- Audio CD (September 20, 2011)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Import
- Label: Bear Family
- ASIN: B0053EJ1XK
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #420,703 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
Only Believe...Unissued and Rare Nashville Vocal Group Recordings
Audio CD | Import
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CD Digipac with comprehensive booklet, 28 tracks. This exciting CD reveals a completely unknown chapter in the already implausible - though true - story of the Prisonaires, the prison inmates from Nashville who got onto Sun Records in Memphis in 1953 and whose best song, Just Walkin' In The Rain, became an international pop hit for Johnny Ray. In this CD you'll find: eleven astonishing songs from an unissued 'concert' recorded at the Tennessee State Penitentiary - featuring several Prisonaires members never heard until now! Fascinating spoken introductions to the songs by second tenor Alfred Brooks - and a message from the penitentiary warden Lynn Bomar! Six alternative versions of songs recorded for Sun Records! All eleven vocal group tracks by The Solotones and the Marigolds (renamed versions of the Prisonaires led by Johnny Bragg). A comprehensive booklet by Martin Hawkins containing many new interviews and insights into the story of the Prisonaires, one of the first R&B vocal groups to record and have hits in the South. It explains the background to the unissued recordings, and contains many rare and fascinating photos and illustrations.
The new Prisonaires titles reveal an even wider range of vocal harmonies and musical abilities, influences and styles than the Sun recordings. The Prisonaires rock with Caldonia and Bony Moronie, they sing sincere versions of Suppertime and Gentle Hands, they reprise their best-known songs including Just Walkin' In The Rain, and they make fun with The Boastin' Texan and other titles.
Get this CD and you'll hear the Prisonaires as never before; you'll have completed your Prisonaires collection; and you'll have the complete story of the Marigolds/Solotones. This CD is one of three discs telling the complete story of the Prisonaires and of their lead singer, Johnny Bragg. The early part of the tale has been told in our CD of Sun recordings: The Prisonaires - Just Walkin' In The Rain (Bear Family 15523). This CD, Only Believe... tells the middle part of the story. Watch out later for our planned CD World Of Make Believe, containing all the rare and unissued recordings by Johnny Bragg as a solo vocalist.
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Top customer reviews
If you already own the previous release featuring the group's one lone hit song, "Just Walkin' In The Rain" (heard again in the live concert portion of this new release), plus a number of other good tracks, this is well worth purchasing. The unissued sides from Sun are good, and the singles from Excello fill in a missing era of their music, but it's the live tracks (with a small rhythm section) that make this release worth owning. Listening to these tracks is like stepping out of a time machine in the late 50's/early 60's when this type of music was very popular. And the fact that it was recorded under armed guard is amazing to contemplate.
As usual with Bear Family Records, the (50+ page attached) booklet is very detailed and includes a number of period photographs of the group inside the prison. Also included is a discography of the music on this disc, including rhythm section personnel heard on the recordings, recording dates, places, and members of THE PRISONAIRES.
If you want some background on the group and their music, check out "Just Walkin' In The Rain...", by Jay Warner. It's an inside look at the group and their life, singing while treated as convicts-which they were in every sense of the word. It's also a look at an era and lifestyle unfamiliar to most of us, and helps set the scene for the music on both the group's releases. The group was truly one of a kind, and this book is worth reading if you're curious about how it all came to pass.