October heralds a new and exciting string of releases, largely rooted in romance, innocence and unadulterated pop. They begin with memorable scenes from an early golden age of British pop films, twenty one of which receive retrospective remembrance in the form of Quiffs At The Flicks: Big Screen British Rock’n’Roll. A decidedly homegrown affair realised by pop expert Lucky Parker, the collection gathers the best of the exuberant, youthful preoccupations of the late fifties and early sixties, as imagined by a host of nascent British directors. Far from being blockbuster greats or the work of cult auteurs, these works were mostly based in exploitation, yet they offered an uninhibited overload of cameos and performances, from some of pops early greats. The sounds gathered from these films originate mostly from British artists (The Shadows, John Barry, Helen Shapiro, Tommy Steele) but the reach is broadened and further vitalized by a select, iconic few from across the pond (Gene Vincent, Chubby Checker, Del Shannon) Whatever the origin of the talent or the stature of the film, the compilation shows that between May 1957 and September 1962 there was an unapologetic crescendo of British pop on film, one that was transient but evocative, and one that was characterised by teenage tastes and only the most brazen pop vibrancy.
Covering a similar timeframe but leaving cinematic territory, She’s My Girl! He’s My Boy! The Boys Sing About The Girls, The Girls Sing About The Boys, compiles the extensive adorations of the stars and forgotten heroes of the rock’n’roll era. In a neatly comprehensive set, the compilation consists of sixty tracks divided into an interestingly sequenced billing; one side of affectionate dedication on behalf of the boys (including Eddie Cochran, Ricky Nelson, Roy Orbison) and one side which acts as an equally passionate series of tributes from the girls (featuring The Shirelles, LaVern Baker, Nina Simone) With all these proclamations in one place, Austin Powell’s selections accommodate an insight into how the Cindy’s, Peggy Sue’s, Jimmy’s, and Johnny’s were addressed and represented. The quintessential sound of devotional romance.
Completing the month’s releases is a collection which departs from the striking pop hues and flavours of the other collections. Instead the focus falls on the last sparkling embers of the Blues Shouters. The Last Shout! Twilight of The Blues Shouters 1954-1962 assembles the final, effervescent throws of vocal virtuosity given by the likes of Big Joe Turner, Wynonie Harris, Jimmy Witherspoon, Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson and many more of the finest purveyors of the style. The ninety seven track selection comes disentombed from a neglected period, in the midst of a blues boom which left little room for the Shouters. In spite of the wane of demand for their work, they had shown progressive prowess in mixing their distinctive tones with the ascendant rattle of rock’n’roll. Curated by Dave Penny in a 3CD and 2LP edition, this compilation will appeal to fans of vocal R & B who’ve previously delved into our acclaimed Voodoo Voodoo set, which explored similiar heights of vocal flair and flourish. However this final clamour remains an altogether different prospect; an ear-piercing, chest-rattling, defiant ‘Last Shout’, which has already been named by Now Dig This as the ‘best release of 2014 for rock’n’roll fans’.