Volume 13, already! And we're only at the starting point of the Top 40 British Invasion, so you know Hit Records was really churning these things out. Given that most of these fake hits were rush jobs, they're generally highly energic and catchy--these musicians took their task seriously. And some titles capture the sound of the originals quite well (e.g., Navy Blue, See the Funny Little Clown), while others capture, not so much the exact sound, but the exuberance of the official hits--I'm thinking especially of the "Jalopy Five" treatment of Fun, Fun, Fun, which I love in this version, despite the slightly rough harmonies and a few stumbles in the lyrics (they fumble "she walks, looks, and drives like an ace, now," for instance). But it has to be said that the Beach Boys' harmonies were (imo) the toughest to emulate, at least in 1964--even tougher than the classic McCartney, Lennon, and Harrison blend. And I doubt the Hit Records gang had a generous rehearsal schedule--I'm sure it was more like "Do these. See you in a couple hours." Anyway, the Carl-Wilson-imitating-Chuck-Berry opening guitar is memorably faked here.
By far, the LP's most spot-on imitation--perhaps with even more drive than the original, if that's possible--would have to be My Bonnie, possibly my favorite Hit Records fake of all time. It's a killer cover, and the history of the original is probably known to most of you, but it's worth reviewing: recorded in 1961 in Hamburg, Germany, then released in 1962, making a decent showing on the German charts. Tony Sheridan is the lead singer, backed by "The Beat Brothers" (guess who). The U.S. co-release, on Decca, didn't do so well, far as I know. Come 1964 and Beatlemania, the single was reissued on MGM in the U.S., credited to "The Beatles with Tony Sheridan," and it obviously charted well. (MGM even put out an LP featuring all the Hamburg Sheridan/Beatles tracks, with filler by "The Titans." A downright budget-label thing to do.) Anyway, the Hit Records My Bonnie rocks the needle out of the grooves--this version still amazes me, ever since I thrifted my first VG-- thrift copy.
Dawn (Go Away), my favorite Four Seasons track, is given a not-too-shabby treatment here, and while the vocals wobble (weeble?) here and there, the overall production sounds fabulous--beautifully engineered and produced. Similarly, the other two Beatles tracks (She Loves You and Please Please Me) won't have you mistaking the singers for John, Paul, and George, but in terms of capturing the vitality of the originals, these succeed very nicely. Compare (if you dare) these versions to the tired-blood fakes featured on the dreadful Palace label LP, Beatle Mash (by "The Schoolboys," to whom Palace simultaneously assigned two other group names!), featured last year in April at this blog. May I be forgiven in the afterlife...
The Dave Clark Five's Glad All Over was apparently easier to fake than the Fab Four and BB sides, though the engineers should have added a couple extra layers of echo to make things sound more authentic. The final two tracks--Columbus Stockade Blues, and Saginaw, Michigan (is that Bobby Russell on the latter?)--are expertly done, and they initially appeared on the Country & Western Hits label, a Spar sublabel, of course. And this was a gift from Diane, who found a number of Hit Records LPs on the cheap after I'd mentioned my continuing search for these LP comps. Thanks, Diane!
Oh, and no artist listings on the labels, but it was easy enough to locate the original credits (mostly fictitious, of course) via Discog's section of Hit Records singles. I included these on the mp3 tags and down below.
DOWNLOAD: Current Hits, Volume No. 13
Dawn (Go Away)--The Chellows
She Loves You--The Bugs
Please Please Me--The Boll Weevils
My Bonnie--The Boll Weevils
Navy Blue--Connie Dee
Stop and Think It Over--Dotty and Dan
See the Funny Little Clown--Bobby Brooks
My Heart Belongs to Only You--Bobby Brooks
Fun, Fun, Fun--The Jalopy Five
Glad All Over--The Jalopy Five
Columbus Stockade Blues--Jack Bond
Saginaw, Michigan--Jack White
Current Hits Volume No. 13 (Hit Records HLP 413; Probably 1964)