Wanda Jackson, the 'Female Gene Vincent' as some called her and Gene's fellow Capitol recording artist at the time, had toured Japan during February and March 1959. She had electrified the Japanese in particular with her own inimitable version of 'Fujiyama Mama'.
When Gene and Jerry Lee Merritt (Gene's lead guitar player after the breakup with The Blue Caps) toured there from late June to mid-July 1959, the crowds went wild just the same - notably in Yakuska and at Tokyo's Nichigeki Theater. Feeling homesick, Gene managed to leave the tour before it ended and got back to the States, where he was due to cut another album in August. The fanatical reception he had got in Japan probably inspired his recording of 'Mitchiko From Tokyo' on August 6 which was the second cut on the second side of the excellent 'Crazy Times' LP.
Although Gene never toured Japan again, his popularity was such that no less
than three 78's, twenty-two 45's, at least one EP and some twelve LP's (not
counting various artists comps) by him were released there between 1956 and
This short piece will focus on these Japanese pressings and a selected disocgraphy will follow the text. When you're seriously into collecting records, you can't miss those from the land of the rising sun : they are pieces of Art in themselves. The only big problem which has plagued many of them until relatively recent times, was the use of that dreadful 'rechanneled stereo'. Thus, I have 'stereo' EPs by The Animals, The Dave Clark Five, The Spencer Davis Group and others which are virtually unbearable as such and must be listened to in mono ; of course, there remain the beautiful covers, the lyric inserts and the red plastic to be enjoyed endlessly. Yes, many of Gene's singles and albums in the '50s and '60s were pressed on both black and dark red vinyl ; and all of his singles had picture sleeves or more precisely, company sleeves with pic inserts. Some of them are pictured at left and below.
These are the highly sought after early Japanese albums. 'This Is Gene Vincent' is a 10" LP, shown here in its first pressing from 1959. My copy of 'The Best Of Gene Vincent' is the 12" second press from 1966. On the back cover, T-20493 is noted in brackets under the CR 7229 catalogue number and there's the Ever Clean logo which indicates it's a wine red vinyl Toshiba pressing. On the front cover, 'Jezebel' appears as 'Zezebel' ! Both LPs are in real mono sound.
The pièce de résistance for me is the 'Shakin' Up A Storm' LP (Odeon OR 7132), issued in red vinyl and complete with obi, inner sleeve plus an insert featuring all the lyrics to the songs. The front cover is similar to the original British issue but the back cover is different - the liners are in Japanese and there are no photos of Gene on stage with The Shouts. The track listing is the same of course but the sides are reversed, side one starting with 'Long Tall Sally' and side two with 'Hey Hey Hey Hey'. Mono only - the stereo mixes had probably already been erased.
|A selected GENE VINCENT Japanese discography.|
|Capitol 7P 6||Bluejean Bop/Who Slapped John|
|Capitol 7P 14||Be Bop A Lula/Woman Love|
|Capitol 7EP 26||'Bluejean Bop - No. 1'
Bluejean Bop/Jezebel/Jumps, Giggles And Shouts/
Ain't She Sweet
|Capitol 7P 30||Crazy Legs/Important Words|
|Capitol 7P 33||Ain't She Sweet/Jezebel|
|Capitol 7P 60||Lotta Lovin'/Wear My Ring|
|Capitol 7P 79||Walkin' Home From School/I Got A Baby|
|Capitol 7P 92||By The Light Of The Silvery Moon/Your Cheatin' Heart|
|Capitol 7P 145||Over The Rainbow/Who's Pushin' Your Swing|
|Capitol 7P 146||Say Mama/Be Bop Boogie Boy
(also exists with green and gray pic inserts)
|Capitol 7P 159||The Night Is So Lonely/My Heart|
|Capitol 7P 221||Mister Loneliness/If You Want My Lovin'|
|Capitol 7P 242||Lucky Star/Baby Don't Believe him|
|Capitol 7P 279||Be Bop A Lula (Twist)/The King Of Fools
(top side is, of course, 'Be Bop A Lula '62')
|Capitol CR 1341||Say Mama/Be Bop Boogie Boy|
|Capitol CR 1976||Be Bop A Lula/Say Mama
(in the Golden Coupling Series)
|Capitol ECR 10262||Be Bop A Lula/Lotta Lovin'|
|Capitol ECR 20283||Be Bop A Lula/Race With The Devil|
|Capitol 2LP 49||'Gene Vincent Rocks & The Blue Caps Roll' (same as US)
|Capitol OLP 18||'A Gene Vincent Record Date'
The Wayward Wind/Hey Good Lookin'/Five Feet Of Lovin'/Summertime/Look What You Gone & Done To Me/I Can't Help It/Teenage Partner
|Capitol OLP 36||'This Is Gene Vincent'
Be Bop A Lula/Ain't She Sweet/You Belong To Me/Dance To The Bop/Your Cheatin' Heart/By The Light Of The Silvery Moon/Jezebel/Unchained Melody/Bluejean Bop/Walkin' Home From School
|Capitol OLP 43||'Sounds Like Gene Vincent'
Maybe/I Got To Get To You Yet/You Are The One For Me/In Love Again/My Heart/Maybelline/Now Is The Hour/Ready Teddy
|Capitol 2LP 221||'The Best Of Gene Vincent'
Be Bop A Lula/Mister Loneliness/Lotta Lovin'/Say Mama/By The Light Of The Silvery moon/Be Bop Boogie Boy/Over The Rainbow/Pink Thunderbird/Jezebel/Woman Love/Unchained Melody/Bluejean Bop/Hey Good Lookin'/The Wayward Wind
|Capitol CR 7229||'The Best Of Gene Vincent' (reissue of the above)|
(Original Rock'n'Roll Series)
|'Gene Vincent's Greatest'
Be Bop A Lula/Race With The Devil/Say Mama/By The Light Of The Silvery Moon/She She Little Sheila/Blue Jean Bop/Woman Love/Maybelline/Over The Rainbow/Lotta Lovin'/Yes I Love You (sic)/Pink Thunderbird
|Capitol ECS-90053||'Gene Vincent's 20 Greatest'
Be Bop A Lula/Woman Love/Pink Thunderbird/Race With The Devil/Blue Jean Bop/Lotta Lovin'/Dance To The Bop/Walkin' Home From School/Your Cheatin' Heart/Over The Rainbow/By The Light Of The Silvery Moon/Hey Good Lookin'/Ready Teddy/Maybelline/Say Mama/Be Bop Boogie Boy/She She Little Sheila/If You Want My Lovin'/Mister Loneliness/Lucky Star
|Odeon OR 7132||'Shakin' Up A Storm' (same as UK issue)|
|Overseas UXP-778 V
(in the Golden Juke Box series)
|'Gene Vincent - The Greatest Hits - 18'|
|Buddah SFL-2203||Sunshine/A Million Shades Of Blue|
|Buddah RJ 7273||'Sunshine' (same as US issue of 'Slow Times Comin')|
Now, you can have a go at CDs too. Toshiba-EMI have put out quite a few of'em since the advent of this new format. I will only list a couple of nice ones which will neatly complete your collection - 'urbi et obi' !!
TOCP-9122 * Previously issued on CD as CP32-9046 * Reissue of LP ECS-90053 * Track listing : Be-Bop-A-Lula ; Woman Love ; Pink Thunderbird ; Race With The Devil ; Blue Jean Bop ; Lotta Lovin' ; Dance To The Bop ; Walkin' Home From School ; Your Cheatin' Heart ; Over The Rainbow ; By The Light Of The Silvery Moon ; Hey Good Lookin' ; Ready Teddy ; Maybelline ; Say Mama ; Be Bop Boogie Boy ; She She Little Sheila ; If You Want My Lovin' ; Mister Loneliness ; Lucky Star. A superb compilation, with all tracks mono except for 'She She Little Sheila' which is in true stereo.
TOCP-7969 * Issued in 1993 * This is a clever release, since it has the
same track listing as Jeff Beck's excellent tribute LP : Race With The
Devil ; Cruisin' ; Crazy Legs ; Double Talkin' Baby ; Woman Love ; Lotta
Lovin' ; Catman ; Pink Thunderbird ; Baby Blue ; You Better Believe ;
Who Slapped John ; Say Mama ; Red Blue Jeans And A pony Tail ; Five Feet
Of Lovin' ; B-I-Bickey-B-I-Bo-Bo-Go ; Blues Stay Away From Me ; Pretty
Pretty Baby ; Hold Me, Hug Me, Rock Me.Only five
duplicates with the above CD. Magnificent mono sound ! The only mistake
is the inclusion of the (otherwise quite good) 1964 version of 'Baby Blue'
in place of the original 1957 cut.