Recent Ace Records Gems - Part 2 - Articles - Soundblab

Recent Ace Records Gems - Part 2

by Ian Johnston Rating: Release Date:

Another quick round up of recent releases from one of the best reissue labels in the world - Ace.


A fabulous sequel to Ace's 2005 compilation These Ghoulish Things - Horror Hits for Hallowe'en and the ideal CD for a midnight night excursion to the more demented side of rock 'n' roll. Complied by Rob Finns, Mostly Ghostly features such classic cuts as Ronnie Cook & the Gaylads' 'The Goo Goo Muck' (unforgettably covered by The Cramps on their second 1981 LP Psychedelic Jungle), The Symbols' 'Do the Zombie' (a brilliant 1966 voodoo blend of calypso and doo wop, which motivated The Cramps' own number 'Surfin' Dead' for the 1985 The Return of the Living Dead film soundtrack), demonic blues hollerer Screamin' Jay Hawkins's timeless 1958 Leiber and Stoller masterwork 'Alligator Wine', the crazed Rockabilly of Rob Willis' 'The Cat' and the jubilant 1959 celebration of a New Orleans TV horror host 'Morgus the Magnificent' by Morgus & the Three Ghouls, featuring a young Mac 'Dr. John' Rebennack. Fans of The Horrors will be thrilled with couple of Screaming Lord Sutch numbers; the best, ''Til the Following Night' (1961), produced by the justly celebrated North London maverick producer Joe Meek, also responsible for 'Night of the Vampire' by The Moontrekkers the same year. Spooky stuff.


You really can't argue with the pedigree of an early 1960s instrumental guitar/sax band from Norwalk, California, who took their name as an act of devotion for the mighty Link Wray's 1958 anthem 'Rumble'. This is a terrific 28 track collection of the group's recordings for the Downey, Highland and Uptown labels between 1962 and 1967, lovingly compiled by musician/music archivist Brian Nevill, who also wrote the diligently researched liner notes, which feature an into by avid The Rumblers fan, Dave Alvin of The Blasters. Both Nevill and Alvin accurately point out that though The Rumblers have often been classified as a Surf band they wherein fact a sharp dressed, hard rocking white r&b group. The surf classification occurred due to the fact that saxophonist named their classic 1962 breakthrough hit Bob Jones, 'Boss', a surfing expression. This chugging, menacing instrumental is so potent that it in part inspired The Cramps ' number 'Garbage Man' on their 1980 masterpiece debut LP, Songs the Lord Taught Us. The b-side of 'Boss', a rabid vocal driven track entitled 'I Don't Need You No More', anticipates by many years the more extreme garage punk style of the late 1960s. In a word, 'Boss'.


Yet another wonderful compilation by Brian Nevill, featuring 53 joyous minutes of "dapper ditties from the rock 'n' roll years", all featuring the theme of hep clothes from yesteryear. Beginning with Gene Vincent and The Blue Caps' vigorous 'Red Bluejeans and a Pony Tail', the opening track from their eponymous, epoch making second album from 1957,and Carl Perkins' 1956 Sun opus 'Blue Suede Shoes', Nevill's selection includes such rockin' gems as Gene Summers & His Rebel's 'Straight Skirt', Mel Smith & the Nite Riders' 'Pretty Plaid Skirt (and Long Black Sox)', Glen 'Everybody's Movin'' Glenn's 'Blue Jeans and a Boy's Shirt' and the swaggering, echo drenched 'I Don't Dig It' by Mike McAlister. Doo wop (the 1959 'Knee Socks' by The Ideals) and r&b vocal groups ('Bermuda Shorts' by The Delroys, The Clovers' 1955 hit 'Blue Velvet', 'Tight Skirt and Sweater' by The Versatones and the fabulous 'Clothes Line (Wrap It Up)' by Boogaloo & His Gallant Crew) are also represented. Like all great compilations, once you've inserted this in your sound system and jacked up the volume, you won't want to take it off. If all this rock 'n' roll action wasn't enough, the sleeve art features a fabulous 1955 photograph of two sharp teddy boys at a fairground by future enfant terrible of British cinema, Mr Ken Russell. This collection is definitely a Desert Island Disc.


Spanning 20 years of Dylan compositions, Tony Rounce's compelling compilation (sanctioned by the eminent songwriter) includes 20 great African American artists original interpretations of Robert Zimmerman's imperious back catalogue. Highlights are many and varied: OV Wright's 1968 soulful rendition of one of Dylan's most covered songs, 'Blowin' in the Wind'; Howard Tate's powerful 1972 'Girl from the North Country'; the soul-stirring gospel attack of The Staple Singers' 1964 version of 'Masters of War'; the late, great Solomon Burke's 1965 punchy, pile driving soul delivery of 'Maggie's Farm' and Nina Simone's haunting 1971 account of 'Just Like a Woman', from her classic Here Comes the Sun LP. Arguably the very best covers are the most adventurous - Con Funk Shun manage to give Dylan's 'Mr Tambourine Man' a heavy dose of solid 1973 dance floor funk; Gary Us Bond's 1981 intense pounding 'From a Buick 6'; The Persuasions' 1972 a cappella version of 'The Man in Me' from Dylan's New Morning LP and Bobby Womack's 1973 Funkadelic style romp through 'All Along the Watchtower'. Taken together, these covers illustrate how adaptable Dylan's compositions are to any form a performer could conceive and how speedily black America realised their relevance and potency. Thankfully, a second volume is promised.


As Halloween rapidly approaches, a run down of the aforemented 2005 Ace progenitor of Mostly Ghostly is evidently required. Co-compiled by Bob Finnis and Tony Rounce, These Ghoulish Things, which features suitably fiendish illustrations from the Nick Garrard archives, contains numerous Halloween classics. Thrill to The Revels' 1959 spooked doo wop 'Midnight Stroll'; an alternative 1963 version of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' extraordinary 'Feast of the Mau Mau' ("Shake your hip, bite your lip and shoot your mother-in-law, put on your gorilla suit, drink some elbow soup and have a ball!'"); Round Robin's 1965 garage punk 'I'm the Wolfman', Virgil Holmes propulsive 1961 blues 'Ghost Train', Bill Doggett's groovy 'Monster Party' and Bo Diddley's self-explanatory 'Bo Meets the Monster'. Coupled with a 'Twang-tastic' version of 'The Munster Theme' by Milton DeLugg & the All-Stars; the sleazy strut of 'the Voodoo Walk' by Sonny Richard's Panics with Cindy & Misty; the real gone 1959 rockabilly of Jackie Morningstar's 'Rockin' in the Graveyard' and probably the most commercially successful Halloween single of all time, the immortal 1962 'Monster Mash' by Bobby 'Boris' Pickett & the Crypt-Kickers, the horror definitely starts here. Pair this with the new Mostly Ghostly and "queasy listening" is definitely assured.

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Great article. V. informative.

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