Most Ace customers will know by now that both my grandfather and father had general (and considerable) influence on my collecting habits, thanks to the records they introduced me to even before I was old enough for school. Needless to say, I’m eternally grateful to them for showing me the value of music at an incredibly early age.
Grandad bought 78s up to the point where the major labels announced their imminent discontinuance in late 1959. He then continued to buy two 45s each week from theUKcharts, all the way though to 1980 when he turned 78. Dad was somewhat quicker to adapt to the newer medium; the first 45 that ever came into our house arrived three years earlier. It’s almost inevitable somehow that said 45 was on London.
Andy Williams’ ‘Canadian Sunset’ joined 78s by Tennessee Ernie, Hank Williams, Bill Haley, Guy Mitchell, Frankie Laine and other family favourites in 1956, and was quickly followed by others that fascinated me almost as much for their size and for their tri-centres as for the music they contained. The family Dansette regularly rocked to the sounds of ‘Rip It Up’, ‘When My Dreamboat Comes Home’ and other great records. I’m not sure where ‘Canadian Sunset’ fitted into all this – it may have been a purchase for my mum – but I liked it as much as anything else from Dad’s fast growing collection of 45s by Fats Domino, Little Richard and that bloke with the crazy name of Elvis something.
More than 50 years later I still like ‘Canadian Sunset’, and it’s pleasing to be able to include it on the latest in our London American series. which overviews 1956. It’s also good to include the aforementioned Fats and Richard singles, as well as others that a number of Ace buyers will also have grown up on – plus even more that most of us didn’t hear until long after the event, thanks to the limited exposure pop music received in the UK in the mid-50s.
Many of the greatest rock’n’rollers debuted on London during 1956, Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry and Mr. Penniman being just three. It was also the year that the London A&R team slipped the likes of Werly Fairburn and Faye Adams past their bosses, who may have been less pleased with those sales than with ‘Rip It Up’ and the ubiquitous ‘Davy Crockett’!
As ever, most of our inclusions sound as they did on their original London releases, having been mastered from the same tapes. Several have never been legally reissued in the UK before, and others have never been reissued at all. Ace’s beloved founder Ted Carroll shares his own memories of London’s musical impact on his youth and life in the foreword, and as always there’s copious track-by-track annotation and at least one scan of every 45 (or 78) featured in our programme.
Move over London 2012 – here comes London 1956!
By Tony Rounce