So here we are onto our final two releases of 2012 and what a year its been with 24 great releases and our brand new website. We kickstarted 2012 with our 1961 British Hit Parade series and followed with sets of great Rock n Roll, Rockabilly, Blues, Rhythm & Blues and Pop mighty releases…
First up in our double header for November is ‘Coolsville!’ the companion to our 2010’s much-lauded Instroville! and our latest vibrant showcase of strains which make up the very backbone of rock ’n’ roll. Coolsville! packs in 50 tracks, including 42 hits, making it another must-have for instro-mentalists.
The art of the instrumental as a sometimes overlooked part of pop music history forms the subject of Coolsville!. Before surf music took hold in the early ’60s, instrumentals had already been turned into an art form, which reached its peak in the 1957-61 period dealt with here. Sultry twangs, ringing themes and avalanches of tom-tom volleys gripped dancers in pre-disco clubs and were useful for anyone programming TV or radio shows.
Names immediately identifiable with the genre are included here, including Dick Dale, the Fireballs, Piltdown Men, Wailers, Bill Black’s Combo, Sandy Nelson, Floyd Cramer, Santo & Johnny, Ernie Freeman, Duane Eddy, the Shadows, the Ventures, the Frogmen, the Champs, and Johnny & The Hurricanes: a cavalcade of atmosphere-stoking aural escapades.
The set also nods at soul music’s funky instrumental offshoots, with names including the Mar-Keys, the Intruders and the classified Freddy King, while delving into the vaults for the obscurities now expected of any Fantastic Voyage compilation, including the frantic monster mash-up ‘Werewolf’, plus tracks by Jorgen Ingmann, the Atmospheres, the Viscounts and the Parkays. And, of course, no such set would be complete without the mighty Link Wray, here with his sinister cult classic ‘Jack the Ripper’.
All told an often hair-raising or spine-tingling reminder of a genre which has lurked behind rock ’n’ roll’s extravagant front-men, just busting to get out and ring out its place in musical history.
Next up in our double header is the 3CD 102-track deluxe celebration of the greatest rock ’n’ roll film of the 1950s ‘The Girl Can’t Help It”. Compiled by swing doctor Dave Penny, this set features all the tracks from the film plus, for the first time, many more by its musical stars including singles and rare LP cuts that were promoted off the back of the film, recordings from other rock n roll movies, and other classic sides.
The Girl Can’t Help It brought rock ’n’ roll to groin-swivelling life in living colour, defining a new cultural revolution to focus a generation, providing a mutual relationship launch-pad for the likes of Lennon and McCartney, while setting a genre precedent which was never topped. Part of a deluge of musical exploitation films released for the Christmas 1956 market, in the wake of the success of Rock Around The Clock earlier that year, The Girl Can’t Help It was distinct from most of its hastily-conceived rivals by being shot in glorious colour, and having both a witty script and thoughtfully integrated musical performances.
Initially created by Looney Tunes/action movie veteran Frank Tashlin as a vehicle for new-blonde-on-the-block Jayne Mansfield, the film sparked worldwide teenage rampage when it first appeared in 1956, giving many their first taste of the uncaged phenomenon of rock ’n’ roll as the music’s hottest names strutted and wailed through what would become their signature songs, including Little Richard, Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent and Fats Domino.