The Gene Vincent Connection

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.

Conclusion:

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.

Tracklisting:

  1. The Voices – Race With The Devil
  2. Max K. Lipscomb – Be-Bop-A-Lula
  3. Jimmy Johnson – Woman Love
  4. Bobby Darin – Up A Lazy River
  5. Jerry Vale – Peg O’My Heart
  6. Rock-Ragge & His Four Comets – Bluejean Bop
  7. Hadda Brooks – Jump Back, Honey, Jump Back
  8. Kay Starr – Blues Stay Away From Me
  9. Rock-Ragge & His Four Comets – Who Slapped John
  10. Bobby Milano – Double Talkin’ Baby
  11. Freddie Franks – Red Blue Jeans And A Ponytail
  12. Vince Eager – Five Days, Five Days
  13. Dean Hagopian & The Regals – Lotta Lovin’
  14. Max K. Lipscomb – Rollin’ Danny
  15. Steve Drexel & The Cut-Ups – Dance To The Bop
  16. Tommy & The Tom Toms (Max K. Lipscomb) – Somebody Help Me
  17. Jack Roubik & The T-J’s – I Got A Baby
  18. Steve Drexel & The Cut-Ups – Baby Blue
  19. Rusty Draper – Should I Ever Love Again
  20. Terry Dean & The Rebels – Git It
  21. The Super-Phonics – Teenage Partner
  22. Freddy Robinson – Five Feet Of Lovin’
  23. Vince Taylor & The Playboys – Rocky Road Blues
  24. Wee Willie Harris – Say Mama
  25. Johnny Rebb & The Rebels – Maybelline
  26. Huey ‘Piano’ Smith & The Clowns – High Blood Pressure
  27. Les Chats Sauvage avec Dick Rivers – Anna Annabelle
  28. Terry Dene – Pretty Little Pearly
  29. Les Chaussettes Noires – Petite Sheila (She She Little Sheila)
  30. Gene Princeton (Gene Rambo) – Big Fat Saturday Night
  31. Johnny Rebb & The Rebels – Right Here On Earth
  32. Junior Shank & The Jesters – Be-Bop-A-Lula
  33. Milton Trenier – Gonna Catch Me A Rat
  34. Marty WIlde – It’s Been Nice
  35. Les Chaussettes Noires – Be-Bop-A-Lula
  36. The Spotnicks – I’m Going Home (To See My Baby)

The Gene Vincent Connection is available from Bear Family Records.

The Gene Vincent Connection

10

Rating

10.0/10

Jamie Dyer

Jamie Dyer is an experienced writer, broadcaster, musician and social media marketer. He enjoys Old Time Radio, vintage TV, collecting vinyl and supporting the New York Knicks.

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