Album Chart of 1958

<1957 1959>

  • This chart features albums released in 1958 and is limited to all of the albums in my collection which have “A-list” status.
  • The Top 30 albums are profiled, and the full chart (Top 35) is summarised, in sortable table form, on the Albums released in 1958 page, which shows the full range of albums in this sites' database, including the “B-list” records.
1958-a-bo-diddley.jpg

AMERICAN ROCK n ROLL DOMINATES

Bo Diddley's new Rock n Roll beat finally comes to the album market; so good that even the mighty Little Richard must take second best this year.

There are 8 debut albums in my Top 10 as more and more pop and rock artists get on-board with the 12" LP concept.

The chart is a glittering who's-who of Rock n Roll this year; as well as the aforementioned Top 2 there are long play sets from Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Duane Eddy, Carl Perkins and Chuck Berry, all of whom are all riding high.

On the soul, blues and jazz front the big name debutants include Sam Cooke, Jimmy Reed and Nina Simone.

The USA continue to dominate proceedings, with entries from Jacques Brel (Belgium) and Ravi Shankar (India) preventing a one-country whitewash.

The Jukebox Rebel
28-Oct-2015

TJR says:

8.78 “A classic”

Rock n Roll - Bo Diddley style. Raw, hypnotic and super exciting. Side after side after side after side. The Bo Diddley debut scooped ’em all up to create this stunning entry into the long play market. Who else could pack such a punch with one-chord songs? Who else could get away with bigging themself up every 2 minutes? Who else could get you shaking your leg? Who else could get you playing drums with your pencil? Who else could wear a cobra for a necktie? Who couldn’t love?

The Jukebox Rebel
04-Sep-2010


TJR says:

8.07 “Excellent”

After having delivered the album of the decade and 18 dynamic hit singles in 3 years, the true king of Rock n Roll shocked his fans by announcing that he was giving it all up to return to his gospel roots. By the time of this second LP on Specialty, he was retired already. This man was a whirlwind, unpredictable and wild – possessed with a punk spirit and impossible to control. I firmly believe that musicians feed from their front man, and this was clearly in evidence with Richard’s dynamic band. This was the act that brought the races together in dance halls that were supposed to be segregated – the force was irresistible. Compiling a second LP was an easy task for Art Rupe – there were hit sides in abundance, everyone a thriller, whatever the tempo, which was usually fast and furious. What a man. What a band.

The Jukebox Rebel
22-Jun-2007


TJR says:

7.98 “Brilliant”

The “Chirping” Crickets had been a really good album in 1957, the “solo” LP released just a few months later (in February 1958) raised the bar higher still. It amazes me to think that he was still only 21 at this stage, as all this great material came flooding out. “I’m Gonna Love You Too” gets things off to a good start, coming on like a countrified “Oh Boy”. The vocal hiccups are in great order, and they’re set to the max on the infamous “Peggy-Sue”-oo-oo-oo-ooo-a-hoo-hoo” which immediately follows. There’s a great cover version of “Valley Of Tears” which had been done by Fats Domino in 1957, and here Buddy shows a blusier sensibility. The version of Little Richards’ “Ready Teddy” is fantastic, the band are really rocking as Side 1 comes to a conclusion. By sheer contrast, “Everyday” opens Side 2 in a completely different style – pretty as a picture, it has a simplistic, xylophonic beauty which has enchanted me forever. Hey-a-hey-hey. This leads us into “Mailman, Bring Me No More Blues”, an all-time classic, and absolutely one of the tracks of the year. It’s probably the sexiest recording Buddy ever made. The prettiness returns on “Words of Love”, with its’ glorious melody lines and infectious sense of rhythm. Right at this point, we’ve just experienced a 3-track run as good as you can expect from the great albums from any decade. Second from the end, “Rave On” is the crowning glory on an LP which, when it got hot, was damn hot. Crazy feelin’, got me reelin’, the big thumbs up.

The Jukebox Rebel
01-Aug-2008


TJR says:

7.48 “Really good”

Issued in June was the first Jerry Lee Lewis LP. There was no place for his biggest single sellers “'Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On'', “'Great Balls Of Fire” or “Breathless”, presumably it was felt they had sold so many that nobody needed them on the long player. Cover versions dominate proceedings, although Jerry Lee puts his stamp all over them, whether Country weepers or Rock n Roll stompers. A great honky-tonk-blues version of Lead Belly’s “Irene” is an early highlight, whilst his rendition of Billy Mizes’ “Who Will Buy The Wine” is a stone classic, with lyrics that slay: ”Not long ago you held our baby’s bottle, but the one you’re holding now’s a different kind, you just sit and wait to be somebody’s baby, and it all depends on who will buy the wine” This is followed by an excellent, hard-driving version of Warren Smith’s “Ubangi Stomp” with Jerry Lee’s debut single “Crazy Arms” finding a place to wrap up side 1. Originally done by Ray Price in 1956, Jerry’s version has my kind of driven beat - the drummer seems so effortlessly cool you could be forgiven for thinking he was Jamaican. Label boss Sam Phillips was clearly a big fan of the Jerry Lee sound. He takes the entire backside of the LP to wax lyrical: ”Jerry Lee Lewis is very versatile. You'll see what I mean when you listen to this LP. He goes from a wild ''High School Confidential'' (which is from his MGM movie of the same name) to a tender ballad such as “Fools Like Me”' with no difficulty whatsoever. In fact, Jerry Lee sings a mean ballad. He gives the old folk tune ''Goodnight Irene'' a bluesy shuffle interpretation I'd be willing to bet you've never heard before. Likewise, ''It All Depends'' is given the full Lewis treatment – and if it doesn't move you, you've just got no sentimentality. Jerry Lee's version of “When The Saints Go Marching In” will probably strike you as something quite out of the ordinary. Only a southerner, who has attended camp meetings or other revival-type gatherings, can fully appreciate the quality of fervor and abandonment that Jerry Lee gives this selection. Whereas ''When The Saints Go Marching In'' is thought of now mostly as a Dixieland standard, this version goes back to its origin as an authentic fundamentalist religious song. I believe this is one of the finest albums ever assembled – truly showing the limitless versatility and talent of Jerry Lee. Playing and singing for you – here is Jerry Lee Lewis” Well said that man ;-)

The Jukebox Rebel
19-Oct-2009


TJR says:

7.38 “Really good”

Released in August, Jimmy’s debut LP followed normal protocol for the era, by serving as a round-up of his hit sides from the preceding few years, with only 2 tracks (“You Got Me Crying” and “Go On To School”) having actually been recorded in 1958. There’s not a bad track on it, even if it does feel a bit samey throughout. The chops are strong though, and Jimmy’s harmonica playing is constantly superb. His feeling for the blues is uncanny in everything he does; a born natural from all angles – vocally, rhythmically and with a mouth organ that wails. I quite like how Sid McCoy finished his liner notes: ”Listen carefully… ignore the form… feel the song”

The Jukebox Rebel
23-Jul-2015


TJR says:

7.20 “Really good”

With all due respect to the man, a cursory listen to the Jimmy and Duane single “Soda Fountain Girl” (1955) suggests that he was never going to write headline chapters in the annals of music history without finding his own “angle”. Boy oh boy – did he find it. Eddy devised a technique of playing lead on his guitar’s bass strings to produce a low, reverberant “twangy” sound. The sound was “launched” early in 1958 on “Movin’ And Groovin’”, a single which revelled in riffage borrowed from Chuck Berry’s “Brown Eyed Handsome Man”. The follow up, “Rebel Rouser”, was a monster breakthrough hit, with Lee Hazlewood augmenting Duane’s twang by introducing subtly encouraging yells and handclaps by doo-wop group The Rivingtons and overdubbing saxophone by Los Angeles session musician Gil Bernal. It was all the excitement of a Rock n Roll party – where the guitar was the star lead singer. Lee Hazlewood was in Duane’s orbit right from the very start in 1955 and he gets co-credit for much of these early tunes, as well as being responsible for production of the debut album from the 20 year old innovator. The album, which starts and finishes poorly, features seven originals and five covers including the stunning bluesy powerhouse rendition of Ivory Joe Hunters “I Almost Lost My Mind”. Alas, I can only dream of the perfect Duane Eddy album where every track is such a raucous, raunchy rumbler…

The Jukebox Rebel
10-Nov-2008


TJR says:

6.97 “Good”

Released September 1958 (Imperial LP-9055). Mostly recent material on this one although the monster cut “Mardi Gras In New Orleans” dates back to 1953 in the singles discography. Fats peppy rhumba OWNS Professor Longhair’s tune of 1949. Elsewhere, there are three further covers – “I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead” (Lovin’ Sam, 1929), “What Will I Tell My Heart” (Andy Kirk and his Twelve Clouds Of Joy, 1937) and “Sick And Tired” (Chris Kenner, 1957 – although it seems the bold Mnsr. Domino got his songwriting credit as part of the cover deal!) This is another good set from the ever consistent entertainer but if I was to register any moaning I’d say that the cheap shot “Barrelhouse” is essentially “Hey Fat Man” instrumental in all but name, and the lyrically disastrous “Young School Girl” would’ve been better as a cool instrumental with the sax on lead melody! Mustn’t grumble though, there’s always some magic just around the corner with Fats and “Long Lonesome Journey” is real-deal Chicago juke-joint gold… bet they never played that one out on ABC…

The Jukebox Rebel
26-Jan-2012


TJR says:

6.94 “Good”

On 11th December 1957 Carl recorded his final session at Sun Records, spawning a final single for the label, “Glad All Over”, but it went nowhere. The relationship between label-owner Sam Phillips and Carl Perkins was starting to strain, each man expecting more from the other. Six weeks later, Carl had jumped ship and signed with Columbia Records – infuriating Phillips. He did what any label owner would do – rounded up a whole load of single sides on a 12” platter in a bid to squeeze out a few dollars more. Eight single sides were loaded including Carl’s debut, “Movie Magg”, from 1955 and a whole host of big hitters; “Blue Suede Shoes”, “Gone, Gone, Gone”, “Honey Don’t”, “Matchbox” and “Boppin’ the Blues”. Of the four previously unreleased tunes there were two covers – “Only You” (The Platters, 1955) and “Right String Baby, Wrong Yo-Yo” (Douglas Finnell and his Royal Stompers, 1929). “Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby”, which would be covered on “Beatles For Sale” in 1964, was also new to the party. Although the album is dominated by Carl’s down-home brand of Rockabilly, it’s the sole country number which steals my greatest affection; “Sure To Fall”, which had been scheduled as a single release (Sun 235) in 1956, finally saw the light of day on this album and almost justifies the purchase price on its own. These days, no-one cares much about how things came to be, and rightly so – its issue in England proved to be highly influential. Carl’s highly swingable feel-good debut album stands as an extremely fine marker of what was a highly productive time at Sun Records. Columbia’s engineers could never quite replicate that intimate magic.

The Jukebox Rebel
28-Nov-2009


TJR says:

6.88 “Good”

Debut album from the 21 year old Don and his 19 year old brother, Phil. It’s all about the vocal harmonies with these two – Don’s baritone and Phil’s tenor makes for a highly infectious combination – and some of that rhythmic guitar strumming ain’t too shabby either. The album is split between 6 originals and 6 covers – by tipping the hat to Little Richard, Gene Vincent and Ray Charles they’re clearly gunning for some Rock n Roll dollar. In terms of the original creations, in a way they were kinda blessed to have the husband and wife song-writing partnership of Boudleaux and Felice Bryant to provide for them. “Bye Bye Love” and “Brand New Heartache” are the two stand outs for me. It works the other way too, of course – the Bryant’s were lucky to have this glorious duo to showcase their songs to the world. Don and Phil’s own “Maybe Tomorrow” revels brilliantly in the country heartbreak genre – as a creative whole, team Everly had plenty in their arsenal…

The Jukebox Rebel
10-Nov-2008


TJR says:

6.77 “Good”

End LP-301. First issued in October 1958 as “We Are The Chantels”, re-issued in September 1959 (also End-301 LP) as “The Chantels” with a different cover. The original cover had a picture of the group, 5 coloured girls from the Bronx. The repackaged issue had a picture of two white teenagers picking out a song from a Jukebox. I’d like to think the change was down to the rather awkward looking original shot (5 reluctant bridesmaids if ever I saw them) as opposed to any bow down to Americas’ racists of the day. According to most sources (including the well-respected bsnpubs which is where I put my faith) both versions were the same 12 tracks although Discogs lists only 10… Led by the irresistible lead soprano of Arlene Smith, The Chantels revel in shooby-doo-wop glories here. The perfect soundtrack to the teen dream…

The Jukebox Rebel
06-Nov-2008


TJR says:

6.68 “Good”

As the title suggests, the second Chuck Berry album features 12 tracks penned by the man himself. “One Dozen Berrys” is a stylish offering from the house of Chess and features the likes of Willie Dixon on bass, Lafayette Leake on piano and Fred Below on drums. All Chicago bluesmen at heart, but, boy oh boy, they were Rock n Roll personified on the two lead singles “Sweet Little Sixteen” and “Rock And Roll Music”. The album touches on some of Chuck’s other interests - a little country and latin, and also features several fine bluesy instrumentals. Not quite as exhilarating as the debut, but a fine record all the same…

The Jukebox Rebel
17-Feb-2008


TJR says:

6.55 “Good”

Issued in July, this was the debut LP set from the 20 year old country glamour-gal-cum-rockabilly-raver. She has a fine band with her for these April sessions; in actual fact a working band in their own right, the Poe Kats. They’re equally adept with the torch ballads as the ballsy rockers. The album, mainly cover versions, veers towards the country side of the side of the fence, with her version of Jimmy Work’s “Making Believe”, paying dues to Kitty Wells, but in her own fine style. The influence of ex-boyfriend Elvis is occasionally apparent – “Party” is covered as “Let’s Have A Party”, and Wanda lets rip with that trademark rasp, generating much excitement in the house. Best of the lot is “Here We Are Again”, a wistful ode to infidelity delivered with a whole lot of country soul. The album may not be dynamic at every turn, but it’s a solid set which still sounds good on the 30 minute playback all these years later.

The Jukebox Rebel
08-Aug-2015


TJR says:

6.53 “Good”

The first of four LP’s from The Champs (Challenge CHL-601). The title on the cover is “Go Champs Go”, whereas the title on the record label is “Go Champ Go”. Which is just as it should be as it fits with my impression that these haphazard hombres just loved to make it up as they went along. They were borne of a December 1957 session (where group leader Dave Burgess aka Dave Dupree) was looking to create a b-side for his intended “Train To Nowhere” solo single. A jam around from the Flores Trio (Danny Flores (aka Chuck Rio) on saxophone and keyboards, Gene Alden on drums, and lead guitarist Buddy Bruce) produced “Tequila”. Dave Burgess (rhythm guitar) and Cliff Hills (bass guitar) helped to complete. The tune caused much in-house excitement - it was decided that a band would be created to support the single release – “Train To Nowhere” b/w “Tequila”. Someone suggested Champions, after (the then) Challenge label co-owner Gene Autrey’s famous horse. The Champs was decided upon and the single was released in January 1958. Several weeks later the b-side, “Tequila”, had been embraced by the nation and was sitting at No.1 in the Billboard 100! Requests soon began coming in for personal appearances. Burgess, Flores and Alden were joined by Dale Norris (guitarist) and Joe Burnass (bass) who made up the working combo. The group hit the road with little rehearsal or preparation and it showed. Danny Flores, an old hand at live performing became upset with the lack of professionalism and left the group in June, 1958. Several other personnel changes followed. By the time of this debut LP in the fall of 1958 only Dave Burgess and Gene Alden were still bona-fide “original” Champs. Unorthodox background aside, the debut album is terrific – latino licks with raunchy yet mainstream palatable Rock n Roll instrumentals taking square root inspiration from the likes of Bill Justis 1957 megahit “Raunchy”. “Go Champs Go” was a perfect title…

The Jukebox Rebel
28-Mar-2007


TJR says:

6.48 “Decent enough”

Not a patch on last years “Word Jazz” LP, mainly due to a few strugglers like “Outer Space”, “Secretary” and “Bubble Gum” being on-board. That said, there’s much to love on the 4th LP from the velvety-voiced dreamer. The second side is definitely the stronger, with great tracks such as “I Used To Think My Right Hand Was Uglier Than My Left”, where I’m pleased to discover that our narrator now views both of his hands as being equally beautiful. “Lemming” is completely fantastic, featuring Ken playing the part of a distracted, disconnected wanderer in amongst the city bustle – he’s truly gifted with his vivid imagination. The album highlight, the closing track “Junk Man”, showcases the man as a deeply talented poet, a talent which is often overlooked as his surrealist sketches tend to grab all the attention. Great artist, and one of the good guys.

The Jukebox Rebel
02-Mar-2012


TJR says:

6.35 “Decent enough”

Although he was Sun’s most consistently selling and prolific artist at that time, Cash felt constrained by his contract with the small label partly due to the fact that owner Sam Phillips wasn’t keen on letting him record gospel, and he was only getting a 3% royalty as opposed to the standard rate of 5%. By the time of this second Sun LP, Cash had already switched over to Columbia. Sun seemed to release this one “strategically” – coming out just a week or so before Cash’s first Columbia LP in November 1958! In order to help bolster sales, “I Walk The Line” repeats from the debut. The album pools 10 sides from 1956-1958 with 2 first time offerings - the cover of Hank Williams “I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still In Love With You)” and Johnny’s own “Big River”. The set gets off to a flyer with “Teenage Queen” and “There You Go” but fades quickly, with too much sickly sentiment for my taste-buds…

The Jukebox Rebel
02-Jun-2007


TJR says:

6.27 “Decent enough”

The second of 2 LPs from Gene Vincent this year was released in September and very much followed the pattern of the preceding “Gene Vincent Rocks! and The Blue Caps Roll” – rock n rollers with some old crooners and ballads in the modern style and just a token smidgen of country. It’s almost formulaic. “Git It” is in a class of its’ own – intelligent, exciting rock n roll with just a hint of bad boy. If only he could be like that all the time. Sigh. Of the other rock n rollers, “Look What You Gone And Done To Me” keeps the bar raised highest. The cover of Gershwin & Heyward’s “Summertime” sees Gene continue with his fascination for the American songbook, and, fair play to the gang, it’s a neat R n B version and worthwhile. Elsewhere, the bum-de-dum pop nothingness of “*The Wayward Wind” and “Keep It A Secret**” ensure the album’s rateable value is limited to “decent enough”.

The Jukebox Rebel
29-Aug-2015


TJR says:

6.22 “Decent enough”

Recorded in December 1957 and issued in March, 1958 - the first of two LPs from Gene in this year. Historians line up to tell us that Gene Vincent was one of the wildest and most exciting Rock n Rollers who ever roamed the hop. Can’t hear it myself – I guess you had to be there. “Brand New Beat” is a good opener, but no better than that. In fact, the entire set is very consistent from start to finish but rarely gets anywhere near being justifiably tagged with the “incendiary” adjective so often attributed to the “wild cat” and his pack. Gene’s fascination with the decades-old classics plays out once again, creating a strange old mix of jeepers, creepers and crooners, with the music sheets of Hammerstein & Rodgers being raided alongside the latest hip hits penned by your Otis Blackwell’s. There's even a bit of Hank Williams to keep the good ole boys happy. Gene, and this album, is at his best when he’s playing the part of the moody rock n roller and “Rollin’ Danny” takes the top spot here. Frustrating really…

The Jukebox Rebel
29-Aug-2015


TJR says:

6.19 “Decent enough”

Bashed out in two recording sessions in June, the second Carl Perkins LP screams “no imagination”. The performances are enthusiastic and lively, but never grip me in the way that the originals do. Ultimately, if I want to listen to “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On” I’m going to want Jerry Lee. If I want “Tutti Frutti”, “Long Tall Sally” or “Ready Teddy” I’m going to dig out Little Richard. If I want “I Got A Woman” I’m going to listen to Ray Charles. If I want “Hey Good Lookin” I’ll play Hank Williams. Not that there’s bad renditions here; “That’s All Right” is particularly strong. Had I been a kid at the hop and Carl was playing I would have danced for sure. Whole Lotta Shakin’? Yep, it does what it says on the tin.

The Jukebox Rebel
29-Nov-2009


TJR says:

6.13 “Decent enough”

Atlantic 8025. Released October, 1958. His 5th album in 2 years. Having said that, it’s another compilation, 14 sides from 1953 to date. Only 1 track repeats from the back-album catalogue – “Talkin’ About You” (Ray Charles At Newport, 1958), although it appears here in its studio version on LP for the first time. The album is notable for vocal backing from The Cookies who would soon become a permanent feature as The Raeletts. He’s at his very best when he fuses the blues with his soulful vocal – traits which are common to all of the best tracks in this set. He can be a real delight…

The Jukebox Rebel
25-Jul-2008


TJR says:

6.10 “Decent enough”

The 3rd Cash LP was released in November 1958 and was his first for Columbia with whom he’d signed a deal earlier in the summer. It’d be his new home all the way through to the mid-1980s. The production is smooth - maybe just a tad too smooth. And what is it with all the majors back in the day? Every single one of them seemed to have an Ovaltineys ensemble lurking away in the corner at every session, just bursting to be set free to croon away pleasantly in the background. Do I not need that…

The Jukebox Rebel
04-Jun-2007


TJR says:

5.89 “Average”

10 brand new recordings from March-April 1958, issued on 33RPM here on “N°3” in June of 1958. As with the last album, Brel generally plays it safe, although both chanteur and orchestre raise their game for “Dors Ma Mie, Bonsoir”, “Voici” and “L’homme Dans La Cité”. Conductor François Rauber seems to have a prominent role in all 3, receiving co-writer credits for these and 2 others.

The Jukebox Rebel
04-Jul-2008


TJR says:

5.88 “Average”

Following a string of successful releases for Brunswick and Coral, Decca seized the opportunity to package up their old (and unsuccessful) Buddy Holly recordings from sessions recorded in Nashville in 1956, including the original take of “That’ll Be The Day”, the re-recorded ’57 version of which had been a major smash for The Crickets. I’m not too convinced by these performances, they often feel a bit contrived and drippy to me, although, hey, it’s Buddy Holly, they could never be terrible.

The Jukebox Rebel
01-Aug-2008


TJR says:

5.82 “Average”

Released in January 1958, “The Sounds of India” featured a 37 year-old Ravi Shankar leading an improvised set on his sitar, with cabinet-make turned sitar-craftsmen Nodu C. Mullick droning on the tambura and 32 year-old Chatur Lal providing percussive accompaniment on the tabla. It’s apparent they’re all deeply committed to their art and, when they get going, can really whip up a storm or calm an ocean as they see fit. Opens with “An Introduction To Indian Music” in which Ravi explains the nuances of the rāga. The wiki tells us A raga uses a series of five to nine musical notes upon which a melody is constructed. However, the way the notes are approached and rendered in musical phrases and the mood they convey are more important in defining a raga than the notes themselves. In the Indian musical tradition, rāgas are associated with different times of the day, or with seasons. Indian classical music is always set in a rāga. Ravi ends his 5 minute lesson by explaining: ”The western listener will appreciate and enjoy our music more if he listens with an open and relaxed mind, without expecting to hear harmony, counterpoint or other elements prominent in western music. Neither should or music be thought of as akin to jazz, despite the improvisation and exciting rhythms presented in both kinds of music.” Suitably settled, I’m all ears as the first of the 4 “proper” pieces kicks in (all of which are over 10 minutes in length). “Dádrá” turns out to be rather rewarding for those prepared to concentrate for 10 minutes; it’s a restless adventure which commands attention. The liner notes tell that this is a somewhat unorthodox piece for Ravi’s repertoire and that he incorporates elements of older folk songs in the middle of the piece. All three men play their part but it’s Ravi who drives from the front. “Máru-Bihág” (an evening raag) follows and it’s not quite so exciting – despite Ravi playing at 90mph towards the finale. The showy nature of Ravi’s playing continues on “Bhimpalási” (an afternoon raag) – by this stage I’m starting to have to my doubts and my initial enthusiasm is starting to wane. Virtuoso playing is not my bag. Ascending descending scales are explained for the next one, “Sindhi-Bhairavi”, and I’m kind of indifferent to Ravi’s news that there will be a rhythmic cycle of 16 beats for this piece. Despite the fact that these spoken interjections often seem like a bit of a passion-killer to me, I guess “The Sounds of India” serves its purpose well – thanks to these occasional spoken word drops, first timers from the west now have half an idea about the disciplines of these rāgas and, music-wise, there are some fine moments of trance-inducing action to enjoy. Ultimately though, I can’t see me being in a mad rush for my next fix of Hindustani Classical music…

The Jukebox Rebel
06-Nov-2015


TJR says:

5.53 “Average”

1958 was a tumultuous year for Elvis – “King Creole” was the last album he would record before his 2-year stint in the Army, a prospect which he felt would kill his career in music. By the time of the album’s release in September, Elvis was six months into his service, and his career worries had been dwarfed by the hammer-blow of his momma’s death from heart failure in August. Gladys Presley was just 46. All of the album’s best action is in the first half, where the excellence of the title track dominates, with the ballsy big-band stylings of “Trouble” and the brassy rock n roll rendition of “Hard Headed Woman” keeping the album's rating respectable. As with many Elvis soundtrack LPs, the set suffers from movie fluff insertions, with “Lover Doll”, “Crawfish” and “Steadfast, Loyal and True” being the worst offenders on-board in this instance. Not that any of this matters a damn. A boy had lost his mama.

The Jukebox Rebel
11-Aug-2008


TJR says:

5.41 “Below average”

A snazzy set for sure. “The Kid From Red Bank” gets proceedings off to a frenzied start before “Duet” and “After Supper” calm things down with a bluesier, more laid back approach. Throughout, the mood of the swing orchestra is more inclined to the biff bang pow, and it comes as no great surprise to learn that this entire set was composed by Neal Hefti, who went on to produce themes for Hollywood. He was born to score Batman.

The Jukebox Rebel
08-Oct-2015


TJR says:

5.25 “Below average”

The second Sam Cooke album of 1958, issued in November, once again backed by Bumps Blackwell’s combo (although they’re not the billing this time) and once again issued on Keen Records. This one takes a different approach – it’s Sam the swinger. He’s good at it too – as are the band. The success of “You Send Me” had opened many doors for Sam – his name was now headlining at the likes of New York’s Copacabana. His supper circuit performances were going from strength to strength and this LP was created to reflect the “Encore” demand. I always love reading the liner notes on these old albums - sell it, sell IT, SELL IT! Hilarious. Songwriter Lou Adler takes up the honours on this one: ”This album has been created to record permanently some of these memorable performances which have excited hundreds of thousands of patrons of after-dinner circuit. As the curtain is raised a tender impression is created with the delicate standard WHEN I FALL IN LOVE – and if you haven’t fallen yet, you might after hearing the expressive lyrics as caressed by Sam. This is the same familiar purveyor of romantic atmosphere who has given so many young couples “their song”… The program continues with I COVER THE WATERFRONT and the tempo picks up slightly but the proficiency of the master showman holds the audience in relaxed captivity”. Relaxed captivity! PMSL… All hype aside, there’s no doubt this set is a shade cooler than the schmaltzy debut. Still not driving me crazy though…

The Jukebox Rebel
28-Jul-2008


TJR says:

5.06 “Below average”

Well intentioned folkster with a decent song selection but very little in the way of anything extra-ordinary to offer on this album. In fact, I find his attempted casual drawl to be a bit of a put-on. It’s almost like he’s trying too hard to be as cool as his hero, Woody Guthrie. The album starts off reasonably well, with a tip of the hat to Jesse Fuller on “San Francisco Bay Blues”. A few uninteresting tracks pass by until track 5 jumps right out of the speakers – for all the wrong reasons. Jack, who has a spoken word intro for all of the songs on the album, pipes up that he has a special guest in the studio and proceeds to have a chat with “Woody Guthrie” – only, Woody isn’t actually there. He’s talking to himself via imitation, and proceeds to rattle on with some load of goofball conversation which is utterly cringeworthy. The “two of them” proceed to “duet” on a version of Woody’s “New York Town” and, quite frankly, the whole sorry episode can’t end quickly enough. Ironically, after a whole album of old-timey fingerpicking, the best song turns out to be a 90 second blues wail with only the most delicate sprinkle of guitar for company – his version of “Black Baby”. By all accounts, Jack’s one of the good guys – a well-liked rambler who did a massive amount of playing and talking in his simple desire to bring old songs to new audiences. In that regard there’s no doubt he’s a winner.

The Jukebox Rebel
10-Oct-2015


TJR says:

4.95 “Poor”

“Jazz As Played In An Exclusive Side Street Club” proclaims the front cover, boldly taking the marketing strategy straight to the record shop shelves. The reverse and labels reveal Nina’s intended title, “Little Girl Blue”, sure to have lost sales had it been allowed. I guess both are accurate descriptions, the latter seems more so. I would love to love Nina, and I very often do, but I freely admit her brand of down-tempo crooning leaves me cold more often than not. The clear winner is “My Baby Just Cares For Me”, a magnificent re-interpretation of an old tune which had first appeared away back in 1930 in the movie “Whoopee!”. Now that’s what I call a cover version. Somewhat tragically, the lady never benefitted from her excellent piece of work, having sold her rights to Bethlehem Records cheaply, losing an estimated million dollars in the process. Somewhat disappointingly, the only other track which connects with me is “Plain Gold Ring”, the familiar old tale of “it should have been me”… ”In my heart it will never be spring, long as he wears a plain gold ring”. Here, the moodiness of music and vocal seems to work a treat, completely focused, with no freeform deviance to spoil things. Elsewhere on the album, the jazz hounds are welcome to their psuedo-classical complexities. Boredum-de-dum.

The Jukebox Rebel
21-Aug-2009


TJR says:

4.91 “Poor”

The debut album from the 27 year old arrived in February 1958, basking in the glory of his huge Billboard No. 1 hit single of 1957, “You Send Me” b/w “Summertime”. Both sides were included here and, quite frankly, are the only worthwhile moments on the whole sorry affair. Art Rupe had ousted Sam Cooke from Speciality, being highly critical of his penchant for the American songbook. Art wanted gospel screamers a la Little Richard, Sam wanted to be Nat King Cole. With that single success, the newly formed Keen Records got the benefit of the fall out. “You Send Me” is the sole original on the album which digs back in time to the 1910s – 1940s for material. The album notes read: ”In this album SAM COOKE further demonstrates his versatility with stimulating renditions of a varied selection of ballads from “FATS” WALLER’S classic jazz standard AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’ to the traditional favorite THE BELLS OF ST. MARY’S.” Sam Cooke the Soul Stirrer had been a dude. I’m with Art Rupe. At this time, Sam Cooke the solo crooner was a bit of a square…

The Jukebox Rebel
15-May-2008


TJR says:

4.74 “Poor”

I’m not Latin. Nor am I dancer. I dislike the vast majority of Jazz records I’ve ever heard. But even I can dig a tune or two from Tito Puente’s “Dance Mania”. As a child, Tito was described as hyperactive, and, in 1930, after neighbours complained of hearing the seven-year-old beating on pots and window frames, his mother sent him to 25-cent piano lessons. By the age of 10, he switched to percussion, already drawing influence from jazz drummer Gene Krupa. Like Sabu Martinez, he started young and his destiny was set! A native of Spanish Harlem, Tito is directly of Puerto Rican descent and his communities adored him, as can be testified from his many nicknames; “The Musical Pope”, “The King of the Timbales” and “The King of Latin Music”. During the 1950s, Puente was at the height of his popularity, thanks largely to his dual abilities as a fast arranger and dynamic performer of both big-band mambo and jazz. Fused, these formed the basis for an entire popular dance genre. With the rise of the 12-inch LP in 1956, RCA signed Puente to an exclusive multi-year contract. Behind him already were “Puente Goes Jazz” (1956) and “Night Beat” (1957). “Dance Mania” was heralded for its authenticity, capturing as it did the real dancehall experience without need for compromise, as was so often the case with his peers. Runtimes were as songs required musically (not to suit radio stations) and there were, shock horror, vocals sung in Spanish (English speaking dancers looking for instrumentals could look elsewhere if they wished). The Spanish language vocals of Santos Colon are a big feature of the album. To this day, “Dance Mania” is the highest selling recording in the history of Latin dance music and practically every dance school that teaches mambo and cha-cha-cha uses it as a teaching tool. I wonder what those neighbours have got to say for themselves now, eh?

The Jukebox Rebel
14-Oct-2015

chart first published 17 Jun 2015; last edited 7 Dec 2015

Album Charts

by year…

1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016

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