Sentimental Me 78 by The Ames Brothers

March 31, 2012

The Ames Bothers had an odd number one hit during 1950. Their “Rag Mop” topped the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Best Sellers In Stores and Most Played By Disc Jockeys Charts during February. Time passed and a funny thing happened. The flip side of “Rag Mop,” “Sentimental Me,” reached the top of the Most Played By Disc Jockeys Chart, June 10, 1950.

Unlike the A side which had some elements that pointed ahead to rock ‘n’ roll, “Sentimental Me” was very representative of the early 1950s vocal group style that sounds a little dated today. The version of the song that many people remember is the one by Elvis Presley that was included on his SOMETHING FOR EVERYBODY album.

“Sentimental Me” may have had only one week on top of a BILLBOARD Chart but that is more than most songs can claim.

Monster Mash 45 by Bobby “Boris” Pickett

March 31, 2012

Bobby “Boris” Pickett passed away a couple of years ago leaving behind one memorable song, which was also the definitive Halloween song of the rock ‘n’ roll era. “Monster Mash” first reached the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart during early September of 1962 and would eventually peak a number one for two weeks.

He would never have another big hit although he would keep performing until his death at the age of 59.

Interestingly “Monster Mash” would enter the BILLBOARD Charts two more times. It would reach number 91 during 1970 and number ten during 1973.

Every Halloween it receives radio airplay and it’s always “a graveyard smash.”

So Sad/Lucille 45 by The Everly Brothers

March 30, 2012

The Everly Brothers were two of the kings of the late 1950s and early 1960s pre-Beatles era. They placed 38 singles on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart, 1957-1964, and sold tens of milllions of records.

Don and Phil Everly began singing together as children and by their late teens had received a recording contract. Their first chart single, “Bye Bye Love,” reached number two and from that point on they were hit making machines.

“So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad)/Lucille” was a double=sided release released during the summer of 1960. “So Sad” reached number number seven and “Lucille” rose to number 21. Both had harmonies that would make you ache and are representative of some of the best pure pop of their era.

The Everly Brothers were inducted into THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME during 1986.

King Of The Road 45 by Roger Miller

March 30, 2012

The Complete Epic Recordings by Rick Nelson

March 29, 2012

During the late 1950s and early ’60s, first and foremost there was Elvis Presley. Then there was Ricky Nelson. He was the embodiment of the teen idols that ruled the American music scene during the pre-Beatles era.

His career traveled through several stages. In his early career with the Imperial label, he was a rock ‘n’ roll singer trading up-tempo rockabilly songs with smooth ballads. During his stay with the Decca/MCA label, he changed from a pure pop singer to producing some the earliest fusions of country and rock. Later bands like Poco and The Eagles would refine this genre, taking it in different directions. During his time with these labels he sold close 100 million records and produced dozens of hits. It was his time with the Epic label that is the great lost period of his musical life.

Real Gone Records has now gathered all his recordings from his short, late-1970s stay with the label, issuing them on a two-CD set titled The Complete Epic Recordings. He recorded three albums worth of material for the label, but only 1977’s Intakes was released during his lifetime. The next album, the Al Kooper-produced Back To Vienna was never released. The third album, Rockabilly Renaissance, a return to his rockabilly roots, was issued after his death in heavily overdubbed form under the title Memphis Sessions. The Real Gone compilation marks the first time the three albums have been released in CD form in the U.S. It also marks the debut of 11 of the 41 tracks.

My only complaint is that the sound quality varies, which may be due to the quality of the original masters. Other than that issue the material is a fine addition to the Rick Nelson catalogue and legacy.

The rockabilly material has been issued in the original and overdubbed formats. While there is repetition, it was a good idea to include the originals. Songs such as “That’s All Right Mama,” “Almost Saturday Night,” “Dream Lover,” “True Love Ways,” “Rave On,” and others are a welcome throwback to his early rock ‘n’ roll days. Add in such undiscovered gems as “Call Of The Jungle,” “New Delhi Freight Train,” “Mama You Been On My Mind,” and “Conversation” and you have an album that will please any fan.

The Complete Epic Recordings shows that Rick Nelson was producing high quality creative music toward the end of his life. This new compilation fills in a lot of holes in his discography and is well worth a listen.

Article first published as Music Review: Rick Nelson – The Complete Epic Recordings on Blogcritics.

Game Of Love 45 by Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders

March 29, 2012

Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders were a part of the British Invasion of America during the early to mid 1960s. They consisted of lead singer Wayne Fontana, lead guitarist Eric Stewart, bassist Bob Lang, and drummer Ric Rothwell.

Their first chart single in the United States was their biggest. “Game of Love” was released during early 1965 and spent one week at the top of the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart.

It was a cross between rock and pop and had an odd tempo, which grabbed your attention. It was different from alot of what was being released at the time.

Wayne Fontana left the band soon after their big hit but the Mindbenders continued on and reached number two a year later with “A Groovy Kind Of Love.”

Emotions/I’m Learning About Love 45 by Brenda Lee

March 29, 2012

Brenda Lee was just under five feet of musical dynamite. In fact her title “Little Miss Dynamite” was taken from her second chart hit.

She was one of the superstars of the late 1950s and early 1960s pre-Beatles era. Overall she placed 55 songs on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart in addition to 30 on the Country Chart.

“Emotion/I’m Learning About Love” was a two-sided hit released during the late fall of 1960. “Emotion” was the bigger hit as it reached number seven. It the the emotional type of ballad that she was so good at producing. The real gem was the B side which peaked at number 33. “I’m Learning About Love” was a rockabilly type song that had a raw energy about it and looked back to her roots.

Any Brenda Lee compilation is still worth a listen.

Hoop-Dee-Doo 78 by Perry Como with The Fontaine Sisters

March 28, 2012

While Guy Lombardo and Anton Karas were dominating the BILLBOARD Best Sellers In Stores Chart and Most Played In Jukeboxes Chart with their versions of “The Third Man Theme,” good old Perry Como reached the top of The Most Played In Jukeboxes Chart on June 3, 1950 with his “Hoop-Dee-Doo.” It remained at number one for two weeks.

It was an up-tempo oom-pah song complete with accordians and trumpets. The Fontaine Sisters provide the vocal support. It helped solidify his position as one of the superstars of the 1940s and 50s.

Just Ask Your Heart/Two Fools 45 by Frankie Avalon

March 28, 2012

Frankie Avalon was one of the teen idols of the late 1950s and early 1960s pre-Beatles era. He had 24 singles make the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart, 1958-1962, including two that reached number one. Today many people remember him as one of the stars of the series of BEACH PARTY movies with Annette Funicello.

“Just Ask Your Heart/Two Fools” was a double-sided hit released during the summer of 1959. “Just Ask Your Heart” reached number seven and “Two Fools” peaked at number 54.

I remember I bought my old copy at a church bazaar sale when I was 14 or so and it still plays fine nearly 50 years later.

Fools Rush In 45 by Brook Benton

March 27, 2012

Very few singers were as smooth as Brook Benton. While he was a rhythm & blues songer, his smooth as butter style allowed him to cross over to the Pop Singles Chart 50 times, 1958-1970.

“Fools Rush In” was a number three hit for Glenn Miller back in 1940. Benton took the song and re-worked it into a pop classic. It reached number 24 on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart during late 1960.

A warm fire, a glass of wine, and Brook Benton on the stereo system — perrr-fect.