Colder Ben & Others

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  • Colder Ben & Others - Eskimos, Mean Old Queens & Little Bitty Steers (CD)


    After a few charting singles, the notable one being the number one ”Purple People Eater”, in 1962 Sheb Wooley embarked on a career of doing parodies of hit records under the moniker Ben Colder. Five of these novelty tunes made it into the top-100 during the 60’s.

    This collection from Bear Family Records in Germany gathers up many of these recordings in this 28-track compilation. The remarkable feature here though, is the inclusion of the hit records upon which each of these parodies are based. So, while this gathering of Ben Colder’s tracks is a welcome first appearance for most of these tunes, this piece also stands alone as a collection of well-known country hit singles. Within the 28 tracks are such blockbuster tunes as Johnny Preston’s ”Running Bear”, Jimmy Dean’s ”Big Bad John” and Charlie Rich’s ”Behind Closed Doors” each worked over as ”Running Bare”, ”Big Sweet John” and ”Behind Cloe’s Door”. As a collection of Colder’s hits, this is not totally comprehensive however, in that one of the charting, albeit barely, singles, ”Still No. 2”, is missing, possibly due to licensing problems. Nevertheless this is the first legitimate collection of Colder’s original recordings. NB: beware a CD, ”22 Hits of Sheb Wooley….”, a collection of dodgy rerecordings of these Colder tunes.

    As expected with Bear Family products, this piece is luxuriously produced with a massive 56-page(!) liner notes booklet with pics, backround notes and lyrics. Sound quality is mostly top-notch with most tracks in stereo leaving 2,3,13,21,23,25 in mono. While the purpose here is to anthologize Colder’s string of novelty parodies, this piece has as much appeal in its inclusion of the hits on which these novelty tunes are based.

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