Destination Lonely Street

From Bear Family Records comes the latest heartbreak themed compilation. Entitled Destination Lonely Street, Bear Family bring us 32 tracks, mostly popular Rock and Roll in style. But do they evoke those lonely feelings that the title suggests?

Some of the most well-loved artists in Rock and Roll and popular music, such as Conway Twitty, Gene Vincent and Charlie Rich, are featured here. But in between these popular standards are many lesser-known artists with numbers which convey just as much feeling and angst as Vincent’s Lonely Street or Twitty’s Lonely Blue Boy.

Yes, many of the tracks here appear to have been chosen–very conspicuously–because of their titles. However, this is a case of deceiving appearances. Do not mistake this collection: the mood of sorrow and loneliness is firmly set by the time that Jackie Wilson’s Lonely Life comes in at track number four.

This compilation’s intention is plain, and it delivers. There are some very strong offerings. While some might feel a little by-numbers, the theme of heartbreak and regret is of course one that purveys most musical genres. You don’t have to look very far around the corner of Tin Pan Alley to find a plethora of songs detailing the protagonist’s pain at losing a lover or their yearning for a special someone.

As much as the song titles here look a little one-note and off-putting, the sound and mood of this compilation goes deeper than expected. As a listening experience, it doesn’t feel like a themed album. Destination Lonely Street feels like a high-quality collection of Rock and Roll and popular music.

The names you may not know deliver just as strongly as the Sleepy La Beefs and Ricky Nelsons. Bear Family, as ever, do a great job highlighting the lesser-known artists and their high-calibre contributions. One of Atlanta publisher Bill Lowery’s discoveries, Johnny Seay, gives a movingly melancholy performance on Loneliness. Another highlight is Melvin Endsley’s I Wish I Knew, which has all the hallmarks of his songwriting, recognisable in such compositions as the standard Singing The Blues.

A Little Something Extra…

Inside a standard CD case is a 16 page booklet, featuring liner notes by Bill Dahl. The biographical information on each artist is generous and welcome. It makes a pleasant companion while listening through the CD.

Tracklisting:

  1. Gene Vincent – Lonely Street
  2. The Four Tunes – Lonesome
  3. Don French – Lonely Saturday Night
  4. Jackie Wilson – Lonely Life
  5. Buster Brown – Lost in a Dream
  6. Jimmy Newman – You’re Makin A Fool Out Of Me
  7. Ernie Chaffin – Lonesome For My Baby
  8. Benny Banta – I’m So Lonesome
  9. Johnny Seay – Loneliness
  10. Conway Twitty – Lonely Blue Boy
  11. Eddie Cash – Lonely Island
  12. Sammy Salvo – Lonely Dreamer
  13. H.B. Barnum – Lost Love
  14. Sleepy Lebeff – Lonely
  15. Skeets McDonald – Lost Highway
  16. Ronnie Hawkins – I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry
  17. Johnny Wells – Lonely Moon
  18. Bobby McDowell – Lonely
  19. Ricky Nelson – Lonesome Town
  20. Lonesome Lee – Lonely Travellin’
  21. Link Wray – Alone
  22. Ray Harris – Lonely Wolf
  23. Dale Hawkins – Lonely Nights
  24. Melvin Endsley – I Wish I Knew
  25. Sanford Clark – Lonesome For A Letter
  26. Ronnie Summers – Lonesome Road
  27. Gene Vincent & His Blue Caps – The Night Is So Lonely
  28. Bill Yates – I’m So Lonely Without You
  29. Bobby Charles – Lonely Street
  30. Charlie Rich – Lonely Weekends
  31. Ric Carley – Crying Goodbye
  32. Carl Belew – Lonely Street

Conclusion

Destination Lonely Street is more than just a themed collection of songs all featuring the idea of loneliness. This is a compilation of well picked, high-grade recordings, all reproduced in pleasing quality. Each track fully deserves its place on the disc.

For any fan of the blues, country, swing and doo-wop that all found their way into Rock and Roll music in a certain era, this compilation would likely be a welcome addition to their CD shelf.

Destination Lonely Street is available from Bear Family Records.

8.5

Rating

8.5/10

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