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Various Artists

Choctaw Ridge - New Fables Of The American South 1968-1973

    “Choctaw Ridge” explores a new country sound, one that emerged at the end of the 60s in the wake of Bobbie Gentry’s ‘Ode To Billie Joe’, a shock number one hit in 1967. When singers like Gentry, Jimmy Webb, Michael Nesmith and Lee Hazlewood moved from the south to Los Angeles to make it in the music business, they were not part of the Nashville in-crowd and they forged a new direction.

    'Ode To Billie Joe’ was the tip of the iceberg, and its success helped a bunch of singers and storytellers to emerge over the next three or four years. Some of the tracks on this collection bear that song’s stamp more clearly than others: Sammi Smith’s moody ‘Saunders’ Ferry Lane’ had a similar mystery lyric, and Henson Cargill’s ‘Four Shades Of Love’ is a portmanteau, with one (or possibly two) of the theoretically romantic situations ending in death.

    Suddenly, character sketches of southerners became a lot more rounded – women didn’t have to stay home, or take abuse at the office, and darkness wasn’t only found at the bottom of a bottle. Storytelling is the link between all of the songs on this collection. We have cautionary tales about what could happen to someone who heads for the bright lights and doesn’t make it, ending up in the grasping hands of ‘Mr Walker’ (Billie Joe Spears), or on the ‘Back Side Of Dallas’ (Jeannie C Reilly), or on a mortuary slab in the case of the songwriter with the ‘Fabulous Body And Smile’ (Robert Charles Griggs). And there are stories about wanting to go home – Nat Stuckey’s ‘What Am I Doing In LA?’ and Charlie Rich’s ‘Feel Like Going Home’ – and others from Ed Bruce and Lee Hazlewood, who know that their home isn’t home anymore.

    The tracklist and fulsome sleeve notes have been put together by Bob Stanley (Saint Etienne) and Martin Green (Smashing, The Sound Gallery), who have been collecting these records for decades.

    The voices are resonant and relatable, and the productions take in the best of what pop had to offer in the late 60s and early 70s. Before the factionalism between smooth pop-conscious Nashville and the hedonistic ‘outlaws’ made it look inward again, this was a golden era for an atmospheric, inclusive and progressive country music. It began on the third of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta day.

    Bob Stanley

    TRACK LISTING

    01 The House Song - Lee Hazlewood
    02 If Only She Had Stayed - Chris Gantry
    03 Endless Miles Of Highway - Jerry Reed
    04 The Back Side Of Dallas - Jeannie C Riley
    05 Way Before The Time Of Towns - Hoyt Axton
    06 Strawberry Farms - Tom T Hall
    07 Down From Dover - Dolly Parton
    08 July 12, 1939 - Charlie Rich
    09 What Am I Doing In LA? - Nat Stuckey
    10 Mr Stanton Don't Believe It - Rob Galbraith
    11 Saunders' Ferry Lane - Sammi Smith
    12 Four Shades Of Love - Henson Cargill
    13 Drivin' Nails In The Wall - Waylon Jennings & The Kimberlys
    14 Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town - Kenny Rogers & The First Edition
    15 Why Can't I Come Home - Ed Bruce
    16 Mr Walker, It's All Over - Billie Jo Spears
    17 Harlan County - Jim Ford
    18 Widow Wimberly - Tony Joe White
    19 Belinda (Alt Take) - Bobbie Gentry
    20 Joanne - Michael Nesmith & The First National Band
    21 Mr Jackson's Got Nothing To Do - John Hartford
    22 Alone - Lee Hazlewood & Suzi Jane Hokom
    23 Fabulous Body And Smile - Sir Robert Charles Griggs
    24 I Feel Like Going Home - Charlie Rich

    Various Artists

    Ace Records 40

      A celebration of our 40years in business: 1975-2015 represented by seven vinyl singles in a luxury box/book.

      40 years on and, as the song says, we got to get right back where we started from. That was and still is the 7-inch vinyl 45rpm single. This traditional “album” contains seven 45s that could never fully represent the Ace story so far, but they touch on numerous aspects of what we have been doing all this time. There are unissued versions, highlights from our career, lost gems and an error corrected, but all truly terrific music. A small jukebox worth of recordings spanning the 20 years from which the bulk of Ace releases have been drawn. It is hard to believe only 20 years separate Etta James’ release for Modern from Joe Strummer’s first recording made for our Chiswick label, which in turn is now nearly 40 years old.

      After our dalliance with pop and rock, which lasted until the early 80s and wasn’t without its highpoints, we shifted our attention to recording London’s garage and psychobilly bands in the wake of licensing the Cramps’ catalogue. But the blues, its more active little brother rhythm & blues, even more active grandchild soul and wayward second cousin who got the funk have always been a major strand in what we do. We heard some of that rock’n’roll music, liked it and put a lot of it out, alongside its sweeter pop counterpart and teenage rebel nephew 60s psych and garage that contributed to the backbone of the past 40 years of releases.

      During that time, we have danced to many different tunes in many different styles. We jived, we twisted, then we shimmied (and shaked), glided elegantly across the northern soul dancefloor, pogoed and all the time shook a tail feather. These days it is more likely to be a soft shoe shuffle but the enthusiasm hasn’t dimmed. The dedicated team of Ace staff, engineers and consultants are still turning out a regular flow of great-sounding, handsomely packaged, articulately annotated CDs, with the odd LP and 45 thrown in for good measure. You can even download a lot of it, but unfortunately without the pretty pictures and sweet words as yet.

      They say the future is online and they may be right, but nothing can match that warm fuzzy feeling the whiff of wax brings.

      TRACK LISTING

      Disc One
      1A. Confessin The Blues (Alt) BB King
      1B.Tough Lover (Alt) Etta James

      Disc Two
      2A. One Cup Of Coffee And A Cigarette - Glen Glenn
      2B. Youre Under Arrest - The Shirelles

      Disc Three
      3A. Not My Girl - The Platters
      3B. No Other Guy - Lou Johnson

      Disc Four
      4A. Try A Little Tenderness (Alt) - Otis Redding
      4B. You Gotta Have Soul - James Carr

      Disc Five
      5A. Psychedelic Sally - Eddie Jefferson
      5B. Keep On Brother Keep On - Johnny King And Fatback Band

      Disc Six
      6A. I Got Mine - The Charlatans
      6B. Get The Picture (Alt) - The Scot Richard Case

      Disc Seven
      7A. Dont Cry For Me - The Zombies
      7B. Keys To Your Heart - The 101ers

      Various Artists

      Jon Savage's 1966: The Year The Decade Exploded

        The soundtrack to the book about the year that shaped the rest of the century.

        Pop was everything in 1966. It was a way of looking at the world, all funnelled into the single: ideas, attitudes, lyrics and experimentation that in the more indulgent years to come would be stretched out into a whole album. Condensed within the 7-inch format, the possibilities of 1966 were expressed with an extraordinary electricity and intensity – whether it be the flourishing of Holland-Dozier-Holland at Motown, the breakthrough of black American dance culture, the start of psychedelia and the beginnings of rock, or just simple mod pop.

        This compilation accompanies my book 1966: The Year The Decade Exploded, which explores the various events and themes of the year in 12 essays, based around one record a month. 

        It is also designed to stand alone - a mix of the familiar and the obscure, informed by memory. I turned 13 in late summer 1966 and spent much of the year bathed in the music I saw on television and heard on Radio Caroline South. The 45 records beamed in on that station - James Brown’s ‘I Got You (I Feel Good)’, the Association’s ‘Along Comes Mary’, ? and the Mysterians’ ‘96 Tears’, to name but three - went very deep, and that mixture of mainstream pop, mod pop, West Coast, soul and Motown has stayed with me as an ideal.

        Jon Savage

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Andy says: Amazing compilation from 1966, the year I was born, so it's extra special to me. Jon's sleeve notes are superb. Musically he's on it, but his social observation skills and the way he connects it all are.....far out! This is a perfect time capsule from a highly charged year.

        TRACK LISTING

        Disc: 1
        1. The Quiet Explosion - The Uglys 
        2. Night Time - The Strangeloves 
        3. The Spy - The Guys From U.N.C.L.E.
        4. Little By Little - Dusty Springfield
        5. Bad Little Woman (Us Version) - The Wheel-A-Ways 
        6. Walkin' My Cat Named Dog - Norma Tanega
        7. Festival Time - The San Remo Golden Strings 
        8. I Got You (I Feel Good) - James Brown & The Famous Flames 
        9. Batman Theme - Link Wray 
        10. Help Me (Get The Feeling) Part 1 - Ray Sharpe With The King Curtis Orchestra
        11. Greetings This Is Uncle Sam - The Monitors 
        12. Barefootin' - Robert Parker
        13. Substitute - The Who
        14. Along Comes Mary - The Association
        15. The Other Place - The Seeds 
        16. Secret Agents - The Olympics
        17. Cool Jerk - The Capitols
        18. Ain't It Hard - The Electric Prunes
        19. Nothin' Comes Easy - Sandie Shaw 
        20. You're Gonna Miss Me - The Thirteenth Floor Elevators 
        21. Sock It To Em JB Pt 1 - Rex Garvin And The Mighty Cravers
        22. Sock It To Em JB Pt 2 - Rex Garvin And The Mighty Cravers 
        23. One Of These Days - The Roosters
        24. I'll Be Your Mirror (Mono Single, Alt Ending) - The Velvet Underground

        Disc: 2
        1. Summer In The City - Lovin' Spoonful
        2. Working In The Coalmine - Lee Dorsey
        3. You Better Believe It, Baby - Joe Tex
        4. Seven And Seven Is - Love
        5. Love's Gone Bad - Chris Clark
        6. Land Of 1000 Dances - Wilson Pickett
        7. Psychotic Reaction - Count Five
        8. Do You Come Here Often? - The Tornados
        9. 96 Tears - ? And The Mysterians 
        10. I Can't Turn You Loose - Otis Redding
        11. Reach Out I'll Be There - The Four Tops (Mono Single Version)
        12. I'm A Boy (Original 45 Mix) - The Who 
        13. Come On Back - Paul And Ritchie And The Crying Shames 
        14. Tell Me That You Love Me - James Brown
        15. Happenings Ten Years Time Ago - The Yardbirds 
        16. You Keep Me Hangin On - The Supremes
        17. Foolish Woman - The Oxford Circle
        18. Love At Psychedelic Velocity - The Human Expression 
        19. One Hour Cleaners - The Blue Things
        20. People! Let's Freak Out - Freaks Of Nature
        21. In The Past - We The People
        22. The London Boys - David Bowie
        23. The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game - The Marvelettes 
        24. Hang On To A Dream - Tim Hardin


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