Category Archives: Bassey News

The Legend Begins Plus

I wasn’t aware of Shirley during the time when she recorded for Philips. Certainly from 1957 I was old enough and I was ‘into’ music. Music was constantly being played in the house as my parents were big music fans. I also had 4 older siblings who bought records and listened to the radio a lot. Shirley had hits before she left Philips including ‘As I Love You’ and ‘Kiss Me Honey, Honey’ which were really big hits for her and so must have been played on the radio and appeared on TV. It was 1960 and the song ‘As Long As He Needs Me’ that brought her to my attention. My mother bought the single but it was me that constantly played it. I hate to think how many times it got played and what condition it must be in but it’s that original copy that is in my record collection.

Being a schoolboy I didn’t have a lot of money so I had to save up to be able to buy records and there were loads of other things more important to me at that time that needless to say I bought very few.  It was a few years before I got around to buying some of her Philips material and several songs I’d never heard or managed to get a copy of them until the early 1970’s.  I have to be perfectly honest and say that I wasn’t really impressed by them and in fact very rarely played them.  I tended to ignore them for quite a considerable time.  I then started to play them and realised that I had actually been missing something.  They were in fact very good when you listened to them carefully.  Once cassettes came in I bought them on that format so at least I could listen to them without crackles and the fear of scratching the albums.  The quality wasn’t brilliant but better than nothing.

With the advent of CDs I was hoping we would get all her Philips recordings in good quality.  This has not been the case really.  We’ve had several releases and recently Stage Door Records released a CD with her ‘Cafe De Paris’ recording and other Philips material.  This indeed was very welcome for her fans but had been transferred from vinyl.  Still we were all grateful for it being released at long last.  I savoured the fact that I could listen to these tracks but I wanted more.  I really longed for Shirley’s very first album ‘Born To Sing The Blues’ on CD.  We’d got some of the tracks already available but not all of them.  I wanted the album on CD in good quality

'Born To Sing The Blues' Philips 10" Album
'Born To Sing The Blues' Philips 10" Album

A few weeks ago I was scouring the net which I do regularly for different Shirley CDs when I spotted a 3CD set on a site.  No information was given apart from the fact it was a 3CD set and called ‘The Legend Begins Plus’.  I had no idea what was on it or what the sleeve was like but as I collect every CD I can find from anywhere around the world I had to have it.  I asked my very good friend Andre in Holland if he could get it for me as it appeared to be a Dutch release.  Andre, like Ed and myself, collects all Shirley’s CDs also.  He was able to get it and sent it to me.

When it arrived it was packaged in a card slip case and the photo was one of Shirley from the 1980’s.  It looked quite nice and the three CDs themselves were each in a jewel case with the same photo on the card insert.  No write up about Shirley and just the songs listed.  Two of the CDs were Philips recordings and the third CD ‘Plus’ was the UA ‘Never, Never, Never’ album.  Both CDs with the Philips recordings have 13 tracks each.  The first one a mixture including ‘Tra La La’, ‘After The Lights Go Down Low’ and ‘Tonight My Heart She Is Crying’…

The other CD is the 5 tracks from ‘Cafe De Paris’ and the complete 8 tracks from the ‘Born To Sing The Blues’ album.  I just had to play it and really couldn’t believe my ears.  The quality is the best I’ve heard of any of the Philips tracks.  I was in heaven!! Here is ‘Careless Love Blues’…

I was really delighted with it but it had to pass one ultra test.  Ed is so critical regarding the sound quality of CDs so I had to see what he thought.  I told him it was good but made the excuse that I was slightly deaf so he’d have to judge for himself.  It passed the test!  He also said it was the best he’s ever heard of these recordings.  It’s also a fairly cheap set.  It’s on the Golden Stars label Cat No GSS 5600 and comes from Portugal.  It costs around 10 Euros.  I’ve even seen it on eBay and Amazon.com now.  If you love the Philips recordings it really is worth getting.  The one track I want on CD in good quality now is ‘The Wall’.  I just cannot understand why this track is so neglected.  In my mind it’s one of the best she did for Philips.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed. The ‘Never’ album is quite good too but not up to the BGO standard.

'The Legend Begins Plus' - not the best quality but the only one I could find.
'The Legend Begins Plus' - not the best quality but the only one I could find on the internet.

Drunk + Disorderly Bassey

Chris Cox Remix Promo Sleeve
Chris Cox Remix Promo Sleeve

I have already said previously that my passion is collecting our favourite singer’s CDs from around the world.  I also like to collect promos of her releases.  We are all aware that Decca signed for the rights to release her last album ‘Get The Party Started‘ worldwide with the exception of the UK where it was released by her record company Lock, Stock and Barrel Records.  To promote it’s release in the USA Decca commissioned the title track to be remixed by Chris Cox and also Soundscape.  These mixes were available to download and people were able to hear them.

What doesn’t generally seem known is that there are two other Chris Cox mixes of ‘GTPS’ which were done.  They were the ‘Party Mix’ and ‘Drunk + Disorderly Version’.  These were available on a promo with the Soundscape mixes but have sadly never been made available commercially.  A few copies of this promo have appeared on eBay but have been very expensive and have mostly gone to American collectors.  I was lucky to be able to get a copy of this promo and the scan of the sleeve can be seen above. 

To give you an idea of the mixes, here are some low quality samples:

Party Mix…

Drunk + Disorderly Version…

And here is a video remix of the fabulous Soundscape remix…

Live In Japan – Looking Forward

STOP PRESS!! USA Fans can now pre-order – CLICK HERE 

Following their recent double live albums CD BGO will be releasing ‘Live In Japan’ on 6th October.  This is the recording of a concert Shirley did on 8th July 1974 at Kosei-Nenkin Kaikan Hall, Tokyo.  It was released as a double album in 1975 but in Japan only.  Many fans agree that this is one of the best concerts that has been recorded.

The quality is excellent on vinyl so I cannot wait to hear it remastered on CD.  In 1977 another concert was recorded and released again as a double album ‘Live In Japan ’77’ but only in Japan once again.  It would be really great if BGO were to release this on CD also.

With very special thanks to Pieter I would like to share with you two rare video clips that were recorded at this concert.  Seeing these has made me start counting the days to when the CD is available!  I hope you all enjoy them.

BGO Success

It appears that the ‘Pigalle / Talk Of The Town’ CD from BGO is selling very well and it is great that it is such a success.  Quite a number of fans have spoken to me and told me how impressed they are with the quality of it especially the Pigalle recording.  I have played the original CD from the ‘Live’ set that EMI issued and then this BGO one.  The quality of the BGO is far superior and I have to be honest and admit that I have played it quite a number of times since getting it.

When I first heard that Andy Gray, the owner of BGO Records, was planning on releasing the Carnegie Hall 1973 on CD I didn’t really know what to expect.  It had already been released by EMI on their double ‘Live’ set and I found that release ok.  There were other recordings I desperately wanted on CD.  I thought, quite wrongly as it happens, that BGO only released rock albums!  What were they going to do with Shirley?  Any worries I had that their releasing a Shirley Bassey album was a very big mistake disappeared immediately I got the Carnegie CD in my hand.  Beautifully presented and well researched.  I liked the look of it and I was certain that it would be as good a quality as the EMI one.  When I did play it I couldn’t believe I was listening to the same recording.  Beautifully remastered and the sound was crystal clear.  All the CDs that have followed have been given the same treatment and I know many fans who are very impressed with these releases and grateful that we have them.  It also gives newer fans the opportunity to listen to Shirley as she really sounded.

BGO deserves it’s success and deserves to sell many copies.  I know that HMV have sold their original stock and are waiting for fresh deliveries of this latest release.

If you haven’t already bought it or not sure what to expect, I have chosen two tracks from the Pigalle recording for you to listen to.

The Other Woman…

and La Bamba…

Enjoy!

CLICK HERE to order your copy from HMV at special offer price