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Bandera Doo Wop (MP3), MP3 (£7.99)
Limited edition of 1500.
Some years after Ray Topping first explored the Bandera tapes for Ace (check out “Bandera Blues & Gospel” CDCHD 808 and “Bandera Rockabilly & Country Roots” CDCHD 811) we now bring you the pick of the Chicago-based label’s doo wop output.
It is only fitting that much of this collection should be devoted to the Impressions featuring Jerry Butler, without whose big hit ‘For Your Precious Love’ the Bandera label might never have got off the ground. Of the 11 Impressions tracks contained here, seven are previously unissued. On nine of the titles the line-up is Jerry Butler, Curtis Mayfield and Sam Gooden, with Fred Cash replacing Butler on the other two.
Vi Muszynski and her son, Bernie Harville Jr, had talked of forming a record company. When Vi spotted the Impressions in April 1958, although she didn’t have a label yet, she signed the group to a recording contract. She worked with the group and fortunately for us recorded their rehearsal sessions, which are released here for the first time. Then, still with no company herself, Vi leased their finished recordings to Vee-Jay, who issued ‘For Your Precious Love’ before quickly withdrawing it and repressing it on their Falcon subsidiary. The success of the record justified Vi’s faith in the group and the royalties she earned set Bandera Records off and running, but the single also gained the attention of a Texas-based company who owned the name Falcon, forcing a name change to Abner, on which imprint sales continued. When two more records released during 1958 did not yield the same success, Vee-Jay decided to separate Jerry Butler from the Impressions. With no money to fight a legal battle she had scant chance of winning, Vi found herself with a leaderless group. In the meantime, with Vi looking after the doo wop, blues and gospel roster and Bernie handling the country and rockabilly artists, Bandera Records had become a reality, producing some fine waxings in all of those categories.
It is sad for all involved, that in those far off days when payola ruled, Vi and Bernie didn’t have the funds to promote the releases on Bandera. There is no doubt that had the cards fallen differently many of the tracks to be heard here had the quality to provide that elusive hit.
Of the 26 tracks featured, 22 are appearing on legal CD for the first time, ten are previously unreleased and all have been remastered to give the best possible sound. The CD is the latest in our Deluxe limited edition series and only 1500 will be pressed.