Reviews

Mar 2020 Reviews

Exciting vocalist

KAY STARR –
The One And Only!
(Jasmine JASMCD 2698)

Dynamic American vocalist with her third outing from Jasmine. Here, early singles tracks are included with those from a couple of landmark albums for Capitol Records. The first half-dozen rare and collectable tracks are from Kay’s period with RCA Records. These include lively items “Rain, Rain” from her US TV show ‘The Lord Don’t Play Favourites’, “Flim Flam Floo” from her other TV show ‘The Pied Piper Of Hamlin’ and Voodoo Man.
The first album is her 1959 set ‘Movin’, a themed album of songs that relate to movin’ in various directions with songs about China to Indiana. Other titles included are “Sentimental Journey”, “Night Train”, Lazy River” and a great version of “Riders In The Sky”.
Van Alexander’s orchestra and Dave Cavanagh’s production certainly compleiment Kay’s lively performances with some equally dynamic arrangements.
The follow-up album, ;Movin’ On Broadway’ followed a similar pattern with its theme featuring songs from well-known musicals. These include “On The Street Where You Live”, “I’ve Grown Accustomed To His Face” , “I Love Paris”, a pretty unique swing version of “Get Me To The Church On Time” is a stand-out, but then all the songs are performed with a vibrant freshness.
A great set from one of America’s most exciting vocalists.

 

Magic and excitement

RORY GALLAGHER
CHECK SHIRT WIZARD – LIVE IN ’77 Chess/UMC

Hot on the heels of ‘Blues’ package, here’s some more incredible performance from the great Irish singer and guitarist.
Available as a two CD set, or as a three LP package, these live recordings come from an assortment of locations during Rory’s memorable UK tour of 1977. Rory is captured in unbelievable form turning out some of the most potent guitar-playing ever to come from a Fender Strat. No wonder he was held in awe by most of his peers.
Totalling 17 tracks on the two- CD digital set, and 20 tracks on the three LP set, it’s all pretty breathless stuff, including show stoppers like “Moon Child”, “Calling Card”, “Walk On Hot Coals”, “Barley & Grape Rag”, a ferocious “I Take What I Want”, and backed by an equally dynamic three-piece band behind him, it’s all great hot and sweaty blues rock at its best.Better still, if you were at any of the shows, the magic and excitement should soon come flowing back by way of this stunning set.

Brit-pop, musicals and show tunes

LIONEL BART – POPBART!, Pop Hits, Misses & Rarities (Jasmine JASCD 869)

Showing just how prolific and versatile the British songwriter was, this double CD, 64-track compilation, from his first success at creating some British rock’n’roll with, “Rock With The Caveman”, was co-written with Mike Pratt (of ‘Randall & Hopkirk Diseased) and the first of many tailor-made for Tommy Steele.

Other attempts at r&r were “Wild Cat” and “Hide And Seek” by Marty Wilde, “Under Control” by Larry Page and “Little Cutie” by Sally Kelly. Into the group sound with Cliff Richard and The Drifters and “Livin’ Doll” and “Mad About You”, Dave Sampson & The Hunters with “Why The Chicken” and Shane Fenton & The Fentones and “Too Young For Sad Memories”.

There’s also plenty of other pop items from Anita Harris, The Barry Sisters, Mark Wynter, Petula Clark, Bobby Shafto, Russ Conway, Anthony Newley, Toni Eden, Bruce Forsythe, Tsai Chin and Anne Shelton. Hot on the Lionel also came up with some superb ballads too, included here with Danny Williams’ smooth “We Will Never Be As Young As This Again” and the obscure “If I’d Known You” by comedian Billy Dainty, (from ‘Lock Up Your Daughters’).

The other side of Lionel was his cockney novelty songs. These include “Jellied Eels” by Joe Brown. Lionel’s foray into films is covered with Tommy Steele and “Hair Down, Hoedown” and “Photograph” (with June Laverick) from ‘The Duke Wore Jeans’, “Sometime, Somewhere” and “Walkin’ Tall” by Frankie Vaughan from ‘Heart Of A Man’ and “Where’s The Birdie” by Sid James, Bernard Crimmins and Tommy Steele from ‘Tommy The Toreador’. From ‘Fings Ain’t Wot They Used To Be’, Max Bygraves sings the title song and Adam Faith with “Big Time” and “Carve Up”.
Lionel’s big success ‘Oliver’ is also featured with “I’d Do Anything” by Mike Preston, “It’s A Fine Life” and “Oom Pa Pa” by a cockney-sounding Alma Cogan, Shirley Bassey’s classic “As Long As He Needs Me” and “Who Will Buy” by American folk group The Limelighters. Nothing to do with the musical “The Oliver Twist” by Bob Miller & The Millermen is a gimmicky twist instrumental.
Another of Lionel’s musicals ‘Blitz’ is covered with Vera Lynn “The Day After Tomorrow”, Billy Cotton & His Band “Who’s This Geezer Hitler” and the thoughtful “If The Young Ones Can Be Happy”, Shirley Bassey’s big ballad “Far Away”, Max Bygraves “Down The Lane” and Bryan Johnson with the patriotic “Duty Calls”.

There’s also a couple of novelty tracks featuring Lionel himself with “Just Let It Happen” and “How Now Brown Cow”. A superb cross-section of 1950s and 60s Brit-pop, musicals and show tunes from an undoubted national treasure.

 

New Orleans Rhythm and Blues

BOBBY CHARLES – Alligators, Sprockets And Bended Knees (Jasmine JASCD 858)

Robert Guidry was one of the handful of white New Orleans artists from the 50s, and as Bobby Charles, he’s featured on this double CD collection spanning the years 1955 to 1962, showcasing his recording career and covers labels – Chess, Imperial, Argo and Montel.
Despite not being able to read music or play an instrument, he was extremely prolific, having written 19 of the 24 tracks on CD 1. Kicking this set off is Charles’s classic song “See You Later Alligator” under its original title “Later Alligator” and performed as a fast shuffle, as opposed to the more familiar Bill Haley cover version (included as one of the bonus tracks). All the songs have that great New Orleans Rhythm and Blues feel “Bended Knee” is a slow R&B ballad, and Hank Williams’ classic “Hey Good Lookin’ ” receives a driving rock’n’roll treatment. “Why Did You Leave” (also recorded by The Crickets) is a slow pulsating bluesy ballad.
With its novel title,”Watch It Sprocket” is a jumpin’ rocker and the swingin’ “Time Will Tell” is another song covered by The Crickets on their ‘In Style’ album.”Take It Easy, Greasy” takes off at a fast rockin’ pace. The version “I’m A Fool To Care” was taken up by Joe Barry who had a hit with it.
More shuffles like “Over Yonder” and the novel “I’ll Turn Square For You” and a rockin’ take on “Put Your Arms Around Me” and “No More” is another fast rocker.
CD 2 features more of Charles’ songs, some co-written with legendary New Orleans songwriter Dave Bartholomew, beginning with the slow “Since She’s Gone”. “Oh Yeah” gets a Bo Diddley-type arrangement, and a rollicking version of Fats Domino’s “What A Party” plus another Fat’s songs “Four Winds” (aka “Let The Four Winds Blow”). Another solid rocker is the observational “Teenagers”.
The last of Charles’s own recordings is a R&B cover of another country song “Lovesick Blues”.
The other bonus tracks feature some of the Charles songs recorded by other artists and include Fat Domino performing “Before I Grow Too Old”, “Walking To New Orleans” and “It Keeps Raining”. John Fred performs “Good Lovin’ ” and Clarence ‘Frogman’ Henry sings his hit “But I Do” and “On Bended Knees”, while Johnnie Allan and The Krazy Kats perform “Your Picture”.
Featuring the accompaniment of some of New Orleans top musicians and with a total of 48 tracks, this is an ideal overview of another important New Orleans musical figure and cult artist.