Gene Vincent Still Remembered in France

Camille Daddy Brest R'n'R Appreciation Society. Oct., 11, 2006

           In memoriam of Gene Vincent, who passed away 35 years ago, there will be several events held in France. Gene died on 12th October 1971, in California, at the age of 36 from a bleeding ulcer. He was just back from an England tour when fate hit him. Gene was often touring Europe in the 60's after the wheel of fortune had turned for him. He's now a Rock'n'Roll icon and the definitive wild man of authentic Rock'n'Roll.
           When I was young everybody wanted to be Gene Vincent and, even if we walked in streets, we dreamed about his "race with the devil". We spend hours listen those who saw him on stage with Eddie Cochran or on later tours with his black leather outfit. Black leather, white face, eyes always looking at the lights, leaning on the mike stand, rockin' and rollin' ... he was the "Wild Cat"!
           But, if Gene was rockin' hard since his first record in May 56, he could sing some great ballads just like a bird. Nobody can't beat Gene on those kinds of songs even if producers had brought strings on. Many 45 rpm's in the 50's coupled a rock'n'roll (or would be rock'n'roll) song with a syrup ballad shaped with teenage silly lyrics. Gene had also two different sides but each one has premium quality. For this 35th anniversary of his sad passing, I just wanted to let you know about some of his "sweet songs", year after year.

           I SURE MISS YOU: That original song was cut 4th may 1956, in Nashville with "Be Bop A Lula", "Woman Love" and "Race With the Devil". That superb song was only used on the first LP tiled "Bluejean Bop". We sure miss you too, Gene. That session should never have been if Carl Perkins and Gene Vincent had not crossed paths, in Norfolk, 21th march 1956. Gene opened for Carl who was on his way for The Perry Como TV Show in New-York. Sheriff Tex Davis asked to Carl about Gene's potential. Carl told him to go ahead on with that "Be Bop a Lula Country Boy". Thanks, Carl!
           UNCHAINED MELODY: Recorded in October 1956, that classic song is simply fabulous. That song was also recorded by The Righteous Brothers and Elvis Presley. That song was never issued in single in the US but find his way on 45 rpm's in England in 1961. Listen Gene singing with the support of his Blue Caps: I need your love, God speed your love to me. Pure Heaven!
           IMPORTANT WORDS: Recorded at the same session as the song above but with The Jordanaires. Gene will do another recording of that song in 1958. Coupled with "Crazy Legs", it will be on Gene's 4th single issued in US. Important work!

           TIME WILL BRING YOU EVERYTHING: Written by Paul Peek, a legendary Blue Cap, and recorded in June 1957, that's a fabulous song. Can I talk about Gene without mentioning a word about his famous backing band, The Blue Caps? The band was fronted by Paul Peek and Bubba Facenda as "Clapper boys" doin' wild moves and a great acrobatics. Paul Peek is dead but that song stays like a legacy. Bubba Facenda is still well, alive and rockin'!
           KEEP IT A SECRET: Recorded in Hollywood, in December 1957, that song was already done by Slim Whitman for "Imperial" in 1952. The vocal work of Gene, Bubba and Paul is impressive. That was the last session for Dickie Harrell, Gene's first drummer. Dickie will leave the band after that session. Dickie is still "be boppin'" on his drums kit and has a CD out titled "Dickie & Friends". That CD recorded in the "Sun" studio in Memphis offers classic Gene Vincent songs sung by famous performers as Billy Swan and Narvel Felts to name a few. You can find it at
           YOU'LL NEVER WALK ALONE: That song was from the musical "Carousel" and came from the 40's. Gene voice is better than ever. One of his best recordings.

           PEACE OF MIND: In March 58, Gene was back in Hollywood for a session. He recorded that Spaniels Doo-wop song with the help of his friend Eddie Cochran. Peace of Mind, that's probably what Gene was lookin' for and never founnd.
           OVER THE RAINBOW: Recorded in October 1958, that song better now by Judy Garland, was issued in single in the US. That's Gene's masterpiece and there's any Gene's musical event without that song being played. That song is often, if not always, played when came wedding or death among European rockin' people.

           WEEPING WILLOW: In May 1960, Gene was in London and recorded that song with The Norrie Paramor Orchestra. Violins came for the first time in a Gene's song but his beautiful voice saved the tune. Listen his sweet voice singing: I lost my love, dear willow, have you lost your love too? Pure magic!

           LOVE OF A MAN: Recorded in London, that song was never issued in US. He came in France on a superb EP record titled "Gene Vincent in Paris". Watch out for that great song!

           LONELY STREET: Backed by The Champs and Al Casey, gene does a great job with that Carl Belew song. Recorded in 1956 by Dave Rich for RCA, that song carries autobiographical words for Gene as "I need a place to go and weep". Sad sad song issued in the US on "Challenge" records.

           No. 9 (LONESOME WHISTLE): With that song from the Hank Williams catalogue, Gene is back on his country roots. Gene is here backed on guitar by Johnny Meeks, an original Blue Caps and a great picker. Johnny is still around and played a the Gene Vincent tribute in Van Nuys last year with Glen Glenn. Probably the best song from the "Dandelion" LP and the last of the four Hank Williams songs recorded by Gene.

           500 MILES: A classic song first recorded by Bobby Bare for RCA. Gene is backed by Scotty Mc Kay, better know as Max Lipscomb, who was piano player in the Blue Caps in 1957/58. Here Gene wonders: if my luck had just been right? That recording could be finding on his first "Kama Sutra" LP.

           On 12th October 2006, Gene will be gone since 35 years. His music is still as good as then and still fresh, rockin' and rollin'. Maybe someday we will see a movie about that legendary rocker who tried to out run the devil on road race. But, for now, you got enough titles here in order to make a nice tribute CD. You can call it "Sweet Gene Vincent". That's just what he was!

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