Personnel: The Jordanaires (background vocals).
Liner Note Author: Stuart Coleman.
Recording information: Bradley Studios, Nashville, TN.
In 2004, BGO made Tommy Roe fans very happy by combining his first album, 1962's Sheila, and the British edition of his second album, 1963's Everybody Likes Tommy Roe, on one disc. Roe's early records belie his image as a bubblegum act and show him to be one of the better post-rockabilly/pre-Beatles rockers around. Sheila is, of course, anchored by the smash single "Sheila," a fine slice of Buddy Holly worship with a unique sound and an unforgettable hook. The rest of the album varies quite a bit in quality and tone, mixing lightweight pop trifles like "Piddle de Pat" and "Susie Darlin'"; sweet ballads like the aching "There Will Be Better Years"; thumping rockers like "Heartbeat," "Think About the Good Things," and "Look at Me"; and a tough-as-nails version of Chuck Berry's "Maybellene." Apart from "Sheila," the best song on the album is a surprisingly soulful take on the Falcons' R&B classic "I Found a Love," which finds Roe ditching any Holly mannerisms and laying his soul on the line. The vocal choruses and occasional cornball production touch can't dilute the power and feeling behind the record, and the whole enterprise sounds very much like the missing link between Buddy Holly and Bobby Fuller. Everybody Likes Tommy Roe is an improved version of Roe's second American album, Something for Everybody. The Brits ditched the sappy covers of pop tunes like "Dominique" and "A Taste of Honey" and added some rockers, including the best song on the album and one of Roe's best singles, the bubbling "Everybody." Indeed, the album does have a tougher edge than it might have otherwise, but it pales a bit in comparison to Sheila. The vocal choruses are a bit more intrusive, a higher percentage of the melodies are cutesy, and the overall feel is a bit more pop. Still, there are many excellent tunes, like the thumping "Sensations," "Kiss and Run," and a rock-hard cover of Chuck Berry's "Almost Grown." Roe also manages to take Hank Ballard's "Switchie Witchie Titchie" and make it sound like a missing Buddy Holly hit. Overall, though, the album sounds rushed and -- between the slick vocal choruses and bad moves like the lifeless cover of Holly's "That'll Be the Day" -- it is missing much of the spark of Sheila. That being said, it is still miles ahead of anything the Frankies and Fabians of the world were doing. Taken together, the two records make a strong case for Tommy Roe as one of the keepers of the rock & roll flame. It is also a heck of a fun listen -- and that is what really matters. ~ Tim Sendra