Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

August 22, 2019

TEENAGE DREAMS, VOLUME 40: The Final Edition

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 8:49 pm
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Heart Broken – Danny Cagle & the Escorts
Wanda – Randy Loring
That’s The Love – Steve Denver With The Phantoms
Maggie – Sunny Molino With The Chekkers
We Mean More To Each Other – The Centurians
Lonely Tears – Roger Blackwell
Walking At Midnight – Sonny Flaharty
For My Angel – The Vons
Teenage Serenade – Ray Burden
Too Young For Love – Bob Steffek & The Falcons
I Dreamed AboutYou Last Night – Charlie Gore
Twistin’ Irene – The Dinos
The Girl By My Side – Inspirations
i Always Dream Of Barbara – Scott Smith & The Rockets
I Wish – Eric With The Plazas
Oh What An Angle You Are – Dickie Loader & The Blue Jeans
Yo Yo Girl – Dickie & The Debonaires
White Bobby Socks – Bosse Quiding
Blue Guitar – Jan Davis
Unlucky In Love – Freddie Morrison & The Capris
Lonely One – Robert A Irvine
Lonely Girl – Jerry Minton
The Flame – Ralph Miranda
My Truest Love – Dick And Slim & The Satelites
A Woman Of The World – Rockdin C Hoaglund
Jane – Rock Williams & His Fighting Cats
I Thank The lord – Bobby Leone
The Foolish One – Dick Dewayne
Let Me Keep You Company – Johnny Jay
Gee Whiz – Little Angie & The Hi-Lites

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After a 20-or-so year run, with 40 (!!!!!) overstuffed CD’s with 30 or more tracks each of prime late 50’s/early 60’s teen rock and roll (except for one volume which opened with an awful recently-recorded track “in the spirit of the era”), the Teenage Dreams compilation series comes to an end…but it’s better to go out on a high point, and this volume 40 is certainly a solid one, than to keep going and padding future volumes with sub-standard material. Anyone who’s ever collected 45’s of that era knows that there’s a lot of junk out there with awful flat and/or adenoidal lead vocals, or unlistenable cloying backing vocals or insipid Mitch Miller style instrumentation backing the singer, so the compilers of this material have waded through probably hundreds of singles to come up with the 30 tracks on offer here. Teen rock/ highschool rock/ malt shoppe bop, call it what you will, dates from 1957 or so through 1964. These artists wanted to be the new Ricky Nelson, the new Bobby Vee, perhaps the new Dion, maybe the new John Ashley or the new Fabian—-they did not want to be the new Link Wray or the new Gene Vincent. Every area had its teen dances at high schools and VFW halls and CYO events and Masonic Halls, and here in the USA, any town with a few thousand people could have a small label they could record for (and that’s not counting “custom”/vanity pressings, where anyone anywhere with a few hundred dollars could put out a record and potentially compete with Ricky or Buddy or Elvis). Some vocal groups who were not specifically doo-wop or had a charismatic front man who tended to be featured would also qualify for this genre. And yes, there might be some overlap between singles that would wind up on a Collector–White Label LP or singles that would fit on a doo-wop collector’s reissue because there would be that ineffable “teen” quality where the band could potentially play a dance attended by Wally Cleaver and his pals (Beaver was too young), or Betty and Veronica from the Archie comics.

The bands generally rock, although some may have a few strings and a backing chorus—-the better volumes of this series may only have 4 or 5 such tracks, spread out among the 30.

Also, various volumes feature early recordings by people who are better-known for their work after this era…. early tracks by Skip Battin and Steve Barri on various Teenage Dreams volumes come to mind. And it’s great to learn about the local “teen scene” circa 1959 or 1961 in towns such as Corpus Christi or Dayton or Providence or Charlotte…not to mention the well-chosen overseas teen-rockers from places such as New Zealand or Belgium or (as on this album, with the Dickie Loader track) South Africa. Back in the LP era, Collector-White Label issued 3 fine albums of this kind of material from New Zealand called ROCK FROM THE OTHER SIDE, which are highly recommended (those leaned toward more of a harder R&R sound, but the “teener” feel was there most of the time).

I have about 20 of the 40 volumes and must say that they’ve provided me with endless hours of joy, particularly on road trips where it’s like the ultimate malt shoppe jukebox of fresh material you’d find in a dream. One could never “find” these kind of things out in the wild nowadays, and I never participate in online auctions, so the anonymous European compilers of this material, who know more about the nuts and bolts of the local US post-Elvis, pre-Beatles teen sound than I ever will, have really done us all a public service by making this exciting and enjoyable music available. Oh, there are other series mining this vein—-I’ve reviewed some of them in Ugly Things magazine, and I assume they will continue (the albums on the “Classics” label from Sweden are particularly fine), but those of us who love small-label original rock and roll featuring local-scene teen-idols should tip our hats to the folks at Teenie Weenie Records for sticking with this series for two decades or more….and keeping the quality high. I will raise a chocolate malt in their honor….

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Sunny Molino with the Chekkers

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