Ace's canteen staff can usually sense when there's another volume of Golden Age Of American Rock'n'Roll in the offing. There's a palpable tension in the air. It's lunchtime and Rob Finnis, pale and hollow-eyed with exhaustion is slouched over a corner table nursing a lukewarm cup of tea. Across the room, seated at another table, Trevor Churchill is tucking into a specially prepared salad nicoise but the flavour isn't getting through to him today. He's more concerned about getting the EQ right on What Can I Do, Donnie Elbert's little known first hit (dating back to 1957) and one of the killer cuts scheduled for release on the latest "Golden Age".
Upstairs, clipboard in hand, Production Manager Carol Fawcett is prowling the corridors in full 'Rosa Klebb' mode. She has the difficult task of putting the whole thing together and suffers from PRT (pre release tension) brought on by RF's late booklet notes, information overload and sundry logistical distractions. In another room, the heroically stoical Chris Popham is scanning and planning yet another of the magnificent booklets that have graced this series.
Meanwhile, out in Long Island, New York, John Broven is fielding calls and e-mails from correspondents worried about rumours that this latest "Golden Age" will be the last in the series. He has nobly made himself available for counselling those of you unable to face the prospect of life without another "Golden Age" to look forward to.
All of us are immensely proud of the fact that Volume 10 is as good if not better than any of its predecessors, no mean achievement coming some ten years and nine volumes after the series was first launched. Among the titles on Volume 10 appearing on CD for the first time are Sonny Spencer's Gilee (#82 in 1959) and Rockin' Red Wing by Sammy Masters (#64 in 1960) both sourced from master tapes. Further exclusives include Jerry Butler & The Impressions' sublime For Your Precious Love. All previous digital re-issues of For Your Precious Love feature a version with a barely discernable drum overdub that went on at some point in the late 1960s when stereo re-issues were all the rage. Ace Records have located a pristine mono master without the overdub that dates back to the year of release.
Another scoop is the hitherto rarely heard "Bandstand version" of Rod Bernard's swamp rock classic, This Should Go On Forever. After an enforced lyric change following complaints to Dick Clark from the moral minority in the US, the song was re-recorded with new lyrics. In the 1950s, the Beeb was even more sensitive in its moral outlook than the pious Dick Clark, and it was the Bandstand re-cut (which Bernard himself regards as superior) that the London label chose to issue in the UK. It is heard here in digital form for the first time, re-mastered from the original tape.
The question we always ask ourselves every time a "Golden Age" is readied on the launching pad is 'Has it got the magic?' The answer from tens of thousands of you out there has been a resounding 'Yes!'
By Tania Fotheringey (Staff Canteen Manageress)