Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Jan & Dean|
The Complete Liberty Singles
Genres: Pop, Rock
A big part of our job here at Collectors' Choice Music is to survey the pop music landscape (or in this case, seascape) for artists whose collections don't really do them justice, and we think there's a strong case to be m... more »
A big part of our job here at Collectors' Choice Music is to survey the pop music landscape (or in this case, seascape) for artists whose collections don't really do them justice, and we think there's a strong case to be made that Jan & Dean are at the head of the line. Sure, their classic Liberty recordings have been anthologized, but never comprehensively, and almost always in re-mixed stereo, NOT in their original mono. Well, not this time. We've gone back to the original mono single tapes of EVERY one of Jan & Dean's Liberty singles, both their A and B-sides, then checked and checked again to make sure they were the RIGHT tapes, to bring you the ORIGINAL MONO SINGLE VERSIONS of these songs, exactly as they were released and exactly as they sounded when they climbed the charts and blared out of your Woody's car radio. The package includes extensive liner notes by Ed Osborne and David Beard featuring interviews with those close to the action, like engineer/producer Bones Howe, Jan Berry friend/co-writer Don Altfeld and Dean Torrence himself, plus photos of Jan and Dean and shots of some of the single's label and jacket art.
Top-notch package of the duo's Liberty A's and B's
hyperbolium | Earth, USA | 08/27/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the shorthand of compilation albums and oldies radio, Jan & Dean sprung into the world fully-formed with the 1963 chart-topper "Surf City," and proceeded to unwind a string of surf and drag hits that included "Honolulu Lulu," "Drag City," "Dead Man's Curve," "The Little Old Lady (From Pasadena)," "Ride the Wild Surf," and "Sidewalk Surfin'." And together with the Beach Boys, they defined the sunshine drenched Southern California sound of 1963 and 1964. And while their well-known singles were a fundamental element of the West Coast pop revolution, there's a lot more to the Jan & Dean story, before, during and after their most celebrated sides were waxed. This collection of singles (A's and B's) recorded by Jan and Dean for Liberty between 1962 and 1966 provides ear-opening insight to the duo's pre-stardom gestation, the experiments and advances that paralleled their hit-making years, and the artistic reach that extended past their radio-friendly hits.
Though Jan & Dean had recorded ten singles (and achieved two hits) before signing with Liberty, the initial sides for their new label still found them searching for a unique sound and identity. They opened their relationship with Liberty by revisiting the pop doo-wop they'd practiced in the late `50s, recording the `40s standard "Sunday Kind of Love" in the footsteps of both the Harptones and Del Vikings. Jan & Dean's take follows the latter's upbeat approach, but with a solo vocal and a clownish band arrangement. The duo's next outing, "Tennessee." was even goofier, with "ba ba ba" backing vocals, stomping percussion and a roaring sax solo. Switching to Brill Building material, they cut the Mann & Weil ballad "My Favorite Dream" and gave a rock `n' roll twist to Barry Mann's "Who Put the Bomp" on the flip; both sides disappeared without a trace.
Their Christmas single, "Frosty the Snowman" and its doo-wop flip-side "She's Still Talking Baby Talk" (a sequel to their 1959 hit "Baby Talk"), perpetuate the sense that Jan, Dean and their producers were still fishing for good ideas. That good idea turned out to be an imitation of the 4 Seasons with "Linda," borrowing the Jersey boys' rhythm and falsetto trademarks and finally riding back into the top-20. Continuing to capitalize on popular trends, their next single, the Jan Berry/Brian Wilson-penned "Surf City" not only took them to the top of the charts, but defined their enduring image and sound. In just over 2-1/2 minutes, Jan & Dean painted the sort of idyllic Southern California life that would sell millions of records on both coasts and in the landlocked states in between. Interestingly, the trademark falsetto on this track was neither Jan nor Dean, but Tony Minichiello; co-writer Brian Wilson can also be heard on the song's catch-line.
Riding the wave of surf and drag sounds, Jan & Dean released six more hits in a row before their chart action started to fade at the end of 1964. Throughout thia run they added fine B-sides to their singles, including the jaunty Gary Lewis-styled "When I Learn How to Cry," the sweet, sunshine "She's My Summer Girl," the 4 Seasons-ish "Someday (You'll Go Walking By)," the hilarious "Alley Oop" rewrite "Schlock Rod (Part 1)," and the Beach Boys styled "The New Girl in School" (which hit #37 as a flipside!). But even as their hits charted lower in the top-40 in 1965 and early 1966, Jan Berry was developing arrangements and production techniques (and using Los Angeles studio players) that were in league with Phil Spector and Brian Wilson. He layered vocals and instrumentation on sophisticated productions like "When It's Over," "You Really Know How to Hurt a Guy" and "A Beginning From An End." The latter is one of the duo's stranger picks for an A-side, given its story of a wife dying in childbirth. Even more strangely, it charted to #109! The B-sides also gave Berry a chance for humor with the "Surf City" rewrite "Folk City," and the manic car-song send-up "Bucket T."
Jan Berry's car crash in April of 1966 effectively ended the duo's recording career, with Liberty releasing their last major chart hit, the bubblegum doo-wop "Popsicle," as the B-side of "Norwegian Wood." Two more singles went nowhere, and Jan & Dean ended their run on Liberty. Gathered here are all of Jan & Dean's Liberty singles, remastered from the original mono tapes (that is, the AM-ready mixes that mattered), augmented by Jan Berry's 1965 solo single (the ironic anti-protest song, "The Universal Coward" b/w "I Can't Wait to Love You") and a scrapped B-side ("The Submarine Races"). Ed Osborne's liner notes are superb, as are the photos (CD-booklet small as they are) and reproductions of 7" single picture sleeves.
There's more to the Jan & Dean story in both their pre- and post-Liberty years, and in their album tracks, but as a pop act recording in the AM-radio singles era, this is an interesting way to view their career, particularly with the inclusion of the B-sides. Everything here has appeared on CD somewhere else, an album or a compilation, but never before have all the original mono mixes been laid end-to-end. A more encompassing collection that picks up select earlier sides might be more interesting to the Jan & Dean neophyte, but anyone interested in their most productive years will relish the opportunity to hear all the Liberty singles in a row. [©2008 hyperbolium dot com]"
Mono was definitely the way to go in this outstanding new co
Paul Tognetti | Cranston, RI USA | 08/29/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Collector's Choice got it right. While putting together "Jan and Dean: The Complete Liberty Singles" anthology the producers decided to offer the original mono recordings that you would have heard on your transistor radio back in the early to mid 1960's. In those days, most of the 45 rpm releases were mono. Later attempts to release this material in stereo just didn't cut it. As a result, the sound quality on just about every track on "Jan and Dean: The Complete Liberty Singles" is clean and crisp and remarkably authentic.
While I doubt that anyone would consider Jan and Dean to be important figures in the history of rock and roll they certainly did have a fairly impressive run between 1958 and 1966. During this period they placed a total of 26 sides on Billboard's Hot 100 Singles Chart. Most of these releases were in fact on the Liberty label. On "Jan and Dean" The Complete Liberty Singles" you will find the A & B sides of all 21 of the guys Liberty releases. The early releases find Jan and Dean struggling to come up with just the right sound. Before signing with Liberty they recorded for the Dore label among others and dabbled in doo-wop "Baby Talk" and folk "Clementine". Their 1961 recording of the venerable standard "Heart and Soul" certainly showed some promise for the boys. Later on in 1961 Jan and Dean signed a new recording deal with Liberty records. They attempted to build on the success of "Heart and Soul" with their initial Liberty release "A Sunday Kind of Love". It was a dismal failure. In early 1963, a tune called "Linda" achieved modest success and set the stage for the boy's most productive period. During this period surf music and cruisin' music had become all the rage. The Beach Boys were riding high and so Jan and Dean decided it was time to jump on the bandwagon. With a little help from their friend Brian Wilson, Jan and Dean reached the top of the charts on the summer of '63 with "Surf City". And the hits just kept on coming over the next 18 months with rollicking favorites like "Honolulu Lulu", "Dead Man's Curve" and "The Little Old Lady From Pasadena". Of all of the Jan and Dean hits my all-time favorite is "Ride The Wild Surf" from the fall of 1964. I also enjoyed hearing "The New Girl In School", "You Really Know How To Hurt A Guy" and the boys final hit "Popsicle" for the first time in a long time.
"Jan and Dean: The Complete Liberty Singles" also offers listeners the opportunity to sample all of the B sides of the singles as well. Definitely a mixed bag here. As always, Collector's Choice has done an exceptional job in putting this collection together. "Jan and Dean: The Complete Liberty Singles" definitely fills a void in my collection. I am giving this one 4 stars.
I would break it down this way: 3 1/2 stars for the music and 4 1/2 stars for the package. Recommended."
Jan & Dean Belong in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame!
Phil Miglioratti | 01/06/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Fantastic collection that chronicles the best of Jan & Dean's career.
42 tracks ranging from their #1 hit(Surf City) to gotta-hear album tunes like My Mighty G.T.O. - Lots of upbeat hits (New Girl in School), underrated singles (I Found A Girl), and hints at their unique brand of humor that predated the Monkees (Batman), as well as where they were heading before Jan's accident (Can't Wait to Love You). Substantive linear notes including some by David Beard of Endless Summer Quarterly (the Beach Boys and Jan & Dean journal)."