Saturday, December 1, 2012

Another early one from Concert Hall...

A couple of weeks ago, I posted details of a very early covers album on the Concert Hall label, Hit Parade 1963. Although the label seems mainly to have been interested in classical music, I have since discovered another album released by them, also filled with pop hits. This one's from 1964, and is broadly contemporary with a few other pioneering covers albums released at the time.

It's called Pick of the Pops, but of course had nothing to do with the later series of the same name on the Deacon label. This album, like the earlier Concert Hall LP, has specific acts named on the cover, all of whom appear to be bona fide artistes, albeit largely session men and women, and/or acts associated with live radio. In other words, not popular recording artists in their own right. (As for the backing group, The Comets, I can only assume they are nothing to do with Bill Haley!)

The track listing is interesting. There are two Beatles songs on the set, one ("Long Tall Sally") from their current hit EP and another ("Hard Day's Night") their current hit single. Neither of these are soundalikes though, consisting instead of instrumental versions. There's also a couple of tracks which were not hits at all ("Night In Madrid" and "Dreambeat"), both written by someone called Clynan, who in fact turns out to be a writer associated with the Concert Hall label itself. It is not known if either of these songs was recorded elsewhere.

As for the rest, they are soundalikes, or, it might be more accurate to say, 'in the style of' the hit artists. By way of example, here's this LP version of "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself", classic Bacharach-David, which was taken into the UK charts by Dusty Springfield. It's easy to spot the difference, but fair play to Concert Hall and the lead vocalist Rosemary Scott, for having a stab at this challenging track:

I Just Dont Know What To Do.mp3

All the songs on this album which were hits, entered the UK charts in May to August, 1964, giving a pretty accurate release date of circa September of that year. 

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