Sunday, 25 January 2009

Clovis Rocks! – Stars of the Clovis Music Festival - Various Artists (Rollercoaster Records RCLJ 6501)

Track listing: THE FIREBALLS: Quite A Party; BOBBY VEE: Down The Line; ROY ORBISON & THE TEEN KINGS: Ooby Dooby; THE CRICKETS: My Little Girl; SONNY WEST: Rock-Ola Ruby;THE FIREBALLS: Bulldog ;THE CRICKETS (Sonny Curtis, vocal) Rock Around With Ollie Vee;MIKE BERRY & THE OUTLAWS: Rave On; CHARLIE PHILLIPS: Sugartime; THE STRING-A-LONGS: Wheels; ROY ORBISON & THE TEEN KINGS: Racker Tacker; THE CRICKETS (JI Allison, vocal): Cruise In It; GARY TOLLETT with The Crickets: Honey Honey; LARRY WELBORN: Guitar Hop; THE ROSES Rock Me My Baby; MIKE BERRY & THE OUTLAWS: Stay Close To Me; TOMMY ALLSUP: It´s So Easy; BOBBY VEE & THE CRICKETS: What To Do/Crying Waiting Hoping/Learning The Game; THE STRING-A-LONGS: Twistwatch; JACK NEAL with Buddy Holly: I Saw The Moon Cry Last Night; BEN HALL: Blue Days – Black Nights; DAVID BOX: Sweet Sweet Day; THE BIG BOPPER Jr: Chantilly Lace; RAY ANTHONY: La Bamba; JOHN MUELLER: Hey Buddy; BUDDY HOLLY & THE CRICKETS: Interview with Dick Clark October 28th 1958.
Clovis, New Mexico was the home of producer Norman Petty whose work in the 50’s and 60’s is still remembered today thanks mainly to his main act, Buddy Holly. Next week it’ll be 50 years since Buddy died but his influence is still relevant today. Since 1985 Clovis has been paying tribute to both Petty and Holly through the Clovis Music Festival. A great champion of the Petty sounds is the British reissue label Rollercoaster, whose head honcho, John Ingman has devoted a lifetime to researching and preserving West Texas rock ‘n’ roll. This latest Rollercoaster release celebrates the artists who have performed at the festival over the years. A lot of it will be familiar to you from the opening Fireballs’ 1961 hit Quite A Party to the Strings’ Wheels. Another couple of instros that have a certain charm come from one-time Crickets Larry Welborn and Tommy Allsup with Guitar Hop and It’s So Easy respectively.
You’ll be surprised by Bobby Vee’s Down the Line which shows more fire than all his hits put together. Roy Orbison’s Teen Kings are given a couple of tracks from their Rollercoaster CD, Are You Ready with Ooby Dooby packing a fair punch and Racker Tacker being Mystery Train in all but name. Of more recent vintage we get a couple of live numbers from the Big Bopper Jnr (Chantilly Lace natch) and Ray Anthony with a pointless version of La Bamba. Englishman Mike Berry has been a Buddy devotee throughout his career and you get the feeling that this is what John Ingman would sound like if he could sing. Squeaky Dick Clark interviews Buddy from October 1958 and although we learn little, it’s worth minutes of your time. I loved the T-Shirt era of the Crickets and thought Gordon Payne was a great addition to the band – the earlier pre-Payne version of Cruise In It was better though and it’s a highlight of this CD. JI’s voice has the laid back quality that matches his personality to a tee. With a 24-page booklet and good sound (except the Crickets version of Ollie Vee which sounds like it was recorded in my out-house) this is a worthy addition to your collection.

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