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Berry Richard - Rockin` Man EP (7 single/EP)€8,00
Richard Berry, one of the big names on the west coast r&b scene will always be remembered for writing and performing two of the most popular songs ever… Have Love Will Travel and, of course, Louie Louie.
Berry was capable of getting all kind of sounds, from r&b to wild rockers, to latin sounding rhythms… all mixed up on an unbeatable sound.
The five tracks on this record are great example of his more rockin side with his two great classics plus other three fantastic songs that will make this EP a must for every DJ or collector!
Berry Richard - Louie Louie (LP)€25,00
Richard Berry grew up in Los Angeles, attending Jefferson High School at just the right time to be excited by the growth of vocal groups in the early 50s. Along with classmates he sang doo wop in the school’s stairwells and soon became involved with a number of groups, where his bass voice was much in demand. He sang on some early Leiber & Stoller productions; the pair recruited him in 1953 to sing the intro to the Robins’ ‘Riot On Cell Block #9’. He also delivered the bass part on Etta James’ ‘The Wallflower’. This new release in Ace Records’ HIQLP series contains his best work from the second half of the 50s.
Side 1 has material from the Flip label, kicking off with his famed version of ‘Louie Louie’, making its first appearance on LP for over 50 years. It was originally issued as a B-side in 1957 but got re-released as the topside, selling strongly as the song gained huge popularity with local groups. With over a thousand eventual covers, the song should have become his meal ticket, but he sold his rights for $750 to fund his wedding. ‘Have Love Will Travel’, with its wandering background bass lines, became another biggie, with ‘In A Real Big Way’ following the formula. His ease with a variety of feels is underscored with the rocking ‘Give It Up’ and the smoochy ‘Sweet Sugar You’.
Side 2 gathers songs from his earlier time with the Flair and RPM labels and opens with his frantic Little Richard-styled ‘Yama Yama Pretty Mama’. ‘Oh! Oh! Get Out Of The Car’ and ‘Next Time’ are Leiber & Stoller-type story songs, while ‘Jelly Roll’ is a great rolling piano-led slab of R&B. ‘Jelly Roll’ and the closing song, ‘Bye Bye’, both feature the Dreamers, the much in-demand femme group who would later become the Blossoms.
Chances are that most people reading this have a decent record collection, and in that collection are LPs they love for the look and feel of the cover. This new Richard Berry album is an absolute cert for this category with its wonderful period sleeve. The double advantage comes with the great quality of the music it carries.
By Kingsley Abbott (Ace Records)
Berry Richard - Yama Yama! The Modern Recordings 1954-1956 (CD)€18,00
by TONY ROUNCE
Richard Berry was still in his teens when he hooked up with Modern Records. A hungry young multi-talented man, with a desire to learn, an envelope-pushing career vision and a willingness to experiment with any and every style of black music, he strove to perfect his craft. His extraordinary versatility was both a help and a hindrance to his career. A help in that it enabled him to apply himself to any strand of R&B from languid doo wop to feral New Orleans R&B, but a hindrance, perhaps, in that hardly any two consecutive singles by Richard sound like they are by the same person. His chameleon-like vocal persona may have prevented Richard from establishing a distinct identity on wax in his early days, but it certainly gave his RPM and Flair recordings a diversity that collectively makes them a fabulous listening experience.
What recordings they are, from first to last! There’s consistent greatness in just about every groove, from Richard’s youthful homage to the Fats Domino sound (I’m Still In Love With You – his first solo release) through to the wild New Orleans session that brought the world Yama Yama Pretty Mama and the uninhibited rocker Mad About You at the same time as it brought Richard’s time with Modern to a close. The sly, hip narratives of Next Time and Get Out Of The Car feature Richard’s Willie Mabon” voice – one that he also used to such spectacular (and, at the time, incognito) effect on the Robins’ Riot In Cell Bock # 9 – as does Riot’s ”unofficial follow-up”, The Big Break. Elsewhere in the CD, Richard’s warm tenor-baritone can be heard assisting Etta James, as an unaccredited ”Henry” on the R&B classic The Wallflower – better known as Roll With Me Henry – and a previously-unissued alternate take of its sequel, Hey Henry. And on ballads like I Am Bewildered, the doo wop gem God Gave Me You, a gently rockin’ What You Do To Me (with the Flairs and the Crowns respectively) and his two ridiculously rare duets with Jennell Hawkins, we hear Richard as he himself liked to be heard best of all – dark, deeply expressive and ”au natural”.
Most of these recordings have previously been released (although not always in these versions, of course). However, it’s great to be able to bring something totally new to the table in the shape of Predoehlicious. This lengthy, and rare, example of Richard groovin’ on piano with the Modern rhythm section seems to have been a warm-up for the I Am Bewildered session. The session engineer calls it as ”Music – take 2” (take 1 is a false start, by the way), but we have retitled it in honour of the world’s #1 Richard Berry fan, Eric Predoehl – a man who does more than most to keep Richard’s name alive.
Yama Yama is the result of many hours of serious vault research. It presents for the first time in one package, a version of each and every one of the solo recordings that Richard Berry cut for the Modern group of labels. The finest tapes have been compared with original 45 and 78rpm sources to ensure that we have not inadvertently used an alternate take here when it was not actually our intention to do so. Some of the original mastertapes would seem to be permanently MIA, so where better-condition vinyl and 78 sources have since become available to us, we’ve also gone back and re-dubbed (and re-CEDAR’ed) those sources for inclusion here. Additionally we have attempted, where possible, to use alternate takes of those recordings Richard made with the Flairs, Etta James and the Dreamers, when the master takes are available on other Ace CDs by those acts. Unless any other long-lost master tapes do suddenly emerge – and it’s now unlikely that they will – Yama Yama is the definitive compilation of Richard Berry’s recordings for the Bihari brothers. Run, real fast, to your nearest record dealer and buy it now!”
Berry Richard - Have `Louie` Will Travel (CD)€18,00
VIHDOINKIN VIRALLINEN JULKAISU!! mahtava R&B Artisti!!
First-ever official CD compilation of this West Coast R&B hero’s late 50s and early 60s recordings. Features every one of Berry’s Flip recordings – including the original version of ’Louie Louie’, naturally! – and each of the recordings he made with maverick LA producer Gary Paxton. Many of the Paxton masters are released here for the first time, while several of the Flip cuts are also making their official CD debut. Package includes many previously unseen photos from the Berry family archives and is annotated by the world’s # 1 Louie Louie” expert Eric Prodehl.”