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Archive for the ‘Bobby Vee’ Category

Sweeter Than Wine: “This Magic Moment” Compiles Brill Building Nuggets

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Brill Building CompToday, 1619 Broadway in the heart of New York City’s theatre district doesn’t particularly stand out. Despite the building’s ornate façade, 1619 appears to be just another office building on a busy thoroughfare populated with every kind of attention-grabbing signage.  But this building – along with its neighbor to the north, 1650 Broadway – is as much a part of rock and roll history as Sun Studios or Abbey Road.  1650 is the one and only Brill Building, incubator to some of the finest songs in the American popular canon.  For a fertile period in the 1950s and 1960s, 1619 and 1650 (and to a lesser extent, 1697 Broadway, as well!) were lined with cubicles in which some of the busiest and best songwriters competed with one another to conquer the charts with their frequently youthful compositions.  The U.K.’s Jasmine label, drawing on public domain recordings made through 1962, has assembled a 2-CD, 64-song, non-chronologically sequenced overview of this remarkable period of creativity.  The appropriately-entitled This Magic Moment: The Sound of the Brill Building is available now.

In his liner notes, Groper Odson describes the “First Team” of the Brill Building as era of consisting of seven duos.  Noted next to their names are some of the songs you’ll hear on this new compilation:

  • Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller (“Charlie Brown,” “Stand by Me”)
  • Gerry Goffin and Carole King (“Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” “The Locomotion,” “Chains”)
  • Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman (“A Teenager in Love,” “(Marie’s the Name) His Latest Flame”)
  • Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield (“Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen,” “Where the Boys Are”)
  • Burt Bacharach and Hal David (“Only Love Can Break a Heart,” “It’s Love That Really Counts”)
  • Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil (“Uptown,” “Bless You”)
  • Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich (Greenwich’s “Our Love It Grows,” Barry’s “Teenage Sonata” and “Tell Laura I Love Her”)

And while all of those songwriters are represented on This Magic Moment – named for a Pomus and Shuman tune, of course – so are some names that might be more unfamiliar: Jack Keller, Mark Barkan, Tony Powers, Larry Kolber, Ben Raleigh, Hank Hunter, Bob Hilliard, Bernie Baum, Florence Kaye and Bill Giant among them.  But even if you don’t know those names, chances are you know many of their songs.  This Magic Moment deftly blends those famous songs that have endured over the course of seven decades with some tracks that were cut from the same cloth but didn’t necessarily have the same staying power.

After the jump: a closer look at This Magic Moment including the full track listing and order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

February 3, 2014 at 10:24

Ace Label Tunes In “Radio Gold” and Heads to the “Hall of Fame”

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Radio Gold - Bigger in BritainAce Records has another pair of aces (Aces?) up its sleeve with two recent releases, both of which continue ongoing series for the label.  The sixth installment of the long-running Radio Gold series turns the spotlight on those American records which were Bigger in Britain, as it’s subtitled, while the second volume of Hall of Fame takes in 24 rarities (20 previously unreleased) from deep in the heart of Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

The 24 tracks chosen for Radio Gold: Special Bigger in Britain Edition all hail from the pre-Beatles era (1956-1963) of rock and roll and feature some of that period’s biggest names: Buddy Holly, Del Shannon, Bobby Darin, Bill Haley and His Comets, Roy Orbison, and Frankie Lyman and the Teenagers.  It might come as a surprise that Roy Orbison’s beautiful “Blue Bayou” bested its No. 29 placement with a No. 3 showing in Britain, or that Haley’s rather unknown “Rockin’ Through the Rye” (No. 78) also hit that same lofty perch.  Del Shannon’s “Two Kinds of Teardrops” was an intentional sound-alike to his “Little Town Flirt,” but whereas it stalled at No. 50 in the U.S., Shannon’s constant U.K. touring saw it rise to No. 5 there.  (As for “Flirt,” the No. 12 U.S. hit was No. 4 in the U.K.!)

Compiler Tony Rounce hasn’t limited himself to rock-and-roll chestnuts, though.  You’ll find country artists represented, including Conway Twitty (“Mona Lisa”) and Jim Reeves (“Welcome to My World,” later popularized by Elvis Presley) and crooner Perry Como (the rock-ish “Love Makes the World Go Round (Yeah Yeah)”).  Even more surprising than Perry is an appearance by the Velvet Fog, Mel Torme.  His breezy 1956 live recording of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart’s 1926 standard “Mountain Greenery” didn’t make waves in the U.S., but accomplished an impressive No. 4 showing on the British chart. Rounce helpfully points out in his detailed track-by-track notes that Mel’s recording was the very first live recording to make a major dent on the U.K. survey.

On the R&B front, there’s a track from Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers (“I’m Not a Juvenile Delinquent”).  Straight from the Brill Building, Bobby Vee offers Gerry Goffin and Carole King’s “How Many Tears” (No. 63 U.S., No. 10 U.K., 1961).  Two famous television western themes are also included.  “The Ballad of Paladin” from Have Gun, Will Travel only made it to No. 33 at home, but across the pond, “Paladin” hit No. 10.  The occasionally overwrought pop star Frankie Laine specialized in musical tales of the Old West, and he brought his big pipes to Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington’s “Rawhide” from the program of the same name.  Its September 1958 release in America didn’t chart, but when “Rawhide” was issued in Britain in November 1959, it began an ascent to No. 6.

This entry in the Radio Gold series is accompanied by a thick 22-page booklet with plenty of label scans, photographs and sheet music covers.  Duncan Cowell has remastered all tracks.

Hit the jump for the full track listing and discography for Radio Gold, plus the details on Hall of Fame Volume 2! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 27, 2013 at 10:08

Sentimental Journeys: Day and Vee Compilations Still on Track

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It’s an inevitability in the catalogue world that, despite the best intentions of compilers, producers and labels, projects often get delayed.

Doris Day made headlines last week when the legendary actress, singer and animal rights activist gave a rare, lengthy interview to longtime New York radio personality Jonathan Schwartz for WNYC-FM and Sirius/XM Radio. In the interview, Day revealed an immense modesty about her impressive body of work. On August 19, we reported on a new collection sure to please Day’s fans. My Heart would commercially release the recordings made in 1985 with Day’s son, producer Terry Melcher, for the television program Doris Day’s Best Friends. These tracks saw her covering the likes of Paul Simon, John Sebastian, Elton John and Melcher associates Bruce Johnston and Mike Love, among other rock and pop luminaries. Sony/Columbia’s U.K. arm had planned on a late 2010 release of My Heart, but it’s since been confirmed that the album has been pushed back to a Spring 2011 release instead. A career-spanning box set, with the artist’s involvement, will likely follow by September 2011. While Bear Family’s complete Day box sets are exhaustive and essential, a more concise, less expensive set (especially containing unreleased material!) would undoubtedly be a welcome treat for Doris Day’s many fans around the world.

Even further back on July 6, The Second Disc was excited to share news of a two-CD, 61-track set compiling the best of 130 unreleased tracks by Bobby Vee confirmed to reside in the EMI vaults. Vee’s Rare and Unreleased Gems from the EMI/Capitol Vaults was initially slated for an October release, but it’s now going to make the perfect collection to kick off the New Year in reissues, with a scheduled U.K. release date of January 4, 2011. Amazon U.K. is currently listing the collection under the simplified title Rarities, but the tracks appear the same.

Written by Joe Marchese

November 3, 2010 at 09:26

Come Back When You Grow Up: Lost Bobby Vee Tracks to See Release

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The early 1960s could be thought of as the era of the Bobbys: Darin, Rydell, Vee. Despite rising to prominence in the unfairly-derided period between the birth of rock & roll and the British Invasion, these post-Elvis pop stars all stormed the charts and left behind great recorded legacies. Darin was a multi-faceted entertainer who touched on pop, standards and folk-rock with equal ability before passing away at a too-young age, Rydell waxed some of the most indelible pop confections out of Philadelphia and Vee was a prime exponent of the work of the Brill Building’s best and brightest. He took Gerry Goffin and Carole King’s “Take Good Care of My Baby” to No. 1 in 1961 and was admired by no less a friend than Bob Dylan; he survived the British onslaught and continued having big hits through 1967’s No. 3 “Come Back When You Grow Up”, making final chart appearances in 1970. He, like Rydell, still tours and records today.

Bobby Vee’s complete Liberty singles were released by EMI Gold in the United Kingdom in the impressive 3-disc box set The Singles Collection (0946 3 67379 2 8), comprising the American A & B sides, U.K.-only singles, rare versions and Italian language renditions over 95 tracks. Now, a companion to that 2006 set is slated for release later this year. Entitled Rare and Unreleased Gems from the EMI/Capitol Vaults, the 2-CD set will feature 60 tracks recorded between 1959 and 2002. While EMI Gold is currently only planning a British release, Vee is currently attempting to secure a release by the American Capitol label. Among the 60 tracks are rare Vee renditions of songs by Carole King and Burt Bacharach, with musicians including Glen Campbell and Leon Russell. In this interview with The St. Cloud Times, it’s mentioned that over 130 unreleased Vee songs reside in the vaults; while the 60 tracks currently scheduled for release represent the cream of the crop, it’s not impossible that the others will see the light of day.  The interview link also contains video footage and song samples that are well worth checking out.

Click after the jump for the full track listing, with thanks to IMWAN forum member Wony252. The still-active musician and singer Bobby Vee sees his Rare and Unreleased Gems from the EMI/Capitol Vaults scheduled for release in the United Kingdom in October. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 6, 2010 at 11:21