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THE ROCKSTAR CD COLLECTION

'Rock'n'Roll Legend' CD.

'Rock'n'Roll Legend' (RSRCD 001) was RockStar's first CD release. A fine cross-section of Eddie's recordings, including the fabulous 'Slow Down' cut with Hank Cochran in 1956, 'Drownin' All My Sorrows' (Bo Davis, with Eddie on lead guitar), 'Heart Of A Fool' (sung by Jerry Capehart & featuring a stinging rockabilly solo by Eddie), an early take of the instrumental 'Guybo', 'Jelly Bean' and more. All lovingly remastered by Boppin' Bob Jones.

'L.A. Sessions' CD.

'L. A. Sessions' (RSRCD 003) features many cuts that Eddie produced for the doo-wop group, The Four Dots, with Capehart - notably both sides of Freedom 44002 ('My Baby' b/w 'It's Heaven'). Other highlights include 'Fontella', 'Once More' and 'If I Were Dying'. The Four Dots also provide background vocals on the delightful Johnny Burnette-penned 'Seriously In Love' sung by John Ashley, again with Eddie on guitar. There are also the three Derry Weaver tracks plus two Eddie Daniels rockers in stereo ! A feast.

The 3rd installment in this series of CDs was titled 'Mighty Mean' (RSRCD 008), after that early demo of Eddie's wonderful 'Mean When I'm Mad'. All the Cochran Brothers stuff is on board except for the Cash single with Capehart. Several interviews by Freeman Hover complete the package.. complete

.'Cruisin' The Drive-In' CD.S

This one, 'Cruisin' The Drive-In' (RSRCD 009), is - quite simply - unbelievable !! You'll find Bob Denton's Crest recordings & his smokin' duet with Eddie on 'Sick & Tired' (pictured in the booklet as a Gold Star labelled acetate although the one I saw & heard when I first wrote about the existence of that track in French mag, 'Latch On', was Glen Glenn's acetate which had been cut by Presto), the sides cut by Ray Stanley on Zephyr ('Pushin'), some fine Crest material by Jack Lewis ('I.O.U.') and Lynn Marshall ('Borrowed Love'), and a bunch of fabulous instrumentals (both solo and with dobro player, Gary Williams) -- all featuring the unique guitar stylings of a young Eddie Cochran.

Starting with the Baker Knight composition of the same name which was ultimately dropped in favor of Eddie's own 'Summertime Blues', 'One Minute To One' (RSRCD 010) provides us with another wealth of goodies - alternate takes of well-known songs like 'Jelly Bean', 'Milk Cow Blues' or 'Little Angel' ; some of Paula Morgan's stuff cut for Demon ; the rough & raunchy 'Nervous Breakdown' demo ; the usually underrated 'Quick Like' by Elroy Peace ; and a number of demos by Ray Stanley, Fred Carter and others.

'Rockin' It Country Style' CD.

'Rockin' It Country Style' (RSRCD 011) took quite some time in the making  . Most of the (non studio) recordings here predate the Cochran Brothers' stuff, having been recorded by steel guitar virtuoso Chuck Foreman who shares some hot licks with Eddie on numbers like 'Rockin' It', 'Jammin' With Jimmy', 'Two Of A Kind' as well as on vocals like 'Steelin' The Blues' and 'Gambler's Guitar'. They also excel on slower tunes such as 'Tenderly'. In short, the best 'Flamin' Guitars', this side of Speedy West & Jimmy Bryant !! Other notable cuts include 'Rockin' & Flyin' (with Hank Cochran) and a live rendition of 'That's All Right, Mama' by Bob Denton.
Great notes ; great packaging ; good sound ; don't miss another opportunity to witness Eddie's incredible talent at such a young age.

'Don't Forget Me' CD.

Eddie would have turned 60 on October 3, 1998 ... We all thought that EMI (UK) would release a new CD to coincide with this date ; instead, the job was handled once again by RockStar Records - and what a gem of a disc it is ! It's titled 'Don't Forget Me' (RSRCD 014). Despite a number of duplicates with the above issues, it's a wonderful tribute CD, combining classic tracks like 'I'm Ready', 'Pink Peg Slacks' (the fantastic version issued on 'Cherished Memories' - minus the overdubs for the first time), 'Milk Cow Blues' and 'Jelly Bean' with recently unearthed acetates such as 'Mighty Mean' , the long-rumored 'Sick & Tired', the Ritchie Valens-sounding 'Guitar Blues' or 'One Minute To One' -- and adding new discoveries like the boss instro, 'String Fever', a complete take of 'Fast Jivin' with the great Joe Maphis & Ernie Freeman in support, 'Rockin' And Flyin' (sung by Jerry Capehart this time), and yet another instro, the acoustic, delicate, jazzy & intricate 'Rain', which Eddie intended to give to Duane Eddy. STUNNING !!!! 

'Rock'n'Roll Legends' CD.

The above, 'Rock'n'Roll Memories' (RSRCD 018), is a greatly expanded CD version of the previous RockStar 'Rock'n'Roll Heroes' vinyl LP. The classic Saturday Club radio shows from 1960 by Eddie and Gene Vincent are present - and in great sound quality. And all four appearances by Eddie on the Boy Meets Girls TV show are added. Several Monty Lister interviews round off the disc. As usual, but even more than usual, the booklet is filled with rare and unseen pics of Eddie (and Gene too, for the occasion) - all taken during the fateful but oh so successful tour of England.

RockStar's latest CD release !!

Who said that the well had run dry ? Here we are in 2006 and
Tony Barrett
& Co. have just released the CD version of their own landmark 1984 LP, 'Portrait Of A Legend' (RSRCD 028). All Eddie's stereo recordings are here (kudos to engineer, Adam Skeaping, who even managed to repair the drops in sound on 'Weekend' ) but that's not all ! The overdubbed versions of 'I Almost Lost My Mind', 'That's My Desire', 'Skinny Jim' and 'Lonely' appear alongside rare mixes of 'Summertime Blues' and 'Pretty Girl'. Now, wait ! The brilliant backing tracks for 'My Way' and 'Rock'n'Roll Blues' are released for the first time as well as different takes of 'C'mon Everybody' and 'Nervous Breakdown' ! Asking for more ? Well, just take a listen to the THREE newly discovered takes of 'Teenage Cutie' and tell me how you feel ! Add to that a few nice color shots of Eddie plus a good text by Stu Colman and you've got another fantastic release which definitely paints the real portrait of a true legend.

 Two other important releases from RockStar Records

'TALK ABOUT A PARTY - THE CREST RECORDS STORY' (RSRCD 017)

A remarkable CD featuring great cuts from the vaults of that legendary Hollywood-based label by the likes of Tom Tall, The Ebb-Tones, Norm Skylar, Tom Wilson, Boogaloo & His Gallant Crew, Dick Bills, The Chromatics and Bo Davis - who was in fact Gene Davis, a local rockabilly singer, and not Hank Cochran in disguise !! Click here for a complete review.

The 'Rock'n'Roll Radio' CD.

'ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO - AUSTRALIA, 1957'
(RSRCD 022)

The RockStar Gang had been hunting for those Ampol Radio Shows for quite a while and they eventually located the precious tapes, resulting in the historic release of another important chapter in Rock'n'Roll Music. The January 11, 1957, show features The Platters, Freddie Bell & The Bellboys and Bill Haley & His Comets. The October 11, 1957, show features Gene Vincent & His Blue Caps, Little Richard & His Band and Eddie Cochran, performing 'Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On' with backing by Little Richard's musicians ! This CD will soon be discussed in detail...

 


THE STORY

Edward Ray Cochran was certainly one of the most talented of all the '50s rockers, along with Elvis, Gene Vincent, Jerry Lee Lewis and Buddy Holly.

He was a terrific musician, a superb performer, an excellent singer, a prolific composer, a groundbreaking arranger & producer and a perfectionist ; besides, most everybody who knew and worked with him will tell you that he was also a funny, easy going and really charismatic fellow.

Eddie was born on October 3, 1938, in ALbert Lea (Minnesota) but his family moved to Oklahoma not long afterwards before eventually settling in California.
He started professionally in 1954 (aged 16) when he joined Hank Cochran (no relation) to form The Cochran Brothers, who cut two singles for Ekko in 1955 (straight albeit nice hillbilly) and then a third one in early 1956 which coupled two rockabilly gems ('Tired & Sleepy' & 'Fool's Paradise'). Not long afterwards, Eddie split with Hank and jumped head first into the Rock'n'Roll field with a first solo '45 on the
Crest label ('Skinny Jim' b/w 'Half Loved'), located on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. At this early stage of his career, Eddie was doing much session work for the Crest record company - mostly at the famous Gold Star Studios which he began using to cut his own demos.

He had a shrewd manager in the person of the late Jerry Capehart who helped him to secure a recording contract with Liberty in September 1956, which in turn led to a mesmerizing appearance in Frank Tashlin's classic movie, 'The Girl Can't Help It'. Of course, Eddie performed 'Twenty Flight Rock' in the film, a song he did not co-write contrary to belief : it was written by Mrs. Nelda Bingo (born Fairchild) who was part of a country duo with her sister (The Southern Belles) and even co-wrote some songs with Merle Travis. That was by special arragement with her that Eddie got co-writer credit for it on the records - but he wasn't due for any royalties. However, Eddie and Jerry Capehart would soon develop a strong songwriting partnership ; together, they penned a huge percentage of what we now call 'Cochran Classics'.

Eddie's first Liberty single was an inspired cover of Johnny Dee's 'Sittin' In The Balcony' in early 1957. Its flip side was the haunting ballad, 'Dark Lonely Street'. It was a smash hit but Eddie would have to wait until the following summer to score another huge international hit : the masterful 'Summertime Blues'. In between, Eddie cut some lesser-selling though exceptional singles like 'Mean When I'm Mad', 'Pretty Girl' and 'Jeannie, Jeannie, Jeannie' which defined Rock'n'Roll as much as 'Be-Bop-A-Lula' or 'Hound Dog' did. Not to mention that those recordings also featured a heavy dose of overdubbing, making Eddie one of the true pioneers in that area. Then came 'C'mon Everybody' and 'Somethin' Else'(in '58 and '59, respectively).

Filmwise, Eddie had a role in 'Untamed Youth' ('57) where he sang the wonderfully Presley-ish 'Cotton Picker'. He also appeared all too briefly in the film, 'Go Johnny Go' ('59, with Alan Freed, Chuck Berry & Ritchie Valens among others) singing 'Teenage Heaven' to good effect.

The other fascinating aspect of Eddie's short but brilliant career is his work as back-up musician and producer. He played guitar on tracks by Ray Stanley, Lee Denson, Baker Knight, Bob Denton, Galen Denny, Don Deal, Troyce Key, Mike Clifford, Skeets Mc Donald, Paula Morgan, Jody Reynolds, Johnny Burnette, Wynn Stewart, Ernie Freeman, Elroy Peace, Derry Weaver, Eddie Daniels, Jewel Akens, John Ashley, Jack Lewis, Lynn Marshall, Jess Willard, The Holly Twins, Barry Martin and Al Casey ; he played and/or sang on records by Gene Vincent & His Blue Caps (most of the 'Record Date' LP sessions) as well as the doo-wop group The Four Dots (featuring Jewel Akens & Jerry Stone) ; and he produced a dynamic '45 by the enigmatic John T. Webster III & Anna on the Freedom label all on his own.

We should also mention his work with his group, The Kelly Four, who cut a terrific double-sider on the Silver label ('Annie Has A Party' / 'So Fine, Be Mine') ; this outfit, first known as The Hollywood Swingers when they backed singer & piano player, Dick d'Agostin, included great musicians like the late Jim Styvers (piano), Gene Ridgio (who went on to drum for Trini Lopez), the late Mike Henderson (tenor sax, later in the Marketts), Mike Deasy (another top guitar player in the '60s and '70s) and Dave Shriver (bass). Prior to forming this band, Eddie would mostly use seasoned session musicians like Earl Palmer, Plas Johnson and his brother, Ray Johnson. The only accompanist who had worked with him all the time was his bass player, Connie 'Guybo' Smith.

When Eddie arrived in England in January 1960, he knocked everybody out with his skills and professionalism. Georgie Fame, whom I met in 1996 at a Jazz Festival in Crest (not the record label incidentally but a nice little town in the South of France !!) and whose show that night remains one of the best I've ever attended, still recalls his first meeting with Eddie very fondly. He's also adamant that Eddie was responsible for introducing Ray Charles to British audiences thanks to his stylish renditions of 'What'd I Say' and 'Hallelujah, I Love Her So'. Little did he know that on April 17, 1960, Eddie Cochran would be killed in a car crash, depriving the world of one of its greatest Talents.

Had Eddie been there in the '60s, he would have been all over the place. He was part of the inspiration for Brian Wilson, Phil Spector, Brian Setzer, Danny Gatton, The Beatles, The Who, Dave Edmunds and so many Surf groups. His blues playing was way ahead of his time. His recorded legacy is such that the British RockStar label is still releasing newly found tapes and acetates, 46 years after his death (see table at left for a complete overview of their CDs). Everything he did was at the very least interesting ; he had it all ...
The Greeks were probably right when they used to say 'Whom The Gods Love, Die Young'.
More required reading ...

  Don't Forget Me - the book

A superb account of Eddie's life & career by Julie Mundy
& Darrel Higham, himself a true Cochran fan & soundalike
(check out his own RockStar CDs !). Many b & w photos.
Mainstream Publishing, Great Britain © 2000

      Three Steps To Heaven 

By Bobby Cochran with Susan Van Hecke.
An even better book, thanks to Susan's superior writing
& Bobby's first hand recollections.
Color dust cover. Many rare b & w photos inside.
Hal Leonard Corporation, USA © 2003

    Never To Be Forgotten
There was a time, in the '80s, when collectors lapped up every booklet put out by US rock'n'roll fan, singer & archivist, Alan Clark. He sure made hundreds of rare documents & unissued photos available to the rockabilly community. Most of his publications are now out of print, of course, but if you can find'em, don't hesitate. The above was one of the very best - crammed with dozens of rare  or never before seen b & w pics of Eddie, record shots, clippings from original US mags and an impressive selection of interviews with Eddie's family members, friends & fellow musicians/singers.
National Rock'n'Roll Archives, USA © 1991
                                 The Eddie Cochran CD Box Set          

Still available in its CD-size format, the 4-disc Eddie Cochran
Box Set put out by EMI (UK) in 1988 contains a detailed, informative & profusely illustrated 60-page booklet with an essay written by Rob Finnis. A full discography (with sessionography) is included. A must not only for every fan but for anybody interested in real Rock'n'Roll. Of course, the LP-size edition of the set (either vinyl, CD or cassette) has become a collector's item.

  EMI/Liberty CDECB 1

The booklet which goes with the above box set.

Copyright Paul Vidal * Privas, France * 1998-2006



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