February 2014

Volumes 1 and 2 of The Road To Rock & Roll have been lavished with praise by the music press, and now music historian and producer Stuart Colman concludes his fascinating series with Vol. 3: No Stopping Us Now, which Now Dig This deems “very highly recommended”, observing “the entertainment quota is very high, as is the historical worth”, which is exactly what Stuart was hoping to achieve when he came up with the concept. Volume 3 reaches the years 1954 and 1955, when British labels like Parlophone, London, HMV and Brunswick were releasing a potent mix of American country, rhythm & blues and doo wop, which with the benefit of hindsight can be judged as proto-rock & roll.

Last month saw the release of journalist and BBC Merseyside presenter Spencer Leigh’s second selection of the diverse popular music of France on Echoes Of France Vol. 2, and now he follows up with Fantastic Voyage’s first survey of German pop. Echoes Of Germany concentrates on the 1950s and 1960s, but makes occasional forays into the 1930s and 1940s to offer a full array of swing, easy listening, musical theatre, schlager and rock & roll. Curious about German popular music? Then this is the perfect introduction. Featured artists include Marlene Dietrich, Peter Alexander, Bert Kaempfert and Peter Kraus. As with previous volumes in the series, Spencer has included German-language recordings by a number of non-German performers who made an impact in the country.

February also sees the release of vinyl formats of two of our most popular compilations, Jumping The Shuffle Blues and Jamaica Selects Jump Blues Strictly For You, which each offer a 2LP 28-track selection of the vintage US rhythm & blues which dominated Jamaica’s sound system dances from the dawn of the 1950s.