Liner Note Authors: Takeo Komatsuzaki; Geoff Baker.
It says something about this album that it contains no producer's credit for the original recording, very unusual for an early-'60s EMI release. When it came out in 1963, the Freddie & the Dreamers album had a purpose of sorts, because there weren't too many LPs like it -- the Beatles had broken through in the late winter and spring with "Please Please Me" and the album of the same name, followed by With the Beatles in the fall, but there wasn't yet a lot of hard, rough-and-ready American rock & roll in the British catalog. Freddie & the Dreamers didn't really play that way, either, and weren't part of the real British rock & roll boom, although they did get caught up in it -- rather, they were entertainers who happened to play rock & roll instruments (with more enthusiasm than flair or style), really shooting more for the kind of image that Cliff Richard & the Shadows had in their movies, but not as able musically as the Shadows. Their novelty songs (a major part of their work and image) on this album are dull and even embarrassing, and their versions of Motown, Little Richard, Leiber & Stoller, and Roy Orbison songs are predictable and cold, although they do have a raw, unproduced sound vaguely akin to the sound that the Beatles popularized. "If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody" was their first major chart single, and one number, "Sally Anne," was featured in the film What a Crazy World (starring the far more talented Joe Brown), but it's all a bit flat in the wake of the competition that followed. The 1999 CD reissue contains the mono and stereo mixes, 28 tracks in all, but there's not enough interesting musicianship to make the considerable detail revealed in the stereo mixes worthwhile, and they aren't good enough players to generate much excitement on the heavier, punchier mono tracks. In the CD's defense, the sound on both sets of tracks is very crisp, and it does reveal a lighter, more ephemeral (but very profitable) side to the British beat boom of the early '60s. And it is fun. ~ Bruce Eder