NEWSLETTER #127
Vintage Rock 'n' Roll & Rockabilly

Johnny Burnette -> Various Artists

JOHNNY BURNETTE
AL FERRIER
BROWN EYED HANDSOME MAN - BOOK!
RAY RUFF
CONWAY TWITTY
VARIOUS ARTISTS
 

Bear Family have done it again with another spectacular compilation - this time devoted to the music of Johnny Burnette - a rockabilly pioneer who later went on to greater fame as a pop rock singer and met an untimely death in a boating accident in 1964. This 9 CD set features everything he ever recorded including his first single in 1955 for Von, his classics cuts with the Rock 'N' Roll Trio in 1956 and '57 including alternate takes and live performances, his recordings (issued and unissued) for Imperial, Liberty, Chancellor and his own Sahara/ Magic Lamp label. In addition to all the session recordings this set includes three CDs of demos that Johnny recorded with Eddie Cochran, his brother Dorsey, and others. It also includes his instrumental recordings for Infinity and Gothis plus Dorsey's classic rockabilly cut Bertha Lou (with Johnny on guitar and background vocal). Nearly 300 tracks in all and the set comes with a 116 page hardcover book with new notes, numerous photos (some previously unpublished) and a complete discography.

 
AL FERRIER Big Tone 5715 And His Boppin' Billies ● CD $17.98
30 tracks, 73 min., recommended. There are no liner notes here offering useful discographical information, but my best guess is that all of the tracks on this generous sampler date from the late 50's to the early 60's. At least, most of the tracks from Flyright's earlier Ferrier lp, "Let's Go Boppin' Tonight," are here, and they all date from the late 50's. Whatever the dates, this is the good stuff, rockabilly with a Louisiana bayou flavor, laid down by an artist whose solid feel for his material is shared by his back-up band. Among the many highlights are the title track, I'm the Man/ Blues Stop Knocking at My Door/ You Win Again/ Send Her Back, and the pure country Too Late Now. Several numbers are offered in two slightly different versions. Otherwise sound quality is acceptable, and cover graphics are effective. (DH)

 
BROWN EYED HANDSOME MAN by Bruce Pegg ● CD $29.98
BOOK Hardbound, 318 pages, counts as six CDs for shipping New, unauthorized, biography of this great rock 'n' roll pioneer Chuck Berry. Pegg's book is drawn from interviews with Berry's friends, lawyers, business associates and fellow musicians. Berry's personal life is a controversial one and Pegg tries to separate fact from fiction and correct facts presented in Berry's own autobiography published in 1986.

 
RAY RUFF Hydra 27116 I Took A Liking To You - The Buddy Holly Sounds Of ● CD $19.98
24 tracks, fans only. According to the liner notes "the name of Ray Ruff is unjustly omitted from the history books". Not really, he was just not very good. He did sound a bit like Buddy but even though he recorded many of his sides in Norman Petty's studio and even wore Buddy's glasses at some of the sessions (!) his bland vocals and lackluster backing failed to recapture the Holly magic. The tracks here recorded between 1959 and 1964 feature some mediocre covers of Holly songs (Umm Oh Yeah/ Well.. All Right/ I'm Gonna Love You Too/ Love Made A Fool Of You) along with a number of originals and other songs. For those who care this has a 16 page booklet with extensive notes, photos and complete discography. (FS)

 
CONWAY TWITTY RPM 246 Looking Back - The Best Of The MGM Recordings ● CD $15.98
40 tracks, 92 mins, highly recommended. Recorded for MGM between 1958 and 1963, these songs came along before Twitty claimed the country singles chart as his personal property. Conway recorded in a number of styles and always sounded good and convincing. He was one of the best ever rock-ballad singers and his intense It's Only Make Believe was a deserved no #1 hit and there are other fine ballads like The Story Of My Love/ Heavenly and Lonely Blue Boy. There are some exciting rockers like the self composed I Viberate/ Pretty Eyed Baby and The Long Black Train and some great blues and R&B covers like Trouble In Mind/ What A Dream/ There Is Something On Your Mind and even Got My Mojo Working. He also rocked up some old pop, folk and country songs like Just Beacuse/ Mona Lisa/ Sentimental Journey and his update of the old Irish favorite Danny Boy which caused a furor in Britain at the time and so Conway had to re-record it as Rosaleena. It also includes one of my favorites - the hard driving waltz tempo It's Driving Me Wild which, apparently, Conway hated - I still like it! Credit must go whoever produced these recordings for a hard driving uncluttered sound - the frequent vocal chorus and occasional strings are used very effectively and are never intrusive. Includes fold out booklet with informative notes by Gordon Fleming. If you don't have any early Twitty this is a must. (FS)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Ace CDCHD 851 Pet Projects - The Brian Wilson Productions ● CD $16.98
23 track collection of sides from the mid-late 60s featuring sessions produced by Beach Boy Brian Wilson. Remastered from original tapes many of these tracks are making their first appearance on CD and includes sides by Sharon Marie, Gary Usher, The Honeys, The Laughing Gravy, Glen Campbell and others. Includes 20 page extensively annotated booklet.

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Ace CDCHD 890 Chartbusters USA - Vol. 3 ● CD $16.98
Ace's third collection of U.S. hits from the mid/late 60s is a mix of rock, soul, pop, lounge and garage sounds. 29 tracks in all.
THE ASSOCIATION: Along Comes Mary/ THE BEACH BOYS: Fun, Fun, Fun/ BOOKER T & THE MGS: Soul Limbo/ THE BOX TOPS: The Letter/ CANNED HEAT: Going Up The Country/ GALE GARNETT: We'll Sing In The Sunshine/ MARVIN GAYE: I Heard It Through The Grapevine/ BOBBIE GENTRY: Ode To Billy Joe/ SLIM HARPO: Baby Scratch My Back/ THE HONDELLS: Little Honda/ THE IMPRESSIONS: People Get Ready/ THE KNICKERBOCKERS: Lies/ LITTLE ANTHONY & THE IMPERIALS: Goin' Out Of My Head/ HENRY MANCINI: The Pink Panther Theme/ THE MARVELOWS: I Do/ HUGH MASEKELA: Grazing In The Grass/ MUSIC EXPLOSION: Little Bit O' Soul/ MUSIC MACHINE: Talk Talk/ WILSON PICKETT: In The Midnight Hour/ PAUL REVERE & THE RAIDERS: Just Like Me/ ROSE GARDEN: Next Plane To London/ BILLY JOE ROYAL: Down In The Boondocks/ THE SANDPIPERS: Guantanamera/ TIMMY SHAW: Gonna Send You Back To Georgia/ SONNY & CHER: I Got You Babe/ STEPPENWOLF: Born To Be Wild/ JUNIOR WALKER & THE ALL STARS: I'm A Road Runner/ IAN WHITCOMB: You Turn Me On (turn On Song)/ THE ZOMBIES: She's Not There

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Collector 4473 Real Gone Girl ● CD $16.98
A collection of 32 rockers from the 50s and early 60s by female artist. Quite a bit of it falls under the category of light teen rock but there are also some more energetic rockabilly numbers and some rocking country songs. Includes The Acorn Sisters, Anita Wood, Betty jane & The Teenettes, Becky Clark (a nice cover of Buddy Knox's Party Doll), Lenora Crider, The Valentines, Beverlee Dennis, Joannie King, The Logan Sisters, Sandy Page, Jeanne Garry and others.

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Stomper Time 16 Memphis Rockabillies, Hillbillies & Honky Tonk, Vol. 3 ● CD $17.98
The third volume in this series of recordings from some of the lesser known Memphis Record companies features 34 tracks recorded for Shelby Smith's Rebel, Rebel Ace and affiliated labels. Perhaps not quite as strong as the first two volumes there are some excellent rockabilly, rock 'n' roll and honky tonk country cuts. Artists includes Parker Cunningham (the great Dry Run), Doug McClure (three previously unissued sides - all excellent), Jimmy Evans (the odd but appealing Dudley Do-Rite), Johnny Seals (a version of Little Walter's My babe with a trumpet solo!), Glen Linder, Eddie Beers, Bobby davis and others including some fine sides by Smith himself. Booklet has extensive notes, photos, and discographical information.

 

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