CD Jet Black Leather Machine * (CD 4419576),
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Jet Black Leather Machine *

  • 1. Brand New Cadillac
    2. Jet Black Machine
    3. My Baby Left Me
    4. My Babe
    5. What'cha Gonna Do (When Your Baby Leaves You)
    6. I'll Be Your Hero
    7. Move Over Tiger
    8. Sweet Little Sixteen
    9. Baby Let's Play House
    10. Twenty Flight Rock
    11. Memphis Tennessee
    12. Jezebel
    13. Endless Sleep
    14. Pledging My Love
    15. Cold White and Beautiful
    16. Long Tall Sally
    17. Jeannie, Jeannie, Jeannie
    18. Right Behind You Baby
    19. I Like Love
    20. Shot of Rhythm and Blues, A
    21. Hi Heel Sneakers
    22. Rock'n'roll Station
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 1213

  • Credits

    Liner Note Author: Kieron Tyler.
    Author: David Bowie.
    Photographers: Bill Francis; Herman Leonard.
    Arrangers: Clifford Adams; Howard Barnes.
    Vince Taylor is a legend of early British rock & roll. He wrote and recorded one of the few pre-Beatles U.K. rock songs that can be hailed as a legitimate classic ("Brand New Cadillac"), and also led a madly colorful life that saw him eventually gain stature as one of rock's earliest demented burnouts. For all his legend, however, there's never been a compilation that effectively gathered the best of his recorded output onto one disc -- until this one. Jet Black Leather Machine, finally, manages to cross-license the best and hardest-rocking of both his late-'50s British recordings and the early- to mid-'60s tracks he cut in France, all but one of these 21 tracks originating from 1958-1965. Does it live up to the legend of this manically energetic singer who tried to come off as a cross between Elvis Presley and Gene Vincent, as well as TO claim not quite genuine American origins (he did live there for a few years in the 1950s, but was born and raised in Britain)?
    Yes and no, though any disappointment is negated by the surprising force and sheer enjoyability of most of this set. In all honesty, Taylor wasn't that great a singer, and though he did write "Jet Black Machine," most of his recorded repertoire was limited to American rock & roll covers that the original artists did better. Yet his lack of innate talent was compensated for by both an idiosyncratic, over the top enthusiasm -- a faint precursor, perhaps, to the many punk and post-punk singers who similarly didn't let a shortage of standard vocal chops stand in their way -- and some genuinely ripping backup musicians, even when he's accompanied by British ones in the late '50s. The menacing "Brand New Cadillac" alone would solidify his place in history, but he did manage a few other good sides that weren't American rock covers, most notably "Jet Black Machine." And even those covers of American rockers -- which do comprise well over half of this set -- usually pummeled along pretty hard, whether it be his 1958 debut single "I Like Love" (a Sun Records cover with a young, pre-Hamburg Tony Sheridan on guitar) or his 1965 version of "My Baby Left Me," which has some truly astonishing guitar leads that rank right up there with the most ferocious axework of the British Invasion. Bravo to Ace for intelligently selecting the best of this wayward British rock pioneer's highly erratic discography, complete with a fine career overview in Kieron Tyler's lengthy liner notes. ~ Richie Unterberger

  • Critic Reviews
    Rolling Stone (p.78) - "[A] machine-gun spray of Taylor's U.K. singles and French EP tracks...that sounds like the missing link between Presley's Sun sessions and the crisp, breathless R&B of the early Who."
    Mojo (Publisher) (p.121) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he utterly abandoned 'My Baby Left Me' is a close cousin to The Syndicats' vicious, Joe Meek-produced Crawdaddy Simone; 'Long Tall Sally' is equally primitive and thrilling..."
    Record Collector (magazine) (p.104) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "As an artefact of a very precious era of UK music this is unbeatable..."
    Record Collector (magazine) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "This compilation brings together 22 of his most notable recordings, from a rockabilly shuffle version of Frankie Laine's 'Jezebel' to a curious jazz reworking of the traditional folk ballad 'Cold White & Beautiful....Unpolished and electrifying..."
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