|Rebel Heart Series, Gene Vincent & His Blue Caps
Magnum Force / TKO Magnum Music
For the Gene Vincent fans who want to have it all, Magnum Forces started the Rebel Heart series in 1992. Magnum was already a Force to reckon with in the 80s, especially when it comes to Gene Vincent rare stuff. They released some very fine vinyl albums with collectables, like for instance "Dressed In Black", "From L.A. To Frisco", "For Collectors Only", "Legendary Guitarists of Gene Vincent", and of course the newly recorded albums of The Blue Caps "Unleashed" and "On The Road Again".
With the help of Steve Aynsley, former front man of "Git It" and the Gene Vincent Fanclub in the U.K., TKO Magnum compiled a superb Gene Vincent collectors series titles "Rebel Heart". On the subject of Gene Vincent, Steve Aynsley is the man to talk to, and he wrote all the liner notes and session information (except on Vol. 1, which was done by John Braley). Every Gene Vincent fan in the world is always looking out to the next volume. Number 7 was released in 2000 and we had to wait almost 3 years for Volume 8 to be released. Steve writes "As it becomes increasingley difficult to obtain rare and previously unissued material, Volume 8 has been under preparation for some time, but I hope you will think it has been worth the wait".
Rebel Heart Volume 8 is indeed a wonderfull collection of Gene Vincent and Blue Caps related material, starting with an instrumental version of "Story Of The Rockers" which was previously only released on an LP titled "Baby Blue" (Showcase Records, 1984) as far as I know. And in case you thought you already had it on Rebel Heart Volume 2, I must disappoint you. Although the tracklisting of this album states that it contains 2 instrumental version of the song, it does not. Both are (different) vocal versions.
The version of Be-Bop-A-Lula, which Gene recorded with The Wild Angels in 1969, is very powerfull, with added instrumental backing. This, by the way, is not the version that was released on the Wild Angels double CD "Live, Wild, Red Hot 'n' Rockin'", which also includes 4 songs with Gene Vincent.
There are excepts from Gene's movies "It's Trad Dad" and "Hot Rod Gang" and no less than 9 tracks by the Phelps Brothers, recorded in 1955, featuring Cliff Galop, prior to his joining the Blue Caps in 1956. One of the tracks also features a very young Dickie Harrel on drums. These songs are general country songs and the sound quality is great.
The gig Gene did with the Wild Angels at the London Palladium on November 23rd, 1969 is included completely on request. It was previous released on the Magnum Force LP "For Collectors Only". The sound has been enhanced as much as possible, but it still suffers very poor sound quality. It's really too bad that there are no better recordings of this fabulous concert. Despite the sound quality, it's still very much worth while.
Among the 27 tracks are also 2 recordings from 2001 by ex-Blue Cap Jack Neal with his Jumpin' Jacks that sound very much like original Gene Vincent recordings. These recordings are an attempt to re-create the lost 1956 acetate "Red Sails in the Sunset" and a tribute to Cliff Gallup titled "Cliff's Gallup". Two excellent closer of a fantastic album all together. Well done Steve and Magum Force! And if you want to know all about it, go get this gem and read Steve's extensive liner notes. You won't be disappointed.
TKO Magnum Music Ltd.
Reviewed by The BlackCat, 2003