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Two Minute Heroes Forty-Odd Memorable Quickies (US Edition), Various Artists

Released September 2023 on Jasmine Records Reviewed October 2023 Buy the album here:

This intriguing compilation was the brain child of BBC Radio Northampton’s Bernie Keith. Bernie used to present “Rock ‘n’ Roll Heaven” although the show was sadly axed by the BBC in August 2023. Bernie’s love for “1950’s style rocking music” is evident in all his shows from his knowledge of the genre and he suggest to Roger Dopson from Jasmine that there should be a collection of tracks none of which last more than two minutes. Thankfully, at the time of writing, Bernie is still with BBC Radio Northampton presenting his weekday show from 10am to 2pm and he still manages to play some rock ‘n’ roll.

Review 1 C’mon Everybody - Eddie Cochran, an absolute classic rallying call to start the album. One of Eddie’s best known rockers originally released in 1958. 2 Rave On - Buddy Holly, another classic rocker from an artist that left this world way too early. 3 Follow That Dream - Elvis Presley, this was the title song of the 1962 staring The King. A fine rocker with a poppy touch and a rather savage fade out. 4 You Dreamer You - Johnny Cash, also known as “Oh What A Dream” this was Johnny’s third single for Columbia records in the USA. Released in 1959. Classic Cash. 5 Baby Baby - Jack Scott, this was the B Side of “What In The World's Come Over You” and it is definitely a cheerier track the A side from 1959. A nice up tempo track with a nice guitar break. 6 Hit The Road Jack - Ray Charles, an international hit for Ray in 1961. Another all-time classic. 7 Ram Bunk Shush – Ventures, maybe not the best known track from these giants of the instrumental genre, but it did make the top 30 in the USA in 1961. 8 Palisades Park - Freddy Cannon, one of Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon’s best known recordings and a big hit in 1962. 9 Handy Man - Jimmy Jones, this 1959 recording for the Cub label in America is another timeless classic co-written and produced by Otis Blackwell. 10 So Long Baby - Del Shannon, after “Runaway” and “Hats Off To Larry” this was Del’s third UK hit in the winter of 1961. 11 Some Kinda Earthquake - Duane Eddy, from 1959 with Duane doing what he does best. 12 Think It Over – The Crickets, from 1958, another timeless classic from Buddy and the Boys plus Vi Petty, Norman Petty's wife, playing piano. 13 Lovin’ Up A Storm - Jerry Lee Lewis, one of the Killers’ classic rockers from the Sun label in 1959. 14 Let It Rock - Chuck Berry, although not one of biggest hits this did make the Pop and R&B charts in the States at the beginning of 1960. For me, it is one of his best recordings. 15 Tear It Up - Johnny Burnette & Rock ’n' Roll Trio, pure, unadulterated rockabilly at it’s best. 16 If You Can’t Rock Me - Ricky Nelson, released on an Imperial records EP in 1957 this is one of Ricky’s best rockers with some great guitar playing from James Burton. 17 Love Me - The Phantom, one of the wildest rockabilly records ever recorded, it’s hardly surprising that it lasts less than two minutes! 18 Fire Of Love - Jody Reynolds, Jody wrote this and it was released as the follow up to his classic “Endless Sleep”. It has a similar feel to it’s predecessor, but it did not achive the same level of chart success, reaching only 66 in the US charts. 19 Rockin’ Goose - Johnny & Hurricanes, In the States this was the B side to “When The Saints Go Marching In” but the disc was flipped in the UK and went on to reach number 3 in the British charts. A classic, if slightly gimmicky rocking instrumental. 20 (Do The) Mashed Potatoes (Part 1) - Nat Kendrick & Swans, although credited to “Nat Kendrick”, it is actually the James Brown Band. The name change was due to James Brown’s contractual obligations to King Records. This two part single was issued on the Dade label in 1960 and was the result of James Brown's success in using the Mashed Potato dance as part of his stage show. 21 Peppermint Twist (Part 1) - Joey Dee & Starliters, Joey Dee and his band were performing in a New York nightclub called the Peppermint Lounge and he helped write this song to cash on the Twist dance craze in 1961. The original recording was considered too long for radio station so it was split into two parts, part 2 being the B side of the single. 22 How Can I Meet Her - Everly Brothers, written by Gerry Goffin and Jack Keller and performed by The Everly Brothers In 1962, the track reached No. 12 on the UK Singles Chart and No. 75 on the U.S. pop chart. 23 I Saw Linda Yesterday - Dickey Lee, issued in 1963 this has a similar to Dion’s “Runaround Sue. 24 (I Wanna) Love My Life Away - Gene Pitney, this was his first charting single, and spent 8 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at No. 39 in 1961. A nice bit of early 60s pop. 25 Love Potion Number 9 – Clovers, a classic from top song writing duo Leiber and Stoller that has been covered by many acts. This is the original single version and a classic R&B group vocal. 26 I’m A Hog For You – Coasters, another Leiber and Stoller composition originally released as the B side of “Poison Ivy”. A good stroller with some great guitar work from Adolph Jacobs. 27 Lover Please - Clyde McPhatter, this was Clyde’s last top 10 single. Originally issued on the Mercury label 1962. A good pop rocker written by Billy Swan. 28 Robot Man - Connie Francis, pop rock from 1960 with “chirppy” backing vocals and a nice sax break. 29 Pretty Blue Eyes - Steve Lawrence, an American Top 10 hit for Steve, best known as a member of a duo with his wife Eydie Gormé. Typical early 60s pop with plenty of strings and backing vocals. 30 Teardrops Fall Like Rain - Bobby Vee, an album track from the man you brought you “Rubber Ball” and “take Good Care Of My Baby. 31 Teen-Ex - Browns featuring Jim Edward Brown, a folksy song from the people that gave us “Three Bells” aka “The Jimmy Brown Song”. 32 Sixteen Reasons - Connie Stevens, this peaked at number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and the UK Singles Chart in 1960. A string laden pop ballad. 33 Language Of Love - John D Loudermilk, from the 1961 album of the same name this was an American Top 40 hit typical of the pop music at the time. 34 Moon Dawg - Beach Boys, a surf instrumental from the Surfin’ Safari LP. 35 Come On And Get Me – Fabian, a Top 40 hit in the States in ’59 this is a stroller that was the follow up to his best known track, “Tiger”. 36 Tonight I Fell In Love – Tokens, a doo-wop group from New York who had their biggest hit with “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” recorded this for the Warwick label in 1961. It is mid paced doo-wop track that reached 15 in the US charts. 37 Stay - Maurice Williams & Zodiacs, this is the shortest single ever to top the American charts. Classic group vocal that I think should have been longer, especially given the title. 38 Plain Jane - Bobby Darin, pop rock from the “Splish Splash Man”, great sax break. 39 Nut Rocker – B Bumble and The Stingers, a UK number 1 for the American instrumental group. A definite classic. 40 Tonight’s The Night – Shirelles, this was the follow up to “Dedicated To The One I Love” and the first single for this American girl group to get into the Top 40 before they really hit it big with “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”. 41 Save All Your Lovin’ For Me - Brenda Lee, Little Miss Dynamite doing pop rock with her inimitable style. Although the B side to “All Alone Am I” it reached number 53 on the US pop chart. 42 Walkin’ To New Orleans - Fats Domino, this is one of the four tracks by The Fatman named the Grammy Hall of Fame. A classic track to end this album. Summary I am sure Bernie Keith did not realise the impact that his suggestion for this compilation would have and I’m sure the compiler, Roger Dopson didn’t either! If nothing else this is superb value for money, forty two tracks spanning a range of genres and some less than obvious tracks making it an interesting and entertaining listen. Recommendation Buy this as a Christmas stocking filler or just treat yourself, but just buy it! Reviewed by Jailhouse John Alexander

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