“They’re Really ‘Hip’”, says Archie….
Ace followers may have noticed the small revolution that’s been going on in NW10 for the past few months. Earlier in 2006, we put out a selection of great old albums that we’d wanted to release on CD for, like, ever, but that mostly had an LP length running time that would preclude their being issued at full price.
Taking a cue from what our reissue-crazy friends in Japan have been doing for some time – and in tribute to those funny little flexidisc 45s that the American Philco company used to put out in the mid 60s - the Ace backroom boffins brainstormed for what often felt like decades, and eventually came up with the “Ace Hip Pocket Edition” – a perfect five inch miniature of what had, in its vinyl prime, been a beautiful big twelve incher.
Our first few releases revisited parts of the back pages of Ace’s original alter ego, Chiswick Records, and restored to catalogue albums by the Bishops, Whirlwind, Radio Stars and others of their not-inconsiderable ilk. These were so well received that we soon began to look at giving a shot to Hip Pocketing a few things that were, shall we say, a bit more “Ace”-y.
Having already stuck a toe in the water last month, with the well-received Hip Pocket release of our perennial Link Wray compilation (“Early Recordings, CDCHM 6), we’ve found that all you rockers and rollers seem to go for these little versions of large albums – and in the biggest and best way. Thus it is that, this month, we’re dropping almost a whole foot in the ol’ H20, and are reissuing small-but-perfectly formed replications of two of the most cherished albums from the late 1950s. The repertoire on the Champs’ classic of instro-rock Go Champs, Go!! and Don and Phil Everly’s 1958 debut – perhaps more commonly known as “They’re Off And Rolling, Says Archie” – has of course been reissued on CD before, but these HP editions would seem to mark the first release of them in their original format, and as Challenge and Cadence Records (respectively) intended them to be heard. Only in better sound, naturally.
Each of these CDs contains a generous number of original hits, and each has been mastered afresh from new digital transfers of original sources – no bargain basement mucking about here, folks, these really do sound ‘better than ever’! What they might lack in size – they make up for in content, and are fantastic value for money at considerably less than the price of your average round these days.
In the coming months we’ll be bringing you an even greater, across the board, range of Hip Pocket editions. Some, like this month’s two goodies, will offer scaled down replications of much-loved, previously reissued, long playing masterworks. Others, which will be equally small and perfectly-formed, will present one off albums that have never been available on CD before, with running times that are perhaps a little too short to justify a more grandiose release, but that are nonetheless worthy of a place in anyone’s collection…
By Tony Rounce