Road Is Rocky: Complete Studio Masters 1956-1971

Road Is Rocky: Complete Studio Masters 1956-1971

by Gene Vincent

No other Gene Vincent song title sums up his career so succinctly as "The Road Is Rocky." Vincent never had an easy time of things. He came crashing out of the gate with "Be-Bop-A-Lula," one of the epochal singles of early rock & roll, and for a brief moment it seemed that superstardom was within his grasp. Certainly, in the Blue Caps -- powered by guitarist Cliff… See more details below


No other Gene Vincent song title sums up his career so succinctly as "The Road Is Rocky." Vincent never had an easy time of things. He came crashing out of the gate with "Be-Bop-A-Lula," one of the epochal singles of early rock & roll, and for a brief moment it seemed that superstardom was within his grasp. Certainly, in the Blue Caps -- powered by guitarist Cliff Gallup -- he had a band that propelled him into the front ranks of rockers in 1956, and for a while they cut rockabilly with no peer, such as the frenzied "Race with the Devil." But this golden age was not only fleeting, it didn't produce much gold, at least far as the charts were concerned: as good as "Race with the Devil," "Bluejean Bop," and "B-i-Bickey, Bi, Bo-Bo-Go" were, they didn't turn into hits, and soon Gene Vincent & His Blue Caps started to fracture, starting with the crucial departure of Gallup. It was a big blow, but Vincent continued to barrel ahead, often recklessly. He toured Britain, where his stardom was already hardening into a tragic legend, and ran through label after label, all looking for a hit that was never found, drinking all the while. The problems -- professional and personal -- piled up and he died at the young age of 36 in 1971, just at the peak of a rock & roll revival that he was as of yet unable to exploit. It was a rocky, tragic road and it's told in its entirety on Bear Family's mammoth box set The Road Is Rocky. This set cuts out alternate takes in favor of all the master recordings from 1956 to 1971 (the alternate takes are available on a separate set), an approach that leads to a better appreciation of Vincent's musical achievements, which certainly did not cease when Gallup left the fold. Surely, those earliest recordings remain wondrous -- it's no so much that Gene Vincent & His Blue Caps were consciously creating a new sound, but they were hell-bent on creating an ungodly racket that happened to help redefine popular music -- and hearing it of a piece confirms the consistency of these sessions, which still wind up sounding rebellious even when Vincent dips into slightly hammy old-fashioned slow dances "Wedding Bells (Are Breaking Up That Old Gang of Mine)" and "Up a Lazy River." This rock-hard steadiness contrasts mightily with Vincent's '60s recordings, which were all over the map in sound and style. Inconsistent isn't the same thing as bad, though, and The Road Is Rocky provides plenty of compelling moments where Vincent is doing anything to keep the ride going. He weathered the early-'60s downturn in rock & roll by cutting country and crooning pop songs, including a few dewy-eyed songs about puppy love, plus the wannabe novelty "Spaceship to Mars." He headed over to England during the height of the British Invasion, where he laid down a bunch of old-time rock & roll; he bounced back to Hollywood in 1966 and 1967, where he recorded a bunch of terrific material flirting with all the contemporary trends, from folk-rock to psychedelia. He closed out the decade recording several sessions with Kim Fowley, cutting ornate versions of rock & roll and country oldies, including hits own hits. Finally, Vincent entered the '70s with some sun-kissed California country-pop that was among his best, fully realized recordings, suggesting that he was beginning to find his way out of a creative rough patch. Of course, his rough, rocky personal life put a halt to that and he died not long after these final sessions, but this Bear Family set, while certainly the province of serious listeners only, stands as a testament to Gene Vincent's considerable talents and provides a convincing argument that he created much to cherish outside those justly celebrated early hits with the Blue Caps.

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Disc 1

  1. Race With the Devil
  2. Be-Bop-A-Lula
  3. Woman Love
  4. I Sure Miss You
  5. Jezebel
  6. Crazy Legs
  7. Peg O' My Heart
  8. Wedding Bells (Are Breaking Up That Old Gang of Mine)
  9. Waltz of the Wind
  10. Up a Lazy River
  11. Ain't She Sweet
  12. Gonna Back Up Baby
  13. Who Slapped John
  14. Jumps, Giggles and Shouts
  15. Blue Jean Bop
  16. I Flipped
  17. Bop Street
  18. Well, I Knocked Bim Bam
  19. You Told a Fib
  20. Jump Back, Honey, Jump Back
  21. Teenage Partner
  22. Blues Stay Away from Me
  23. Five Feet of Lovin'
  24. Cat Man
  25. Double Talkin' Baby
  26. Hold Me, Rock Me
  27. Unchained Melody

Disc 2

  1. B-I-Bickey-Bi Bo Bo Go
  2. Pink Thunderbird
  3. Pretty, Pretty Baby
  4. Cruisin'
  5. Important Words
  6. You Better Believe
  7. Red Blue Jeans and a Ponytail
  8. Five Days, Five Days
  9. In My Dreams
  10. I Got It
  11. Wear My Ring
  12. Lotta Lovin'
  13. Rollin' Danny
  14. Time Will Bring You Everything
  15. True to You
  16. In My Dreams
  17. Dance to the Bop
  18. By the Light of the Silvery Moon
  19. Right Now
  20. You'll Never Walk Alone
  21. I Got a Baby
  22. Your Cheatin' Heart
  23. Baby Blue
  24. Walkin' Home from School
  25. It's No Lie
  26. Should I Ever Love Again
  27. Flea Brain
  28. Brand New Beat
  29. Frankie and Johnnie

Disc 3

  1. You Belong to Me
  2. Keep It a Secret
  3. Yes, I Love You Baby
  4. Dance in the Street
  5. Git It
  6. I Love You
  7. Teenage Partner
  8. Peace of Mind
  9. Lovely Loretta
  10. Little Lover
  11. Rocky Road Blues
  12. Somebody Help Me
  13. Five Feet of Lovin'
  14. Look What You Gone and Done to Me
  15. Hey, Good Lookin'
  16. Summertime
  17. I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love With You)
  18. The Wayward Wind
  19. Now Is the Hour
  20. In Love Again
  21. Say Mama (Hey Mama)
  22. The Night Is So Lonely
  23. The Night Is So Lonely
  24. Lonesome Boy
  25. Lady Bug
  26. Lonesome Boy
  27. You Are the One for Me
  28. Maybe

Disc 4

  1. In Love Again
  2. Say Mama
  3. Be Bop Boogie Boy
  4. I Can't Believe You Want to Leave
  5. I Got to Get to You Yet
  6. My Heart
  7. The Night Is So Lonely
  8. Beautiful Brown Eyes
  9. Rip It Up
  10. Maybelline
  11. High Blood Pressure
  12. Who's Pushing Your Swing
  13. Anna Annabelle
  14. Gone, Gone, Gone
  15. I Might Have Known
  16. Important Words
  17. My Baby Don't Low
  18. Over the Rainbow
  19. Ready Teddy
  20. Vincent's Blues
  21. Pretty Pearly
  22. Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive
  23. She She Little Sheila
  24. Darlene
  25. Why Don't People Learn How to Drive
  26. Crazy Times
  27. Greenback Dollar
  28. Big Fat Saturday Night
  29. Wild Cat
  30. Hot Dollar
  31. Right Here on Earth
  32. Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain
  33. Everybody's Got a Date But Me
  34. Mitchiko from Tokyo

Disc 5

  1. Pretty Pearly
  2. Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive
  3. She She Little Sheila
  4. Darlene
  5. Why Don't People Learn How to Drive
  6. Crazy Times
  7. Greenback Dollar
  8. Big Fat Staurday Night
  9. Wild Cat
  10. Hot Dollar
  11. Right Here on Earth
  12. Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain
  13. Everybody's Got a Dte But Me
  14. Mitchiko from Tokyo
  15. Pistol Packin' Mama
  16. Weeping Willow
  17. Crazy Beat
  18. I'm Gonna Catch Me a Rat
  19. It's Been Nice
  20. That's the Trouble With Love
  21. Good Lovin'
  22. Mister Loneliness
  23. Teardrops
  24. If You Want My Lovin'
  25. I'm Goin' Home (To See My Baby)
  26. Love of a Man
  27. Baby Don't Believe Him
  28. Lucky Star

Disc 6

  1. Spaceship to Mars
  2. There I Go Again (Whoops I'm Dreaming)
  3. King of Fools
  4. You're Still in My Heart
  5. Held for Questioning
  6. Be-Bop-A-Lula '62
  7. Temptation Baby
  8. Where Have You Been All My Life
  9. The Beginning of the End
  10. La Den da Den da Da
  11. Humpity Dumpity
  12. A Love 'Em and Leave 'Em Kinda Guy
  13. Love Love Love
  14. Lavender Blue
  15. You Are My Sunshine
  16. Slippin' and Slidin'
  17. Private Detective
  18. Shimmy Shimmy Shingle
  19. Long Tall Sally
  20. Good Golly Miss Molly
  21. Send Me Some Lovin'
  22. Hey Hey Hey Hey
  23. Amother Saturday Night
  24. Someday (You'll Want Me to Want You)
  25. Baby Blue
  26. Suzie-Q

Disc 7

  1. Bird Doggin'
  2. Ain't That to Much
  3. Lonely Street
  4. I've Got My Eyes on You
  5. Love Is a Bird
  6. Born to Be a Rolling Stone
  7. Hurtin' for You Baby
  8. Hi-Lili Hi Lo
  9. Poor Man's Prison
  10. I'm a Lonesome Fugitive
  11. Words and Music
  12. Am I That Easy to Forget
  13. Pickin' Poppies
  14. Story of the Rockers
  15. In the Pines
  16. White Lightnin'
  17. Lotta Lovin'
  18. Circle Never Broken
  19. Black Letter
  20. Rainbow at Midnight
  21. (I Heard That) Lonesome Whistle
  22. Scarlet Ribbons
  23. Rockin' Robin
  24. Ruby Baby
  25. Sexy Ways
  26. Be Bop a Lula' 69
  27. Pickin' Poppies
  28. Story of the Rockers

Disc 8

  1. Sunshine
  2. I Need Woman's Love
  3. Slow Times Comin'
  4. Danse Colinda
  5. Geese
  6. 500 Miles Away from Home
  7. Listen to the Music
  8. If Only You Could See Me Today
  9. A Million Shades of Blues
  10. Tush Hog
  11. How I Love Them Old Songs
  12. High on Life
  13. You Can Make It If You Try
  14. There Is Something on Your Mind
  15. North Carolina Line
  16. Our Souls
  17. Oh Lonesome Me
  18. Boppin' the Blues
  19. The Day the World Turned Blue
  20. The Woman in Black
  21. Looking Back
  22. Say Mama '71
  23. I'm Movin' On

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Gene Vincent   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Leader,Vocals
John Hammond   Piano
Glen Campbell   Guitar,Leader
Buck Owens   Rhythm Guitar
Lincoln Mayorga   Piano
Eddie Cochran   Bass (Vocal)
Georgie Fame   Piano
Jordanaires   Choir, Chorus
Linda Ronstadt   Vocals
Don Randi   Piano,Celeste
Bob Enevoldsen   Trombone
Sandy Nelson   Drums
Skip Battin   Electric Bass
Chris Darrow   Fiddle
Augie Meyers   Organ
Red Rhodes   Steel Guitar
Dwight "Whitey" Pullen   Guitar,Leader
Louie Shelton   Guitar
Herbie Steward   Saxophone
Atwood Allen   Piano,Choir, Chorus
Victor Arno   Violin
Israel Baker   Violin
Erich Baker   Organ,Piano,Celeste
Richard Bennett   Guitar
Gil Bernal   Saxophone
Barrie Cameron   Keyboards,Baritone Saxophone
Roy Caton   Trumpet
Kenny Cobb   Bass
Dash Crofts   Drums
John d'Andrea   Leader,Saxophone
Gene Estes   Percussion
Virgil Evans   Trumpet
Colin Green   Guitar
Jimmie Haskell   Leader
Alan Holmes   Tenor Saxophone
Grant Johnson   Piano
Raymond Johnson   Piano
Harvey Kagen   Electric Bass
Joseph Kelson   Tenor Saxophone
Larry Knechtel   Organ,Harmonica,Piano,Harpsichord
Larry McGuire   Trumpet
Tony Newman   Drums
Jim Pierce   Piano
William Pitman   Guitar
Bob Rafkin   Guitar
Jack Ranelli   Drums
Red Reece   Drums
Allan Reuss   Guitar
Jesse Sailes   Drums
John St. John   Guitar
Jimmy Troxell   Drums
Gerald Vinci   Violin
Ronnie Dawson   Guitar
Dick Hyde   Trombone
John Santulis   Violin
Eligibles   Choir, Chorus
Cliff Gallup   Guitar
Wes Hunter   Bass
Bobby Lee Jones   Bass
Max Lipscomb   Piano,Rhythm Guitar,Choir, Chorus
Jack Neal   Bass
Paul Peek   Rhythm Guitar,Choir, Chorus,Hand Clapping
Clyde Pennington   Drums
Jim Seals   Saxophone
Cliff Simmons   Piano,Celeste
Griff West   Tenor Saxophone
Johnny Perez   Drums
Lou Morrell   Guitar
Dave Gates   Leader
Johnny Earl   Saxophone
Victoria Clark   Drums
Tim Bates   Guitar
Joe Osborn   Electric Bass
John Reece   Bass
Jim Field   Tenor Saxophone
Clifford Hils   Bass
Terry Clemson   Guitar
Jackie Frisco   Choir, Chorus
Mickey Williams   Drums
Alvon W. "Al" Casey   Guitar
Allen reid Breneman   Drums
Vince Cooze   Bass
Mark Dorinson   Electric Bass,Leader
Eugene Thomas "Tommy" Facenda   Choir, Chorus,Hand Clapping
Jim Fowley   Leader
Juvenal Rene "Juvey" Gomez   Drums
James Beck Gordon   Drums
Richard Charles "Dickie" Harrell   Drums
Jerry "Jerry Cole" Kolbrak   Guitar,Electric Bass
Herbert "Skip" Maxfeldt   Guitar
Dennis "Mars Bonfire" McCrohan   Guitar
Billy McVay   Tenor Saxophone
Johnny Thomas Meeks   Guitar,Choir, Chorus
Gerald Lee "Jerry" Merritt   Guitar,Rhythm Guitar
Alexander Nelson   Baritone Saxophone
Grady Lynn Owen   Bass,Rhythm Guitar,Choir, Chorus
James A. "Jimmy" Pruett   Piano
Graham Morrison "Scotty Turner" Turnbull   Guitar
Jimmy Wallis   Bass Guitar
"Hot Pants" Warren   Drums
Ervin "Willie" Williams   Rhythm Guitar

Technical Credits

Bill Monroe   Composer
Bobby Bare   Composer
Jimmie Davis   Composer
Don Gibson   Composer
Mickey Newbury   Composer
Jerry Reed   Composer
Hank Snow   Composer
Mel Tillis   Composer
Hank Ballard   Composer
Brook Benton   Composer
Chuck Berry   Composer
Hoagy Carmichael   Composer
Sam Cooke   Composer
Bobby Darin   Composer
Lloyd Price   Composer
Joe South   Composer
Gene Vincent   Arranger,Composer
Albert Collins   Composer
Bill Davis   Composer
Harold Arlen   Composer
Mort Shuman   Composer
Burt Bacharach   Composer
Casey Anderson   Composer
Hadda Brooks   Composer
Johnny Carroll   Composer
Don Covay   Composer
Kim Fowley   Producer
Dale Hawkins   Composer
Jerry Leiber   Composer
Barry Mann   Composer
Augie Meyers   Composer
Norrie Paramor   Composer,Producer
Pee Wee King   Composer
Bob Bain   Composer
Scotty Mckay   Composer
Dwight "Whitey" Pullen   Composer
Redd Stewart   Composer
Ernest Tubb   Composer
Otis Blackwell   Composer
Robert Stephens   Composer
Carl Belew   Composer
Dexter   Composer
Ronnie Self   Composer
Paul Hampton   Composer
Milton Ager   Composer
Joe Allison   Composer
Sidney Arodin   Composer
Dave Burgess   Composer,Producer
Johnny Burnette   Composer
Don Carter   Composer
David Dennard   Illustrations,Photo Scanning
Sammy Fain   Composer
Ira Gershwin   Composer
Dick Glasser   Composer
Wally Gold   Composer
Oscar Hammerstein   Composer
Kirk Hansard   Composer
E.Y. "Yip" Harburg   Composer
Derek Henderson   Reissue Producer,Tape Comparison
Irving Kahal   Composer
Don Kirshner   Composer
Lewis   Composer
Teddy McRae   Composer
John Meeks   Composer
Johnny Mercer   Composer
Charles Mitchell   Composer
Ken Nelson   Producer
Herb Newman   Composer
Alex North   Composer
Clyde Otis   Composer
P.D.   Composer
Jim Pewter   Composer,Producer
Doc Pomus   Composer
Wayne Raney   Composer
Ivor Raymonde   Composer
J.P. Richardson   Composer
Fred Rose   Composer
Aaron Schroeder   Composer
Wayne Shanklin   Composer
Shelby Singleton   Composer
James H. Smith   Composer
Mike Stoller   Composer
Scott Turner   Composer
Nick Venet   Producer
Cynthia Weil   Composer
Hedy West   Composer
Hank Williams   Composer
Curley Williams   Composer
Paulette Williams   Composer
Hy Zaret   Composer
Alvin Davis   Composer
Eddie Bocage   Composer
J. Segal   Composer
Ian Wallis   Liner Notes,Biographical Information
Bob Barratt   Composer,Producer
Deke Dickerson   Liner Notes
Artie Glenn   Composer
Liz Anderson   Composer
Keith Colley   Composer
Alton Delmore   Composer
Rabon Delmore   Composer
Luther Dixon   Composer
Paul Edwards   Composer
Tommy Facenda   Composer
Cliff Gallup   Composer
John St. John Gillard   Composer
Bobby Hendricks   Composer
Huey "Piano" Smith & the Clowns   Composer
Ollie Jones   Composer
Max Lipscomb   Composer
Grady Owen   Composer
Paul Peek   Composer
Richard Penniman   Composer
Jim Seals   Composer
Cliff Simmons   Composer
Rob Finnis   Illustrations
Diethold Leu   Illustrations
John Vincent   Composer
Stanley Lebowsky   Composer
R.A. Andreas   Illustrations
Richard Weize   Tape Research
Johnny Fallin   Composer
DuBose Heyward   Composer
Milton Subotsky   Composer
Holger Von Bargen   Art Direction
Hans Peter Zdrenka   Illustrations
James Noble   Composer
Robert "Bumps" Blackwell   Composer
James C. Bracken   Composer
Fred Fisher   Composer
Enotris Johnson   Composer
Larry Morey   Composer
Jessie Mae Robinson   Composer
Sidney Wyche   Composer
Thomas-Carlyle Ayres   Producer
Edward Madden   Composer
Donnie Marchand   Producer
Jack Rhodes   Composer
Clement Scott   Composer
Kenny Sowder   Composer
Joe Steen   Composer
Dorothy Stewart   Composer
Billy Willey   Composer
Danny Wolfe   Composer
Audrey Allison   Composer
Bernice Bedwell   Composer
Tommy Bedwell   Composer
Sylvester Bradford   Composer
Alfred Bryan   Composer
Jay Byers   Composer
Bob Center   Composer
Eliot Daniel   Composer
Evelyn Danzig   Composer
Johnny Earl   Composer
Floyd Edge   Composer
Gus Edwards   Composer
Joe Johnson   Producer
Bob Kelly   Composer
J. Karen Thomas   Composer
Wolfgang Taubenauer   Artwork
Don Welch   Composer
Jerry Fuller   Composer
Ham   Mastering
Baker Knight   Composer
Tony Barrett   Illustrations,Tape Research
Jerry Merritt   Composer
William Raskin   Composer
Erich Hülsenbeck   Photo Restoration,Photo Scanning
Jimmie Hodges   Composer
Chilton Price   Composer
Andreas Merck   Photo Scanning
Jackie Frisco   Composer
Neil Nephew   Composer
Clyde Pitts   Composer
Buck Peddy   Composer
Steve Bonner   Illustrations
John Braley   Illustrations,Photo Scanning
Karl Egerman   Producer
Karl Engerman   Producer
Christer Malmstedt   Illustrations
Jeff Miller   Illustrations
Karen Walter   Illustrations
Charles Matthews   Composer
Diane Johnson   Composer
Freddy Franks   Composer
Johnny Meeks   Composer
Debra Lynn   Composer
Curly Griffin   Composer
Bill Hicks   Composer

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