Almost all pages contain
the peaceful South of France,
AND THE GREATEST CHRISTMAS ALBUM EVER IS...
A French offering by a vocal ensemble of some 60 girls called 'LES DJINNS'. Yes, for my money, this is the most beautiful, most heartfelt record which truly honors not only the spirit of Christmas Day (with visions of snow, firs, lights, presents and all) but also the meaning of Christmas (the birth of Jesus Christ). One side of this 10" album is comprised of traditional hymns (like the stunning 'Minuit Chrétiens') while the other has 'new' Xmas songs and they're all winners ('Pour Noël' being a standout). Despite the density of the choir, the voices blend perfectly in unison over a tasteful and unforced orchestral backdrop. The sleeve shows a young girl who fell asleep by the fireside, waiting for Santa Claus - this is disarmingly charming and oh, so real ! It's typical of so many French homes way back in 1961 when the record was cut. Les Djinns proved quite popular over in the USA and this record was one out of several released there on ABC Paramount (#397), both in mono and stereo whereas we had only access to the mono versions here. The only let-down was the cover, which wasn't up to much and had none of the charm and warmth of the French original. A close second would be The Beach Boys' Christmas album of course, and there's also Elvis's own Xmas outing - not to mention the almost supernatural Phil Spector Xmas Gift. However, for all the greatness and sincerity of these three discs, the Djinns' album retains a special quality in terms of simplicity, freshness and immaculate execution which pushes it to the top.....of the evergreen tree !
EDDIE & GARY
A nice surprise was found while shopping online : a nifty little booklet recounting the life and career of our beloved Eddie Cochran. That's a pretty comprehensive story, well written, and completed by a compendium of photos of Eddie - some of them unpublished until now, and most probably coming from the collection of US photographer, Dick Miller (more on that later on this very site). There's no author name, no copyright, the quality of the paper is rather basic and the layout is all but outstanding - still, it's a good addition to any Cochran fan's collection.
Less pleasant news came earlier in 2018 when we learned of the death of Gary Lambert, longtime guitarist for Glen Glenn and an early friend of Eddie Cochran. His relationship with Eddie was not exactly always friendly but that will be told in detail in Gary's definitive story on this site. He still has to be remembered as a remarkable musician and, as far as I'm concerned, as a true friend with whom I spent some memorable time on various occasions between 1987 and 2014.
WAY BACK IN '67 ....
Of course, Gene's LP's been part of my record collection for quite a while now, just like the other vinyl platter which graced our record player every day following its purchase for a full year - 'Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'. In fact, I did contribute to buy the latter and never regretted it. For my money, it remains the most influential record ever and if you were lucky enough to be there when it was released, you just knew instantly that The Fabs had created a disc of seismic proportions. The copy displayed above was still sealed when I bought it a few years ago and hasn't yet been touched by a stylus !! But, and that's one of music's major strengths, you can still hear it by simply gazing at it !
CHUCK B.'s IN HEAVEN
It had to happen : Charles Edward Berry stopped rocking on March 18, 2017. Unanimity is de rigueur to give him a special place among the Top 10 Rock'n'Roll Pioneers.
All his Chess LPs should be part
of any self-respecting R'n'R collection.
'TIS SWEET TO BE REMEMBERED
Rock'n'Roll is as varied an art form as any other.
ROSES FOR REVOLVER
And it takes 50 of'em to celebrate the release of that other groundbreaking album of 1966 ! For many, it was Paul Mc Cartney's shining hour with such beauties as 'Eleanor Rigby', 'For No One', 'Got To Get You Into My Life' and 'Here, There & Everywhere' (plus his brilliant lead guitar soli in George's 'Taxman') but John's tracks like 'I'm Only Sleeping', 'Dr Robert', 'And Your Bird Can Sing' and 'She Said, She Said' were equally influential and... yes, addictive.
THE GUITAR THAT CHANGED OUR WORLD IS GONE
The music world would never have been as thrilling without the advent of Rock'n'Roll, but Rock'n'Roll would never have been the same without Scotty Moore and his incendiary and imaginative guitar breaks. Always in the shadow of his Boss, he was nevertheless just as important and remains one of the most influential axemen ever. It's fair to say that the timeless quality of tracks like 'Baby Let's Play House', 'Mystery Train' or 'Hound Dog' results as much from Elvis's assured vocal as from Scotty's creative playing. He later cut a brilliant solo LP for Epic and became heavily involved in studio work - producing and mastering.
AN ERA REBORN...
Well, it's been reactivated for one full year in fact, so it was high time I mentioned it here !
Al's son, Frank Kavelin, himself a skilled musician and orchestrator - and, I must add, a most likeable person - is the one responsible for the re-launch of the label. Although he'd love to reissue all the stuff on CD and vinyl, he decided that he would first make it available as quality downloads (through Spotify, Amazon, iTunes). The first volume in the reissue program contains both sides of the Argyles' first two singles, the Ribbons' much celebrated 'Ain't Gonna Kiss Ya' and its original flip, a fistful of vocal group gems (e.g. 'No More' by The Uptones, 'Come To Me Darlin' by The Monorails, 'Mirror, Mirror' by The Arrogants), Emmy Lou's excellent 'I Wanna Know' (great guitar on this) and a real discovery for me in the shape of The Isonics. Their two tracks here - the latin-tinged 'Sugar' and the slower 'He Needs Her' - made up one killer double-sided Soul single when released on Kammy in '69 and have now become firm favorites of mine ! The mastering - done by Frank, mainly from master tapes - is awesome ('high sonics' indeed) ; the digital booklet which goes with the full album download is elegant and informative. A second volume should be out soon, as well as other surprises.
Of course, an in-depth look at the label will appear later on this very site. Meanwhile, you can go to www.luterecords.com for more info.
More than ever, musically speaking, the future is in the past !
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PET SOUNDS !
This landmark Beach Boys LP was released on May 16, 1966 - recommended listening for all seasons ! Let me take this opportunity to showcase some of their records & CDs which will be featured with many others on my forthcoming dedicated Beach Boys & Brian Wilson pages.
IN MEMORY OF LOU UKELSON
Lou Ukelson was a humble man, with a big heart and a profound sense of life's real values. He was also a gifted record producer who worked closely with Jimmie Skinner and set up the Vetco label with him in the 70's. He went on to cut a goodly number of country, bluegrass, gospel and rockabilly recordings by artists like Mac Wiseman, Charlie Feathers, Harley Gabbard and The Cobb Brothers.
Lou passed away in November 2013. He is much missed. He was my friend.
WHEN THE BULLETS FLEW.....
Greece has been the subject of many a debate over the past few years, and it's a shame that life deteriorated so much in that country. That's why I've decided to draw your attention to one of the best groups to emerge from there - The Bullets.
Please enjoy some
real Country Pickin' from Bud Chowning, whose story
appears exclusively on my site. This instrumental is called 'Southern
click on the CD at left and take a listen to the following bunch of demos.
great discovery - this time from the UK - was singer/songwriter Kevin
Brown, who's also a lap steel player & enthusiast. His first
solo CD, 'Tin Church' (Doo-Dah DD04), was issued in 2005 and had a tremendous
feel, in true country blues style.
The Google search
bar below will allow you to find
THE APCD CATALOG
above CD-Rs are compiled, designed & remastered by yours truly.