on July 27, 2006
Ace is tagging this release as an offshoot of their Golden Age of American Rock 'n' Roll series, but the blurb for the disc on their website reveals that not everyone on the Ace team was behind it. Too much white bread, some feared, too much metronome.
They shouldn't have worried. Thanks to AMERICAN GRAFFITI and its offspring, many assume that the pre-Beatle era consisted only of Elvis, Buddy, Chuck, the Flamingos, and a few others. (Only one of the above tunes appeared on that movie's soundtrack.) But it's good to remind ourselves that there was a time when Elvis's only serious competition was Pat Boone.
A fellow who runs an oldies shop in Portland once told me that rock 'n' roll, in his view, was "anything teenagers listened to." This makes sense to me. (In my experience, it was also music that my parents were unlikely to listen to.)
Ace isn't the first to retrieve obscure 50s and 60s pop, and even the title of the release gives a nod to Eric's series HARD-TO-FIND 45's ON CD, which has done a good job covering much of the same turf. Still, few can beat Ace for thoroughness (their CD booklets are among the best in the industry) and sound quality. Hats off to this UK label for acknowledging Gene McDaniels, Dorsey Burnette, the Four Preps, Jerry Wallace, and the other disparate artists whose records shared space on the jukebox with the greats of rock 'n' roll.
on July 23, 2010
I love oldies, from good rock and roll, to that often dreamy 60s style, that so famously got destroyed with JFK's assassination and/or the Beatles' invasion of pop. But there are so many compilation Cd's; which ones to choose? Simple: ACE is the best of the best, only equaled sometimes by Eric Records. So that is why I have almost all ACE compilation Cd's. What makes this label stand out?
1) Every single compilation they release lives up to the title, because the songs really represent what the Cd cover states. We all know that wonderful feeling to hear a song again we were looking for, or hear something new but wonderful, thinking; yes this is exactly what I hoped this Cd would contain. Ace has given me that listening enjoyment on every compilation I have bought from them.
2) You get truly rare songs, some never before issued on Cd.
3) There are always many tracks on the CD, unlike Time Life or Rhino or some other reissue labels, that give you 58 minutes or so.
4) All tracks are in good, to best, sound quality.
5) And then last but not least the booklet, that is the best I have seen anywhere: packed with background information about the style of that particular music, the artists, the particular tracks.
So if you look for something particular in the 50s or 60s era, Ace is where you should look first.
This first of a spin-off series from Ace's Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll was launched with trepidation, as some within Ace weren't too sure that the wide range of material making up the 28 tracks would appeal to a large enough audience. I don't know details of their sales, of course, but I can say that, to inveterate collectors like myself, it is a gold-mine of extremely hard-to-find hits, something embellished by Ace's usual high quality in both sound and packaging (a complete discography is on the reverse).
Also, producer Trevor Churchill made certain there were just enough familiar songs/huge hits to grab the attention of those not heavily into collecting, such as those by The Four Preps, Johnny Mathis, Bobby Darin, Earl Grant, Billy Grammar, Jerry Wallace Dorsey Burnette and Vic Dana. Each would be instantly familiar to anyone who lived in that era and loved the music being played. A bit less familiar, but still significant hits, are those by a pre-Dawn Tony Orlando, Paul Petersen, The Duprees, The Playmates, Gene McDaniels, The Rover Boys, Adam Wade, and Dicky Doo & The Don'ts.
But what attracted me were the One-Hit Wonders and several with just a couple of hits that, to this point at least, just never seemed to be available in a quality CD. The first of the One-Hit Wonders in order of appearance are The Dolphins, a trio backed by The Driving Wind Orchestra, who had a # 69 Hot 100 in late 1964/early 1965 with Hey-Da-Da-Dow on the Fraternity label. Next up is My Lucky Love by Doug Franklin with The Bluenotes, a release in 1958 by Colonial Records that hit # 73 Hot 100 in September, followed by one that you do see now and then on compilations, See You In September by The Tempos, a quartet from Pittsburgh backed by the Billy Mure orchestra. It reached # 23 Hot 100 in summer 1959 on the Climax label (in 1966 The Happenings would have a # 3 cover hit).
In early 1957, Roulette picked up Hey! Little Girl, a release on the small Stars label by The Techniques, and it made it to # 29 Top 100, while in December 1958/January 1959, Teasin' by the Philadelphia string band calling themselves The Quaker City Boys made its way to # 39 Hot 100 on Swan Records. Another from that label, and backed by Earl Sheldon & His Orchestra, were The Upbeats who had their only hit, Just Like In The Movies, stall at # 75 Hot 100 in August 1958.
Continuing with the One-Hit Wonders, some might remember Pete Drake And His Talking Steel Guitar do his 1964 hit version of Forever, but four years earlier, in February/March 1960, a quartet calling themselves The Little Dippers had their original rendition go to # 9 Hot 100 on the University label. In early 1958, the NY City quintet, The Voxpoppers, had Wishing For Your Love come out on Amp 3 1004, but it wasn't until Mercury picked it up did it start to climb the charts, finishing at # 18. And finally there is Tony Perkins, made famous as Norman Bates in Psycho, whose only hit record, Moon-Light Swim, hit # 24 late in 1957 backed by the Frank DeVol orchestra on RCA Victor.
Those with more than one hit, but no less easier to find, are: Bob Beckham, an erstwhile Country singer who had a # 32 Hot 100 with Just As Much As Ever in September 1959 for Decca; The Rivieras (not to be confused with a group of the same name who had a 1964 hit with California Sun), whose cover of the Glenn Miller hit, Moonlight Serenade, reached # 47 Hot 100 in early 1959 for Coed; The Highlights, whose first of two hits, City Of Angels, finished at # 19 Top 100 in late 1956 for the Bally label (their second hit, To Be With You, would be billed as The Highlights featuring Frank Pisani - both were backed by the Lew Douglas orchestra).
The 15-page booklet, which contains artist- and track-by-track notes written by Brian Gari and Rob Finis, is full of pictures of things like vintage radios, posters, 45 rpm records, and photos of a young Tony Orlando, Billy Grammar, The Dolphins, Paul Petersen, The Tempos, Bob Beckham, The Rover Boys, The Rivieras, Dorsey Burnette, The Little Dippers, The Voxpoppers, Adam Wade, The Highlights, The Playmates, Bobby Darin, Johnny Mathis, Gene McDaniels, Jerry Wallace, and Earl Grant.
on December 24, 2015
The collection itself is fine, as is the case with all of Ace's products. The booklet, on the other hand, is another matter. Aside from a few entries, including, of course, the entries from the master, Rob Finnis, many are very disappointing, including little in the way of interesting information about the artist(s). Whether this is due to the lack of information careful research could uncover, or the laziness of the author, I can't say. However, the great Rob Finnis never seems to have any trouble creating incredibly rewarding booklets!