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Wayne Cochran - Wayne Cochran (LP)
 

Wayne Cochran - Wayne Cochran (LP)

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Genre: soul
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title:  Wayne Cochran
Company: Chess
Catalog: LPS 1519
Year: 1967
Country/State: Thomaston, Georgia
Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+
Comments: gatefold sleeve
Available: 1
Catalog ID: 6166
Price: $25.00

Signed by Chess, Cochran and the Riders released their first LP in 1967. Produced by Abner Spector with sessions at Miami's Criteria Studios and Muscle Shoals' Fame Studios, the cleverly-titled "Wayne Cochran" offered up a mix of popular R&B and soul songs which apparently served as a reflection of the group's live act. To be honest, if you were looking for something original and ground breaking, this wasn't the place to start. While Cochran's performances were quite energetic (having one of the era's tightest backing bands certainly didn't hurt), none of the twelve arrangements strayed far from the originals. I'm guessing that most of the things that supposedly made these guys such a killer live act simply couldn't be replicated on vinyl - not to imply that the collection was bad. It wasn't. Individually most of the songs were quite good, but it you were familiar with the originals, stripped of Cochran's in-concert craziness, they simply couldn't compete.

- The best thing on the band's cover of the soul chestnut 'Get Ready' came in the form of the Chester Mass bass line which effectively served as lead instrument on the song. The shrill female backing singers were probably the song's worst attribute. Simply too obvious a song to make much of an impact - you've heard dozens of covers that were superior to this one. rating: ** stars
- The band's cover of John Lee Hooker's 'Boom Boom" found Cochran employing his best James Brown rasp. While the Hooker original always had an ominous feel to it, this version was toned way down with the emphasis being on dancing your cares away. The pseudo-live-in-the-studio sound effects were guaranteed to make you smile. rating: *** stars
- Kicked along by some tasty horn charts and nice Steve Cropper-styled lead guitar from Harry Hann, 'The Peak of Love' found Cochran at his most commercial. Hard to believe this pounding number didn't get tapped as a single. rating: **** stars
- Perhaps because the Sam and Dave original was so good, Cochran's cover of 'You Don't Know Like I Know' simply came off as rushed and uninspired. The fact Cochran sounded like he was singing with a toad in his throat didn't help things. rating: ** stars
- One of two tracks written by producer Spector, 'Some a' Your Sweet Love' offered up another impressive slice of Stax-styled soul. Cochran seldom sounded as good as on this one. rating: **** stars
- Anyone who grew up hearing the Donny and Marie cover of 'I'm Leaving It Up To You' would be amazed to hear Cochran's R&B soaked take on this Don and Dewey chestnut. The opening vamp is funny, but touching (guess I never realized the singer was in jail) and Cochran's double tracked vocals were awesome. rating: **** stars
- The funky cover of Willie Dixon's 'You Can't Judge a Book By the Cover' has always struck me as if it were inspired by Pigmeat Markham (another Chess artist), or Shorty Long's 'Here Comes the Judge' - same feel. Great tune and easy to see why it was tapped as a single. rating: **** stars
- Slowing things down with 'Big City Woman' served to showcase some of Cochran's vocal limitations. Reflected in his clipped, raspy delivery he clearly lacked the range of some of his better known soul contemporaries. Complete with spoken word segment, this one actually sounded a lot like a Joe Tex performance. rating: ** stars
- Yeah, Frankie Lymon recorded the best know version of 'Little Bitty Pretty One', but I'd suggest Cochran's energetic cover is even better - He simply tears this one to pieces making you wonder if his voice is going to make it through the song. In fact it gets my vote for the album's best performance. Incidentally, the song was written by Bobby day, even though the liner notes credit it to 'R. Byrd'. rating: ***** stars
- Cochran's cover of Willie Dixon's 'I'm Your Hootchie Coochie Man' was okay - the original's biting blues edge was traded for a more soul orientation. As a result, if you were a fan of the original song, this one probably wasn't going to strike a chord. It was picked as the album's second single (for some reason the single was released with the abbreviated title 'Hootchie Coochie'). rating: ** stars
- 'Get Down with It' had previously been released as a Mercury single. To my ears it sounds like a second rate James Brown dance number - very imitative, though Greg Gesson's keyboards were nice. rating: ** stars
- Penned by producer Spector, the soulful ballad 'When My Baby Cries' would have made Solomon Burke proud. First-rate southern tear jerker ... rating: **** stars

As mentioned above, the album was tapped for a series of singles in the form of:

- 1967's 'Some a' Your Sweet Love' b/w 'When My Baby Cries' (Chess catalog number 2020)
- 1968's 'Hootchie Coochie Man' b/w 'Get Ready' (Chess catalog number 2029)
- 1968's 'You Can't Judge a Book By the Cover' b/w 'Up In My Mind' (Chess catalog number 2054)

As mentioned above, creatively this wasn't any great shakes, but it's still a surprisingly fun and enjoyable collection with only a handful of duds. Supported by extensive publicity the LP actually managed to hit # 167 on the album charts.

"Wayne Cochran" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) Get Ready (William Robinson) - 2:25
2.) Boom Boom (John Lee Hooker) - 3:08
3.) The Peak of Love (Davis - DeSanto) - 2:12
4.) You Don't Know Like I Know (Issac Hayes - David Porter) - 2:48
5.) Some a' Your Sweet Love (Abner Spector) - 3:05
6.) I'm Leaving It Up To You (Don Harris - Dewey Terry) - 3:08
(side 2)
1.) You Can't Judge a Book By the Cover (Willie Dixon) - 2:37
2.) Big City Woman (Eddie Hinton) - 2:57
3.) Little Bitty Pretty One (R. Byrd) - 2:12
4.) I'm Your Hootchie Coochie Man (Willie Dixon) - 2:59
5.) Get Down with It (T. Newton) - 2:25
6.) When My Baby Cries (Abner Spector) - 3:20
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