Monday, August 17, 2009

Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas - At Abbey Road 1963-1966

All Music Album Review:

Amazing as it may seem, until the release of this CD, there had never been a proper British or European anthology on Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas, apart from one stripped-down budget release (Story) issued by way of Holland. This 28-song CD doesn't have everything that was on that disc, but it does have most of it, and features excellent sound. Much more important, it draws from well beyond Kramer's official British releases -- his chart successes, along with his recording history in America, extended longer than they did in England. The producers of this disc have reached out to encompass the better songs from among his U.S. releases and outtakes, including those unearthed on EMI-America's 1991-vintage Best of Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas; not even everything from that release (deleted as of 2003) is present here, but most of the best rarities and outtakes from it are -- including some superb late-era songs featuring guitarist Mick Green in excellent form -- and the rest is made up of what are arguably the best songs from Kramer's official U.K./U.S. catalog, off of the Listen album and his various singles, B-sides, and EPs. The sheer diversity of sounds and songs may surprise those who only think of Kramer as a second- or third-tier Liverpool act -- he ultimately proved to be a better-than-decent singer despite producer George Martin's initial doubts, and when he and the Dakotas (especially with Green in the lineup) did click, they made very good, if not necessarily very important records. The only flaw is the absence of any of the handful of instrumental tracks recorded by the Dakotas separate from Kramer. The sound is state-of-the-art, early-21st century digital audio, and the annotation is very thorough.
Track List:

01. Do You Want to Know a Secret?
02. I'll Be On My Way
03. Bad To Me
04. I Call Your Name
05. Dance With Me
06. Sugar Babe
07. I Know
08. I'll Keep You Satisfied
09. Little Children
10. They Remind Me Of You
11. Second To None
12. From A Window
13. Every Time You Walk In The Room
14. It's A Mad, Mad World
15. To Take Her Place
16. Under The Boardwalk
17. It's Gotta Last Forever
18. Sneakin' Around
19. Trains And Boats And Planes
20. I Love To Love You
21. Neon City
22. That Ain't Good For Me
23. I'll Be Doggone
24. Down In The Boondocks
25. We're Doing Fine
26. Forgive Me
27. Listen
28. Take My Hand
1998 EMI release featuring 28 tracks digitally transfered at24 bits resolution, processed using Sonic Solutions NoNoise technology and mastered to 16 bit for CD using Prism SNS Noise Shaping. Includes hits, B-sides, rare tracks and the previously unreleased tunes 'Down In The Boondocks' and 'Listen'.
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