Fans of the kind of in-your-face pop created by those such as the 4 Seasons and Lou Christie will go ape for this stomping screechfest from Nashville's finest falsetto merchants. Those with a taste for white quasi-Motown won't go far wrong either. And Newbeats die-hards? Well, they'll be in hog heaven!
Only the Animals' The House Of The Rising Sun and Oh, Pretty Woman by Roy Orbison could keep the Newbeats' Bread And Butter from the top of Billboard's Hot 100 back in September 1964. Within a year the boys had notched up three further hits, establishing them as Hickory Records' top act. All are present and correct on this package.
Sure, the Newbeats have been the subject of the odd Best Of" in their time, but Ace have something more definitive planned. Well, they would, wouldn't they? By next year the group's complete Hickory output will be available, spread across three CDs. Can't wait! The project commences with this twofer of their first pair of albums, remastered from the original stereo production tapes, and bolstered by Shake Hands (And Come Out Crying) and Too Sweet To Be Forgotten, two sides of a non-LP 45.
It was a dazzling demo version of Bye Bye Love - cunningly remodelled to sound more like the 4 Seasons than the Everly Brothers - that landed the group their Hickory contract, although Dean Mathis, his brother Marc and lead singer Larry Henley had all previously waxed for the label in different guises. Cut at the first Newbeats session, it became a cream track on the "Bread And Butter" platter and would surely have made a great single. Talking of transformations, wait until you hear their bluebeat version of the Fiestas' So Fine! Thou Shalt Not Steal, from the pen of the great John D Loudermilk, became a hit single, but in a carbon copy rendition by Dick & Dee Dee. Elsewhere the boys give the girls a run for their money with great takes of It's In Her [His] Kiss and I'm Blue (The Gong-Gong Song), previously hits for Betty Everett and the Ikettes, respectively. Believe it or not, Bread And Butter was originally the designated B-side of Tough Little Buggy, a Jan & Dean-style car-song. How different the career of the Newbeats might have been if some smart Detroit DJ hadn't flipped the record over.
1965's "Big Beat Sounds Of The Newbeats" long-player kicks off with a driving re-do of Goffin & King's I Can't Hear You, another song popularised by Betty Everett. The album's key track, Break Away (From That Boy), a great Motown-styled pounder, was written by the clever Mathis brothers. Other standouts are The Birds Are For The Bees, Hey-O-Daddy-O, Find Ya Somewhere Else To Eat Your Crackers, Better Watch Your Step and The Natural, all from the Bread And Butter songwriting gang of Finnicum, Parks and Turnbow. Golden Age staples like Mother-In-Law, Baby Let's Play House and Great Balls Of Fire all get the unmistakable Newbeats treatment, God bless 'em.
Late in 1965 the Newbeats shot back into the charts with Run, Baby Run (Back Into My Arms), but we'll have to wait for their next Ace CD for that floorshaker. Until then, toast and jam, anyone?
By Mick Patrick"