Album Chart of 1960

<1959 1961>

  • This chart features albums released in 1960 and is limited to all of the albums in my collection which have “A-list” status.
  • Elsewhere, the Albums released in 1960 page shows the full range of albums in this sites' database, including the “B-list” records.
1960-a-elmore-james.jpg

ELMORE JAMES IMMORTALIZED ON LP

“I believe my time ain’t long” sang Elmore James on “Dust My Blues”, the top track from my album of the year. From his mid 20s he had known that he had a serious heart condition. Thankfully, the Bihari brothers with their Crown label had the good sense to make sure that there was at least one LP issued in the man’s lifetime, issued this year when he was 42; he would die young from a heart attack just 3 years later. It’s a real classic set, comprised of single sides from 5 years earlier.

Strangely, my Number 2 LP of the year is also “out of date”, a shelved Woody Guthrie album from 1947 finally getting the release that it so richly deserved.

There are terrific debut sets from Etta James and The Shirelles, and Elvis is back in the studio after his army stint – his 3 new albums of 1960 delivering mixed results.

There was a riot at the Newport Jazz festival – those who missed out live had to make do with album documents from Muddy Waters and Nina Simone. Brilliantly, Miriam Makeba puts South Africa firmly on the international album’s map, giving hope for the decade to come in so many ways.

The Jukebox Rebel
03-Dec-2015

TJR says:

8.64 “A classic”

Elmore James was to the blues what Little Richard was to Rock n Roll – raucous, threatening and sexy. That said, the material selected for his one and only “proper” studio album, all compiled from Flair single sides released in 1954 and 1955, was a lot smoother than most of his fiery output from the early 1950s. Dynamic opener “Dust My Blues” is, understandably, closest to that early 50s spirit, seeing as it was actually a rework of 1951’s “Dust My Broom” in all but name. By the end of the LP, however, Elmore is almost into Rock n Roll ballad territory as he wails “Goodbye Baby” in an affecting James Brown “Please Please” style. Although Crown was not renowned for thoughtful album presentations, “Blues after Dark” could perhaps be viewed as an exceptional effort. From that sultry cover to the actual album title and smooth “lover’s blues” grooves, it was a wholly coherent set. Every tune impacts hugely. It’s an absolute must for blues lovers – or even lovers of the blues. n.b. Although a 5 to 6 year time gap would usually rule it out, I’ve given this LP “A-list” status respite in the spirit of that “first 50s album” vibe a la BB King, Fats Domino etc etc.

The Jukebox Rebel
15-May-2012


TJR says:

7.75 “Brilliant”

At about three o'clock in the afternoon of April 15, 1920, Frederick Parmenter, a paymaster, and Alessandro Berardelli, his guard, were fired upon and killed by two men armed with pistols, as they were carrying two boxes containing the pay roll of the shoe factory of Slater and Morrill, amounting to $15,776.51, from the company's office building to the factory through the main street of South Braintree, Massachusetts. In 1921, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, both Italian-Americans, were convicted of the robbery and the murder. Although the arguments brought against them were mostly disproven in court, the fact that the two men were known radicals (and that their trial took place during the height of the Red Scare) prejudiced the judge and jury against them. On April 9, 1927, Sacco and Vanzetti's final appeal was rejected, and the two were sentenced to death and executed by electric chair in August 1927. For countless observers throughout the world, Sacco and Vanzetti were convicted because of their political beliefs and ethnic background. Fast forward to 1945 and Woody Guthrie is returning from Army service. Label boss Moe Asch offered him several hundred dollars to write a series of ballads about the event that still was a painful memory to many American leftists (including Asch himself) two decades after the fact. Woodyguthrie.de notes: Woody took the job gladly and ruminated — uncharacteristically — at length about how he might convey the anguish of the two Italian immigrants, wrongfully convicted of murder and robbery, awaiting death in the electric chair. He called the assignment “the most important dozen songs I've ever worked on”, and began filling a notebook with ideas in March of 1946. But despite Woody's ability to identify with their alienation and also, perhaps, their martyrdom, the songs wouldn't come… at least no real memorable songs came. The old country tunes, which had served so well for the Dust Bowl Ballads and the Columbia River songs and all the others, seemed unnatural and trite when applied to the agony of Sacco and Vanzetti; the results were superficial and forced. For whatever reason, the album never came to be, and the project looked destined to remain unpublished. Fast forward to the summertime of 1960 and a two-part drama written by Reginald Rose aired nationally on NBC on June 3rd and 10th. After nearly half a year’s research, Rose portrayed the little shoemaker (Sacco) and the fish peddler (Vanzetti) who were executed for a crime they didn’t commit. One month after the TV drama, Woody’s shelved album finally saw the light of the day, being well-received in a July Billboard review in which they stated: “Woody Guthrie sings a series of ballads dedicated to the pair, and taking their side completely. Guthrie’s material is impressive and he sings his ballads with emotion. Pete Seeger sings “Sacco’s letter to his son” here too. The set contains a booklet with all the songs, and historical material.” Quite why Asch and Guthrie contrived to abandon the project seems a bit of a mystery – not to mention a travesty. Sure, it’s heavy going – the “hit singles” are non-existent. What’s apparent is that a helluva lot of work went into researching the story; the seven year trial is excavated in great detail, and Woody has clearly got to know the characters of these men, as if preparing an autobiography. It almost seems like the project became so personal that he was being self-critical to the point that he felt he wasn’t doing the men justice. On “Red Wine”, Woody’s so distraught that he’s taken to the drink to numb the pain of the tale: “Oh, pour me a glass of Germany's beer, Russia's hot vodky, so strong and clear, pour me a glass of Palestine's Hock, Or just a moonshiner's bucket of Chock. Now, let me think, and let me see, How these two men were found guilty, How a hundred and sixty witnesses passed by, And the ones that spoke for them was a hundred and five. Out of the rest, about fifty just guessed, And out of the five that were put to the test, Only the story of one held true, After a hundred and fifty-nine got through.” “And on this one, uncertain and afraid, She saw the carload of robbers, she said, And one year later, she remembered his face, After seeing this car for a second and a half. She told of his hand, and his gun, his ears, She told of his shirt, and the cut of his hair, She remembered his eyes, his lips, his cheeks, And Eva Splaine's tale sent these men to the chair. I was right here in Boston the night they died. I never did see such a sight in my life; I thought those crowds would pull down the town, I was hoping they'd do it and change things around.” The depth is typical of the album – I reasonably speculate that it would have been a complete impossibility for Woody to recite the entire contents of this set from memory in a live concert. Moe and Woody may not have thought it back in ’47 but “Ballads of Sacco and Vanzetti” is topical folk at its brilliant best. It’s a blessing that it finally got the release that it deserved within the lifetime of both men. Better late than never I guess.

The Jukebox Rebel
05-Jun-2012


TJR says:

7.73 “Brilliant”

The 22 year old Etta James really makes her mark with this exhilarating debut – she brings a vitality to each of the songs, no matter the genre origin. The set opens up with a cover of the Lulu Reed mid-west hit of ’58, “Anything To Say You’re Mine”. It’s immediately apparent, however, that Etta’s natural brand of urban R n B has been fused with a more pop-orientated string section. It leaves a certain amount of uncertainty – but Etta’s powerful timbre wins through convincingly in the end. As fantastic as the opener is, “My Dearest Darling” immediately blows it out of the water, as that infamous rasp induces chills. Etta delves back into 30s and 40s croon stylings for “Trust In Me” and “A Sunday Kind Of Love” – but her incredibly soulful treatment raises the songs way above their square roots. Side 1 closer “Tough Mary” is the only relative disappointment of the first half – those Ovaltiney backing singers are completely ridiculous on an Etta James record. You really have to wonder at record producers sometimes. Etta-power order is immediately restored on the flipside as our heroine tears right into Muddy Waters’ “I Just Wanna Make Love To You” and emerges with one of the sexiest recordings ever committed to vinyl. It’s followed with another from croonsterville – “At Last”, which had originally been done by Glenn Miller’s orchestra back in 1942. It had been made famous by Nat King Cole in 1957. Once again, in Etta’s hands, the song is elevated to classic status, completely re-invented as an earthy soul ballad. A reading of “Stormy Weather” shows great taste towards the end. “Girl Of My Dreams”, rendered as “Boy Of My Dreams” finishes the album on a low-note, as Etta’s feisty vocal is once again, inexplicably, pitted against the Ovaltineys. Fortunately, the brilliance of the set shines through, despite these occasional miss-steps.

The Jukebox Rebel
01-Mar-2012


TJR says:

7.44 “Really good”

Arriving at the very tail end of the year was the debut LP from the completely fabulous Shirelles. With nearly 3 years of excellent hit singles behind them, a fine debut album was a sure thing. What a great success story they were; Shirley Owens, Beverly Lee, Doris Coley and Addie Harris were 4 schoolmates from New Jersey whose sweet harmonies and street tuff outlook propelled them to shine as one of brightest pop groups as the late 50s crossed into the early 60s. Although Shirley Owens was the group's main lead singer, the album also features lead vocals by Doris Coley and Beverly Lee. Brilliantly, all four members rotate lead vocal duties for their own composition “Doin' the Ronde”. That song and “Dedicated To The One I Love” were the only two pieces to date from 1959, the rest was the fresh new sound of 1960. They really were a stupendous vocal quartet, and at this time they often attained utter perfection in their craft. They made some of the most stunning pop singles in history – and three of them were right here on Scepter 501. Album opener “Tonight’s The Night” surely stands forever as the ultimate paean to losing your virginity – so much excitement and angst perfectly pitched. Not for the first time on the album, there’s a slightly Brazilian sway to the music. The theme continues on the superb original from the pen of Gerry Goffin and Carole King, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” The song is notable for being the first song by an all-girl group to reach No. 1 in the United States – despite the fact that some radio stations had banned the record because they had felt the lyrics were too sexually charged. Whilst Shirley was in the spotlight for these two, it was Doris who was centre stage on the album’s other “perfect 10” – the stunning cover of the 5 Royales ballad, “Dedicated To The One I Love”. In the hands of the Shirelles it was packed with so much character and feeling – the perfect end to any prom dance. These girls were real real gone.

The Jukebox Rebel
25-Oct-2008


TJR says:

7.30 “Really good”

Elvis arrived back from his Army stint in Germany on March 2, 1960, and was honourably discharged with the rank of sergeant on March 5. Just 2 weeks later he was back in the recording studio working on his next LP. It was released just 3 weeks later! The album energetically opens with “Make Me Know It”, a pop n roll fizzer. The cover of “Fever” sees Elvis get jazzy with it; interesting if not vital. Elvis and the Jordanaires rescue “The Girl of My Best Friend” from the obscurity of its appearance as a Charlie Blackwell 1959 b-side. Not for the first time, Presley takes ownership of a title. Whilst in Germany, Elvis had been working on his vocal styles and had been delving into repertoires of expressive harmony singers; his bluesified version of The Golden Gate Quartet’s 1945 crooner “I Will Be Home Again” possibly shines a light into his mind-set whilst in Germany, in more ways than one. Most especially on this song, musicians, lead singer and backing vocalists are as one throughout – it’s a key feature of “Elvis Is Back”. “The Thrill of Your Love”, a fine Rock n Roll ballad, finishes side 1 soulfully. The feeling that we’re onto a good thing is maintained with “Soldier Boy”, which seamlessly maintains that classic 50s prom ballad feeling, with the topical lyrics almost connecting as a love letter straight to his adoring female fan base. The cover of “Such A Night” is another in the vintage Elvis style, as he raised and lowers that trademark smouldering voice of his, so loved and imitated over the years. “It Feels So Right” immediately follows – a real treat for those, like me, who love it when Elvis gets down and dirty with the raunchier side of his pop blues sensibilities. He’s really got you eating out of the palm of his hands by this stage. The teasing, bluesy, sax-loving “Like A Baby” sets the tone for the album’s glorious finale – the sensational cover of Lowell Fulson’s “Reconsider Baby”. The whole band are sensational – Boots Randolph's sax lines are sublime. With this driven ensemble, Elvis is at the peak of his mighty frontman powers. He had been tinkering with this one since ’56 – the 4 years gestation period was worth every millisecond. Elvis was most definitely back.

The Jukebox Rebel
19-Sep-2007


TJR says:

7.29 “Really good”

“A stirring travelogue of Americana in song and story” is how the front cover sums up this release – dubiously described by many as one of the first ever “concept” albums. (Have these people never heard of Woody Guthrie?) There’s zero schmaltz on-board – this is full of cool stuff all the way. Each of the songs is linked with spoken word from Cash purporting to be on a train journey, with the chug-a-chug of the steam train a background constant. Covers the States. Bigs up the indians. Bigs up the working class who built the country. This is what we want Johnny boy. We’re cooking the gas again. All aboard…

The Jukebox Rebel
06-Jun-2007


TJR says:

7.17 “Really good”

Johnny Cash takes his country ’n’ roll home boys Luther Perkins (lead guitar) and Marshall Grant (bass) on a pure Nashville trip for this one, doffing his cap to “the establishment” e.g. the likes of Marty Robbins, Ernest Tubb and Hank Williams. All recorded in one five hour session. The country vibe is laid down with the help of Gordon Terry (fiddle), Don Helms (steel guitar), and Floyd Cramer (piano). The ensemble reaches some great heights with Tommy Duncan’s “Time Changes Everything” and George Jones’s “Just One More” – an out and out tragic drunk classic. Now that’s my kind of country…

The Jukebox Rebel
07-Jun-2007


TJR says:

7.06 “Really good”

Released October 1960. Fats indulges his penchant for a good croon on this set, aided by an almost constant string section throughout. There are some fine results indeed including the stunning “Walking To New Orleans” and the super classy “Three Nights A Week” which accomplishes the tricky feat of fusing the blues with the strings. His originals are clearly best, his self-indulgent covers are a bit of a hit and miss. The covers include “The Sheik Of Araby” (Club Royal Orchestra, 1921), “Put Your Arms Around Me Honey” (Broadway Show “Madame Sherry”, 1910), “You Always Hurt The One You Love” (The Mills Brothers, 1944) and “It’s The Talk Of The Town” (Glen Gray and The Casa Loma Orchestra, 1933). Fats first new set of the 60’s is something a little different – he remains on good form…

The Jukebox Rebel
03-Oct-2009


TJR says:

7.03 “Really good”

This is a really great listen from start to finish – unlike many of John Lee’s foot stomping one-man holler-a-thons it takes a real gentle, laid back approach, even though it has a full band of guitar, bass and drum. The whole group are with the programme; each as chilled as the other, adding to the real intimate affair. What it does, is let the lyrics take effect; a real fine set of blues tales covering ghetto life, money troubles, women troubles and drinking problems. There are very few artists who can play so loose, so raw, and yet command your attention all the way. Simply, Johnnie Lee has got the x-factor.

The Jukebox Rebel
15-Jun-2012


TJR says:

6.97 “Good”

William Broonzy had died in August 1958 after suffering from the effects of throat cancer. Just a year or so later, Muddy stepped into the studio to pay his tribute to the man. When Waters arrived in Chicago in his late 30s it was Big Bill, one of the leading blues-men in town, who helped him break into the very competitive market by allowing him to open for his shows in the rowdy clubs. Muddy never forgot it – and he showed his gratitude when the time came to record his bona-fide debut LP some 16 years later. The album openers are closest to Big Bill’s rural Delta stylings – both “Tell Me Baby” and “Southbound Train” are noticeably more stripped back than the usual Muddy fare. On the latter, Muddy is on his way to the lowlands, and he pleads: ”conductor can I ride?” James Cotton plays a blinder with a harmonica wail that screams “let him ride”. It’s actually a fantastic feature of the entire album. “When I Get To Thinking” is another early album highlight – the band toughen up the backbeat to coincide with Muddy’s angry vocal; “how long you gonna keep on jivin’ and doing me wrong, you been goin’ round braggin’ about cashing my cheque, if I find out what I’m thinkin’ baby, I just gonna break your neck”. Man got the blues! “Double Trouble” closes side 1 strongly – the man still got women troubles and the band is feeling it with him, every note and every beat. It’s terrific stuff. The depressing tales of mistreatment continue onto side 2 – but our main man is getting even, not mad. On “I Done Got Wise” he sings “when I used to come home from work you had 4 or 4 “cousins” around, now I got me a “cousin” since I came to town.” It all adds up to a fine tribute – homage not pastiche. It’s a strong debut long-player proper – the man’s got his mojo working. Ain’t gonna be nobody’s dog. Big Bill would have loved it : – )

The Jukebox Rebel
02-Nov-2015


TJR says:

6.91 “Good”

Simple and effective, 13 old folk songs, one singer, one guitar. Joan’s intense reading of Roberto Cantoral’s “Ninth Prisoner” does strange things to my spinal cord. She described her debut thus: “…It took four days. We recorded it in the ballroom of some hotel in New York, way up by the river. We could use the room every day except Tuesday, because they played Bingo there on Tuesdays. It was just me on this filthy rug. There were two microphones, one for the voice and one for the guitar. I just did my set. It was probably all I knew how to do at that point. I did ‘Mary Hamilton’ once and that was it…That’s the way we made ’em in the old days. As long as a dog didn’t run through the room or something, you had it…”

The Jukebox Rebel
02-Nov-2008


TJR says:

6.84 “Good”

The album gets off to a flyer with a sole Phil Everly rhythmic strummer, “Made To Love” – he’s Hank Marvin and Eddie Cochran all in one. The Everly’s get four of their own onto this set, with the Bryant’s gaining credit for five. There are two album covers on this one – they tackle Jimmy Reed’s “Baby What You Want Me To Do” with bluesy aplomb and do it some justice. It’s a rare moment where the boys step away from the pop genre and is a welcome diversion. Not so successful is “Lucille” – it’s really a case of “what’s the point?” when placed up against the Penniman. The pop strummer “Donna, Donna” is another excellent contribution from the Bryants – killer licks, verging on a mambo beat. Album highlight is the closer, “Cathy’s Clown” – it stands uniquely with its dragging rhythm, but there’s no doubting that the killer soar-away pop harmony pop chorus is pure trademark Everly Brothers. For once, public taste was in line with mine as the single sold eight million copies worldwide, spending five weeks at number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and seven weeks at number one in the UK. A classic finale to another consistently good Everly Brothers album…

The Jukebox Rebel
15-Apr-2008


TJR says:

6.78 “Good”

Another quality LP from JB and his crew, rounding up 12 of the latest sides for Federal, and it’s more widely distributed parent label, King, to whom Brown was now officially signed. By 1960, having been influenced more by jazz music than blues, Brown began incorporating jazz styled arrangements in his music, with Brown citing the Famous Flames hits “I’ll Go Crazy” and “Think” as examples of his changing style away from more traditional forms of R n B and Rock n Roll. The restless and aggressively rhythmic cover of The 5 Royales’ “Think” in particular was completely radical for 1960, and could easily regarded as a square root catalyst for an entire funk movement to come…

The Jukebox Rebel
18-Apr-2012


TJR says:

6.73 “Good”

Chuck’s golden period at Chess continues in fine style into 1960 with the latest 8 sides from 1959, together with first-time appearances for “Down the Road Apiece”, “Confessin’ the Blues”, “Betty Jean” and “Driftin’ Blues”. He seems quite happy to include quite a few covers at this time and it’s a cover which steals the show – Chuck’s version of Big Maceo’s “Worried Life Blues” is a stunning highlight…

The Jukebox Rebel
17-Feb-2008


TJR says:

6.58 “Good”

“We’re the hoochie-coochie boys, the whole United States knows we’re here” proclaimed the bold Muddy within minutes of taking the stage. Hello Newport! The hoochie-coochie boys were: half-brother Otis Spann (piano, vocals), Pat Hare (guitar), James Cotton (harmonica), Andrew Stevens (bass) and Francis Clay (drums). The Chicago Blues were gate crashing the famous annual Jazz festival. By all accounts they were very well received and won over many new fans in the U.S. mainstream. By the sounds of it “Got My Mojo Workin” in particular seems to have got them going wild – so much so they played it twice. Some terrific piano play from Otis Spann on this one. The final piece doesn’t feature Muddy himself – the band were onstage without him and it was Otis who took the lead vocals for “Goodbye Newport Blues”. The festival had been marred the night before with an altercation between youth and authority and the future of the event was in grave danger. Poet Langston Hughes wrote an impromptu lyric, and he brought his farewell song to the Muddy Waters band onstage, announcing their likewise impromptu musical performance of the piece himself, before pianist Otis Spann took on the lead vocal. Such engagement summed up the spirit of the event. All in all, this turned out to be a very important days’ work from these major ambassadors for the blues. Hi5 Otis! Go Muddy Go!

The Jukebox Rebel
03-Nov-2015


TJR says:

6.41 “Decent enough”

A single-day session recorded on February 9, 1960 at Reeves Sound Studio in New York City. It’s a real intimate affair – he knows what he’s doing when he breaks it down to a whisper and barely a touched string. All ears lean in. Opens up with “I Need Some Money” which, although credited to John Lee, takes all of its cues from Barret Strong’s big hit of the previous year, “Money (That’s What I Want)”. Side 1 closer “Gonna Use My Rod” sees Johnny develop the tough-guy persona, mean and evil, looking for trouble. Woe betides the man messing with his woman. “One Of These Days” is best from the flipside – a real low-key spiritual moan. All in all, this is a very fine episode in the John Lee Hooker story.

The Jukebox Rebel
15-Jun-2012


TJR says:

6.20 “Decent enough”

Alas, the high watermark of 1958s “Rumble” was not maintained when the time came for the debut Link Wray LP. Having been dropped like a hot potato by Cadence, who did want not a rebel rouser on their books, Link re-recorded many of his tunes for Epic. Something’s not quite the same – performances are just that little more conservative. “Rumble” is re-recorded as “Ramble” and has turned into something more resembling a teen pop ballad than a soundtrack for razor-blade square-go. It’s still a great track – but could never hope to spark a blaze. “Raw-Hide” emerges as the album’s one moment of high-voltage adrenalin laden Rock n Roll. The album is a decent effort, but it’s not what it should have been…

The Jukebox Rebel
14-Mar-2013


TJR says:

6.18 “Decent enough”

With Buddy Holly on solo tour in late 1959, bassist Joe Mauldin, drummer Jerry Allison and guitarist Sonny Curtis (a friend and collaborator with Buddy Holly) began recording new songs as The Crickets, with Earl Sinks on vocals. While they were recording, it was announced that Holly was killed in a plane crash while on tour. It’s fair to say Earl was no Buddy. Who then who could be? However,”In Style With The Crickets”, released in December 1960, proved that the band still had plenty to offer. The best songs are all their own including the provocative “I Fought The Law”, the cuter than cute “When You Ask About Love”, and the catchy “Love’s Made A Fool Of You”. The latter two had been hit singles for the band in 1959. The set includes 4 covers – “Rockin’ Pneumonia And The Boogie Woogie Flu” (Huey Smith and The Clowns, 1957), “Great Balls Of Fire” (Jerry Lee Lewis and his pumping piano, 1957), “Ting-A-Ling” (The Clovers, 1952) and “Time Will Tell” (Bobby Charles, 1956).

The Jukebox Rebel
18-Mar-2012


TJR says:

5.99 “Average”

Debut album from the 28-year-old Johannesburg lass who, somehow, had the guile and the talent to break free, go see the world, and spread some African gospel. She landed in the United States, where Apartheid wasn’t quite so bad, and, with the help from Harry Belafonte, was able to record and release her first ever album of works. “The Retreat Song” kicks-off which, as the liner notes tell, is a Xosa warrior’s song of defeat; literally a call to “take to the cliffs”. A happy song melodically, it is ironically almost humorous in treatment. The spirited, soulful timbre of the leading lady is apparent from the word go. As is her native clicking tongue! “The Click song” is another early album highlight – despite the attempts of the Harry Belafonte singers to sanitize the backing vocals for the home audience. You’d think they were auditioning for a role in a western movie. Thankfully, Miriam’s great vocal performance rises above it. To be fair to the Belfaonte singers, they are better on “Olilili”, a gospel-tinged A capella lullaby lament sung by Miriam as mother comforting child; they have been deserted by the husband and father. Closing Side 1, Miriam pays homage to Solomon Linda’s immortal “Mbube” (“Lion”) and in doing so points a sign to her own roots. “Mbube” was the original term used for Zulu a cappella singing, which, traditionally, was sung loudly and powerfully; as it is here by both Miriam and her male backing singers, the Chad Mitchell Trio. After the greatness of “Mbube”, side 2 opens with the lightweight fluff of “Naughty Little Flea”. It’s almost criminal. Side 2 is rather unadventurous on the whole, saved at the very death by the album’s most African-sounding piece, “Iya Guduza”, hands-down the highlight of the entire set. All three voices are those of Miss Makeba and the album liner notes speculate that perhaps this was the first multi-tracked vocal in Zulu. The story is a light-hearted account of a ne'er-do-well husband who hides until his wife leaves for work, then searches the house for drinking money. Credit goes to jazz-hound Perry Lopez for having a good go on some African rhythm guitar. It’s a pity Team Makeba never felt inclined to do that more often…

The Jukebox Rebel
02-Nov-2015


TJR says:

5.78 “Average”

“Well I've been to Nagasaki, Hiroshima too, the thing I did to them, baby, I can do to you”. Lord have mercy! “Fujiyama Mama” is an early album highlight as the lil’ Rockabilly Raver sets out her stall. Although a country girl at heart, she had a receptive Rock n Roll audience and this LP was completely theirs. Wanda has three self-penned tunes on-board, one of which, “Mean, Mean Man” is another highlight. Her whoops and hollers together with the hammered piano and repetitive riffage make for a route-one winner. It’s pretty much a solid set throughout, although the cutesy pop of “You’re The One For Me” and “Don’a Wan’a” are a bit of a let-down. Best track of the set is delivered at the very end; on “I Gotta Know” we get two sides of Wanda, country vs rockabilly, on the one tune. It’s great fun, and a memorable way to finish off this feel-good affair.

The Jukebox Rebel
08-Aug-2015


TJR says:

5.69 “Average”

The 5-day 7th annual Jazz festival at the millionaires playground spawned quite a few LPs – it’s quite noticeable that artists were keen on serving up new material for the event, perhaps one of the reasons why it so popular. Often described as a millionaires playground, there’s something quite poignant about a homeless song, “Trouble in Mind Blues”, being chosen by Nina to open her set. The song dates to at least 1924 when it was recorded by Thelma La Vizzo. Nina’s grunting, singing and playing are super-affecting and she really gets the feeling across. The atmosphere seems good – she’s got the crowd laughing as she ambles around stage looking for her tambourine for “Little Liza Jean”. Closing side 1, a passionate rendition of Cole Porter’s “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To” goes down a storm with the jazz lovers. Opening side 2 “Flo Me La” is an exotic potpourri of Latin / African rhythm – clearly this is a festival which is open to the idea of musical adventures. Letting the album down at the end is the pointless piano tinkering of the instrumental “Nina’s Blues” and the pacey reading of “In The Evening By the Moonlight” which is designed for maximum audience hyperactivity at the end, but just leaves me cold. Those session musos…

The Jukebox Rebel
23-Aug-2009


TJR says:

5.19 “Below average”

“Rags And Old Iron” makes for a soulful starter – lady got the love poverty blues, a double whammy. The melancholic and tedious “No Good Man” immediately follows and I’m reminded just why Nina’s albums struggle for a decent rebel rating. The heart on the sleeve R n B rouser “Gin House Blues” immediately follows this, and I’m reminded just why Nina’s always worth hanging in for – she’s often dynamite. This pattern repeats; we go from the finger-clicking snazzy goodness of “Work Song” to the mind-numbing boredom of “Memphis In June”. The constant pull towards this type of low-light jazz café croon is wearisome in the Simone catalogue.

The Jukebox Rebel
25-Aug-2009


TJR says:

4.56 “Poor”

When the best track on an album is a reworking from a previous set then the chances are there’s trouble in store. Such is the case on G.I. Blues. Elvis was a busy boy when he was discharged from the Army in March 1960. His terrific comeback LP “Elvis Is Back!” was in the stores by April. Before April was through he got to work on “G.I. Blues”, his first film since “King Creole” in 1958. The soundtrack LP has its moments, but it’s a massive credibility fall in terms of Elvis as an edgy rock n roller, with lines like “Frantic frauleins at the station, they’re ready for a celebration” filling cheesy MOR rock n roll numbers like “Frankfort Special”. And how hard can it be to spell Frankfurt? The banality of the lead single, “Wooden Heart”, didn’t put people off – it shot to Number One in the UK. That’s the record buying public for you. The lightweight pop croon of “Pocketful Of Rainbows” and the slushy balladry of “Big Boots” fire further warning signs that Elvis could be on the slide.

The Jukebox Rebel
11-Aug-2008


TJR says:

4.40 “Lame”

As any mobile DJ in Scotland will tell you, a Jimmy Shand LP is almost an essential part of the armoury. By 1960, the 42-year-old accordionist from Auchtermuchty was already at the legendary stage, having been recording since 1933. His output in the 1950s was extremely prolific, releasing a new single every month at his peak in the mid-50s. Richard Thompson, whose Dad was Scottish and a keen Shand collector, is on record as saying he had a love-hate relationship with Jimmy Shand. That makes me chuckle – I know exactly what he means. Love seems to have won out in the end in 1991 as he penned a tribute song “Don't Sit on My Jimmy Shands” on which he sings: “Call me precious I don't mind, 78s are hard to find, You just can't get the shellac since the war, This one's the Beltona brand, Finest label in the land, They don't make them like that anymore” 4 great facts about oor Jimmy: • More than 330 compositions are credited to Jimmy Shand. • In 1985, British Rail named a locomotive Jimmy Shand. • He was dissatisfied with the chromatic button-key accordions available on the market in the 1940s so he designed his own one. • The Hohner company manufactured the “Shand Morino” until the 1970s. He is the only artist worldwide to have his name used by the Hohner company as a model name for a musical instrument. The Shand Morino! Love it! Who could fail to be impressed by that?

The Jukebox Rebel
15-Aug-2010


TJR says:

3.85 “Terrible”

Lush string arrangements accompany the velvet tones of the ever-reliable croonster, backed by gentle doops, oohs and aahs from the Anita Kerr Singers. Consistently lame from beginning to end.

The Jukebox Rebel
17-Aug-2008


TJR says:

3.73 “Terrible”

Released July 1960. Ray’s first post-Atlantic LP, and ABC continue with the genius tag, just in case you were having any doubts yourself. The marketing dept. seems to have been on overtime too, and we’re presented with a clumsily themed LP, with titles contrived via American place names. As if the tedious geography homework wasn’t bad enough, the music brews up a Tea Dance trauma, where brassy bossa-novas step on the toes of supper-club waltzes. Comes complete with dodgy variety “patter”. Genius is a very over used term in music… cheezeball, on the other hand…

The Jukebox Rebel
25-Jul-2008


TJR says:

3.45 “Terrible”

Elvis fully projects his Christian beliefs on an LP for the first time. Unfortunately, he takes the drippy, conservative approach – there’s no soul stirring here. He is backed by the Jordanaires who remain in their comfort zone throughout. This was the third new Elvis LP of 1960 – out just in time for Christmas. Wholesome they say. Gruesome say I.

The Jukebox Rebel
14-Aug-2008


TJR says:

3.02 “Terrible”

Sam’s second LP for RCA, released in August 1960. One look at the front cover almost tells you all you need to know… “Hey Sam buddy, want to go and play some golf?” His early Keen LP’s were generally tedious. With the move to RCA, Sam Cooke has plummeted all the way down to the hellish depths occupied by the likes of Johnny Mathis and Perry Como. Even his swell soulful croon can’t save him from this material. Producers Luigi Creatore and Hugo Peretti wrote the liner notes, crammed full of cock and bull, which review this album brilliantly. They even lie about Sam’s age (he was 29 when this came out): “When rock hit the Fifties, a lot of sensitive citizens corked their ears, crawled into their woofers and occasionally sent messages to the outside world demanding, “Where is the new good music – and where are the good young singers?” Well, this album gives the answer, for the music was there all the time. Out of the Fifties we have chosen a dozen ballads, including “Unchained Melody”, “Too Young” and “The Song from Moulin Rouge”, to prove that along with The Chicken Scratch and other record-hop pops there were new songs, beautiful by any standard. This is the second RCA Victor album we have made with Sam and so a few words are in order. He is tall and slender, with looks that remind you at once of Belafonte and Poitier. Although he is only twenty-five, his vocal training began many years ago in gospel choirs and he was a gospel singer when approached to record popular music. At the moment his father, the Reverend Charles Cooke, counseled, “God doesn’t tell you what to sing but He gave you this talent and you serve Him by using it.” And Sam serves well and conscientiously. At recording sessions he works hard and is always ready for “another take,” although we may stay with it through the early hours of the morning. So what’s new in music – what’s cooking these days? It’s Sam.” ^ What a couple of slipper wearing grandads. On this form, and as those liner notes testify in print, Sam Cooke is the sworn enemy of Rock n Roll…

The Jukebox Rebel
28-Jul-2008


TJR says:

0.44 “Pathetically abysmal”

I genuinely have no recollection as to how this LP came to be in my collection, but it stands as sure-fire proof that I never throw any record away. The George Mitchell Minstrels, led by Scottish singer, pianist and arranger George Mitchell, were created in 1957 for BBC Radio broadcasts. In 1958, the Minstrels, in red make-up which looked black on camera, transferred to television. Their show was an enormous hit, with a peak viewing audience of 16.5 million viewers in 1964. It won the Golden Rose of Montreux for Best TV Show in the World in 1961. What the hell was the matter with people back then? Quite apart from the casual racism, the trite offerings from these goons could hardly be any more unappealing.

The Jukebox Rebel
25-Feb-2010

chart first published 3 Dec 2015; last edited 16 Feb 2016

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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