Reissues (August 14): C89, The Leiber-Stoller Big Band, Sealed With A Kiss

Reissues (August 14): C89, The Leiber-Stoller Big Band, Sealed With A Kiss

Music Week's round-up of the latest album reissues and catalogue releases, including Cherry Red’s ‘80s indie collection C89 featuring The La’s, Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine and The Pooh Sticks’ classic, I Know Someone Who Knows Someone Who Knows Alan McGee Quite Well...

C89 (Cherry Red CRCDBOX 59)

Four years after it released a much-expanded version of the NME’s revered 1986 compilation C86, Cherry Red has compiled and released sequels documenting the indie scene of 1987 (C87) and 1988 (C88) and now celebrates 1989, with C89. It maintains – and perhaps improves – on the formula that has made its predecessors so successful, with 72 tracks on 3 CDs, housed in a clamshell box alongside an illuminating and weighty booklet with lengthy liner notes and copious illustrations. Tuneful pop, twee guitar bands and introverted indie all have their place, with early La’s (Come In Come Out), Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine (Sheriff Fatman) and The Mock Turtles (Wicker Man) among the gems on offer. A large number of tracks are making their CD debuts, and while nothing here falls below the level of extremely competent, there’s a lot of excellent fare that would certainly have been gracing John Peel’s show at the time. Among the more engaging tracks are The Pooh Sticks’ tongue-in-cheek tribute to Creation Records’ founder, I Knew Someone Who Knew Someone Who Knew Alan McGee Quite Well, and Dundee post-punk band The Wilderness Children’s sprightly Plastic Bag From Tescos.  

The Leiber-Stoller Big Band
Yakety Yak (Man In The Moon MITMCD 35)

As glorious as it is brief, Yakety Yak is a welcome reissue of a 1960 release that bore the names of the songwriting/production team of Leiber and Stoller, and contains what is essentially Count Basie’s Band applying their considerable chops to put a big band spin on 11 Leiber & Stoller masterpieces. In and out in a mere 29 minutes, it provides unique interpretations of The Coasters’ hits Poison Ivy and Yakety Yak, Little Richard’s Kansas City and Elvis Presley vehicles Lovin’ You, Hound Dog and Heartbreak Hotel, the latter being given an inventive, slow and smoking arrangement. More obscure songs, like The Cheers’ 1954 hit Bazoom and Black Denim Trousers & Motorcycle Boots, are also subjected to supercharged swing makeovers. Astonishingly, everything works – and nearly 60 years after the fact, the album sounds fresh and new.

Sealed With A Kiss (Crimson CRIMCD 615) 

With a tag line of ‘romantic classics of the 50s & 60s’, this album delivers in spades, with 60 songs that meet those criteria spread across a 3CD set clad in a slim digipack. Actually, not all of them manage to be romantic – The Everly Brothers’ Bye Bye Love, for example, is a song of love lost, with lyrics about being blue, crying and the rather less than romantic greeting ‘hello loneliness’. This is more than counter-balanced by the inclusion of Peggy Lee’s exquisite rendition of Till There Was You, James Ray’s Got My Mind Set On You – later a hit for George Harrison – and Eden Kane’s Get Lost, which might not sound romantic on the face of it, but redeems itself with lyrics like ‘get lost in my arms’ and ‘get lost in my love’. Everything here is freely available elsewhere but it’s a pleasant and inexpensive way or acquiring a plethora of timeless tunes from a lost era.     

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