Now, I would swear I had featured this LP before (my other, "beater" copy), but I would sworn, and I would have been wrong. In fact, I can't find a trace of a former MY(P)WHAE post of this LP, though I did post the boxed-set version, which came out on Hollywood's sublabel Variety: 18 Big Rock 'n Roll Hits.
For that post, reader Pascal came up with a list of likely suspects for these tracks, which Hollywood and Variety failed to give names to, beyond "Famous Artists, etc." Yup--artists so famous, they didn't want their names associated with this collection, I guess. Anyway, someone used Pascal's credits, plus my correction (Gabe Dake, and not Dick Warren, on Rock Around the Clock), and put them up at Discogs. Here's the link: Gabe Drake, etc. I'm trying to keep things simple, by the way, though I'm probably not succeeding.
For Rock Around the Clock, Gabe Drake was the real or fictional (not sure which) name on SPC's Prom label,
whereas Fred Gibson was the name assigned by Tops. (My bad. The Tops version is the same as the Gateway version credited to Dick Warren.) Popular Extended Play Records gave no name at all, but it was the same guy each time. (This is why fake-hit collectors have therapists.) As for the rest of Pascal's list, I'm in almost complete agreement--for instance, if that's not Jimmy Breedlove on those four tracks, then it's the best impression of Jimmy I can imagine. I have to say I don't know about Ollie Jones and The Cues--I've heard a couple Ollie Jones sides, and it doesn't sound like him, but I'm sure Pascal is much more familiar with Jones and the Cues, so I'll go with him.
Though this is a repeat, the fidelity should be much better, because 1) it's an LP, and 2) it's an LP in amazingly good condition--by the standards of Hollywood Records, that is. Actually, a Hollywood LP that merely plays gets an automatic VG. Since this recently-thrifted copy looked so clean, I got adventurous and used my better, light-tracking stylus for this rip. I did another with my less expensive, more rugged cartridge (and spherical stylus) and heard no difference in response, so I stayed with this one. I think the sameness of response is because the high end on this isn't very high. Anyway, you're hearing the 1.5 gram needle. On junk vinyl, no less. "Thanks a lot," it said.
My other copy--the one I thought I'd previously posted--is the second edition, with a border around the photo of the slightly-too-old-to-be-teens teenagers, and retitled 18 Big Rock 'N Roll Hits. For once, the front-jacket models are posed naturally, and they look genuinely glad to be there, though that vintage phonograph is... scary, frankly. It look like it was designed to destroy discs after four or five plays, max. And notice that the guy on the left is playing Decca label 78s--on the cover of Hollywood label LP! After closely studying the object held by the girl on the right, I'm guessing it's a toasted marshmallow on a stick. Which means they're sitting by a fireplace. Which means they have their record player close to same. Heat and 78 rpm discs make for a bad marriage, but who am I to tell them how to party? And there's a bottle of no-name soda pop. Not your usual kids-rocking-to-the-latest-hits cover art. All it needs is a Ouija board to complete the mood. "Spirit from beyond, tell us who recorded these tracks. Oh, my--it's moving!"
A Blue Ribbon Product, for your information. A recognized value by the Saturday Evening Post. The beyond-weird liner essay goes on about "'so called' musical forms" like Jazz, Ragtime, Swing and Sway, Be-Bop, Vo-Do-De-O, and (of course) Rock and Roll, all of which feature syncopated beat patterns--patterns which have "aroused the primitive senses in species homo since the beginnings of history." That long, huh? And yes, I've seen dancers get pretty rowdy under the primeval sway of Vo-Do-De-Do. I saw an entire town torn up, once. Anyway, "giving vent," the notes tell us, "is a healthy, normal part of a teenager that should be encouraged in our attempt to create mature adults. With this in mind, this collection of the best of 'Rock and Roll' is dedicated to today's refreshingly stimulating teenager." I appreciate that Hollywood is doing a social service, but they don't have to sound creepy about it. Refreshingly stimulating teenager? Yikes. At any rate, and at least in that lighting, the cover teens look like twenty-somethings. The lass with the no-name soda pop is getting the LP title in stereo.
Fidelity is okay throughout, though if Delbert Barker's Blue Suede Shoes were any more compressed, I think the waveform would have expired. Good version, though, even if the guitarist almost blows the closing riff. I think I hear the stock rockabilly I9 with the ninth taken down an octave. That became such a neo-rockabilly cliche, thanks in part to Taco Bell. What am I talking about? I don't know. To the music...
DOWNLOAD: The Nation's Favorite Rock 'N Roll Hits (Hollywood Records LPH-31)