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Various Artists

The Gene Vincent Connection

Review by Gary Hill

Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the death of Gene Vincent, this CD collects covers and more with connections to Vincent. It all comes with a large booklet and the kind of classy packing you expect from Bear Family Records. I'm not enamored with everything here, but there are a lot of real highlights, and very little that misses the mark. It's a fitting tribute, really.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 2. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
The Voices - Race With The Devil
The echoey texture on this is classy. I dig the horn solo a lot, too. This is a fun cut and a great opener.
Max K. Lipscomb - Be-Bop-A-Lula
Slow moving, classic rock and roll and is on the menu here. This is another entertaining tune, but it's not at the same level as the opener was.
Jimmy Johnson - Woman Love
Vocals and guitar are the components of this arrangement. The tune has some Elvis Presley in the mix and plenty of rockabilly. This one doesn't really win me over.       
Bobby Darin - Up A Lazy River
The vocals on this are so smooth. The tune has a definite jazz groove to it. The horns work well, and the whole song just swings with style.
Jerry Vale - Peg O' My Heart
A crooner styled tune, this has an old fashioned mellow musical theater styled arrangement. This is too vanilla and fluff laden for my tastes, but I suppose it has its charms.
Rock-Ragge & His Four Comets - Bluejean Bop
I'm not overly crazy about the mellower section on this, but when it fires out into energized rocking zones, this really works so well.
Hadda Brooks - Jump Back Honey, Jump Back
Bouncy and energized, this is a fun romp for sure.
Kay Starr - Blues Stay Away From Me
Slow moving and incredibly tasty, this cut just oozes cool. It has a real jazzy blues angle to it. This is one of the highlights here for me. That said, the overly frilly backing vocals do detract from it a bit.
Rock-Ragge & His Four Comets - Who Slapped John
I dig the energized rock and roll sound on this quite a lot. It has some killer guitar work on it.
Bobby Milano - Double Talkin' Baby
More bouncy rock and roll, this has a great stuttering chorus. I'm not crazy about the backing vocals on the tune, but both the guitar and pianos really excel.
Freddy Franks - Red Blue Jeans And A Ponytail
Built on standup bass and vocals this has a lot of down-home texture to it. It's fun, but not really my kind of thing.
Vince Eager - Five Days, Five Days
This is more like it. Again, I'm not overly sold on the backing vocals, but this has a real fun groove to it. It's a blues meets rock and roller, and it has a lot of style.
Dean Hagopian & The Regals - Lotta Lovin'
Driving, bouncing rock and roll based, this is so much fun. It has some smoking hot guitar work built into it, too.
Max K. Lipscomb - Rollin' Danny (Acetate)
I really dig this rock and roller. The recording has a distant, echoey feeling to it. The song manages to stand tall despite that deficit. That really says a lot.
Steve Drexel & The Cut-Ups - Dance To The Bop
More high energy rock and roll is on the menu here. This is a lot of fun. The wailing sax really adds to it.
Tommy & The Tom Toms - Somebody Help Me
More of a doo wop tune, this is very repetitious. It doesn't really work well for me.
Jack Roubik & The T-J's - I Got A Baby
Energized and fun, this is more like it.
Steve Drexel & The Cut-Ups - Baby Blue
Another doo wop styled tune, this works pretty well.
Rusty Draper - Should I Ever Love Again
More of a rock and roll ballad, this is a decent tune, but not as strong as some of the rest here.
Terry Dean & The Rebels - Git It
A sea of doo wop vocals brings this into being. The cut gradually works out from there. It has a lot of style, but isn't my kind of thing. It's pretty fun and does bring some variety to the set.
The Super-Phonics - Teenage Partner
I love the guitar groove on this. The tune is catchy and has a lot of groove to it.
Freddy Robinson - Five Feet Of Lovin'
The wailing sax brings some serious charm to this thing. The whole tune has a great old-school rock and roll groove, though.
Vince Taylor & The Playboys - Rocky Road Blues
High energy rock and roll, this is on fire. I love the guitar fills and the pounding piano.
Wee Willie Harris - Say Mama (live)
This is driving old-school rock and roll that works well. It's one of the highlights here. The band is purely on fire.       
Johnny Rebb & His Rebels - Maybelline
These guys put in a great version of this classic song. The horn is a nice touch, and the whole tune just rocks. I love the bass work, and the piano and guitar solos are both incendiary.
Huey 'Piano' Smith & The Clowns - High Blood Pressure
Here we get a fun romp with an emphasis on the piano. Then again, when the artist's name is Huey 'Piano' Smith, would you expect anything else?
Les Chats Sauvages avec Dick Rivers - Anna Annabelle
A French language rock and roller, this is classy.
Terry Dene - Pretty Little Pearly
While nothing Earth-shattering, this is an effective old school rock and roller.         
Les Chaussettes Noires - Petite Sheila (She She Little Sheila)
I dig this French language rock and roller quite a bit. The main thing that I'm not sold on is the backing vocal arrangement.
Gene Princeton (Gene Rambo) - Big Fat Rock & Roll
This is a fun rock and roller. It's nothing all that special, but it entertains.
Johnny Rebb & His Rebels - Right Here On Earth
A jazzy groove drives this entertaining number. It still has a doo wop and rock and roll vibe to it.
Junior Shank & The Jesters - Be-Bop-A-Lula
There is so much bluesy cool on this tune. I absolutely love this version of the track. The vocals are just about perfect for the song, and the driving instrumental movement later just plain rocks. This might be my favorite cut on the whole disc.
Milton Trenier - Gonna Catch Me A Rat
More of a stripped back arrangement, this has a lot of jazz in the mix. It's a nice bit of variety, and it's also classy.
Marty Wilde - It's Been Nice
While it's not anything particularly special, this is another entertaining rock and roller.
Les Chaussettes Noires - Be-Bop-A-Lula
And here we get a French version of this classic tune. It's a fun romp.
The Spotnicks - I'm Going Home (To See my Baby)
There is a lot of character and style on this rock and roller. It has a bit newer vibe to it. It's a classy way to end the set.
 
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