DAS BILDERLEXIKON DER DEUTSCHEN SCHELLACK-SCHALLPLATTEN
Dr. Rainer Lotz first published his seminal work Grammophon-platten au der Ragtime Ara in 1979, since when he has produced a large body of work culminating in the magisterial, 44 CD, 2 volume Black Europe in 2013. It seemed impossible for him to produce anything that was even more impressive — but he has. This stupendous work is in 5 volumes with over 2200 pages, more than 10,000 colour pictures of record labels and countless black & white repro-ductions of trade-mark regis-trations and more. This book is not a discography; it has no catalogue reconstructions but it is, as described in the title, a picture encyclopaedia of German record labels. This does not mean that it con-tains information about record labels only sold in Germany; it embraces all records pressed in Germany ir-respective of the country of origin of the master.
In this set, Bear Family Records has created the ultimate package for this album. The combination of Ernie Wilkins’ arrangements, Jerry Wexler and Nesuhi Ertegun’s production and Turner’s roaring vocals alongside his backing band helped to shape the success of the original album. Colin Escott and the team at Bear Family have continued their legacy. Boasting pristine sound quality, attractive packaging and an abundance of bonus material, this is worth picking up if you’re looking to discover or rediscover a huge contribution to Big Joe Turner’s catalogue.
BEAR FAMILY PRESSE
BCD 17600 LINK WRAY "Rocks" BAF 11021 LITTLE RICHARD "The BEst of."
LINK WRAY: Rocks Bear Family BCD 17600 (77:19) Link Wray is reputed to be the loudest of rock guitarists but from personal experience I rate him below Dick Dale though the smaller size of Dale's venue may have been a volumetric factor. Nevertheless, Link certainly is very loud, the reason for which may be explained in Bill Dahl's notes when he states that Fred Lincoln Ray Jr's "childhood bout with the measles had robbed him of a good portion of his hearing". These recordings, dated between 1958 and 1966, were mainly released on the Cadence. Cameo, Epic, Mala, Rumble and Swan labels, and include some rare tracks. Predominantly instrumentals of course, Link himself does sing gruffly on 'Ain't That Loving You Baby' and 'Mary Ann', while his brother Vernon Wray (knrwn as Ray Vernon) vocalises on 'I'm Counting On You' and 'Danger One Way Love'. The CD opens with the great 'Raw Hide' and closes with the classic, slow-paced 'Rumble', the two British hits which make outstanding 'bookends' with dynamic and sometimes tremolo guitar that lives long in the memory. Other outstanding tracks include the easily recognised 'Batman Theme' with deep, ominous notes and a guitar-spoken 'Batmanr: the full sound of 'I'm Branded' with shimmering guitar break; the energetic 'Deuces Wild' with drums upfront; the relaxed tempo and mellow tone of 'Radar; a slow track entitled 'Dinosaur' which includes sax inserts; and a radio/television show derivative 'The Shadow Knows'. With all 34 tracks timed between 1:43 and 2:50 there is little time to be bored. The sound quality is great and the 36-page booklet contains some welcome vintage photos. I'm sure that this digipack will be popular with rocking instrumental fans. Paul Harris
Magazin: Blues & Rhythm , UK Ausgabe Feb. 2020
Blues and r&b sides by artists from Baton Rouge, Louisiana are usually associated with the Excello label: Slim Harpo, Lightnin' Slim, Lazy Lester. Tabby Thomas, Lonesome Sundown plus other fine blues artists (but not as well known) such as Arthur 'Guitar' Kelley, Silas Hogan, Whispering Smith and Jimmy Anderson. Well, they are all here but Martin Hawkins (who produced the set. wrote the notes and track by track analysis) has cast his net wider to include the likes of of Robert Pete Williams, Smoky Babe, Butch Cage, Willie B. Thomas and Clarence Edwards. Covering the years 1954 to 1971, the tracks are taken from sides released on 78s, 45s and albums. As Hawkins states: "We really don't know what the blues sound of Baton Rouge was before 1954", so we kick of with Otis Hicks, (aka Lightnin' Slim) who cut 'Bad Luck' and 'Bugger Bugger Boy', in 1954 for Feature which is swiftly followed by Cleveland White's (Schoolboy Cleve) 'Strange Letter Blues' also cut for Feature but a year later.
Die Älteren unter Ihnen werden sich erinnern: Es gab mal eine Zeit, als die Frau noch Vollweib sein durfte und das Schönheitsideal nicht der 'Hungerhaken' war. Der Sex wurde nach und nach aus der Schmuddelecke befreit und auf der Kinoleinwand und musikalisch per Vinyl-Platte ans noch zart errötende Publikum gebracht. Das war Ende der 50er, Anfang der 60er Jahre, als im Zuge der moralischen Abrüstung die ersten Busen-Titelseiten an Zeitungskiosken auftauchten und Sexbomben wie Jayne Mansfield und Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren und Gina Lollobrigida, Anita Ekberg und Ann-Margret, Elke Sommer und Brigitte Bardot den Männern den Atem nahmen. Vielleicht sprach man noch nicht offen über die schönste Freizeitbeschäftigung der Welt, doch besungen wurde sie implizit.
LITTLE RICHARD: The Best Of... Bear Family BAF11021 Lucille! Good Golly Miss Molly/ Send Me Some Lovin'! Miss Ann/ She Knows How To Rock/ Kansas City/ Jenny, Jenny/ True, Fine Mama/ Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey/ Doh! My Soul/ I'll Never Let You Go/ Baby Face Do I need to even mention the music? Probably not if you're even considering buying this. This remastered ten-inch vinyl album is released in Bear Family's aptly-named 'Vinyl Club Exclusive' series, available only from the company directly and limited to 500 copies. The original contained Specialty recordings and was issued in Japan in 1962 on London/King MPL 1031, becoming a much sought-after item. It would be interesting to know if any contemporary Japanese reviews exist. You want it? Get your skates on then... Norman Darwen
Buck Owens and Merle Haggard are undoubtedly the twin towers of the singular sound invented in Bakersfield, Calif. But as this massive new box set from the Bear Family label so intricately details, there is a Gold Rush of incredible music to be discovered beyond the gates of the Second City of country music.
The Bakersfield Sound is a veritable college course on the evolution of the region, born out of the barrooms and barn dances of the Dust Bowl era with the concept of conspiring a small combo iteration of the Western-swing big-bands who used to roll through town to perform for the laborers. It was a sound that would quickly be dubbed "Honky Tonk," and served as an edgier, more electrified alternative to the Nashville twang of the East Coast. This 10-CD set goes back to the mid-1940s via rare recordings of acts who cut their teeth performing for migrant communities in Central California like Tex Butler and Ebb Pilling, not to mention a live radio performance from Bob Wills and The Texas Playboys, who made Bakersfield a regular stop on their traveling roadshow.
These are the stories record collectors dream of! Many more previously uncomped artists are on board here for the first time, such as Lonnie Dee, Joe Franklin & The Hi-Liters, Daryl Petty, Bobby Strigo with The Blue Notes and many more. Sixty years after the original recording dates, Bear Family makes it possible for these artists to receive the attention they have always been entitled to.
As most of the original master tapes are lost forever, the majority of masters have been taken from the original rare and hard to find Renown single (45s) releases and have been carefully restored and re-mastered to meet the quality standards of Bear Family.
This is a truly worthy and long awaited project which will find favor among fans of rockabilly music, 1950s music aficionados, and folks into North Carolina culture and history, and just plain music fans in general.
This is one Bear Family release that you don’t want to miss!
This was just fun from start to finish, with former stars of one of Nashville's so-called middle tier labels (Jesse McReynolds, Frankie Miller, Sleepy LaBeef, Bill Clifton etc ) getting another chance to shine thanks to Nate Gibson's painstaking efforts.
‘The Bakersfield Sound’
(Bear Family; 10 CDs plus hard-bound book, $179.68)
The city of Bakersfield, Calif. emerged in the 1950s to rival Nashville as the place defining country music. The Bakersfield sound clung tenaciously to country’s most twangy, sinewy elements — bluegrass, Western swing, honky-tonk, rockabilly — to accompany lean, down-to-earth, working-class storytelling. Buck Owens and Merle Haggard were the city’s superstars, but this copious 10-CD set, which includes an extensively researched hardcover book, digs far deeper. It starts with Library of Congress recordings of migrant Southwestern farmworkers in California — real “Okies” — and celebrates Bakersfield’s studio mainstays. It rediscovers rowdy rarities like Phil Brown’s “You’re a Luxury” and Rose Stassie’s “Out of My Mind.” Instead of well-worn hits, it selects lesser-known cuts from Owens and Haggard, including their barely distributed debut singles. While Nashville eventually won country radio, at least Bakersfield never got slick. JON PARELES
LINK WRAY `ROCKS' (Bear Family)
Aficionados of music of the 50's and 60's will almost certainly have some of guitarist Link Wray's tunes in their collection, that's going to include 'Rumble' which hit the top 20 in the USA and UK in 1958. Apparently, the disc was shunned by some radio stations because it was considered to be inciting violence amongst teen gangs, some achievement for an instrumental. It's here but you have to wait until the 34th and final track for the hit. What you glean listening getting that far is the rich musical legacy this hugely influential guitarist left. There's none of the earliest Western Swing because this collection includes just tracks from 1958 to 1966 over several labels. They feature some lesser known gems including 'Big City After Dark' backing his brother Ray plus two tracks where Link provides the vocals. This is a fascinating collection easily illustrates why artists diverse as Neil Young and the Cramps were huge fans.
BILLY FURY `WONDEROUS PLACE' (Bear Family)
Billy Fury is on one hand considered up there with the best of the best of the breed of British rockers. His 1960 album 'The Sound Of Fury' thought of by some with a respect usually reserved for recordings that came out of Sun. True, that 10" is the nearest thing to authentic rockabilly that a UK artist recorded back in the day. On the other hand the conversation then tends to be that Billy Fury turned his back on rock n roll to concentrate on ballads, hits and money. The facts, like them or not is that the sort of music Billy was laying down in 1960 was almost half a decade out of date back in the States, their own brand of fabricated teen idols were flooding the charts while the originators of rock n roll were either in the army, out of vogue, hitting the bottle or both. Worst still, dead, Eddie and Buddy had already started looking beyond rock n roll before their untimely deaths. As far as record company bosses were concerned there was nowhere else commercially to go with Billy but ballads, mostly penned by someone else, they were proved right too, his ballads were much bigger hits than his early rockers. This goes some way to show that despite being know for ballads at the height of his career, when Billy was off the leash he was still rocking, here's the proof.
VARIOUS ARTISTS `AUTUMN LEAVES' (Bear Family)
Bear Family are taking a chance on their loyal listeners broadness of musical mind with this quirky series of seasonal compilatiOns. True there's a lot of something for everyone on here but when you consider the tracks date from 1930 —1962 there is broad musical spectrum encompassed. Whoever complied it did a magnificent job because listen to the album as a whole then it really does work. That's quite a feat when you consider Eddie Cochran's 'Cotton Picker' and Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs `Shuckin' The Corn' are compilation mates with Memphis Minnie & Kansas Joe wondering `What Happened To The Mill?' and Don Duke's cover of 'Wild Wind'. It's an ambient musical adventure which will introduce you to music you are never likely to hear otherwise and well worth the dip in unless you really are blinkered musically, in which case it won't be for you.
Bakersfield, California is a long way from Nashville – a little under 2,020 miles west, actually. But the distance isn’t quite as great when one considers how much significant country music came out of the city in Kern County. Recent years have seen numerous reissues from legendary Bakersfield artists like Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, as well as a fine exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame. But now Bear Family Records has delivered the ultimate tribute to the city’s remarkable legacy of music. The Bakersfield Sound: Country Music Capital of the West 1940-1974 is a beautifully sprawling chronicle of how Music City West came to be, as told via 10 CDs, almost 300 songs, and a definitive, 224-page hardcover tome.
While the sound of Bakersfield came to signify a raw, grittier honky-tonk country style (as opposed to the lush strings and choirs of The Nashville Sound as pioneered in the 1960s by Chet Atkins and others), folk, western swing, and so-called “hillbilly music” all figured into the embryonic Bakersfield Sound Those individual sounds are all explored on the early discs of the box set before local discs cede to the major label releases from Capitol Records and others which drew on the city’s talented artists. Once Bakersfield was established, its artists touched on further genres like rock, pop, and even psychedelia.
Some of the included tracks here make it seem obvious why the Bristol Sessions are considered seminal and these are not so well known. The Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers are perhaps more individual in hindsight and their influence can be traced clearly and strong through the generations of future artists and musicians. However, here we find examples of the music of the people, which is as fine and representative of the people of the day living in those rural areas as was the work of the Carters and Rodgers.
There is quite a shortage of female voice here. That is possibly the only thing which sticks out as unusual. Otherwise, the 26 artist names also bring to mind charmingly a bygone world. There are names and song titles which bring vibrancy and life to a time long gone. Despite this evocation, this music feels as fresh today as ever.
Bear Family Records have re-issued 1962 album The Ventures play Telstar – The Lonely Bull as part of their 11000 collectors series. This is a very special reproduction of the 10-inch Japanese pressing, including the hard-to-find rare cover featuring artwork of the group with a space-craft. The 11000 series from Bear Family Records is a selection of limited edition vinyl reissues of rare and sometimes pricey vinyl collectables. The album is available in many forms on several formats, Is this edition worth picking up?
British listeners may equate the sound and style with being like The Shadows. In so much as The Ventures do instrumental covers of popular songs, this is true. In the cases of some tracks, it feels somewhat like they are capitalising on a trend for background-sound for parties and dances in the early 1960s. Many tracks are of a very similar vein as the library music used in the TV action shows produced by ITC and ATV in the mid to late 60s.
Their interpretation of popular tunes are competent but a little pedestrian. Sometimes the elements can seem like they are more of an exercise in experimenting with different sounds. It all ends up achieving a similar effect to that of the original or best-known version, though, with every number very well executed and enjoyable. The whole album has presumably the desired effect: it is very tempting to get up and get moving. Disappointingly, the renditions still have a rather safe vibe about them.
The Best Of Little Richard !! (vinyl EP)
Review by Gary Hill
I know the conventional wisdom is that Elvis Presley was "The King of Rock and Roll." Personally, I've never felt he deserved that title. For me the triumvirate of most important contributors to early Rock and Roll is Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry and Little Richard. Of the three, I think Richard (I know his real last name is "Penniman," but I'm using Richard as his last name for the sake of this review - and the general alphabetization over the whole publication) was the most consistent (in terms of quality) and important of those three.
It could be argued that Richard has been the biggest influence on rock music for decades. Certainly a lot of his style became tied the genre. His little screams might well be the roots of metal screamers like Rob Halford. Lemmy Kilmister said that he thought Richard was the best rock singer of all time. His flamboyance and style really are rock and roll.
This cool EP captures a dozen Richard classics. It's a disc that manages to stand tall even today. That is just one of the charms of it. This is a 10" record on orange vinyl, and it's well worth having. The music is great, and the packaging really works for this release.
Bear Family Productions
It was a study in contrasts for a county music fan during the late ’60s. On the one hand you had “Music City USA” – Nashville, with hits such as “Make the World Go Away” by Eddy Arnold and “Danny Boy” by Ray Price, something called “The Nashville Sound” that morphed into “Countrypolitian”. Produced by Billy Sherrill and Chet Atkins, among others, it was country music – easy listening style. It was as far removed from the hills and farms that birthed the song collections of A.P. Carter and family as was possible. For those longing for the old songs and feel, one had to turn to the coast, where music still played in honkytonks, five sets a night.
That place was called Bakersfield, CA, and is the subject of this grand look assembled by Bear Family, The Bakersfield Sound – Country Music Capital of the West 1940-1974. On the West coast Merle Haggard and Buck Owens ruled the airwaves, record sales and beer joints, stringing up hit after hit, leading the area to be known as “Nashville West” for a time. While the area’s heyday was largely over by the mid-’70s, a quick look at today’s country stars – from Dwight Yoakam to the entire “outlaw country” movement owes a huge debt to folks like Merle Haggard, whose poetic songs captured the plight of the everyman as well as anyone, and Buck Owens, that made a career out of classic country/pop moments, propelled by his ace guitarist Don Rich.
Even a cursory survey of the obituaries and tributes that circulated after William Clarke's untimely passing in late 1996 reveals one consistent theme: Clarke was perceived by fans and critics alike as one of the very best harmonica players to ever master the instrument. The blues world is no stranger to hyperbole, for sure, but the praise for Clarke's artistry was (and still is) clearly merited. His dexterous style could oscillate between as-sertive and aggressive to sweet and subtle as the song required, and his rich, fat tone—es-pecially when blowing through amplification equipment—established a benchmark that few have matched. Clarke, a native of Southern California, released several indie label recordings during the late 1970s and 1980s, a time where he honed his craft, as Rod Piazza had before him, under the tutelage of George "Harmoni-ca" Smith. But it wasn't until his partnership with Alligator Records in the 1990s that Clarke started to garner national and international at-tention.
Heavy Hittin' West Coast Harp (vinyl)
Review by Gary Hill
The new LP is a compilation of music from a killer blues artist who was not well-known outside certainly circles. It includes a host of studio recordings along with a live track. There are some definite rarities here. That's true in part because his music is out of print and was never widely released, but also because there is one track that's previously unreleased. There is a healthy mix of blues and jazz here. While the recordings here are not of modern quality expectations, they sound good and really do represent the era in which they were released. The records if a heavy vinyl album with a gatefold sleeve. Overall, this is a great product that's well worth having for blues harp fan
String Dustin' (vinyl EP)
Review by Gary Hill
Chet Atkins is a legend within and without country music. In 1952 he put together the Country All-Stars and recorded this set of instrumentals (one song has vocals). The music here is all intriguing. While it's billed as country, and there is country at the core of a lot of it, it really transcends that label, wandering into jazz and more. This is quite an intriguing set of music. This new edition is a 10-inch record on orange vinyl. It's also all class.
East Tennessee State University
This essay considers the Bristol, TN/VA (1927-1928) and Johnson City, TN (1928- 1929) Sessions recordings released by the Bear Family label, as well as recordings, made by linguist Joseph Hall in the 1930s, of musical performances by residents of the Smokies in eastern Tennessee and west- ern North Carolina. I also consider here a collection of performances, by contempor- ary artists, of songs that Hall recorded in the 1930s. This essay is informed by my experience as a musician who has listened to, played, and written about the string- based vernacular music often called “old time music.” Like others who style them- selves connoisseurs of this music, I have paid careful attention to the content and context of recordings like those I consider here. I am particularly interested in these recordings since they are part of my current local environment; I currently live near the sites of these recordings, my work as a per- former and teacher involves using these recordings, and I work with people who were involved in the production of these collections. I chose these four collections because I am curious about what sense of place they afford other aficionados of old time music. My experiences with these recordings lead me to consider the larger question of how contemporary audiences and producers of old time music consume, engage, and create a sense of place through their music-making (listening, performing, mediating, etc.). As a participant-observer in old-time music-making circles, I have observed that we seem very concerned with place.
Various ***** The Bakersfield Sound BEAR FAMILY. 10-CO BOX
How California became Honky Tonk Heaven. In the '60s, Buck Owens and Merle Haggard sang country chart-toppers by the bucket-load, establishing Bakersfield, California, as a direct rival to Nashville. Their music was less showy, more contemporary than that from Music City and would influence country rock and the later Outlaw genre. This superb Bear Family presentation, with a considerable number of previously unreleased studio tracks, radio recordings and demos by artists ranging from Bob Wills to Arlo Guthrie, documents the musical history of the city — from field record-ings made by dust-bowl migrants in the 1940s, up to 1974, when Buck Owens notched his final Top 10 hit and Bakersfield guitar hero Don Rich was killed in a motor-cycle accident. Comes with a lavishly illustrated 230-page hardback book, by award-winning writer Scott B. Bomar with a foreword by Foo Fighter Chris Shiflett. Fred Dellar
The Bakersfield Sound is an identifiable strain of the genre that combines traditional country elements such as stinging steel guitars and snarling Telecasters with an attitude informed by the perspectives of outsiders, the Dust Bowl refugees that poured into California from Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma by the hundreds of thousands: hillbillies, Arkies, tin-can tourists, harvest gypsies, fruit tramps and Okies.
No version of "Hungry Eyes" appears on The Bakersfield Sound: Country Music Capital of the West, 1940-1974, a 10-CD 299-track seven-and-a-half-pound boxed set produced by Germany-based Bear Family Productions ($190.91 at bear-family.com), probably because it would have been too expensive to obtain the rights. But it does come with a handsome coffee table book researched and written by Los Angeles musicologist Scott Bomar, who might rightfully be designated the author of this collection.
Nestled in California's agricultural Great Central Valley, the Bakersfield area attracted carloads of Great Depression and Dust Bowl era migrants. Of course, they brought their music – a mixture of trad folk, hillbilly, western swing, and more, which made the region a musical melting pot – all the more because a few local radio stations aired all kinds of music, and local TV stations featured nearby performers. With its Telecaster-driven honky-tonk style, Bakersfield eventually became known as Nashville West or the country music capital of the West.
At the start of this enormous box's accompanying book, Chris Shiflett of the Foo Fighters pulls out the old saying that while Nashville country came out of the churches, Bakersfield's came out of the barrooms. Marty Stuart notes, "If you had a little edge on you, if you had a little cowboy in you, if you were a bit of an innovator or a wildcat, you could stand a chance of making it more in California than in Nashville."
Though very different, Merle Haggard (an actual Bakersfield-area native whose family had left Oklahoma) and Texas-born Buck Owens were the Bakersfield sound's biggest successes. With nearly 300 tracks, the box also brings forth plenty of worthy local folks like Billy Mize, who was content with a regional career rather than aiming for national stardom. We hear the Maddox Brothers and Rose (wildcard forerunners of rock and roll), Red Simpson (of the trucker song genre), and 12-string telecaster hero Joe Maphis with wife Rose Lee.
Of all the small labels here, Tally (run by local entrepreneur Lew Talley) was the most significant. Songwriter Harlan Howard's first disc was on it. Jan Howard (his wife at the time) did her first demo tapes at Tally. Just as back in mid-50s Memphis, Sam Phillips at Sun Records found the sound he sought in teenaged Elvis Presley, Talley found his sound in young Merle Haggard. Last-minute copyright issues forced rare Tally tapes of Hag's to be dropped from this package after its book was printed.