Labeled as Rock & Roll and Teen Pop, Talking On The Telephone is a Bear Family Records compilation of vintage tunes, all based around the theme of the communication device.
In the current climate, where the ways people communicate are changing, the German label takes the listener back to a simpler time.
Opening with perhaps the compilation’s most well-known track offering, The Big Bopper kicks things off with Chantilly Lace. There are plenty of very well-known names here, as detailed in the tracklisting below. Some of these figures provide this collection with gravity and credibility. For example, Chuck Berry provides two tracks that lend the release familiarity. Placing such familiar numbers and artists at the beginning of the CD brings the listener in.
Brenda Lee is another artist who appears here more than once, with tracks entitled Bigelow 6-200 and Ring-A-My-Phone. The latter of which provides an interesting head-to-head comparison between Ms Lee and Dinah Washington, who also has her rendition of Ring-A-My-Phone included just two tracks later. Whilst performed in two vastly different styles, there is little to choose between the versions. Both are strong and engaging, providing two of the stronger numbers on the CD.
A Little Something Extra…
Rather than the format we have come to expect from Bear Family Records, the accompanying booklet this time is rather eclectically put together. Instead of going through track-by-track and artist-by-artist, we have information on many of the artists, but put together in a seemingly random order. Having said that, there is still much welcome information included here, as well as many photos and images, this time numbering to 30 glossy pages.
- Big Bopper – Chantilly Lace
- Bobby Darin – If A Man Answers
- Brenda Lee – Bigelow 6-200
- Chuck Berry – Memphis Tennessee
- The Orlons – Don’t Hang Up
- Johnny Burnette – Operator (Demo)
- Mickey & Sylvia – Can’t Get You Off The Phone
- Billy Fury – Phone Call
- Claudine Clark – The Telephone Game
- The Nutmegs – Hello
- Freddy Cannon – Buzz Buzz A-Diddle It
- Donna Dameron – Bopper 486009
- Lew Williams – Teenager’s Talkin’ On The Phone
- Big Bob Kornegay – Your Line Was Busy
- Carl Perkins – Just Thought I’d Call
- Bobby Mitchell – Got To Call That Number
- Johnny Burnette – I Just Called Up To Say Goodbye
- Jerry Lee Lewis – Hello Hello Baby
- Chuck Berry – Come On
- Brenda Lee – Ring-A-My-Phone
- Ron Holden – Your Line Is Busy
- Dinah Washington – Ring-A-My-Phone
- Tommy Sands – Ring My Phone
- Johnny Fallin – Party Line
- Mel Williams – Here At My Phone
- The Marvelettes – Beechwood 4-5789
- Bill Woods – Phone Me Baby
- Paul Anka – Kissin’ On The Phone
There are so many well-known artists and equally well-known songs here that there is very little not to like. Perhaps some of the telephone links are a little tenuous, but on the whole, this compilation will feel familiar and appealing to many acquainted with late-50s and early 60s rock’n’roll, R&B, doo-wop and their contemporaries.
Sound quality here is brilliant for tracks of the era, with plenty of clarity and life in the majority of recordings.
Do not be put off by the communication theme: there is much here to enjoy.