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Music/Concert Review
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Carl Perkins The Best Of

By Carl Perkins.
Pulse c/d PLS CD 125  Price unknown but a cheapie, check garages or supermarkets.
This has to be my album of the year. 23 Rock'n'Roll anthems by one of the best white rockers of all time. Don't let the title confuse you this is NOT the best of Carl Perkins originals though it does contain 3 of his best, 'Blue Suede Shoes' (naturally), 'Matchbox' ( covered by The Beatles), and my favourite Perkins song ' Honey Don't' ( I defy anybody not to dance to this ). The other 20 tracks include Elvis's 'Jailhouse Rock', ' That's All Right Mama', 'Hound Dog' Chuck Berry's 'Maybelline', 'Memphis Tennesse',  'Roll Over Beethoven', Fats Domino's ' I'm Walkin' and ' Blueberry Hill', Little Richard's 'Slippin & Slidin', 'Lucille', 'Tutti Frutti', the remaining tracks being ' Suzie Q', 'Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On ', 'Rock Island Line', 'Lawdy Miss Clawdy', 'Got My Mojo Working', 'Singing The Blues', 'Be Bop A Lula', and 'What'd I Say'.
I cannot praise this set enough, Carl brings his distinctive style to every track the guitar break on 'Roll Over Beethoven' being totally his own. If you only have one Rock 'n' Roll album in your collection make it this one. No details of when or where these tracks were laid down sadly but at leasrt the cover has a great pic of Carl. My guess is that these tracks were cut in the 70's/80's but they retain the freshness of the originals without being poor imations. It's not often my jaided palette gets excited by anyone re recording others tracks but this is a notable exception. Just to hear Carls version of probably the most recorded song of all time Ray Charles 'What'd I Say' is truly a pleasure. A great set ideal for a party or just to relive the best of the rockin' fifties
Recommended by MSN NicknameOcker?, 1/1/2004.

Everley Brothers Concert Tour

By Ocker.
I first and last saw the Ev's live almost 20 years ago at the same venue, and they blew me away then. Last night was no different in the result but ohh boy what a difference age makes to the voices. Don & Phil have always been in a class of their own musically speaking and whilst I have most of their albums and all the singles, I did find the high pitched dentist drill voices a tad hard to take especially on the ( to me) overdone songs like 'Dream'.
'Dream' as performed last night with a more rasping gravelly voice with Don on lead and Phil on harmony was just PERFECT . Don said afterwards that booze, cigarettes and drugs have in many ways mellowed their tone, but sometimes certain songs worked better than others. I guess last night was one of those 'better ' nights.
The whole 2 hours + set was excellent , and whilst they could have sung just their 33 UK chart hits and filled the show, they gave a suberb mix of Ev's classics, along with, blue grass, Rock' n' Roll, country, blues and even a radio broadcast they made with Ma & Pa Everley in 1955, with 15 year old Don on harmony and 13 year old Phil on lead, as the song progressed they just joined in and seamlessley sang the song live, it brought the house down.
They included the Everley Brothers 'Deadley Medley' of death songs including 'Ebony Eyes' which has to be the funniest 'weepie' ever cut. Stand out tracks for me excluding the expected cult million selling classics like 'Walk Right Back'  'Cathy's Clown' and 'Crying In The Rain' which will always bring the audience to it's feet, included a woderful driving version of a minor hit 'Gone, Gone, Gone', a better live than disc version of Little Richards 'Lucille' and Roy Orbison's 'Claudette', and who but the Everley Brothers could cover and finish with an acapella versuion of the Sam Cooke classic' You Send Me'. But if I have to pick one song that really made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck it had to be an old Chet Atkins instrumental given lyrics and my all time Everley's classic cut 'Let It Be Me', done to perfection live.
A sell out show, a standing ovation and gigs at Cardiff, Newcastle, and London yet to follow, if you can get a ticket BE THERE !
 
Recommended by MSN NicknameOcker?, 11/18/2005.

Everything Glows

By D:A:D.
This is a Danish Band who produce some really cool Rock and Roll. There is nothing very fancy about them, but they write some fantastically quirky lyrics that dont quite marry up to the way that the English language is spoken. Love them to bits, best played really bloody loud.
 
Other Albums include : Riskin it All, Helpyourselfish, Soft Dogs and No Fuel for the Pilgrims.
Recommended by MSN NicknameZaxtroth, 8/9/2003.

Greatest Hits

By The Hollies.
Another C/D collection that does just what it says on the label and more. 47 tracks of which 46 were hits in the UK or the rest of the world, and a bonus unreleased track from 2003.
From being a Coasters copy group with their first 2 releases in 1963 'Aint That Just Like Me' & 'Searchin' then a storming version of Maurice Williams & The Zodiacks classic 'Stay' the Hollies established themselves as one of Britains biggest beat generation groups. with hits over 3 decades they have pretty well and its not untill I listened to this c/d that I realised just how damm good they were.
Besides their slew of UK hits some of the foreign countries smashes may be unknown to non Hollies fans. Stand out tracks here are Dylan's 'Blowing In The Wind'  with Grahem Nash at his best. Another great song is Bruce Springsteens 'Sandy (4th July Asbury Park) beautiful song.
If you're a Hollies fan you will love this, if not buy it anyway as piece of musical history, some great songs and recorded at Abbey Road too !
 
2 c/d set EMI 7243 582012 2 2       
Recommended by MSN NicknameOcker?, 8/10/2003.

In Concert With........

By The Four Seasons.
Going For a Song GFS137 £1.99  
 
Picked this up in the cheapo bin at my local Co-Op. Difficult to know what to make of this. Its not The Four Seasons as many of you will know them. These live tracks (though I suspect the screaming is overdubbed) were almosr certainly recorded at the The Four Seasons restaurant . Its quite possible, indeed most likely, that they were still recording as The Four Lovers at this time. No notes on the c/d of course just an early pic. My guess is this was recorded about 1958, its very much the dinner and caberet set. 11 tracks include Mack The Knife, (except it isn't), By Myself , Jada, Blues in The Night etc. I was hoping this set would be the doo wop stuff the boys sang in their early days but with the exception of the last track 'I can dream, Can't I ? ' its very much swing/standards/ballads stuff.
The last track though is a stand out vocal harmony and hints at the future direction the Four Seasons would take. Frankie Vallis lead vocals soaring over the close harmony of the others. Worth the price of the c/d on it's own, but I think this one is for collectors of rarieties, and Four Seasons fans only.
Recommended by MSN NicknameOcker?, 1/12/2003.

Status Quo

By The Riffs Tour 2003.

Status Quo  Newcastle City Hall    -  Thursday 6th November

After rocking all over the world, the Quo returned to an almost full Newcastle City Hall on this leg of their Riffs tour.

A burst of lights signalled the bands entrance on stage and the crowd erupted giving the band a tremendous welcome.

They played most of their well-known songs with a selection of newer material in the middle of the set.

Quo seem to  be one of those bands you either really like or don’t rate…?.we all know they only play one chord don’t we?

Well I like them and have heard all the jokes but this band can really play.I was quite surprised at how good they are…?even better than the records………so I guess I am saying they are a great LIVE band. They can really rock and they did tonight. For old guys they sure are fit and they kept up a fantastice tempo for the 2 hours they were on stage.

The finale was a great medley of fabulous thumping rock……?Brilliant.

One of the best concerts I have been to.

Recommended by MSN NicknameMajik­­², 11/8/2003.

The Complete A sides & B Sides

By Shane Fenton & The Fentones.
EMI Gold 724305083774 2 2
 
At last ! Hoo bloody Ray ! Someone has had the wisdom to dig out all the Parlaphone recordings by Shane Fenton pre his Alvin Stardust persona. All 9 singles, both sides plus the 2 instrumental chart entries by The Fentones. The importance of the 'B' sides is not to be underestimated as they were bloody good. Especially Conway Twitty's 'Hey Miss Ruby' aka as 'Ruby Baby' a hit for The Drifters and Dion and ''It's Gonna Take Magic' the 'B' side of 'Cindy's Birthday and a much stronger track. Shane and the boys can be seen singing this in Billy Fury's first film ' Play it Cool'.
Lovely pics of Shane and the boys in the silver lame suits, I saw them play live in the 60's and they ripped the stage apart. I never bought any of Shanes singles but I still have the 2 instrumentals by the Fentones. lovely Fender Stratocaster work by Jerry Wilcock on 'The Mexican' and the follow up 'The Breeze & I' , later a hit for 'The Shadows'. Interestingly are the drummers who played with The Fentones, following the departure of Tony Hinchcliffe, the seat was taken by Bobby Elliot who later was the one with the hat in 'The Hollies', he was replaced by a guy who would later find fame as a rock icon with Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton in the supergroup 'CREAM', yep Ginger Baker drummed for Shane Fenton
For those of a certain age this is a great slice of BritPop history. 'Moody Guy', 'Walk Away', ' It's All Over Now', 'Cindy's Birthday' all charted before the Mersey Boom swept away these talented guys from Mansfield Nottingham. Shane Fenton reinvented himself and later topped the charts as Alvin Stardust..........but that's another story.
Recommended by MSN NicknameOcker?, 1/1/2004.

The Definitive Ray Charles

By Ray Charles.
 2  c/d set  8122 73556-2 Warner music
I got this for Christmas 2001, its rare a c/d of this type lives up to its name, but the 46 tracks here really do that.
From Blues, Soul, C & W, Rock'n'Roll, Ballads to Boogie this set really is the best of Ray Charles. Name your favourite Ray Charles song and its here, ok let me be really picky and say its a shame Greenback Dollar is missing but that's an obscure collectors item anyway lol. Hard too find anyone who wouldn't enjoy this set. My stand out tracks are 'Mess Around', 'In The Heat Of The Night', Georgia On My Mind', 'It Should've Been Me', 'Seven Spanish Angels' ( duet with Wilie Nelson ), and 'Hit The Road Jack'. No doubt you will have your own favourite Ray Charles songs, they are all here, all the hits and more.
A must have for any collection. 5 Stars
Recommended by MSN NicknameOcker?, 1/5/2003.

The Sound Of Fury Demos

By Billy Fury.
Select SelCD 606
I have only given this 1  not because it'd bad, it isn't, but it's for dyed in the wool Fury fans only. The original 10" album is a collectors item and certainly the finest British rock album ever. Backed by a youthful Joe Brown and a bunch of fellow Liverpudlians that were later to find fame as 'The Fourmost' this album was as significant as 'Sgt Pepper' was to be years later. Decca finally released the album before Billy's untimely death and other early recordings such as 'Wondrous Place' have charted in the last couple of years.
Back to this c/d this is as the title suggests the original tapes of Ronald Wycherley singing and playing guitar and introducing ( very nervously and with a strong Liverpool accent) to the sound engineers. As apiece of history it's fascinating but lacks the bite of the finished article. 12 ctracks excluding the definitive piece of rockabilly that later made it to the final article 'Turn My Back On You'.
Billy Fury was the british Elvis and like the King had his own monthly magazine 'Fury Monthly' that ran for a couple of years. The remaining 7 tracks all previously unreleased demos include 5 by Elvis. 'Playing For Keeps', 'Paralysed', 'I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone' , 'Have I Told you Lately That I Love You', plus 'Baby' and 'Love's A Callin' '. The last track is a 1982 interview with Stuart Colman. Billy died in 1983 and this last interview is particular evocative.
If you like Billy Fury this is a must have but not untill you get the original studio recordings.
Recommended by MSN NicknameOcker?, 1/1/2004.

TRUE BALLADS

By TONY HADLEY.
If you liked Tony Hadleys vocals on Spandau Balletts hits, this is a must have C/D. Released after he won the 'Reborn In The USA' series, way beter than pop idol, it features 3 Spandau numbers, 'True', 'Through The Barricasdes' & 'Only When You Leave', plus 12 more tracks solo Hadley.
This guy can really sing and his version of the Cat Stevens penned P.P. Arnold and later Rod Stewart recording of 'The First Cut Is The Deepest' is a great performance. Ditto' Free Fallin' (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers), and the Bee-Gees 'First Of May'
15 tracks Universal Music TV 038 286-2
Recommended by MSN NicknameOcker?, 8/10/2003.

ZUZU MAN

By Dr. John The Night Tripper.
Prism Lesiure Plat CD 666
 
OK so not what you may expect to find on my player BUT under his real name of Mac (Malcolm) Rebbenack this guy wrote and played guitar on the 1958 classic 'Lights Out' . A torrid Rock 'n' Roll number by Jerry Byrne released on Specialty Records. Mac was then 17. Two years later Lloyd Price hit with Macs classic 'Lady Luck'.
A white man was well versed in the blues, and r & b, he immersed himself in the New Orleans music scene and worked with just about every top artiste including The Rolling stones, Allan Toussaint, Van Morrisson, Bob Dylan, Paul Weller, and Primal Scream.
He first charted under his alter ego Dr. John in the late 60's and his song ' Walk On Gilded Splinters' from his Atco album 'Gris Gris' was a hit for Marsha Hunt. During the 70's he hit big with successive albums for Atco before splitting from them and doing the collaberation with such artistes as mentioned before.
This c/d has 19 tracks from the late 60's. The first 9 are studio demos with Mac on piano and a bass and drums, the rest are studio cuts of what were to form the best tracks on his Atco albums but were the first cuts of these tracks.
At first playing I was going to put this into the 'vile pile' but stuck with it and have been rewarded by having tracks such as 'The Ear Is On Strike', 'Mean Cheatin' Woman ', 'Shoo Ra' , and the only non self written track a tribute to New Orleans mentor and friend Eddy 'Clean  Head' Vinson with a storming version of 'Bald Head' .
Maybe not to everyones taste but if you like gravelly vocals, voodoo music and a little Rock 'n' Roll on the side, give this one a spin.
 
(Incidentally 'Lights Out' was not released in the UK untill the late 1970's and got it's first hearing on BBC radio when I played it on Radio Oxford, it subsequently became a staple part of Shakin' Stevens act. When Shaky & his band played support to The Stones at Concert some 2 years later, Mick Jagger asked about the song and later met up with and recorded with the writer..........small world ? )
 
 
Recommended by MSN NicknameOcker?, 1/4/2003.