'Just keep it up' Dee Clark, 'So high, so low' LaVern Baker, 'Sweet Annie Laurie' by the ever wonderful Sammer Turner and the cherry on top 'Run, boy run' Sanford Clark. It comes with a fantastic 24 page booklet. The sound quality is excellent throughout (all tracks Mono). Don't take my word for it - buy it now and listen for yourself. It's fantastic.
Having bought and enjoyed all the previous releases in Ace's "The London American Label" series, I have to say that in my opinion this 1959 edition is the best yet. What listeners think of the individual tracks will always be a matter of personal taste, of course. But the marvellous all-mono sound on this CD has to be heard to be believed! I found it so much so that it turned a track like "Here Comes Summer" by Jerry Keller (which I hadn't thought of as being anything special before) into a revelation making me revalue that record in a positive light. And as for a track like "Red River Rock" by Johnny & The Hurricanes, which has been one of my favourites for decades - well, I have never heard it sound better than on this record. Mono, in the quality that Ace has provided here, fills one with spontaneous joy and sets off the foot-tapping! For maximum effect, I suggest listening through earphones the first time. Reviewers of the other London American CDs have mentioned that some of the tracks are quite obscure, but that might be all to the good. At any rate, I found a nice track here that was new to me in "Ring-a-Rockin'" by Neil Sedaka - which sounds quite raunchy by his standards.
The booklet provided with this CD is like an Aladdin's Cave of detailed info for music buffs. For instance, the section referring to Wink Martindale's "Deck of Cards" (the record from which I paraphrased my title for this review) mentions that even though this religious musical monologue is unlikely to be a favourite among most London American fans, its place in the collection is justified by the record having been one of the label's biggest hits and greatest sellers - charting no less than four times in the U.K. between 1959-1963. I should add that I don't care for records of this type either as a rule, but on "The London American Label 1959" even "Deck of Cards" plays well to me!
Another excellent release from Ace. A good mix of well known original American hits in the UK, and lesser known titles from the States, and accompanied as usual, by an authoritive and well informed information booklet. No connoisseur of pre-Beatles pop music should be without it. Bring on the next issue.