CD Soul/R&B Review

Hang On Sloopy: The Bert Berns Story Volume 3

CD Title: The Bert Berns Story Volume 3

Label: Ace

Many saw him as equal to Phil Spector and Holland/Dozier/Holland in terms of record producers but he was no mean slouch as a writer of songs, either. How do the Isley Brothers’ Twist And Shout and Solomon Burke’s Cry To Me do for starters? Moving into producing at Altantic, Berns then worked with the likes of the Drifters, Ben E King, Mel Torme, Little Esther Phillips and the Vibrations. He would also pitch in at other labels too with sessions working with the Wanderers’ (United Artists), Betty Harris (Jubilee) and the Hockadays’ (Symbol). Later, he would start his own label, Bang and help Neil Diamond and Van Morrison produce some of their best work.

This is the third volume that continues the Berns story featuring the likes of Ben E King on an uptempo number, Let The Water Run Down (Berns took overproduction duties from Leiber & Stoller during 1964 and 1965), The Isley Brothers You Better Come Home (which backed the Brother’s Twist And Shout follow-up, Twistin’ With Linda) and, would you believe, The Shirelles singing that very song, Twist And Shout. Interestingly, you could find songs on the Sceptre label being covered by label mates and, just to add the confusion, utilising the same backing track. The Shirelles were not strangers to this track because they used it as a successful opening for their live act. They even created a rather nifty dance routine to go with it, so placing the ditty on vinyl was, for them, an obvious decision.

There’s plenty of more obscure tracks and artists here to keep you interested such as such as The Exciters’ There They go, essentially the same song as Here Coes The Night recording, with Berns as producer, with Lulu and Them plus Roy C’s Stop What You’re Doin’, one of the first artists to record for Berns’ Shout label.

Cracking stuff, packed with treasures, great music and performances.

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