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Rocker - 1959/66 (1978)
32 tracks, 1 previously unreleased
Columbia Pathe Marconi, 2C 154-06653/4 

Superb French compilation spanning Kidd's entire career.  All tracks in glorious mono.

Includes bonus single, re-release of HMV POP "My Babe / Castin' My Spell" by the Pirates
Please Don't Touch (Heath-Robinson) 1959
Growl (Heath-Robinson) 1959
Feelin' (Robinson-Heath) 1959
You Got What It Takes (Gordy-Davis-Gordy) 1960
Longin' Lips (Heath) 1960
Shakin' All Over (Blackwell) 1960
Restless (Wadmore-Kidd) 1960
Magic Of Love (Kidd-Dale-Robinson) 1960
Big Blon' Baby (Robert-Jacobson) 1960
Weep No More, My Baby (Arnette-O'Dell-Murphy-Paterno) 1960
Linda Lu (Sharpe) 1961
Let's Talk About Us (Blackwell) 1961
Please Don't Bring Me Down (Kidd) 1961
So What (Crompton-Jones) 1962
I Want That (Williams) 1964
My Babe (Dixon-Stone) 1964*
I Can Tell (Smith-McDaniels) 1962
I'll Never Get Over You (Mills) 1963
Then I Got Everything (Kidd-Green) 1963
Hungry For Love (Mills) 1963
Ecstasy (Pomus-Spector) 1963
Dr. Feelgood (Smith) 1964
Jealous Girl (Mills) 1964
Shop Around (Gordy-Robinson) 1964
Whole Lotta Woman (Rainwater) 1964
Your Cheatin' Heart (Williams) 1964
Don't Make The Same Mistake As I Did (Lynch-Shuman-Westlake) 1965
Shakin' All Over '65 (Heath) 1965
Gotta Travel On (Trad, arr. Kidd) 1965
It's Got To Be You (Birch) 1966
Send For That Girl (Rowland-Victor-Barter) 1966
The Fool (Ford-Hazlewood) 1966

"Rocker" (1978)

The same year that Colin Miles was putting together a decent collection for the British public, the French arm of EMI across the Channel were putting together not only their third compilation dedicated to the Kidd but a double album into the bargain.  "Rocker" spanned Kidd's career from the first waxing, 1959's "Please Don't Touch" through to the posthumous "Send For That Girl" in 1966 and was the first time that all nine UK chart hits had been included on one collection which is yet to be equalled, the "Complete" CD collection aside.  Two real pluses to UK audiences (apart from the wealth of quality material) set this collection out as a landmark release and ensured a fair amount of copies made their way to British shores. 

The first was the surprise inclusion of one unreleased track.  After the relative failure of "Linda Lu" in 1961 Kidd went back to an original for his next release.  The original take of "Please Don't Bring Me Down" (known here and often referred to as "Frantic Guitar") is rough around the edges, sounding a bit more like a demo recording than a serious commercial take.  This "rough and ready" feel also pervaded the other two tracks cut at the same session, "Bad Case Of Love" and "You Can Have Her".  "Frantic Guitar" - and its cohorts - consequently languished in the vaults when the better, polished version of "Please Don't Bring Me Down" was cut soon afterwards, with guest Big Jim Sullivan (ex Marty Wilde & The Wildcats) supplying the clean, crisp guitar.

The second tempting morsel was contained within the sleeve in the shape of a bonus 45 single, a re-issue of the Pirates' "solo" outing from 1964, "My Babe" / "Castin' My Spell".  Both these cuts were allegedly cut in one take each and show messrs. Green, Spence and Farley in top form.  The single - a powerhouse coupling of driving R'n'B - was issued to test the waters for a potential Kidd-Pirates split, but sank without trace and the split was ultimately put off (although it did occur much later in 1966).  Kidd and his Pirates went on instead to put the recordings down for the ultimately unreleased debut LP instead. 

The inside of the gatefold sleeve contained two photos, one of them from the lesser-seen "New Pirates" line-up of Kidd, Mick Stewart (guitar), Nick Simper (bass), Ray Soaper (organ) and Roger Truth (drums). Also to be found was a recording biography in French and roughly-translated English, possibly unaware of the impending UK "Best Of..." release in the UK. Indeed this double album was for many years desirable for many a collection until Colin Miles delved more comprehensively into the vaults, and today is still the definitive chronological collection of all Johnny Kidd's A and B sides.


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