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The Swinging Blue Jeans - Blue Jeans A' Swinging (1964)

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The Swinging Blue Jeans - Blue Jeans A' Swinging (1964)

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01. Ol' Man Mose (Armstrong/Rudolph) - 3:07
02. Save The Last Dance For Me (Pomus/Shuman) - 2:53
03. That's The Way It Goes (Welch/Marvin) - 2:38
04. Around And Around (Berry) - 2:09
05. It's All Over Now (Whyton) - 2:00
06. Long Tall Sally (Johnson/Penniman/Blackwell) - 1:45
07. Lawdy Miss Clawdy (Price) - 1:42
08. Some Sweet Day (Bryant/Bryant) - 2:07
09. It's So Right (Ennis/Ellis/Kuhlke/Braid) - 1:58
10. Don't It Make You Feel Good (Marvin/Welch) - 1:42
11. All I Want Is You (Chilton/Ireland) - 2:11
12. Tutti Frutti (La Bostrie/Penniman/Lubin) - 1:59

Personnel:
- Ray Ennis (Raymond Vincent Ennis) - vocals, rhythm guitar
- Ralph Ellis - lead guitar
- Les Braid (William Leslie Braid) - bass, keyboards
- Norman Kuhlke – drums

 

The Swinging Blue Jeans were near the top of Liverpool's rock & roll bands, although Americans who've only heard their pile-driver-textured Top 30 version of "Hippy Hippy Shake" (utterly unrepresentative of their sound or range) might wonder at that statement. This album provides the evidence -- ironically, with a little better choice of material, it would rate very close behind the With the Beatles LP as a fresh and brilliant piece of music-making, and even as it stands, it's not too far behind. In order to fully appreciate Blue Jeans a' Swinging, you have to put yourself back in 1964. Liverpool and the rest of the north are filled with acts that can thump away hard, or harmonize pleasingly, but only a handful that can do both, and even fewer that can do both well, and most of those, apart from the Beatles, can't decide if they want to be the Everly Brothers or Chuck Berry. the Beatles knew that with a little care, they could be both -- and based on the evidence on this album, The Swinging Blue Jeans were of the same mind and had the talent to pull it off. Blue Jeans a' Swinging features punchy, crunchy rhythm guitar, jangling lead guitar, some pretty raw singing by all four bandmembers alternating with decent harmonizing. There are also a few offbeat song choices, starting with the opening track, "Ol' Man Mose." Their cover of "Save the Last Dance for Me" is a credible rendition of a contemporary Drifters hit, and their versions of "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" and "Long Tall Sally" are solid pieces of rock & roll. Their Buddy Holly-like versions of the Hank Marvin-Bruce Welch songs "That's the Way It Goes" and "Don't It Make You Feel Good" have enough hooks that either could've been a single and a hit; the ballad "All I Want Is You," dominated by the quartet's harmony vocals, sounding even more like Holly. The band reaches back further than the Shadows, covering, "It's All Over Now," an offbeat lament written by Wally Whyton of the Vipers Skiffle Group-this is their "Ringo Starr number, " slightly goofy, with a vague country-ish tint. Even the one original here, a group composition called "It So Right," is a good rock & roll number with acceptably clever wordplay. Only their version of the Boudleaux Bryant "Some Sweet Day" seems flaccid and second-rate. That flaw aside, this is one of the best rock & roll albums of its era to come out of Liverpool. ---Bruce Eder, Rovi

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