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Cash, Perkins, Lewis and…The Chipmunks? Ace Revisits 1958 On “The London American Label”

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After a terrifically eclectic volume dedicated to the hits, misses and everything in between of 1963, Ace’s London American Label turns the clock back to the early days of rock and roll via the pioneering British imprint.  The London American Label: 1958, the sixth volume of the series, similarly offers something for everyone.  Unlike so many other British labels mining this period thanks to public domain law, Ace licenses each and every track from the current copyright owners and remasters them for optimum sound.  These classics cover a wide swath of genres, reflecting a time in American music history when rock and roll was just taking a hold: rockabilly, country, traditional vocal pop, and doo wop, to name a few.  (To read more on London American, you’re just a hop, skip and a click away!)

Every volume of The London American Label offers a number of recognizable hits, and 1958 is no exception.  You’ll find Eddie Cochran’s sizzling “Summertime Blues” and Bobby Darin’s “Splish Splash.”  Three quarters of The Million Dollar Quartet make an appearance:  Johnny Cash (“Guess Things Happen This Way”), Jerry Lee Lewis (“Break-Up”) and Carl Perkins (“Lend Me Your Comb”).  In a more traditional country vein is Jimmy Starr’s version of Conway Twitty’s standard “It’s Only Make Believe.”  Befitting any compilation of the golden era of rock and roll, Chuck Berry and Little Richard both make a riotous noise with “Sweet Little Rock and roll” and “Ooh! My Soul,” respectively.  Before reinventing himself as a tuxedoed entertainer or an earnest folk singer, Bobby Darin established his rock credentials, and he’s heard on his early calling card, “Splish Splash.”

Traditional pop is also represented.  Jane Morgan is heard with “The Day The Rains Came.”  The Mills Brothers were a clear influence on the sound of early doo-wop; they returned the favor with a cover of The Silhouettes’ “Get a Job” originally released on the Dot label.  The early Drifters line-up tackles “Moonlight Bay,” a standard that’s likely familiar to any longtime Looney Tunes fans!  Clyde McPhatter of that group appears solo on “Come What May.” 

Looking for humor?  The irreverent Coasters deliver with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller’s “The Shadow Knows.”  And the disc concludes with Ross Badgasarian, Sr. a.k.a. David Seville, giving voice to Alvin, Simon and Theodore with the original “The Chipmunk Song.”  (Perhaps Ace is the label up to the task of delivering a comprehensive David Seville and the Chipmunks anthology?)

The London American Label: 1958 hits stores in the U.K. on June 27 and in America one week later.  Hit the jump for a pre-order link plus the full, diverse track listing and discographical information!

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Written by Joe Marchese

May 17, 2011 at 10:23

Release Round Up: More from Hip-o

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A rare weekend post to keep you up on two new Hip-o Select titles readied for order yesterday. One’s a singles compilation for an R&B great, and the other is a two-for-one set from a noted reggae act.

Get the specs (and two more Hip-o titles you might not know about) after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

May 8, 2010 at 15:10