Friday, 25 November 2011

Classic Review from the Leicester Bangs Print Archive:

Various Artists – “The Singles” (1993-1994) Loverly Music (Loverly)
Loverly Records is a young Memphis label which concentrates on that most beloved of rock ’n’ roll formats, the 7”, 45rpm vinyl single. Every couple of years they compile all their releases onto a double CD and this is what we have here. Though two shiny silver discs wont get the vinyl junkies drooling in quite the same way the individually packaged singles would, the CDs do have a few advantages: the price, the surreal sleevenotes and the convenience of slipping one of these discs into your machine and being blown away by the quality, diversity and sheer exuberance of independent Memphis music for the next 50 minutes.

Loverly is the brainchild of one Mr. Ed Porter, who’s mighty Goosebumps get things going with “I’m The Hungriest Man In The World”, one of the most genuine tributes to the munching stuff since Guy Clark set the glories of “Texas Cookin’” to music 20 years before. James Eddie Campbell wanders ‘round next to extol the virtues of “Lu Ann” - a rockabilly stomp of the old school, which doesn’t pull any punches. The Trey Harrison led Grundies’ “San Antonio” features characters like Bongo Joe and asks questions about birds that would never have crossed Tony Soper’s mind. Nick Name’s contribution of “I Love How You Love Me” and Kris Kristofferson’s “Why Me” both make the hairs rise. With his band New Car Smell, things loosen up considerably, especially on the organ led “Annexation Blues”, the broken down country song “Laughing In My Beer” and the wonderful “You Must Be Out Of My Mind”, which sounds like The Doors circa “LA Woman”, going bad with extra oomph on the side.

Bum Notes get their say next with Yoko’s “Move On Fast” and Butch Hancock’s “Boxcars” (I think I mentioned variety), both of which sound great, before the Greg Hisky Rhythm Method bring disc one to an end with a couple of sticky slices of R&B. “Hangover” is particularly frayed around the edges because, as the notes explain, ‘Mr. Hisky knows of what he singeth’.

Disc two sees all the main protagonists back for more. James Eddie Campbell gets to open with four monster instrumentals, which bring to mind Hank Marvin with a bee up his chute, before Greg Hisky, this time with his Dixie Whiskey Boys, gets it down in the country with a mini Hank Williams tribute; both “Ramblin’ Man” and “House Of Gold” get dusted off to good effect. Trey Harrison’s back next with the old chestnut “Polka Dots And Moonbeams” before the legendary Professor Elixer’s Southern Troubadours apply the kitchen sink method to “Memphis Bedlamite Blues” and “FmHA”.

Alex Greene supplies two great sides in the Beatlesque “Looney June” and the simply magnificent “Mush Mush”. The Brewers get all manic with “Are You With Me?” before calming down with Patrick Sky’s “Too Many Times”. The second disc comes to an end with Loverly’s favourite son Nick Name, again with New Car Smell. “Let’s Just Rock It features the kind of rolling organ that The Prisoners made their own on the London circuit and “Are You Sleepy Yet?” is the perfect kiss goodnight.

So Loverly? Yes, I think they are and I like to think you will too. Tracking this down may take some considerable time and effort – I had to write letters to Shangri-La Records in Memphis* – but it’s well worth it.
LB (1997)

*Edit. Now you can just click a button and buy it, but honestly, that’s nowhere near as much fun.

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