THE ROCKSTAR CD COLLECTION
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.
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.
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'
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
other important releases from RockStar Records
A PARTY - THE CREST RECORDS STORY' (RSRCD 017)
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.
ROLL RADIO - AUSTRALIA, 1957'
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
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.
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.
was born on October 3, 1938, in ALbert Lea (Minnesota) but his family
moved to Oklahoma not long afterwards before eventually settling in
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.
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'.
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).
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.
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'
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 ...
Greeks were probably right when they used to say 'Whom The Gods Love,
More required reading ...
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 ©
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
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
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.