Saturday, January 15, 2011

Billy Fury - We Want Billy! (1963)

Recorded live in Decca's Studio No. 3, in front of several hundred screaming girls, with the Tornados (yes, the "Telstar" guys) backing him up. This is an energetic set, but one that, viewed in the cold light of history, is not enduring. Fury may have been one of the best of the pre-Beatles rockers, but that doesn't make him great. About half of this "concert" date consists of rock & roll oldies like "Sweet Little Sixteen" and "Unchain My Heart," sung in a competent sub-Elvis mold (though the Tornados aren't about to make anyone forget Scotty Moore or James Burton). There's also a lengthy medley of many of his early-'60s pop hits, which are better heard in their studio versions. The Tornados' arrangements have a certain dated charm, with a rinky-dink organ and tinny reverb guitar. But this has little more than nostalgic value, and not even that for American listeners, who were never aware of Fury in the first place.

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