Continuing their long-running Connection series that includes Bill Haley, Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison, Bear Family Records has assembled a compilation paying tribute to another music legend. To mark fifty years since his passing, the album features tracks associated with Gene Vincent, performed by other artists; recorded before or after the fact. Is this worth picking up?
Presented in chronological order of when Vincent recorded them, the album opens with an unknown group, The Voices, and their fast cover version of Vincent’s Race With The Devil. Coming in at 57 seconds, it is the shortest track on the album. As I observed with the Elvis Songbook collections, many covers of Vincent material presented here try to mimic elements of his musical style. Be-Bop-A-Lula is possibly the biggest example, as the versions by Les Chaussettes Noires and Junior Shank & The Jesters attempt Vincent’s distinctive vocal delivery of the song’s iconic lines.
Originals, recorded before Vincent made his mark, are always an interesting listen. Bobby Darin’s Up A Lazy River is perhaps the starkest example of how Vincent took his rendition in a completely different direction, really putting his stamp on it with his lingering pop vocal performance. Whereas a number like Terry Dene’s Pretty Little Pearly is much more of an influence on Vincent’s later cover, both in terms of vocal and the instrumental arrangement.
Represented here is the evidence of how far-reaching Vincent’s influence could be felt. His appeal internationally is clear, as there are artists from not only the USA and Britain but also France, Scandinavia and Australia, each providing their own unique spin on the Vincent formula.
A Little Something Extra…
Inside an attractive looking digipak, is a 36-page colour booklet featuring the story of the subject and artist details; Written by Bill Dahl. It also contains rare photographs, artwork and illustrations. As usual, the attention to detail is superb.
Bear Family Records have made a compilation that provides a different context to the songs recorded by Gene Vincent. It shows how he influenced artists from around the world, as well as the influence of others on him.
The Gene Vincent Connection is an interesting purchase for those interested in looking beyond Gene’s own recordings.
- The Voices – Race With The Devil
- Max K. Lipscomb – Be-Bop-A-Lula
- Jimmy Johnson – Woman Love
- Bobby Darin – Up A Lazy River
- Jerry Vale – Peg O’My Heart
- Rock-Ragge & His Four Comets – Bluejean Bop
- Hadda Brooks – Jump Back, Honey, Jump Back
- Kay Starr – Blues Stay Away From Me
- Rock-Ragge & His Four Comets – Who Slapped John
- Bobby Milano – Double Talkin’ Baby
- Freddie Franks – Red Blue Jeans And A Ponytail
- Vince Eager – Five Days, Five Days
- Dean Hagopian & The Regals – Lotta Lovin’
- Max K. Lipscomb – Rollin’ Danny
- Steve Drexel & The Cut-Ups – Dance To The Bop
- Tommy & The Tom Toms (Max K. Lipscomb) – Somebody Help Me
- Jack Roubik & The T-J’s – I Got A Baby
- Steve Drexel & The Cut-Ups – Baby Blue
- Rusty Draper – Should I Ever Love Again
- Terry Dean & The Rebels – Git It
- The Super-Phonics – Teenage Partner
- Freddy Robinson – Five Feet Of Lovin’
- Vince Taylor & The Playboys – Rocky Road Blues
- Wee Willie Harris – Say Mama
- Johnny Rebb & The Rebels – Maybelline
- Huey ‘Piano’ Smith & The Clowns – High Blood Pressure
- Les Chats Sauvage avec Dick Rivers – Anna Annabelle
- Terry Dene – Pretty Little Pearly
- Les Chaussettes Noires – Petite Sheila (She She Little Sheila)
- Gene Princeton (Gene Rambo) – Big Fat Saturday Night
- Johnny Rebb & The Rebels – Right Here On Earth
- Junior Shank & The Jesters – Be-Bop-A-Lula
- Milton Trenier – Gonna Catch Me A Rat
- Marty WIlde – It’s Been Nice
- Les Chaussettes Noires – Be-Bop-A-Lula
- The Spotnicks – I’m Going Home (To See My Baby)