Thursday, May 23, 2013

Record #0350: Be-Bop-a-Lula / Woman Love – GENE VINCENT AND HIS BLUE CAPS

Capitol F3450 (original) USA, May 1956
Words & Music by:  Side A – Bill “Sheriff Tex” Davis / Donald Graves (disputed credit for the words), Gene Vincent; Side BJack Rhodes, Dick Reynolds
Musicians: Gene Vincent (vocals), Cliff Gallup (lead guitar), Willie Williams (rhythm guitar), Jack Neal (upright bass), Dickie Harrell (drums and screams)
Recording sessions: Produced by Ken Nelson at Owen Bradley Studio, Nashville, TN, May 4, 1956
Highest chart positions:  US #7, US R&B #8, US Country #5, UK #16

This was the great debut single of one of the greatest bands of early rock’n’roll.

The flip was banned from airplay in many radio stations in the States and BBC banned it in the UK. “Woman Love” was originally the title song of the record, but as “Be-Bop-a-Lula” started climbing the charts, Capitol soon flipped the disc.

A superb record with amazing vocals, brilliant lead guitar and the rest of the band isn’t too shabby either. Not a single session musician was needed here; The Blue Caps were that good. Reportedly Owen Bradley had brought Hank Garland and Grady Martin to the session in case Cliff Gallup could not do the job right. When they heard Gallup doing a warm-up with his Gretsch 6128, they smiled and left the studio.

Vincent recorded new versions of Be-Bop-a-Lula later in his career. The twist flavored version released in 1962 was a fair success in the UK, though not in Top 100. It also climbed to #2 in Sweden and #7 in Finland. I’ll post that record here later on.

I got this piece as a going away present from Bernie's Antiques & Collectibles (in Bothell, WA), when my family and I were about to leave the States. A great gift indeed! Super thanks, Bernie!

List price:  American Premium Record Guide lists this to be $15-$20. In eBay these have been selling for $25 and up.

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