Friday, 12 June 2015

Teen Age Sing Along

Issued by Warner Bros in the US in 1960, Crazy, Top 40 & Cool is a precursor – of a kind – to those awful Top of the Pops albums that filled supermarket shelves in the 60s and 70s here in Britain (and consequently fill the shelves of charity shops today).

The premise is pretty straightforward, get a bunch of studio musicians together, add in a few sound-alike vocalists and a gaggle of enthusiastic teenagers and get them to record a selection of current chart hits: issue it at a budget price that every parent can afford and it back and watch the cash come in.

Only what we get here is nothing short of an abomination: the gaggle of teenagers are loud, shrieky, off key and annoying; the song selection is muddled - it's pretty much all novelty hits that would appeal to either the very young or the very old, hardly teenage fodder - and the end result would more likely drive people from your home than encourage your friends and neighbours to stay and party. Subtitled 'fun for all the family - the new party craze', the whole sorry mess was put together by a faceless collection of producers and publishers using the epithet Free-Sac Productions: Free-Sac were credited as publishers of the 1959 45 Tres Chic by Geoff Gilmore and the Sheiks. 

The vocalist on this disc is one Dick Kerr - or rather the disc 'features' Dick Kerr and the Sing-Along Teen-Agers. Kerr, a renowned singer, comedian and impressionist who sadly died in 2010 at the age of 80 after a long battle with cancer, sang at venues in his home area of Turtle Creek, and Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania as a boy. Leaving high school, he joined the United States Air Force, where he was discovered by Horace Heidt, who was looking for a fourth singer for his shows and already had a young man from each of the other branches of military service. Kerr founded the Air Force Tops in Blue entertainment programme, which still exists today under another name.

Kerr performed at Carnegie Hall with Heidt and at every famous showplace in America during the seven years they worked together. Heidt built a show around a group of performers that included Kerr, and they filmed a one-hour television pilot in Hollywood. Kerr worked in theatres, radio, television, Las Vegas and top hotels, nightclubs and concert halls around America; he performed in Europe and Asia and entertained troops stationed overseas.

Anyway, here’s a brace of cuts from the album: an awful teenage sing-along version of Chubby Checker’s massive hit The Twist, and a dreadful cover of the Ivy Three’s dreadful novelty disc Yogi.



  1. 6/12/15 Wrote:
    I had no idea this existed....and on a major label like Warner Brothers,too! It sounds like they were trying too hard to do what a cheap low budget label like Nashville's Hit/Spar/Modern Sounds family of labels would eventually do in the following decade with rather pale imitations of the original hits on countless albums and singles. I've got to find this one, as lousy as it sounds, it seems rare to me. And it sold less than a dollar from their usual artists on W-B at the time such as The Everly Brothers or Bob Newhart. The original idea for W-B's "Loss Leaders" albums in the late 60's-late 70's? I shall say not. Those Loss leader collections had more talent & variety.

  2. Free-Sac : "Free" is certainly bandleader and arranger Ernie Freeman. I have no idea who might be "Sac"


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