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Joey Dee/Joey Dee & the Starliters: The Peppermint Twisters

Album Notes

"Shimmy Baby, Pt. 1," a lively early-'60s rocking studio performance with overdubbed applause and glasses tinkling, easily melts into a creative Hawaiian instrumental from Eden Ahbez entitled "Lonely Island," which in turn weaves its way into the third track, "Walking Down the Street." None of Joey Dee's five Roulette Records Top 40 hits appear on this Scepter release called The Peppermint Twisters, and no one song stands out as memorable, though it is an interesting artifact from the day. Dee singing "hey hey" in "Walking Down the Street" could be the precursor to Chris Montez asking "Let's Dance," or Tommy Roe's plea to "Sheila," a low-rent predecessor to the two big hits that would emerge a year after this outing. "(Bad) Bulldog" resembles many a Kingsmen album that would follow in these footsteps, so the style of the sound that Joey Dee was imprinting on these Scepter discs would have its impact, which makes these dozen performances all the more interesting. "Coming Back to Me" dips into the '50s -- and though there are no credits other than the star and liner note writer Ira Howard, one wonders if actor Joe Pesci is performing in this 1961 version of a band he was a part of in that era, the Starlighters. Joey Dee sounds more like a teen idol cutting the Doc Pomus classic "Lonely Avenue," Willie "Loco" Alexander giving it a more intense reading two decades later as documented on El Loco's Greatest Hits release. The manufactured "live concert" sounds return on the second side, along with "Shimmy Baby, Pt. 2," and those sounds are as bothersome as they would be showing up on The Kingsmen on Campus a couple of years later. Maybe it was a Scepter/Wand label thing. If you ever had a need to hear the Flamingos backing up Bobby Vee, the song "The Face of an Angel" sure comes close. "These Memories" keeps the mellow mood before the instrumental "The Twister" kicks in like a B-side from the Champs, with presumably Joey Dee on saxophone. "Before We Met" might have the most personality on an album that lacks that quality, though is a pretty accurate imprint of the sock-hop sounds of the early '60s. ~ Joe Viglione


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