THE BIG BEAT - THE DAVE BATHOLOMEW SONGBOOK
Ace (CDCHD1303 )
Fats Domino, Shirley & Lee, Annie Laurie, Smiley Lewis, Dave Bartholomew, The Pelicans, Johnny Burnette Trio, Del Vikings, Buddy Holly, Roy Brown, Larry Storch, Bobby Mitchell, Merle Kilgore, The World Famous Upsetters, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames, Brenda Lee, Keith Powell, Neville Grant, Tami Lynn, Bobby Charles, Tom Rush, Dave Edmunds' Rockpile.
The Fat Man, Gonna Be A Wheel, I Hear You Knocking, Sick And Tired, Blue Monday, Walking To New Orleans, The Monkey. The amount of sheer classics that Dave Bartholomew wrote is phenomenal and this CD, another belter to add to Ace's Songwriter series, is crammed with twenty five of his crackers.
They're not all sung by the performers you'd expect though. Of course, Roy Brown and Bobby Mitchell wade through some of their hits as does Fats Domino but we get quite a few surprises here too. Brenda Lee wails out confidently on Walking To New Orleans, Jerry Lee Lewis simply rocks like billy-o on the Sun recording of Hello Josephine and Georgie Fame whomps out a great take on Blue Monday from his rare 1965 Fats For Fame EP.
I'm amazed at how many of the versions of these songs I'd never heard but I'm finding them riveting - especially Johnny Burnette's echo-filled hiccupping on his rockabilly version of All By Myself, the World Famous Upsetters' with Little Richard doing the blues vocal on Every Night About This Time, country star Merle Kilgore's ska-like bomp Please Please Please and Neville Grant's fantastic reggae track Sick And Tired which is all the more interesting when you realise the backing track is from The Upsetters' Return Of Django hit. It fits perfectly on this great little rave up. Then there's the sensuous breathiness on Tami Lynn's One Night Of Sin, the superb rolling rhythm supplied by The Band on Bobby Charles version of Grow Too Old and the strong blues influence on Tom Rush's cover of I'm In Love Again. It's impossible to pick a favourite - every single track is a gem; even the one with somebody called Larry Storch spoofing the Duke of Edinburgh and our own dear Queen on his lampoon of I'm Walking.
Tony Rounce compiled this and he should be very pleased with himself. It's a cracker.
Review Date: April 2011