The DorÃÆ’© Story: Postcards From Los Angeles 1958-1964
Ace's September Newsletter just landed in my inbox and this release (available September 6th) charts the rise of the legendary LA DorÃÆ’© label. This is the first release charting the story of the label and with subsequent releases should give a fascinating and comprehensive guide to the releases on the label. No Black Music (R&B/Soul/Northern etc) to speak of in the first release but I guess they have to start somewhere when telling the story of a record label.
As usual the comprehensive liner notes, some 18,000 words, for you to read whilst listening to the CD a couple of times.
Ace newsletter notes....
A one-man operation run at street level for more than two decades, Hollywood's Dore label launched the careers of Phil Spector and Jan & Dean in the late 1950s and built upon these early triumphs with an extensive catalogue of pop, rock and soul 45s during the 60s before branching successfully into comedy in the early 1970s. ¨ ¨The story of DorÃÆ’© records is inextricably linked with that of its owner, Lew Bedell, who entered the music business in 1955 having worked as a minor professional entertainer in the preceding years. Pop music was different back then and never more so than in California, where Hollywood's dominance of the entertainment scene meant that Los Angeles was scarcely aware of its music industry until hotshot producers such as Phil Spector, Brian Wilson, Snuff Garrett and Lou Adler finally put the town on the recording map in the mid-1960s. ¨ ¨Individualists such as Bedell were usually referred to as "characters" or as being "larger than life", suggesting they were caricatures of some sort, but Bedell, for all his eccentricities, was somehow too pragmatic a man to fit that description. ¨ ¨DorÃÆ’© began as a subsidiary of Era, a Hollywood label best known for mainstream pop hits such as 'Chanson D'Amour' and 'The Wayward Wind'. Bedell had founded Era with his cousin Herb Newman before breaking away to run DorÃÆ’© alone. In 1958, it got off to a flying start with 'To Know Him Is To Love Him' by the Teddy Bears, a worldwide hit, followed a few months later by Jan & Dean's 'Baby Talk'.
The major labels had lost touch with the street and it was largely left to LA's scattering of independents to set teenagers' turntables spinning on the West Coast. ¨ ¨It was the age of the walk-in deal on LA's so-called record row, an area of Hollywood populated by small labels wheeling and dealing from storefronts or backrooms. Some went in the blink of an eye but DorÃÆ’© stayed, moving seamlessly from rock and pop into soul music in the mid-60s. In this climate of spontaneous deal-making and low recording costs, Bedell was regularly approached by would-be's and wanna-be's, some of whom may have had something on the ball. Herb Alpert, Shel Talmy and Mike Curb were just a few who brought their first productions to DorÃÆ’© and there are some interesting connections: aside from Spector and Jan & Dean, the Walker Brothers and Vince Taylor all come into the story. ¨ ¨
25 of the 28 tunes on this first volume of "The DorÃÆ’© Story" appear on legitimate CD for the first time, all taken from the original masters, including previously unissued rockabilly from cult figure Joel Scott Hill, two ultra-rare rock instrumentals by Bobby Fry, the guitarist Vince Taylor brought over with him from America in 1958. There's exquisite doo wop, some featuring that cherished East LA "Barrio" sound, early teen rock from John Maus of the Walker Brothers and a rare instro featuring Scott Walker himself. DorÃÆ’© is becoming a collected label. Many of the original DorÃÆ’© 45s are now beginning to fetch quite big money, helped by the aura of mystique that surrounds the label and its distinctive logo. ¨ ¨The generously proportioned, specially designed package includes a 18,000-word newly researched profile of DorÃÆ’© and Lew Bedell, artist biographies and many never-before seen photographs and illustrations. "The DorÃÆ’© Story" is an engaging snapshot of that moment in time before lawyers and accounts took over the music biz and things were simpler and probably more fun.
¨ ¨By Rob Finnis
courtesy Roger Armstrong
01 LET'S SPLIT - Bobby Fry
02 MARATHON ROCK - Joel Hill & the Rebels
03 BABY TALK - Jan & Dean
04 LOOK FOR A STAR - Deane Hawley
05 RING-A-DING-DING - The Tides
06 TRUE DEEP LOVE - The Premiers
07 STOMPIN' SH-BOOM - The Dories
08 EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE - The Debonaires
09 X-2 - Bobby Fry
10 DOIN' TIME - Ronnie Cook & the Diamonds
11 SOMEDAY - Cam Morris with Don Coats' Crusaders
12 MY BABY DONE ME WRONG - Kid Guitar Thompson & the Scooters
13 BABY, BABY, ALL THE TIME - The Superbs
14 TOO FAR TO TURN AROUND - The Creators
15 LOVIN' DADDY - Chuck Miles & the Styles
16 SHAKE IT, SHAKE IT - Larry Harmon
17 HEY LADY - The Entertainers IV
18 HIDEOUT - John & Judy
19 RUMBLE AT NEWPORT BEACH - Mike Gordon & the Agates
20 BABY DOLL - Billy Saint
21 PERCOLATOR - Billy Joe & the Checkmates
22 A CASUAL LOOK - Chris Darlin
23 AFTER SCHOOL ROCK - The Baritones
24 LAST YEAR ABOUT THIS TIME - The Symbols
25 TO KNOW HIM IS TO LOVE HIM - The Darlings
26 THERE'S SOMETHING ON YOUR MIND - Little Ray
27 SHOWDOWN - Tony Casanova
28 I LOVE YOU, I DO - Freddie Willis