A deliciously diverse set of new items this week across many genres and formats. Style wise we have Rockabilly, Rhythm and Blues, Rock ‘n’ Roll and Female Singers presented on 7, 10 and 12-inch vinyl and CDs, singly and in a beautiful box set. From some of the best labels in our specialist world, Sleazy, Bear Family and B Sharp.
We have to watch out for going all record nerd here when really it all about the music but Felsted has always been a strange label. It never had a ‘sound’ and its output went from the worst kind of pop/pap to fantastic Rock ‘n’ Roll. If you are interested in all that side of things there is a 16 page booklet for you to get all the information you want along with this 13 track 10in album with an accompanying 34 track CD. This is the first deep dive compilation into the label. (Well the good side of it anyway; Absolutely no pop here.) As it is from Bear Family you know you are going to get great production value to match the fine sounds. Just the 10in album contains Rockabilly from David Orrell and Lavern Stovall, rocking vocal harmony from the Five Fleets, Rock ‘n’ Roll from Vince Malloy and the Jive A Tones and Semi-instros from D.C. Washington and Admiral Tones, I won’t list every track but believe me it is winners all the way. Oh yeah! and then you get the CD as well stuff full of more Felsted finery. A wonderful collection.
Another deep dive from the big bear with what we think is the first Stomp Gordon album. Best known for Ride Superman Ride, Stomp was a wild piano man who was rockin’ out the rhythm and blues before they rechristened the sound Rock ‘n’ Roll. Bear Family have pulled together every Stomp track in existence and, because they like to give good value, added another five related tracks from other people to complete the CD and an eight-page booklet and a post card. All the extras are nice but it is the stomping wild music that makes this a real standout issue.
Bear Family’s flagship Rockabilly CD set returns to the vaults of MGM records with this 40th issue. MGM had a strong Country division as you may expect from the home of the King of Country, Mr Hank Williams, so we hear here some of the greatest real rural Rockabilly from Buck Griffin, Billy Riley and of course Andy Starr. But this volume dips into the Cub and Metro subsidiaries to bring the more Rock ‘n’ Roll sound of, for instance, Don Ruby and Ricky Scott. At volume 40 it is crazy this series is so strong but we guess that is what we expect from the Bear.
Heads up – we have got this in! It is the long-awaited five CD box covering rare, obscure and overlooked tracks from Virginia and West Virginia that deserve to be much more widely known. These box sets from B Sharp match the Bear Family production values with super sound and a fantastic full colour hardback book. What makes them really special, however, is the superb quality of the music. If you want to see a bunch of long term collectors shaking their heads and asking; ‘How comes I don’t know this stuff?’ then this is for you.
In this first of a new series, Sleazy records asks; ‘was Arthur Crudup the father of Rock n Roll?’ Well a certain former truck driver from Memphis may argue in his favour and so does this wild EP. Four tracks of white artists presenting their own versions of Crudup classics. We get the wild Rockabilly of Maylon Humpies on Worried ‘bout You Baby, the aggressive stomping take of So Glad Your Mine by the Star-Fires, Dave Berry’s brutal My Baby Left Me that some describe as freak beat but being recorded in 1964 surely it is too early for that label, and last but by no means least, Paul Wayne’s antipodean attack on That’s All Right. The thing this EP points up is that is the songs remain recognisable as the style of a single creator even though they have each been thoroughly re-imagined.
The second volume and talk about recognisable as the style of a single creator! Big Bad Bo looms over the 1960s Blues Boom like a thunderhead over a parched desert. We’re not going to list the tracks here as you can link through to them but we will refer to a conversation we had in the shop yesterday, honest. Someone was buying a Bo LP and he said that he used to think the Diddley Daddy had only recorded one song but recorded loads of versions of it and we understand what he meant. However, the more he listens to him the more he understands that the Bo Diddley beat can be moulded so many different ways that it can almost disappear but than it rises up again to take charge of the tune and that describes these tracks. Other artists can take on the beat but it will wrestle control of the song back to itself making everyone who listens a winner.
Is ‘female singing’ a genre? Women are the majority on this planet but the theme of this series is that they really are under represented in the music industry. We have big names like Connie Francis and Helen Shapiro and much lesser knowns such as Lydia Marcelle and Jeanie Mack. There is no style restriction here so we get Country, Rockabilly, Pop and Rhythm and Blues. As the album puts it; ‘13 beautiful roses, different on fragrance and colour but shining with her own light.’