Personnel: Ray Peterson (vocals); Everett Barksdale (guitar, electric guitar); Alton Hendrickson, Vito Mumolo, Allen Hanlon, Charles Macey, William Pitman, Thomas Kay, Hilmer J. Timbrell, Howard Roberts , Sebastian Mure, Joseph R. Gibbons, Art Ryerson, Milton Norman, John Pizzarelli, Al Caiola, Allan Reuss, Baker Knight, Barney Kessel, Barry Galbraith, Al Chernet, Mundell Lowe, Carmen Mastren (guitar); Wally Richardson (electric guitar); Gerald Vinci, Harry Glickman, Leo Kruczek, James Getzoff, Carl LaMagna, Harry Melnikoff, Felix Orlewitz, Jacques Gasselin, Henry Sugar, Tosha Samaroff, Marc Brown, Amerigo Marino, Julius Schacter, Samuel Rand, David Nadien, Paul Gershman, Emanuel Green (violin); George Brown , David Mankowitz, Howard Kay, Leon Frengut, Isadore Zir (viola); Abram Borodkin, Maurice Brown , Alan Shulman (cello); Michael Chimes (harmonica); Bob Burns, Jr., Gil Bernal, Clifford E. "Bud" Shank, Abraham Richman, Bernard Kaufman, King Curtis, Phil Bodner, Plas Johnson , Sol Schlinger (saxophone); Seldon Powell (tenor saxophone); Mel Davis (trumpet); Frank Rehak, Frank Saracco (trombone); Morris Wechsler, James Rowles, Andrew Ackers, Pete Jolly, Bert Keyes (piano); Victor Feldman (vibraphone); Sol Gubin, Don Lamond, Harry Breuer, Jack Sperling, Mel Lewis, Milt Holland, Roy Harte, Norris "Bunny" Shawker (drums); Walter Spriggs (bongos).
Liner Note Author: Johnny Vallis.
Recording information: Bell Sound Studio, New York, NY (10/14/1957-??/??/1963); Radio Recorders, Studio B, Hollywood, CA (10/14/1957-??/??/1963); RCA Victor Studio A, New York, NY (10/14/1957-??/??/1963); Webster Hall, New York, NY (10/14/1957-??/??/1963).
Illustrator: R.A. Andreas.
Photographer: R.A. Andreas.
Arrangers: Bob Mersey; Robert Mersey.
The first comprehensive anthology of Ray Peterson's RCA Victor and Dunes recordings rounds up most of his hits and shows the frail-looking teen idol -- known primarily for his contribution to the teen tragedy craze, "Tell Laura I Love Him" -- to be a talented pop vocalist with a piercing falsetto. Peterson's infrequent rock & roll performances tend to be his weakest; he shines the most on the orchestrated teen ballads that exercise his pure pop vocal abilities. Johnny Vallis' essay details Peterson's troubled journey from his polio-stricken childhood to becoming a sickly, underweight star whose manager physically abused him. Several of Peterson's Dunes songs appear in re-recorded stereo rather than the original mono versions, including his second-biggest hit, "Corrina, Corinna." As a result, the version of that song presented here cannot be accurately considered the hit, but it is so similar to the original that most listeners will not notice the difference. There are a number of oddities in Peterson's catalog, including a pop version of Webb Pierce's country hit "I'm Tired," a vocal version of P‚rez Prado's instrumental hit "Patricia," and the dramatic teen tragedy song "Give Us Your Blessings," which later became a hit for the Shangri-Las. Spectorites will be interested in the Dunes recordings that Phil Spector produced, but, unlike the typical Bear Family release, Peterson's anthology does not include a discography or sessionography. Tell Laura I Love Her is a lavish tribute to a teen idol whose fascinating and sometimes tragic biography is as interesting as the music itself. ~ Greg Adams