31 October 2009

The Bert Berns Story, Vol 1 - Twist And Shout

1960 - 1964. From the "Producers and songwriters series" from Ace. Writer and producer, of "Here comes the night" by the Them, for example. He also tried his own hand at performing, as a singer and musician, but with not much success.

A CD about a producer, so we need to listen for the sound quality and arrangements, eh? Don't worry, if anything's very obvious, it's that. There are little details everywhere, the sound is crafted very carefully and the songs are finely balanced. That's the biggest appeal of this album and it's something that's of a quality rarely heard these days.

With that and the timeframe of 1960 to 1964, it shouldn't come as a surprise that it sounds dated. The quality of the productions prevent this album from becoming boring, even though there aren't particularly big hits or exciting songs on it. Quite peculiar in fact, since Bert Berns isn't much more (or less) interesting than some of his artists (Solomon Burke, The Isley Brothers, Gene Pitney, Ben E. King, Lulu) and the songs on this album aren't much more interesting than some of the other (more famous) renditions of the same songs ('Twist and shout', 'Tell her', 'Here comes the night'). Take the 'Here comes the night' example: not the Them version but the version by Lulu, which is considerably worse (even admitted by Lulu).

Anyway, musically satisfactorily, enjoyable and diverse, historically interesting. The package is complemented in good Ace tradition with an extensive booklet: background on Bert Berns (with the inevitable overdose of details), background on the individual songs and artists, quotes by many relevant people and a good dose of pictures. Volume 2 is in the making and as mentioned before: it's part of a series focusing on producers and writers with other great stuff.
Ace, 2008

The Bert Berns Story, Vol 1 - Twist And Shout