Bobby Lewis: Mumblin, Tossin’ and Turnin’
Rating: 4/5
He may be best known for his three million-selling hit Tossin’ And Turnin’, but there is much more to this 95-year-old rock pioneer, as Roger Dopson’s admirable career overview illustrates. Bobby’s recording career started 10 years before his defining, and well-remembered No.1, and opened with Mumbles Blues, a catchy and politically incorrect self-penned number cut originally for Chess in Chicago. It attracted so many cover versions that by 1956 he recorded it again, but a song about a speech impediment was found distasteful by many crucial radio disc jockeys, and it failed to chart. Bobby was a popular live performer, particularly at the Harlem Apollo Theatre, so he continued to record for the rest of the 50s, often writing his own numbers. Yay Yay, I Feel So Gay, a Mercury label cut that compiler Roger describes as almost unfeasibly rare, is solid rock’n’roll and well worth seeking out in spite of its now-dated title. There are 27 tracks, a detailed booklet, and two versions of Tossin’ And Turnin’, the mono 45rpm cut and the stereo LP version, and much more to explore. Recommended listening. John Howard

The Swamp Shakers: Don’t Wanna Miss
Rating: 3/5
When Pete Anderson knew his time on earth was up, he made his band The Swamp Shakers promise to carry on without him. Thus we have this marvellous CD and vinyl 7″ package with 17 tracks on shiny, and two on vinyl. Tracks include originals and revivals, not least a rocking take on Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here plus impressive versions of Pink Cadillac, Don’t Bug Me Baby and The Hucklebuck. The band compositions bear comparison with the classics. Superb artwork and fine playing suggest the promise made to Pete has been kept. JH


The Kingcats: Coast to Coast
(oot Tapping Records)
Rating: 3/5
Seventeen-year veterans of the rock’n’roll circuit The Kingcats, with fine vocals from Bill Crittenden, offer an eclectic collection of standards from their stage show. Charlie Rich’s Midnight Blues, Carl Perkins’ Honey Don’t and Big Joe Turner’s Flip, Flop And Fly are among the covers, but the opener, a Crittenden original and the title cut, suggests a whole CD of self-penned material might be imminent. The CD is dedicated to the late keyboardist Rusty Lupton, but Jim Hammond on piano proves a worthy successor on this outing. JH

Various Artists: The Telstar Hot 100: December 22nd 1962
Rating 5/5
You might think a 4CD, 98-track collection of almost every record on the Billboard music chart on the day The Tornados’ Telstar hit US No.1 might be enough for any music fan. But, no. This package includes a comprehensive booklet with details of every act and recording in the collection. Everyone from Elvis Presley to The Orlons, from Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett to Bobby Rydell gets equal space, and it’s a breathtaking tribute to compiler Paul Watts for the huge amount of work this must have taken. Well done! JH