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June 2021

ARTIST: Charlie Parker TITLE: The Collection 1941-54 GENRE: Jazz CAT NO: ACSCD6008 FORMAT: 6CD  BUY HERE: £18.00

Charlie Parker is, without doubt, one of the most important and influential musicians in the entire history of jazz. As a pioneering and innovative alto saxophonist during the bebop era, Parker was a composer of some of the most enduring modern jazz standards. Nicknamed “Bird”, he produced a substantial and extraordinary body of recorded work. This 137-track collection features interesting early recordings, a significant selection of his recordings as leader, and also work as a prominent member of other leaders’ bands.

ARTIST: Art Tatum TITLE: The Collection 1932-47 GENRE: Jazz CAT NO: ACQCD7155 FORMAT: 4CD  BUY HERE: £15.00

Of all the pianists in the annals of jazz, Art Tatum is the one who is most often cited by greats of the post-war era as a key influence and inspiration. His remarkable speed, dexterity, fluency and sheer relaxed mastery of the keyboard, set him apart from just about all of his peers. This 93-track set comprises a significant proportion of his recordings from his studio debut in 1932 through to 1947. It does not purport to be a definitive collection of this first significant era of his career, but it’s certainly a substantial showcase for one of the great piano stylists of the genre.

ARTIST: Connie Haines TITLE: The Collection 1939-54 GENRE: Easy-Listening CAT NO: ADDCD3386 FORMAT: 2CD  BUY HERE: £10.00

Connie Haines was a female vocalist who established a  reputation as a singer with a number of prominent big swing bands of the early 1940s before going on to forge a solo career. Working with Harry James’ orchestra and then Tommy Dorsey, she had notable success during the war years. This 50-track set includes the Top 20 hits Two Dreams Met,  You Might Have Belonged To Another, Kiss The Boys Goodbye and What Is This Thing Called Love? She was a talent equally at home singing with big bands or performing mainstream pop that characterised the post-war era.

ARTIST: Peppermint Harris TITLE: The Collection 1948-60 GENRE: Blues/R&B CAT NO: ADDCD3388 FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £10.00

Born Harrison Nelson, in 1925, Peppermint Harris was a jump blues and R&B artist, who originally recorded in 1948 as Peppermint Nelson. He acquired his new name by accident while recording Raining In My Heart for the Sittin’ In With record label run by Bob Shad, who allegedly forgot his name and released them as by Peppermint Harris. He scored his big hit in 1951 with the R&B No.1 I Got Loaded. Maybe not one of the biggest stars in the pantheon of blues greats, he is still a performer whose influence should not be forgotten and this 52-track set is a thorough cross-section from his career.

ARTIST: Jimmy Clanton TITLE: The Collection 1957-62 GENRE: Late ’50s Pop CAT NO: ADDCD3385 FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £10.00

Coming into the pop scene in 1957 after the first wave of pioneering rock ‘n’ roll stars, as teen stars provided a slightly different and more universally acceptable strand of the new music, Jimmy Clanton had a run of hits through into the ‘60s before his music was overtaken by the British Invasion. This 62-track collection features his 10 US hits from this era, including the pop No.4 and R&B No.1 Just A Dream, the pop No.5 Go, Jimmy, Go and the pop No.7 Venus In Blue Jeans. An excellent showcase for his particular style as a teen idol.

ARTIST: Blue Barron Orchestra TITLE: The Collection 1938-53 GENRE: Nostalgia CAT NO: ADDCD3387 FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £10.00

Blue Barron, born Harry Freidman, was an American orchestra leader in the 1940s and early 1950s during the “Big Band” era. Friedman launched his Blue Barron Orchestra on the Floating Palace showboat New York in 1936. This 48-track compilation includes all his career hits, including the 1949 No.1, Cruising Down The River. The record sold more than one million copies, gaining gold disc status. The set also features Top 20 chart entries At A Perfume Counter, Darn That Dream, You Walk By, Chi-Baba, Chi-Baba, You Were Only Fooling, A Strawberry Moon, Powder Your Face With Sunshine and Are You Lonesome Tonight.


Staple Singers Co-Founder Pervis Staples Dead at 85

ARTIST: The Staple Singers TITLE: The Collection 1953-62 GENRE: Gospel/Blues/Soul CAT NO: ACTRCD9073 FORMAT: 3CD BUY HERE: £12.00

We're saddened to learn that Pervis Staples, a co-founding member of the legendary gospel group The Staple Singers, has died.

Sister Mavis has said: “Pervis was one of a kind — comical and downright fly. He would want to be remembered as an upright man, always willing to help and encourage others. He was one of the good guys and will live on as a true Chicago legend.”

The Staple Singers are one of the most celebrated and respected groups to have graced the gospel landscape. Their music transcended the boundaries of genre so that they became equally successful and admired across gospel, soul and R&B in a career that spanned six decades.

Pervis was born in November 1935 in Drew, Mississippi, although the family later moved to Chicago. Along with his siblings, Pervis learned gospel music from his father, Roebuck “Pop” Staples, and soon the family was cutting records for a local label, Untied Records. 

In the group, Pervis sang tenor, backing up Pop alongside Mavis and Cleotha. Early on, many assumed Pervis was the one hitting the low notes on the tunes, although it was actually Mavis.

While saddened by this news, we're very much looking forward to catching Mavis when she performs over here next summer.


Charley Patton recognised by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

ARTIST: Charley Patton TITLE: The Complete Recordings 1929-1934 GENRE: Blues CAT NO: ACTRCD9036 FORMAT: 3CD BUY HERE: £12.00

It's great to see Charley Patton's significant influence on the history of music recognised by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2021.

Waaaay before Jimi Hendrix mastered the guitar, or Chuck Berry pioneered rock & roll, or even Robert Johnson had strummed a single chord – Patton had done it all. Without the Father of the Delta Blues, popular music as we know it would not exist and that it why his legacy has been honoured with the Early Influence Award alongside Kraftwerk and Gil Scott Heron.

Charley Patton picked up his first guitar at age seven, shortly after moving to Dockery Plantation in Mississippi. As an elder statesman of the blues, he mentored a who’s who of Delta musicians including Son House, Robert Johnson, and Howlin’ Wolf. Patton recorded his first session for Paramount Records in 1929, cutting seminal songs like Pony Blues, which the Library of Congress later canonised in the National Recording Registry.

The world will never know how the blues sounded before musicians like Patton, Ma Rainey, and Blind Lemon Jefferson started recording the music in the 1920s. These artists form the nexus between history and mystery. Patton planted the Delta blues seed that sprouted the endless branches of rock & roll from Chicago blues to the British Invasion, from heavy metal to hip-hop. When music fans search for the true origins of rock & roll and its roots, Charley Patton is about as close as it gets.

His recording career was restricted to a few sessions between 1929 and 1934, before his premature death aged 45. Our Complete Recordings collection provides a comprehensive overview of his career.


Tommy Steele: Hits & Rarities

ARTIST: Tommy Steele TITLE: Hits & Rarities GENRE: Rock'n'Roll/Easy Listening CAT NO: ACTRCD9108FORMAT: 3CD BUY HERE: £12.00

When debating the birth of British rock ’n’ roll, scholars will undoubtedly discuss the merits of Marty Wilde, Joe Brown, Cliff Richard and Billy Fury… Oft-overlooked however is the huge contribution made by Sir Tommy Steele.

Born Thomas Hicks in 1936, this humble Bermondsey boy went to sea in the Merchant Navy and, after sailing around the globe for five years, returned to the UK electrified by the raw power of rock ’n’ roll. Spotted singing in London’s trendy 2i’s Coffee Bar by Larry Parnes and John Kennedy, Hicks changed his name to Steele and, virtually overnight, became Britain’s first ‘teen idol’.

In the 65 years since his ‘discovery’, Tommy has influenced everyone from Bowie to The Beatles and is now recognised as one of Britain’s greatest ever all-round entertainers. This 92-track collection brings together just some of his hits, rarities and live performances.

Disc One features many rockin’ singles and favourites, like: Rock With The Caveman, Rock Around The Town, Grandad’s Rock, Doomsday Rock, Elevator Rock, Rebel Rock, Knee Deep In The Blues, Teenage Party, Water, Water, Butterfly, What Do You Do?, You Gotta Go, and Happy Guitar.

While, Disc Two includes a variety of rarities and alternative film versions lifted from  successful movies such as: The Tommy Steele Story, Tommy The Toreador, Light Up The Sky! and The Duke Wore Jeans.

Many of the precious recordings featured on Disc Three have never been released before and will be heard by fans for the first time. This substantial celebration, with detailed liner notes from authorised Tommy Steele biographer Sebastian Lassandro, salutes Tommy’s contribution to British pop culture.


MAY 2021

ARTIST: The Four Tunes TITLE: The Singles Collection 1947-59 GENRE: R&B/Doo-Wop CAT NO: ACTRCD9109 FORMAT: 3CD BUY HERE: £12.00

The Four Tunes were a doo-wop quartet which evolved from The Brown Dots and The Sentimentalists during the mid-1940s. Initially performing in the traditional style of groups like the Ink Spots and Mills Brothers, the group moved towards a more R&B-styled doo-wop genre by the end of the decade. This 75-track set features their hits Marie, I Understand (Just How You Feel), Time Out For Tears and I Want To Cry. This collection provides a fine showcase for their acutely developed talents as a harmony group.

ARTIST: Junior Mance TITLE: The Albums Collection 1959-62 GENRE: Jazz CAT NO: ACQCD7154 FORMAT: 4CD BUY HERE: £15.00

Julian “Junior” Mance, who died in January 2021 at the age of 92, was a modern jazz pianist who began his career in the bebop era, and whose playing was characterised by a soulful bluesy style. He worked in the bands of Gene Ammons and Lester Young before army service, and then accompanied Dinah Washington, Cannonball Adderley and Dizzy Gillespie in the 1950s before forming his own trio. This 64-track collection It offers a substantial and enjoyable showcase for his notable skills as a distinctive piano stylist.

ARTIST: Victor Borge TITLE: The Collection 1945-55 GENRE: Comedy CAT NO: ADDCD3383 FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £10.00

Victor Borge was a Danish virtuoso classical pianist who escaped to the USA at the start of World War Two. Learning English via popular movies he started out as a pianist who, over time, incorporated comedy to create a unique style of entertainment. As his recordings and trademark routines became more widely heard, he developed a following on both sides of the Atlantic. This 2CD set comprises musical performances as well as comedy routines. Borge was a complete ‘one-off’, very much of his time, but whose humour transcends the passing of time.

ARTIST: Larry Clinton & His Orchestra TITLE: All The Hits And More 1937-48  GENRE: Nostalgia CAT NO: ADDCD3382 FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £10.00

Larry Clinton was a trumpeter, trombonist and clarinettist who became a successful arranger for Jimmy Dorsey, Tommy Dorsey, Glen Gay’s Casa Loma Orchestra and Bunny Berigan, before starting his own orchestra in 1937. Playing a mixture of current pop in the “sweet” style, jazz-styled instrumentals and swing arrangements of classical pieces, this 48-track collection features the No.1s Cry, Baby, Cry, Heart And Soul, My Reverie, and Deep Purple. An entertaining showcase for a top class orchestra, about which not much is heard these days, as well as an enlightening overview of some of the most popular music of the period.

ARTIST: Eydie Gorme TITLE: The Collection 1952-62 GENRE: Late ’50s / Early ’60s Pop CAT NO: ADDCD3381 FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £10.00

A traditional pop singer in the classic early ’50s mould, Eydie Gorme, started her career singing with big bands at the start of the 1950s. She enjoyed a successful career and made the transition into the post rock ‘n’ roll era. This 56-track set has selected A- and B-sides and features all her 10 solo US and UK chart entries from this era, including the Top 20 hits You Need Hands, a US No.1, Yes My Darling  Daughter, a UK No.10, and Blame It On The Bossa Nova, a US No.7. It showcases her ability and range across the spectrum from sophisticated big band material to upbeat pop.

ARTIST: Carl Belew TITLE: The Early Years 1956-62 GENRE: Country CAT NO: ADDCD3384 FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £10.00

Carl Belew was a country singer and songwriter who, as well as having hits on his own, provided songs for other artists. Coming to prominence in the late ‘50s, his songs provided Top 10 country hits for the likes of Faron Young, Johnnie & Jack, Andy Williams  and Debbie Reynolds. This 52-track compilation features his Top 10 country hits Am I That Easy To Forget and Hello Out There, and the Top 20 hit Too Much To Lose. It’s a comprehensive overview of the key formative years of his career from his rockabilly roots onwards.


Rockabilly Royalty: Celebrating the music of Wanda Jackson

ARTIST: Wanda Jackson TITLE: The Complete Singles As & Bs 1954-62 GENRE: Rockabilly/Rock'n'Roll/Country CAT NO: ADDCD3272 FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £10.00

It's great to hear that the good folk at Skoda Auto are as smitten with "The Queen of Rockabilly", Wanda Jackson, as we are and using her 1962 track Whirlpool in their recent TV advertising...

Jackson, born to Tom Robert Jackson and Nellie Vera Jackson on October 20 in 1937, began her professional career while still attending Capitol Hill High School in Oklahoma City after being discovered by Hank Thompson in 1954.

Thompson had heard her singing on a local radio station and invited her to perform with his band, the Brazos Valley Boys. She recorded a few songs on their label, Capitol Records, including You Can’t Have My Love, a duet with Thompson’s bandleader, Billy Gray. The song was released as a single in 1954 and reached No.8 on the country chart. Jackson was turned down as a solo recording artist by Capitol Records when producer Ken Nelson told her: “Girls don’t sell records.”

Thankfully, Decca were not so dismissive and signed the young powerhouse instead. After graduating from high school, Jackson began to tour with her father as manager and chaperon. She often shared the bill with her beau Elvis Presley, who encouraged her to sing rockabilly. By 1956 Capitol realised girls could actually sell records and signed the rollicking singing sensation and, within a couple of years, Jackson had earnt the title of “The Queen of Rockabilly”.

She enjoyed success across the country, pop and UK charts with a style that often transcended genres as she made the country and pop charts with hits like Fujiyama Mama, I Gotta Know and Right Or Wrong, not to mention her breakthrough UK hits with Mean Mean Man and Let’s Have A Party, a song Presley had recorded three years earlier.

The 58-track,  Wanda Jackson: The Complete Singles As & Bs 1954-62 (ADDCD3272), includes the A- and B-sides of all her singles on the Decca and Capitol labels from her 1954 debut through to 1962. It naturally features all the hits mentioned above, along with all her other country and pop chart entries from this era, including Whirlpool and her biggest Top 10 country hit In The Middle Of A Heartache. It charts her progression from country cowgirl to rockabilly royalty... An entertaining showcase for a highly distinctive talent.


APRIL 2021

ARTIST: Red Nichols & His Five Pennies TITLE: The Collection 1926-32 GENRE: Jazz CAT NO: ACQCD7153 FORMAT: 4CD BUY HERE: £15.00

Born in remote Utah in 1905, trumpeter and cornetist Red Nichols became one of the most successful bandleaders in jazz during the 1920s and ’30s, recording prolifically with a huge variety of small bands and early swing orchestras. With his primary band The Five Pennies (there were often many more than five), he composed some of the most important and memorable tunes and made some of the most important recordings of the era. This 93-track set is presented in chronological order of their recording and is a substantial overview of the output of the Five Pennies which captures the vibrant and innovative spirit of the early jazz era.

ARTIST: Al Hibbler TITLE: The Singles Collection 1946-59 GENRE: R&B CAT NO: ACTRCD9107 FORMAT: 3CD BUY HERE: £12.00

Born in Mississippi in 1915, Al Hibbler, was a baritone vocalist whose career transcended the divide between big band jazz, rhythm and blues and sophisticated pop. Blind from birth, Hibbler was given a start with Dub Jenkins and his Playmates, he later joined a band led by Jay McShann in 1942, and the following year joined Duke Ellington’s Orchestra. As vocalist with Ellington, he recorded memorable hits and stayed with the bandleader until 1951, but also forged a solo career. This 75-track collection includes popular tracks like Unchained Melody, He, After The Lights Go Down Low, Trees, Lover Come Back To Me, Danny Boy and What Will I Tell My Heart.

ARTIST: Bobby Vinton TITLE: The Early Years 1958-62 GENRE: Late ’50s/Early ’60s Pop CAT NO: ADDCD3377 FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £10.00

Bobby Vinton was an unusual artist, in that he was talented multi-instrumentalist who led his own orchestra from the age of 16. Inspired to make records after hearing Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel, he formed his own label. He scored his first hit with a record that Epic had rejected, Roses Are Red, which became a No.1. This 52-track set includes his singles on the Bobby, Melody, Alpine, Epic and Diamond labels, plus selected titles from his albums Dancing At The Hop, Bobby Vinton Plays for His Li'l Darlin’s, Roses Are Red, and Bobby Vinton Sings The Big Ones. Popular tracks Rain Rain Go Away, Let’s Kiss And Make Up and I Love You The Way You Are all feature.

ARTIST: Jane Morgan TITLE: The Collection 1946-62 GENRE: Easy Listening CAT NO: ADDCD3379 FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £10.00

Best-known for her US Top 10 hit with Fascination and her 1958 UK No.1 The Day The Rains Came, Jane Morgan initially found success in France and the UK before achieving recognition in the US. She had voice of remarkable purity and clarity, with an effortless sense of phrasing that made her an extremely versatile artist, able to handle repertoire across the pop spectrum. This 54-track set features selected A- and B-sides of her early singles, including The Day The Rains Came and Fascination. It offers a diverse cross-section of her primary career as a recording artist and provides an enlightening showcase for her distinctive talent as a song stylist.

ARTIST: Johnny Ace TITLE: The Collection 1952-55 GENRE: R&B/Blues CAT NO: ADDCD3378 FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £10.00

Johnny Ace, born John Alexander in Memphis, Tennessee, was a highly successful blues and R&B pianist and singer. His career was tragically cut short at the height of his fame when he died at the age of 25 in a bizarre shooting accident in his dressing room at a gig with Big Mama Thornton on Christmas Day 1954. Before that, he had made some noted recordings accompanying the likes of B.B. King and Bobby Bland, and had run up a string of R&B hits as a solo artist. This 52-track collection features all his eight Top 10 R&B hits, including the No.1s My Song, The Clock and Pledging My Love and the Top 3 hits Cross My Heart and Saving My Love For You. It also features Johnny Moore & The Three Blazers’ Top 20 tribute hit Johnny Ace’s Last Letter.

ARTIST: Goldie Hill TITLE: The Collection 1952-62 GENRE: Country CAT NO: ADDCD3380 FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £10.00

Goldie Hill, who was always dubbed on her record labels in her early years as “The Golden Hillbilly”, was a pioneer in country music. She was one of the first female solo artists to rise to prominence in the USA and one of the first to top the US Country charts when she went to No.1 in 1953 with I Let The Stars Get In My Eyes. This 56-track collection features a significant proportion of her A- and B-sides for Decca during this era, plus selected titles from the albums Goldie Hill and According To My Heart. She was an archetypal country performer of this era, interpreting songs by some of the genre’s finest writers, and this set is an enjoyable introduction to her work.


Remembering the life and music of 'Lady Day'

ARTIST: Billie Holiday TITLE: Collection 1935-1942 CAT NO: ACQCD7049 GENRE: Jazz FORMAT: 4CD BUY HERE

Today we celebrate the jazz legend Billie Holiday, who was born in Philadelphia on 7 April 1915.

Holiday was a true one-off: a wild, outspoken and forceful woman, who also happened to be one of the greatest singers that ever lived.

While her influence has been felt through the generations, there has been renewed interest in her music  following the recent release of The United States vs. Billie Holiday. Andra Day, who stars in the titular role, scooped the Golden Globe for her phenomenal performance and will go head-to-head with Viola Davis (who stars as Ma Rainey in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom) for the leading actress gong at this year’s Academy Awards.

One of the great singers to emerge from the golden age of jazz, Holiday’s music transcends genre and is heralded around the globe.

Featuring 100 tracks, this 4CD set traces an important seven years of her early recording career which built the platform for the huge commercial success she enjoyed during the mid to late 40s, before she began to succumb to the lifestyle which prematurely took her life aged 44.

It contains recordings with Teddy Wilson, Count Basie and Artie Shaw’s bands, as well as her own orchestra, and featuring musicians like her close associate Lester Young (who  nicknamed her “Lady Day”), and demonstrates her unique and unmistakable way of interpreting the songs.

Released in October 2012, this is a  comprehensive overview of her formative years, and serves as a beguiling musical journey.


To celebrate the towering performances of Viola Davis (in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom) and Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holiday), who go head-to-head for the leading actress Oscar at this year's Academy Awards, we are offering 30% off selected movie-related titles from the Acrobat catalogue.  Our "Stars Of The Cinema & Big Screen Biopics Offer" runs until the end of April  - SEE HERE.

Here are some of our favourites:

ARTIST: Doris Day TITLE: The Hits Collection 1945-62 CAT NO: ACTRCD908 GENRE: Easy Listening FORMAT: 3CD  MARKED PRICE: £12 OFFER PRICE: £8.40

Doris Day was one of the biggest film stars in the 1950s-1960s era. She played the title role in Calamity Jane (1953) and starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) with James Stewart. Her best-known films are those in which she co-starred with Rock Hudson, including 1959’s Pillow Talk for which she was nominated for the Best Actress Academy Award. Acrobat’s Hits Collection 1945-62, includes 79 recordings and features 25 Top 10 hits such as the No.1s Sentimental Journey, Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be), My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time, Love Somebody, A Guy Is A Guy and Secret Love.

ARTIST: Frank Sinatra TITLE: The Complete Hits 1939-42 CAT NO: ADDCD3147 GENRE: Easy Listening FORMAT: 2CD MARKED PRICE: £10 OFFER PRICE: £7

When one hears Frank Sinatra rarely does his film career come to mind as his singing voice usually does takes the spotlight. However the “Rat Pack” member managed to put together a pretty successful movie career and won a Best Supporting Oscar for his performance in From Here To Eternity (1953).  He is also celebrated for his performances in movies such as The Joker Is Wild (1957), High Society (1956), Anchors Aweigh (1945), Von Ryan's Express (1965),  Guys And Dolls (1955), Some Came Running (1958), On The Town (1949), The Man With The Golden Arm (1955) and The Manchurian Candidate (1962).

ARTIST: Marilyn Monroe  TITLE: The Collection 1949-62 CAT NO: FADCD2064 GENRE: Easy Listening FORMAT: 2CD MARKED PRICE: £6 OFFER PRICE: £4.20

An almost impossibly glamorous actress, Marilyn Monroe lit up the big screen in movies like Don't Bother To Knock (1952), All About Eve (1950), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), The Asphalt Jungle (1950), The Misfits (1961), Some Like It Hot (1959), Monkey Business (1952), The Seven Year Itch (1955), Niagara (1953) and How To Marry A Millionaire (1953). However the tragic star was also a much-underrated singer and could turn her hand to a variety of different styles as this 34-track 2CD set highlights. To this day, you would be hard pushed to find a more iconic Hollywood star and representative of female beauty in the 20th Century than Marilyn.

ARTIST: Dean Martin TITLE: The Collection 1946-62 CAT NO: ADDCD3175 GENRE: Easy Listening FORMAT: 2CD  MARKED PRICE: £10 OFFER PRICE: £7

Dean Martin was one of the most distinctive and recognisable talents of the post-war era, whether as singer, actor or comedian, and with his effortless charisma and relaxed self-assurance breezed his way to a host of hit records and movies in a career that spanned five decades, establishing his unique persona as a member of the Rat Pack alongside Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis. On the big screen he is fondly remembered for starring roles in Rio Bravo (1959), Oceans 11 (1960), The Wrecking Crew (1968), The Sons Of Katie Elder (1965), Kiss Me, Stupid! (1964) and Who Was That Lady? (1960) - a performance which earned him a Golden Globe nomination.

ARTIST: Annette Funicello TITLE: The Singles & Albums Collection 1958-62 CAT NO: ADDCD3325 GENRE: Pop FORMAT: 2CD  MARKED PRICE: £10 OFFER PRICE: £7

Annette Funicello, known during her early career simply as Annette, was an actress and singer who made her initial chart impact with the Top 10 hit Tall Paul in 1959. She rose to prominence as a popular Mouseketeer on the Mickey Mouse Club, before scoring a string of pop hits. Annette made her feature film debut in the Disney-produced comedy The Shaggy Dog (1959), before becoming a teen idol in a series of ’60s “Beach Party” films. This 65-track set includes the A- and B-sides of her singles on the Disneyland and Buena Vists labels, alongside tracks from her albums Annette, Annette Sings Anka, Hawaiiannette and Italiannette.

ARTIST: Sheb Wooley TITLE: The Collection 1946-62 CAT NO: ADDCD3330 GENRE: Country FORMAT: 2CD MARKED PRICE: £10 OFFER PRICE: £7

Sheb Wooley was a cowboy-styled country singer and character actor in western movies, who is best-known for his No.1 hit Purple People Eater. This 60-track collection comprises selected A- and B-sides, tracing Wooley’s recording career from his 1946 debut on the Bullet label through to his releases for MGM. Wooley appeared in dozens of Western films from the 1950s through 1990s. In 1950, he appeared in Rocky Mountain with such veteran actors as Errol Flynn and Slim Pickens. He portrayed Ben Miller, brother of Frank Miller, in the film High Noon; played Travis Cobb in The Outlaw Josey Wales; and is also credited as the voice actor who produced the legendary Wilhelm scream sound effect.


To celebrate the towering performances of Viola Davis (in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom) and Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holiday), who go head-to-head for the leading actress Oscar at this year's Academy Awards, we are offering 30% off selected movie-related titles from the Acrobat catalogue.  Our "Stars Of The Cinema & Big Screen Biopics Offer" runs until the end of April  - SEE HERE.

Here are some of our favourites: 

ARTIST: Patsy Cline TITLE: The Complete Releases 1955-62 CAT NO: ACTRCD9064 GENRE: Country FORMAT: 3CD MARKED PRICE: £12 OFFER PRICE: £8.40

Patsy Cline is one of the most important and revered female artists in the history of music, a fact made all the more poignant by the fact that she only had a few years at the top before her tragic death in a plane crash in 1963 at the age of 30. This 75-track 3CD set, comprises every record she released from her debut on Coral in 1955, through her Four Star and Decca years until the end of 1962 a couple of months before her death. It includes the hits Walkin’ After Midnight, I Fall To Pieces, Crazy and She’s Got You. Actress Jessica Lange received an Oscar nomination for her terrific portrayal of Cline in the 1985 biographical movie Sweet Dreams.

ARTIST: Ritchie Valens TITLE: The Complete Releases 1958-60 CAT NO: ADDCD3286 GENRE: Rock ’n’ Roll FORMAT: 2CD  MARKED PRICE: £10 OFFER PRICE: £7

Ritchie Valens was one of leading lights in what became known as Chicano rock – music from the Mexican-American community of the USA, often sung in Spanish and heavily influenced by R&B. He is also, of course, well-known for more tragic reasons, namely that he was one of the three stars along with Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper who died in a fateful aeroplane crash in 1959. Valens was only 17 years old when he died but, in his brief eight-month recording career, had already scored three hits, two of which were in the Top 100 at the time of the accident: Donna and La Bamba. His life was celebrated in the 1987, Golden Globe Award-nominated, movie La Bamba starring Lou Diamond Phillips.

ARTIST: Ma Rainey TITLE: The Definitive Collection 1924-28 CAT NO: ACQCD7131 GENRE: Blues / Jazz FORMAT: 4CD MARKED PRICE: £15 OFFER PRICE: £10.50

The recent film, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, starring the much-missed Chadwick Boseman in his Golden Globe-winning final film role, has rekindled interest in the “Mother of the Blues”. Gertrude “Ma” Rainey is now recognised as one of the towering figures of early blues. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom stars Academy Award-winning Viola Davis as Rainey opposite Boseman who died of colon cancer on August 28. Boseman plays trumpeter Levee, who has an eye for Ma’s girlfriend and is in attendance at a fateful Rainey recording session in 1927 Chicago. This definitive 4CD collection features 94 tracks and includes all of the titles she recorded for Paramount during her career.

ARTIST: Ray Charles TITLE: In The Beginning ’49-’52 CAT NO: FADCD2002 GENRE: Jazz FORMAT: 2CD MARKED PRICE: £6 OFFER PRICE: £4.20

While he preferred to be called “Brother Ray”, the legendary Ray Charles was often referred to as “The Genius”. In The Beginning is a definitive collection of the great man’s recordings made prior to his signing to Atlantic Records in 1954. The album includes every traceable pre-Atlantic recording in one package and is worthy of inclusion in everybody’s collection. The independently produced 2004 film, Ray, stars Jamie Foxx in the title role. For his performance, Foxx won the Academy Award for Best Actor as well as the Golden Globe, BAFTA, Screen Actors Guild, and Critics' Choice, becoming the second actor to win all five major lead actor awards for the same performance.

ARTIST: Judy Garland TITLE: The Collection 1937-47 CAT NO: ACTRCD9087 GENRE:  Easy Listening FORMAT: 3CD MARKED PRICE: £12 OFFER PRICE: £8.40

With a career spanning 45 years, Judy Garland attained international stardom as an actress and recording artist. Alongside the 6CD Judy Garland Collection 1953-62 (ACSCD6006 See here), Acrobat released this 78-track, hit-packed, 3CD Judy Garland Collection 1937-47 (ACTRCD9087) to coincide with Academy Award-winning biographical drama Judy. Garland appeared in more than two dozen films for MGM and is remembered for portraying Dorothy in The Wizard Of Oz (1939). She was a frequent on-screen partner of both Mickey Rooney and Gene Kelly. Other film appearances during this period include roles in Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), The Harvey Girls (1946), Easter Parade (1948) and Summer Stock (1950). Our 6CD collection comprises the singles she made for Columbia, the A Star Is Born soundtrack, from which came the hit The Man That Got Away, and all the titles from the 10 albums she released on Capitol over the next decade. Renée Zellweger won the Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Best Actress Academy Award for her stirring performance as Garland in the 2019 picture.

ARTIST: Jerry Lee Lewis TITLE: The Complete US & UK Singles and EPs As & Bs 1956-62 CAT NO: ADDCD3118 GENRE: Rock ’n’ Roll FORMAT: 2CD MARKED PRICE: £10 OFFER PRICE: £7

From the pantheon of the rock ’n’ roll legends, Jerry Lee Lewis is now the last man standing, following the passing of Little Richard last June. A true pioneer, Jerry Lee started his career recording at Sam Philips’ renowned Sun Studios in Memphis. When Elvis left Sun for RCA, Lewis became Phillips’ main money-spinner... although his high profile reputation as one of the first wild men of rock often overshadowed the music. This thorough and entertaining 56-track 2CD set includes all the legendary hits like Great Balls Of Fire, Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On and What’d I Say. His tumultuous story was brought to life on the big screen in the rollicking 1989 biopic Great Balls Of Fire starring Dennis Quaid.


To celebrate the towering performances of Viola Davis (in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom) and Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holiday), who go head-to-head for the leading actress Oscar at this year's Academy Awards, we are offering 30% off selected movie-related titles from the Acrobat catalogue.  Our "Stars Of The Cinema & Big Screen Biopics Offer" runs until the end of April  - SEE HERE.

Here are some of our favourites:

ARTIST:  Eartha Kitt TITLE: The Singles Collection 1952-62 CAT NO: ADDCD3233 GENRE: Jazz FORMAT: 2CD MARKED PRICE: £10 OFFER PRICE: £7

Eartha Kitt was a uniquely distinctive performer, whose sultry and provocative talents as a singer and actress caused Orson Welles to describe her as “The most exciting woman in the world”. It was Welles who gave Kitt her first starring role as Helen of Troy in his staging of Dr. Faustus. Two years later, she was cast in the revue New Faces of 1952. In 1954, 20th Century Fox distributed an independently-filmed version of New Faces. Her other films in the 1950s included The Mark of the Hawk (1957), St. Louis Blues (1958) and Anna Lucasta (1958). She famous starred as Catwoman in the Batman TV series. This 53-track collection includes selected A- and B-sides of her singles for and provides an entertaining cross-section of her work.

ARTIST: Buddy Holly & The Crickets TITLE: The Complete US & UK Singles As & Bs 1956-62 CAT NO: ADDCD3232 GENRE: Rock ’n’ Roll FORMAT: 2CD MARKED PRICE: £10 OFFER PRICE: £7

Despite the fact that his career was so tragically curtailed when he died alongside The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens in a fateful plane crash on February 3, 1959, Buddy Holly remains one of the most important songwriters and performers of the rock ’n’ roll era. This 66-track Acrobat collection is a comprehensive overview of the recordings which established Holly as an influential pioneer. It features the hits That’ll Be The Day, Oh Boy!, Peggy Sue, Rave On, Everyday, Maybe Baby, Heartbeat, Raining In My Heart and It Doesn’t Matter AnymoreThe Buddy Holly Story, released in 1978, features Joe Renzetti’s Academy Award-winning musical score and an Oscar-nominated lead performance by Gary Busey.

ARTIST: Peggy Lee TITLE: The Centenary Albums Collection 1948-62 CAT NO: ACQCD7147 GENRE: Nostalgia FORMAT: 4CD MARKED PRICE: £15 OFFER PRICE: £10.50

Peggy Lee’s incredible career spanned six decades and, between 1948 and 1962, she delighted listeners with a popular and wide-ranging repertoire. This 109-track set features selected titles from 25 of her  albums. This 4CD collection is a fitting celebration of her remarkable talents. The Centenary Singles Collection 1945-62 (ACQCD7146 see here) is also available. In 1952, Lee starred opposite Danny Thomas in the 1952 remake of The Jazz Singer. She played an alcoholic blues singer in Pete Kelly’s Blues (1955), for which she was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award. She also provided voices for several characters in the Disney movie Lady And The Tramp (1955).

ARTIST: Tab Hunter TITLE: The Collection 1956-62 CAT NO: ADDCD3336 GENRE: 50s Pop FORMAT: 2CD MARKED PRICE: £10 OFFER PRICE: £7

Tab Hunter was a Hollywood heartthrob before he was a singer. He was plucked from obscurity by actor Dick Clayton who met him when he was working in a stable in California. He starred alongside Natalie Wood in two box office hits (The Burning Hills and The Girl He Left Behind) before Randy Wood of Dot Records asked him to record a version of Sonny James’ country hit Young Love. The track hit No.1 on both sides of the Atlantic and he had three more chart entries for Dot before Warner Bros insisted he record for them. This 61-track set comprises most of the A- and B-sides he recorded for Dot and Warner Bros during these early years. His foray into music did not last long into the 1960s as his focus returned to the big screen.

ARTIST: Johnny Cash TITLE: Complete Sun releases and Columbia Singles 1955-62 CAT NO: ACTRCD9054 GENRE: Country FORMAT: 2CD MARKED PRICE: £10 OFFER PRICE: £7

Johnny Cash occupies an unusual niche in popular music as an artist who was able to straddle the genres to encompass not only the country idiom with which he is most identified but also rockabilly, blues, rock ‘n’ roll, gospel and folk. This 81-track anthology is a substantial overview of his key early career and includes all of the tracks released by Sun during this period, plus all the A- and B-sides of his singles for Columbia from this era. The 2005 film, Walk The Line, follows Cash’s early life and romance with June Carter. It stars Joaquin Phoenix as Cash and Reese Witherspoon as Carter. It was nominated for five Oscars at the 78th Academy Awards and walked away with a Best Actress win for Witherspoon.

ARTIST: Billie Holiday TITLE: The Collection 1935-42 CAT NO: ACQCD7049 GENRE: Jazz FORMAT: 4CD MARKED PRICE: £15 OFFER PRICE: £10.50

Billie Holiday was one of the great singers to emerge from the golden age of jazz singing as a premier exponent of an art form which often crossed over into the popular music world. This fascinating and beguiling musical collection, featuring 100 tracks, traces an important seven years of her early recording career which built the platform for the huge commercial success she enjoyed during the mid to late 40s, before she began to succumb to the lifestyle which eventually destroyed her. While her influence has been felt through the generations, there has been renewed interest in her music following the recent release of The United States vs. Billie Holiday. Andra Day, who stars in the titular role, scooped the Golden Globe for her phenomenal performance and will go head-to-head with Viola Davis (who stars as Ma Rainey in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom) for the leading actress gong at this year’s Academy Awards. Her tragic story was also brought to the big screen by Diana Ross in the 1972 movie Lady Sings The Blues. The film was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Actress in a Leading Role for Ross.

NEWS: Arturo O'Farrill wins Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Album

Arturo O' Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra: Four Questions

ARTIST: Arturo O' Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra TITLE: Four Questions CAT NO: ZM202002 GENRE: Latin Jazz FORMAT: CD LABEL: Zoho BUY HERE: £12.00

Arturo O’Farrill celebrates another Grammy Award win with his The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra for last year’s Four Questions (Zoho - ZM202002). The album was named Best Latin Jazz Album at the recent 63rd Annual Grammy Awards.

The “Four Questions” addressed by Arturo on the album - What does integrity do in the face of adversity / oppression? What does honesty do in the face of lies / deception? What does decency do in the face of insult? How does virtue meet brute force? - were first posed by the great African American civil rights activist and author W.E.B. Du Bois in his 1903 book The Souls of Black Folk and expounded upon in a speech given by Dr Cornel West based on his book, Black Prophetic Fire, given in October 2014 at Town Hall in Seattle.

“That speech turned my life around and Dr West has become a giant figure in my thinking,” says Arturo. “Watching Dr West speak is one of the sublime musical experiences of my life.

“His oratory has the weight of a John Coltrane solo. His rhythmic delivery has the tumbao of Mongo Santamaria. The humour with which he injects his very serious messages floats like Charlie Parker in flight and, oh, most sacred of all, when he gets deliberate, each word has the authenticity and Afrocentricity of Thelonious Monk's right hand. Upon seeing him in a debate, I knew I must write a concerto for his delivery of Du Bois’ questions, and I pursued this goal relentlessly. Dr West is a giant of a human being and graciously agreed to be the subject of what has become an extensive project.”

Born in Mexico City, to Lupe Valero and Chico O' Farrill on June 22, 1960, Arturo's mother Lupe was a singer from Mexico, and his father Chico was a jazz trumpeter and composer originally from Havana. The family lived in Mexico until 1965, when they moved to New York City. Inspired at and early age by Bud Powell and Chick Corea, Arturo graduated from LaGuardia High School for Music and Art and went on to study at the Manhattan School of Music, the Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College (from which he received the Distinguished Alumnus Medal), and the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College.

Unlike his father, whose music was undeniably Afro-Cuban in nature, Arturo casts a wider net, capturing sounds from throughout Latin America. Reflective of big band traditions in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and elsewhere, his music is described as stylistically "pan-Latin" by critic Dan Bilawsky.

Released, April 2020, Four Questions was described as a “tour de force,” by Jazz Times and heralded by both Jazziz Magazine and The New York Times. In the UK, Jazzwise, wrote: “There’s fire and music in his words... The big themes are matched throughout with big, muscular, exuberant music.”

Arturo won his first Grammy at the 51st awards for Song For Chico, and other Grammy successes include: Final Night at Birdland (Best Instrumental Performance, 2014), The Offense Of The Drum (Best Latin Jazz Album, 2014) and Three Revolutions (Best Instrumental Composition, 2017).

Arturo said: “I made one rule for myself, and I really try to live it: Play music you love, with people you love, for people you love. If I can’t be that kind of musician, I’ll drive a cab.”

Classic FM Drive Discovery album of the week

Fantasie Nègre: The Piano Music of Florence Price by Samantha Ege

ARTIST: Samantha Ege TITLE: Fantasie Nègre: The Piano Music of Florence Price CAT NO: LNT144 GENRE: Classical FORMAT: CD LABEL: Lorelt BUY HERE: £13.00

Musicologist and pianist, Samantha Ege, celebrates the work of trailblazing composer Florence Price on her highly romantic and expressive new album Fantasie Nègre: The Piano Music Of Florence Price.

Released on 5 March 2021, the album has already enjoyed widespread praise, radio exposure, and was recently named John Brunning’s Drive Discovery album of the week on Classic FM.

Ege, a Junior Research Fellow at the University of Oxford whose work seeks to highlight composers from underrepresented backgrounds, said: “As a young pianist, discovering Price made me feel visible. She belonged to a long legacy of black composers who channelled their African heritage into classical forms. “The classical mainstream must now work to realise the future that she no doubt hoped to see, one where the concert hall welcomes black classical artists, not only posthumously.”

Price (1887-1953), is best known for her Symphony No.1 in E minor, performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1933. She was the first African-American woman to have her music presented by a major US orchestra. Born in Little Rock, Arkansas and taught by her mother, Price graduated from the New England Conservatory aged 19. While there, she presented herself as Mexican as her black racial identity could preclude her success.

Race riots and routine lynchings forced Price’s family to move to Chicago’s South Side after her studies, where she found a vibrant community of African-American musicians and composers. Much of Price’s work, characterised by their blend of European Romantic idioms and those drawn from African American traditional music, came perilously close to being lost following her death - a collection of her manuscripts were rediscovered in a dilapidated house in St. Anne, Illinois, in 2009.

Sadly, Price faced continued barriers due to her race and gender, working as a composer and teacher until her death in Chicago in 1953.


MARCH 2021

ARTIST: Wild Bill Davis TITLE: The Collection 1951-60 CAT NO: ADDCD3373 GENRE: Jazz FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £10.00

Wild Bill Davis was a jazz organist, pianist, composer and arranger, who pioneered the use of the electric organ in jazz during the early 1950s prior to the emergence of Jimmy Smith. He is also well-known for the recordings he made as a pianist/arranger for Louis Jordan’s Tympani Five during the late ’40s. Turning to the organ in his solo career, he performed and recorded with different trios which he assembled. This 46-track collection comprises recordings which were released on the Okeh, Epic, Imperial and Everest label, and includes a variety of jazz styles. It is a varied and entertaining showcase for his highly distinctive talent.

ARTIST: The Harptones TITLE: The Collection 1953-61 CAT NO: ADDCD3374 GENRE: R&B/Doo-Wop FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £10.00

The Harptones were one of the many doo-wop vocal groups to emerge from New York City in the early ’50s and, although they did not have an illustrious chart career, they were one of the most consistently admired groups. With the distinctive tenor voice of Willie Winfield almost always to the fore, they produced a string of polished and classy performances on record through the 1950s. This 54-track set features A- and B-sides for the Bruce, Essex, X, Paradise, Andrea, Rama, Gee, Tip Top, Domme, Warwick, Coed, Companion and Cub labels. It includes their best-known numbers: A Sunday Kind Of Love,  Why Should I Love You?, Life Is But A Dream, The Shrine Of St. Cecilia, and What Will I Tell My Heart.

ARTIST: Toni Arden TITLE: The Collection 1944-61 CAT NO: ADDCD3375 GENRE: Easy Listening​​​​​ FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £10.00

The daughter of a singer at the Metropolitan Opera, Toni Arden started performing in her teens during the war years, and made her first records with the Al Trace Orchestra for the National label in 1944. A year or two later, appearances on the Doorway To Fame TV talent show led to a solo contract with Columbia, for whom she scored a hit with her first release I Can Dream Can’t I. This 51-track compilation comprises selected A- and B-sides from her releases on the National, Columbia, RCA-Victor and Decca labels from this era, including the Top 10 hit I Can Dream, Can’t I? plus Too Young, I’m Yours, Kiss Of Fire, Are You Satisfied and Padre.

ARTIST: Red Sovine TITLE: The Collection 1949-59 CAT NO: ADDCD3376 GENRE: Country FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £10.00

Red Sovine was a country singer and songwriter, associated with the honky-tonk style, whose career had two fairly distinct eras where he enjoyed success, separated by a fallow period in the early 1960s. Although he went on to have more hits from 1964 through to 1981, this collection deals with the first decade or so of his career, when he established his reputation and had his initial chart success. Songs such as Hold Everything (Till I Get Home) and the No. 15 If Jesus Came To Your House are included alongside his hit duets with Webb Pierce: Why Baby Why and Little Rosa. A comprehensive overview of that key first decade of his career.

ARTIST: Harry Belafonte TITLE: The Collection 1949-62 CAT NO: ACFCD7514 GENRE: Easy Listening FORMAT: 5CD BUY HERE: £15.00

There really is no other performer or entertainer quite like Harry Belafonte. He was instrumental in the popularisation of folk music of all kinds, especially West Indian calypso, but his music encompasses a range of idioms from gospel, blues and jazz to stage music and sophisticated pop. This 5CD set is a celebration of that rich and varied musical canon. It features all his hits, such as UK No.1 Mary’s Boy Child and the UK Top 3 hits Banana Boat (Day-O), a US No.5, and Island In The Sun. Other favourites featured include Scarlet Ribbons, Jamaica Farewell and the ‘live’ duet recording of Hole In The Bucket with Odetta. It’s a substantial and thoroughly absorbing overview of the primary era of his recording career and a fine showcase for his unique talent.

ARTIST: Tony Pastor & His Orchestra TITLE: The Collection 1940-51 CAT NO: ACTRCD9106 GENRE: Easy Listening FORMAT: 3CD BUY HERE: £12.00

Tony Pastor was a jazz and big band saxophonist, singer and bandleader who was with Artie Shaw’s Orchestra during the ’30s before launching his own band in 1940. He enjoyed a successful chart career through the 1940s with a distinctive style of upbeat middle-of-the-road music, including the novelty-flavoured material popular in that era. This 3-CD set comprises selected A- and B-sides from his singles on the Bluebird, RCA-Victor, Cosmo and Columbia labels during this era, and features all his 15 US chart entries, including the Top 10 hits Maria Elena, Dance With A Dolly, Bell Bottom Trousers, Sioux City Sue, Red Silk Stockings And Green Perfume and The Lady From Twenty-Nine Palms.


Celebrating the female pioneers who changed music forever

Ahead of International Women's Day 2021 (Monday, 8 March), we salute the female artists who made music history and offer 30% off more than 50 titles in our catalogue - SEE HERE.

Here are some of our favourites:

ARTIST: Billie Holiday TITLE: The Collection 1935-42 CAT NO: ACQCD7049 GENRE: Jazz FORMAT: 4CD MARKED PRICE: £15 OFFER PRICE: £10.50

Billie Holiday was one of the great singers to emerge from the golden age of jazz singing as a premier exponent of an art form which often crossed over into the popular music world. This fascinating and beguiling musical collection, featuring 100 tracks, traces an important seven years of her early recording career which built the platform for the huge commercial success she enjoyed during the mid to late 40s, before she began to succumb to the lifestyle which eventually destroyed her. Her tragic story  was brought to the big screen by Diana Ross in the 1972 movie Lady Sings The Blues and more recently by Golden Globe winner Andra Day in United States vs. Billie Holiday.

ARTIST: Wanda Jackson TITLE: Complete Singles As & Bs 1954-62 CAT NO: ADDCD3272 GENRE: Rock ’n’ Roll / Country FORMAT: 2CD MARKED PRICE: £10 OFFER PRICE: £7

From country cowgirl to rockabilly royalty Wanda Jackson was a guitar-wilding guitar-wielding force of nature. She was a country singer who embraced rockabilly and rock’n’roll during the 50s to the extent that she earnt the title of “The Queen of Rockabilly”. This 58-track set comprises the A- and B-sides of all her singles on the Decca and Capitol labels from her 1954 debut through to 1962. It naturally features all the hits mentioned above, along with all her other country and pop chart entries from this era, notably her biggest Top 10 country hit In The Middle Of A Heartache and Fujiyama Mama which landed Jackson at the top of the charts in Japan.

ARTIST: Big Mama Thornton TITLE: The Singles Collection 1951-61 CAT NO: ACMCD4401 GENRE: R&B/Blues FORMAT: CD MARKED PRICE: £10 OFFER PRICE: £7

Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton was an formidable vocalist,  best-known for recording the original 1953 version of Hound Dog. Born in Alabama in 1925, she learnt to sing in church but became a disciple of Bessie Smith and Memphis Minnie, moving in 1948 to Houston, Texas, a buzzing centre of jump blues, where she built a reputation as a powerful performer. Working with Johnny Otis and the emerging young songwriting duo of Leiber and Stoller, she recorded their song Hound Dog, and it provided her with her sole career hit, topping the US R&B charts, and becoming a landmark record. This 27-track CD comprises all her releases during the first decade of her career.

ARTIST: Patsy Cline TITLE: The Complete Releases 1955-62 CAT NO: ACTRCD9064 GENRE: Country FORMAT: 3CD MARKED PRICE: £12 OFFER PRICE: £8.40

Patsy Cline is one of the most revered female artists in the history of country music, a situation made all the more remarkable by the fact that she only had a few years at the top before her tragic death in a plane crash in 1963 at the age of 30. Having scored a debut No.2 in 1957 with Walkin’ After Midnight she went on to record a string of  hits including I Fall To Pieces, Crazy and She’s Got You. This 75-track 3CD set, comprises every record she released from her debut on Coral in 1955, through her Four Star and Decca years until the end of 1962. It is a comprehensive and definitive overview of her releases during her career, and is a worthy tribute to a unique talent.

ARTIST: Bessie Smith TITLE: The Collection 1923-33 CAT NO: FADCD2040 GENRE: Blues FORMAT: 2CD MARKED PRICE: £6 OFFER PRICE: £4.20

Bessie Smith was not only the first significant female blues singer to emerge during the early electric recording era, but her influence and reputation is such that she is still rightly hailed as the most important and greatest female blues artist in the annals of the genre, rightly given the title "The Empress Of The Blues". In her recently republished book, Bessie Smith (published by Faber), Scottish poet Jackie Kay charts the singer's trials and tribulations, while celebrating her triumphs and the recordings that made her such a ground-breaking phenomenon. This excellent collection is selected from the 160 recordings she made for Columbia, and does not duplicate any titles which appear on the existing Bessie Smith 2-CD set Bessie Smith Greatest Hits (FADCD2004).

ARTIST: Nancy Wilson TITLE: The Early Years 1956-1962 CAT NO: ADDCD3156 GENRE: Jazz FORMAT: 2CD MARKED PRICE: £10 OFFER PRICE: £7

Nancy Wilson is one of the finest vocalists to emerge in the post-war era to take over the mantle of great jazz, cabaret and pop singers such as Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald and Peggy Lee, and compete with them on their own terms. This collection takes a thorough look at the formative years of her career, comprising as it does her complete performances on five LPs - Like In Love, recorded in 1956 when she was just 19, Something Wonderful, The Swingings Mutual with jazz pianist George Shearing, the equally jazz-oriented Nancy Wilson With Cannonball Adderley, and Hello Young Lovers. It showcases the breadth and distinctiveness of her talent, and her sophisticated artistry even in these early days.


Celebrating the female pioneers who changed music forever

Ahead of International Women's Day 2021 (Monday, 8 March), we salute the female artists who made music history and offer 30% off more than 50 titles in our catalogue - SEE HERE.

Here are some of our favourites:

ARTIST: Ella Fitzgerald TITLE: The Collection 1935-1945 CAT NO: ACQCD7048 GENRE: Jazz FORMAT: 4CD MARKED PRICE: £15 OFFER PRICE: £10.50

Sometimes referred to as the “First Lady of Song” or “Queen of Jazz”, Lady Ella was one of the great singers to emerge from the golden age of jazz. This collection traces the first decade of her recording career, starting with Chick Webb and His Orchestra,  follows through with the recordings when she took over with Ella Fitzgerald’s Famous Orchestra after Webb died. It shows her development from talented, but inexperienced band singer, to versatile star adept at delivering a range of material with maturity and subtlety. Comprising 100 tracks on a 4CD collection, this is a comprehensive and coherent overview of the formative era in the career of one of the great jazz vocalists. A fascinating and entertaining musical journey.

ARTIST: Odetta TITLE: The Albums Collection 1954-62 CAT NO: ACFCD7512 GENRE: Folk FORMAT: 5CD MARKED PRICE: £15 OFFER PRICE: £10.50

Odetta Holmes, generally simply known as Odetta, was an American singer, actress, guitarist, songwriter, and a civil and human rights activist, who acquired a reputation as “The Voice of the Civil Rights Movement”. She was mainly seen as an American folk artist, although her repertoire encompassed blues spirituals and jazz. She was a key figure in the American folk music revival of the 1950s and 1960s, and influenced many of the emerging artists of that time, like Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Janis Joplin. This 5CD set focuses on the formative first decade or so of her recordings career and is a great showcase for a highly distinctive and influential talent.

ARTIST: Mary Lou Williams TITLE: The Collection 1927-59 CAT NO: FADCD2046 GENRE: Jazz FORMAT: 2CD MARKED PRICE: £6 OFFER PRICE: £4.20

Known as “the first lady of the jazz keyboard”, Mary Lou Williams achieved extraordinary recognition and success as pianist, composer and arranger in an era where women often found it hard to break through. This 51-track collection includes more than 30 years of recordings and features: Night Life, Walkin’ And Swingin’, Twinklin’, Little Joe From Chicago, Roll ’Em and Blue Skies. In a recent Washington Post article, notable US jazz critic W. Royal Stokes, named this release an Essential Jazz Album, writing: “A lovely sampling of the contributions to the art form from the ‘First Woman of Jazz’ as pianist, band and combo leader, composer, and arranger.”

ARTIST: Marilyn Monroe  TITLE: The Collection 1949-62 CAT NO: FADCD2064 GENRE: Easy Listening​​​​​​ FORMAT: 2CD MARKED PRICE: £6 OFFER PRICE: £4.20

You would be hard pushed to find a more iconic Hollywood star and representative of female beauty in the 20th Century than Marilyn Monroe. An almost impossibly beautiful actress, Monroe was also a much-underrated singer and could turn her hand to a variety of different styles. This 34-track 2CD set brings together most of the extant recorded examples of her performing in a musical environment. For all her Hollywood glitz and bombshell glamour, Monroe was a woman of principle who lobbied the owner of the Mocambo nightclub in Hollywood to book Ella Fitzgerald, the show was hugely instrumental in singer’s career and success.

ARTIST: Aretha Franklin TITLE: The Collection 1956-62 CAT NO: ADDCD3194 GENRE: Soul FORMAT: 2CD MARKED PRICE: £10 OFFER PRICE: £7

Aretha Franklin has, for many decades, rightly enjoyed the accolade of “The Queen Of Soul”, a position that was cemented by her landmark 1967 hit Respect. However, her career as a recording artist was a decade old by that time, having honed her style singing gospel, jazz and blues. This great value 48-track collection brings together all of the much-missed singer’s recordings which were released through to 1962, by which time she had established a reputation as a distinctive and dynamic performer. In 2010, Rolling Stone magazine ranked her No.1 on its list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. Sadly, we lost Aretha in 2018.

ARTIST: Ma Rainey TITLE: The Definitive Collection 1924-28 CAT NO: ACQCD7131 GENRE: Blues / JazzFORMAT: 4CD MARKED PRICE: £15 OFFER PRICE: £10.50

The recent film, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, starring the much-missed Chadwick Boseman in his Golden Globe-winning final film role, has rekindled interest in the “Mother of the Blues”. Gertrude “Ma” Rainey is now recognised as one of the towering figures of early blues. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom stars Academy Award-winning Viola Davis as Rainey opposite Boseman who died of colon cancer on August 28. Boseman plays trumpeter Levee, who has an eye for Ma’s girlfriend and is in attendance at a fateful Rainey recording session in 1927 Chicago. This definitive 4CD collection features 94 tracks and includes all of the titles she recorded for Paramount during her career.


Celebrating the female pioneers who changed music forever

Ahead of International Women's Day 2021 (Monday, 8 March), we salute the female artists who made music history and offer 30% off more than 50 titles in our catalogue - SEE HERE.

Here are some of our favourites:

ARTIST: Etta James TITLE: The Complete Singles As & Bs 1955-62 CAT NO: ADDCD3204 GENRE: Blues/R&B FORMAT: 2CD MARKED PRICE: £10 OFFER PRICE: £7

Etta James is widely regarded as one of the finest female singers of the modern era, second only in some eyes to Aretha Franklin. Bridging the gap between R&B and Rock & Roll, James has influenced everyone from Diana Ross, Janis Joplin and The Rolling Stones to Paloma Faith, Rita Ora, and Adele. Described be Atlantic Records’ Jerry Wexler as the greatest of all modern blues singers, early hits include The Wallflower (Roll With Me Henry) and Good Rockin’ Daddy. Signing to Argo in 1960, the singer hit the charts with more than 15 records between 1960 and 62, including Top 5 successes like All I Could Do Was Cry, My Dearest Darling, At Last, Trust In Me and Something’s Got A Hold On Me.

ARTIST: Big Maybelle TITLE: The Complete King, Okeh & Savoy Releases 1947-61 CAT NO: ADDCD3161 GENRE: Blues FORMAT: 2CD MARKED PRICE: £10 OFFER PRICE: £7

Big Maybelle Smith was one of the coterie of powerful female blues and R&B singers who lit up the scene during the post-war decades. Coming from a gospel-singing background in Tennessee, she recorded for the King, Okeh and Savoy labels, scoring Top 10 R&B hits with songs like Gabbin’ Man, Way Back Home and My Country Man, as well as recording the original version of Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On, later covered by Jerry Lee Lewis. This 2CD set is a thorough trawl through her core career, and is a worthy tribute to a highly distinctive and influential entertainer. It comes with substantial booklet notes including full recording sessions.

ARTIST: Nina Simone TITLE: The Definitive Collection 1958-62 CAT NO: ACQCD7124 GENRE: Blues/Jazz FORMAT: 4CD MARKED PRICE: £15 OFFER PRICE: £10.50

Nina Simone was one of the most distinctive and complex musical personalities of the second half of the 20th century. Easing from gospel to blues to jazz with style and sass, Simone was named the 29th-greatest singer of all time by Rolling Stone magazine in 2017 and this 78-track compilation features just about every recording which she released during her formative years. A comprehensive overview of the early career of “The High Priestess of Soul”, this 4CD celebration received glowing press coverage on the album’s release in 2018  – Gerry Stonestreet in issue 318 of In Tune said:  “If you have room for only one Nina Simone collection on your shelves, this is surely the one”.

ARTIST: Marlene Dietrich​​​​​​​ TITLE: The Collection 1930-62 CAT NO: FADCD2065​​​​​​​ GENRE: Easy Listening FORMAT: 2CD MARKED PRICE: £6 OFFER PRICE: £4.20

Marlene Dietrich was one of the most enduring leading lights of the 20th century, re-inventing herself as a stage actress and then a movie star whose exotic persona made her one of the highest-paid screen performers of the 30s and 40s. Having made her mark in Germany, she turned to Hollywood during the 1930s spurning lucrative offers by Germany’s Nazi government to return there and took US citizenship in 1937. All through her film career, she made notable musical contributions, and she built a legitimate career as a studio and ‘live’ singer, with a highly individual and recognisable vocal style to match her striking looks. This 51-track collection selects a representative range of her recordings and showcases the versatility of her repertoire.

ARTIST: Sarah Vaughan TITLE: The Complete Columbia Singles As & Bs​​​​​​​ CAT NO: ACTRCD9090​​​​​​​ GENRE: Jazz FORMAT: 3CD MARKED PRICE: £12 OFFER PRICE: £8.40

Sarah Vaughan was one of the illustrious coterie of female vocalists who spanned the genres of jazz, big band music and sophisticated pop during the post-war era. Described by renowned music critic Scott Yanow as the “possessor of one of the most wondrous voices of the 20th century” she performed and recorded consistently through to her death in 1990. This 69-track collection follows directly on in her career from Acrobat’s previous release The Early Years 1944-48 (ADDCD3251). It includes all her 11 Billboard Top 30 entries in these years including the Top 10 hit I Love The Guy, and features performances with Miles Davis, Bennie Green, Jimmy Jones and Budd Johnson.

ARTIST: Ella Mae Morse TITLE: The Singles Collection 1942-57 CAT NO: ADDCD3256​​​​​​​ GENRE: Easy Listening​​​​​​​ FORMAT: 2CD MARKED PRICE: £10 OFFER PRICE: £7

Ella Mae Morse was one of the first white female singers to successfully and credibly bridge the gap between pop and R&B during the 40s and is often regarded as a key figure in the early development of rock ’n’ roll. Her Cow-Cow Boogie was a Top 10 smash and Capitol’s first million-selling release. She went on to record a string of pop and R&B Top 10 hits including Mister Five By Five, Shoo Shoo Baby, No Love, No Nothin’, Milkman Keep Those Bottles Quiet, The Patty Cake Man and The Blacksmith Blues. This 54-track set provides an entertaining showcase for a versatile artist whose style encompassed elements of jazz, big band, R&B, gospel, boogie-woogie, blues and country.


The Empress Of The Blues: Bessie Smith

ARTIST: Bessie Smith TITLE: The Collection 1923-33 CAT NO: FADCD2040 GENRE: Blues FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £6

Bessie Smith was not only the first significant female blues singer to emerge during the early electric recording era, but her influence and reputation is such that she is still rightly hailed as the most important and greatest female blues artist in the annals of the genre, rightly given the title The Empress Of The Blues.

In her recently republished book, Bessie Smith (published by Faber), Scottish Poet Jackie Kay charts the singer's trials and tribulations, while celebrating her triumphs and the recordings that made her such a ground-breaking phenomenon.

Kay said: “Bessie was radical. There she was, 100 years ago, saying ‘No’ to sexism, ‘No’ to dirty, no-good men, ‘No’ to racism, ‘No’ to being patronised by middle-class black and white people, ‘No’ to changing her voice and accent, and ‘Yes’ to staying working class.”

Her legacy has rippled down the generations and remains scarily relevant today. Smith's recording career was compressed into the decade covered by this collection, her career being blighted by the Depression, although she was actively performing and expanding her audience when she was killed in a car crash in 1937.

This excellent set is selected from the 160 recordings she made for Columbia, and does not duplicate any titles which appear on the Fabulous labels existing Bessie Smith 2-CD set Bessie Smith Greatest Hits (FADCD2004 available here), and so the two together will give collectors around half of her entire recorded output, including some lesser known material alongside the famous classics.

During her career, she recorded with eminent musicians of the day accompanying her and most of them are featured in this collection, including Louis Armstrong, Fletcher Henderson, James P. Johnson, Clarence Williams, Benny Goodman, Jack Teagarden and Don Redman.



ARTIST: The Ravens TITLE: The Collection 1946-59 CAT NO: ACQCD7152 GENRE: DOO-WOP / R&B FORMAT: 4CD BUY HERE: £15

The Ravens were among  the pioneers of the R&B Doo-wop genre during the 1940s and ’50s. Starting to record in 1946 and having all their hits between 1948 and 1952, their lead vocalist was the hugely influential bassist Jimmy Ricks. This 103-track set includes the A- and B-sides of just about all their releases during these years on the Hub, National, Columbia, Okeh, Mercury, Jubilee, Argo and Top Rank labels, although there was not space for the Jimmy Ricks solo singles from this time. It features all their 11 R&B chart entries, of which all but two made the Top 10, including their Top 5 hits Send For Me If You Need Me, Write Me A Letter and Rock Me All Night Long.

ARTIST: Count Basie TITLE: The Collection 1937-39 CAT NO: ACTRCD9105 GENRE: Jazz FORMAT: 3CD BUY HERE: £12 

William “Count” Basie was one of the most innovative and influential personalities in jazz during the middle decades of the 20th century. Basie’s music transcends the worlds of small group jazz, big band music, swing and R&B, with many future stars of the genre coming to prominence playing with his orchestra. This collection features many of his well-known compositions like One O’Clock Jump, Blue And Sentimental and Blues In The Dark. A number of the tracks feature vocals by the great singers Jimmy Rushing and Helen Humes, and among the predominantly big band recordings are some by Basie with a trio comprising Fred Green, Walter Page and Jo Jones.

ARTIST: The Four Preps TITLE: The Collection 1956-62 CAT NO: ADDCD3369 GENRE: ’50s/’60s Pop FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £10 

The Four Preps were a vocal quartet who came together at Hollywood High in the 1950s and won a talent contest that secured them a contract with Capitol Records in 1956. They are best-known internationally for their 1958 hit composition Big Man, featuring the piano of their long-time arranger/conductor Lincoln Mayorga. Reaching No.3 in the US and hitting No.2 in the UK No.2, the track remains a classic of the era. This 2CD compilation features the 12 of their 13 career Top 100 entries which they achieved during these years, including their Top 20 hits Down By The Station and More Money For You And Me, and provides an enjoyable showcase for their talents.

ARTIST: Sam Donahue TITLE: The Collection 1940-48 CAT NO: ADDCD3370 GENRE: Jazz FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £10

Although not widely known as a significant personality in the jazz and big band music world of the 1940s, saxophonist, trumpeter, arranger and bandleader, Sam Donahue, had considerable success through the decade. At first playing jazz-focused swing, he then led military dance bands in the war years and in the late 1940s made a successful impact on the pop scene. This 2CD set includes selected titles from his early releases and features all his 12 chart entries, including the No.2 hit I Never Knew and the Top 10 Billboard hits Dinah, Just The Other Day, Put That Kiss Back Where You Found It, A Rainy Night In Rio, My Melancholy Baby, Red Wing and The Whistler.

ARTIST: Scrapper Blackwell TITLE: The Collection 1928-61 CAT NO: ADDCD3371 GENRE: Blues FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £10

Francis “Scrapper” Blackwell was a blues singer, guitarist, pianist and songwriter from South Carolina, who was primarily active during the late 1920s and early 1930s. He did however re-emerge during the folk-blues boom of the late ’50s and early ’60s to make further recordings. This 43-track collection comprising releases from 1928 through to 1935 on the Vocalion, Gennett, Champion, Bluebird and Decca labels as Scrapper Blackwell, Francis Blackwell and Frankie Black. It includes all the titles from his 1960 album Blues Before Sunrise and selected titles from his 1961 album Mr. Scrapper’s Blues. The collection highlights his talents as a songwriter and performer on songs like Kokomo Blues, Trouble Blues and Hard Time Blues.

ARTIST: Jimmie Skinner TITLE: The Collection 1947-62 CAT NO: ADDCD3372 GENRE: Country FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £10

Jimmie Skinner was a country singer, guitarist and songwriter from Kentucky whose roots were in bluegrass music but forged a successful hit-making career. His chart career began in the 1940s and continued through to 1960. He performed in a sparse, down-home style, making very few compromises to the changing tastes and styles within the genre. He recorded prolifically, and this 57-track set features selected A- and B-sides from his releases on the Red Barn, Radio Artists, Capitol, Decca and Mercury labels. It includes all ten of his country hits, including the Top 20 entries Tennessee Border, I Found My Girl In The USA, What Makes A Man Wander,  Dark Hollow, John Wesley Hardin, Riverboat Gambler and Reasons To Live.


Remembering The Day The Music Died

ARTIST: Various TITLE: The US Hot 100: 3rd February 1959 - The Day The Music Died CAT NO: ACQCD7133 GENRE: Rock’n’Roll/Pop FORMAT: 4CD BUY NOW: £15

One of the greatest tragedies in rock’n’roll history occurred on this day (3 February) 1959, when the aeroplane carrying Buddy Holly (aged 22), J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson (28) and Ritchie Valens (17) crashed shortly after take off from Clear Lake, Iowa, en route to Moorehead, Minnesota.

A chartered Beechcraft Bonanza plane had been hired to transport the much-loved stars after their tour bus had experienced mechanical difficulties between stops on the Winter Dance arty Tour. However, shortly after take off, the pilot lost control of the aircraft in wintry conditions and came crashing down six miles northwest of the airport… Everyone on board was killed.

Released in 2019, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the tragedy, Acrobat issued a special edition of its Hot 100 collections, which features the complete Billboard Top 100 chart for that week. Of the three artists who died that fateful day, only Valens had records in the chart - Donna (No.3) and La Bamba (No.22) - but the Hot 100 remains a fascinating snapshot of the time.

The Top 10 on “The Day The Music Died” was:

 1  Smoke Gets In Your Eyes - The Platters
 2  The All American Boy - Bill Parsons
 3  Donna - Ritchie Valens
 4  16 Candles - The Crests
 5  Stagger Lee - Lloyd Price
 6  My Happiness - Connie Francis
 7  Gotta Travel On - Billy Grammer
 8  Lonely Teardrops - Jackie Wilson
 9  A Lover’s Question - Clyde McPhatter
 10  Goodbye Baby - Jack Scott

Other artist appearing in the Hot 100 included: Fats Domino, Eddie Cochran, Frankie Avalon, Bobby Darin, Peggy Lee, Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson, The Everly Brothers, Johnny Cash, Sam Cooke, Johnny Mathis, Dion & The Belmonts, Conway Twitty, Link Wray and more. The 4CD release also contains a 12,000+ word booklet featuring background notes on every song.


Honeycomb Hitmaker Jimmie Rodgers Dies at 87

ARTIST: Jimmie Rodgers TITLE: Complete US & UK Singles As & Bs 1957-62 CAT NO: ADDCD3127 GENRE: ’50s & ‘60s Pop FORMAT: 2CD BUY NOW: £10

Jimmie Rodgers, singer of the 1957 hits Honeycomb and Kisses Sweeter Than Wine, has died aged 87.

Rodgers died from kidney disease on 18 January in Palm Desert, California, and had also tested positive for COVID-19.
Rodgers, not to be confused with the pioneering hillbilly country artist of the early 30s (who died the same year the younger Rodgers was born), was a hugely successful artist in the pop charts during the late 50s and early 60s, his work transcending the barriers between pop, country, folk and R&B.
He was one of the many successful artists to emerge from the influential Arthur Godfrey Talent Show on radio, and was one of the first artists signed to Maurice Levys Roulette label. Working with ace producers Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore, he also scored big with singles Oh-Oh, I'm Falling In Love Again and Secretly.
This collection comprises the A- and B-side of all his releases through to 1962, when he enjoyed his last Top 30 success with a UK No.5 with English Country Garden.
This collection, released in  2015, is an enjoyable journey through the most important years of the career of an artist who successfully sat alongside the high-profile exponents of rock ’n’ roll.




ARTIST: Various TITLE: America’s Greatest Hits 1947 CAT NO: ACQCD7149 GENRE: 1940s Pop FORMAT: 4CD 

Acrobat continues its successful series devoted to the biggest chart records of each calendar year in the early chart era. Focussing on 1947, this 98-track set comprises every record which peaked in the Top 10 of the Best Sellers chart or in the Top 7 of the Juke Box or Disc Jockey charts during the year. It was a big year for solo vocalists, who were starting to dominate as the big swing bands declined in the era of post-war austerity, although the “sweet” orchestras with their featured singers continued to hold sway, and the year had its customary smattering of novelty songs, often in jazzy or country styles. Eighteen different records made No.1 in the various charts, although only nine of those topped the Best Sellers. An intriguing look at the music scene during a period where the world finally settled down after the turbulent years of conflict.

ARTIST: Various TITLE: The Greatest Country Hits of 1960 CAT NO: ACQCD7150 GENRE: Country FORMAT: 4CD 

This 4CD set continues Acrobat’s celebration of the biggest US country hits of each year, and fills in a gap in the series at the start of the 1960s. Containing 114 tracks, this is a solid overview of the most popular country music in 1960. Despite the fact that the pop landscape had been transformed over the preceding years by rock ’n’ roll and its aftermath, the charts still had a familiar look about them for country fans, with many traditional established country stars well-represented. Artists like Ernest Tubb, Webb Pierce, Hank Snow, Hank Thompson, Kitty Wells and Ray Price appear alongside some hot new kids on the block like Buck Owens, Roy Drusky, and Jimmy Dean, along with some highly collectable obscurities among the many one-hit wonders. It includes an in-depth 12,000+ word booklet with background notes on every record.

ARTIST: Various TITLE: The ‘Twist’ Hot 100 25th January 1962 CAT NO: ACQCD7151 GENRE: Rock ’n’ Roll FORMAT: 4CD 

Acrobat celebrates another landmark moment in Billboard chart history with The ‘Twist’ Hot 100 25th January 1962… This chart compilation recognises the moment when Chubby Checker’s record The Twist topped the US pop charts for the second time, signalling the approaching peak of the worldwide Twist dance craze – he had first made No.1 well over a year earlier, in September 1960, since which time the dance had started to catch on all round the world. An evocative snapshot of the music scene during a transitional time, it includes seven Twist hits which underline the popularity of the dance. It follows such popular releases as The 'Heartbreak Hotel' Top 100 (ACQCD7122), The Day The Music Died - Feb 3rd 1959 Hot 100 (ACQCD7134) and The 'Telstar' Hot 100 December 22nd 1962 (ACQCD7144).

ARTIST: Various TITLE: The First British Hit Parade: The B Sides CAT NO: ACRCG712 GENRE: 1950s Pop FORMAT: CD

Acrobat’s British Hit Parade series has been established for more than a decade as a unique range of completist original artist collections comprising every record that appeared in the UK record sales charts in since they began in 1952. In recent years the label has introduced parallel collections which consist of the B-sides of all the records included in the main compilations, and these have proved hugely popular with collectors, since many of the records concerned have never been available on CD and are very rarely heard. This single CD set effectively completes the series, and is the companion product to the existing First British Hit Parade (ACRCG 711), An eclectic snapshot of an ignored but fascinating aspect of the pop business, including an in-depth booklet with background notes on every record.


Best-selling international title of 2020

ARTIST: Bob Newhart TITLE: The Complete Albums 1960-62 CAT NO: ADDCD3167 GENRE: Comedy FORMAT: 2CD

A perennial favourite in the US, Bob Newhart: The Complete Albums 1960-62 (ADDCD3167), was the biggest international seller title from the Acrobat catalogue in 2020.

Everybody needed something to smile about last year and Newhart’s celebrated deadpan comedy style was just the tonic we all needed.

Newhart, who will turn 92 this year, started out as an advertising copywriter in Chicago who wrote comic satirical monologues with a work colleague. He would send tapes of them to radio stations, which led to an introduction to Warner Bros Records, who signed him on the strength of the audition tapes.

He expanded his material to develop a stand-up routine and became a popular nightclub performer. However, it was his first LP in 1960 The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart which launched him to prominence, using the technique of portraying one end of a telephone conversation. It became the first comedy album to reach No.1 in the Billboard album charts, winning a Grammy in 1961 for Album Of The Year. The album also made No.2 in the UK album charts, where certain tracks became popular on radio request shows. That same year, he released the follow-up album The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back, which also went on to win an award for Best Comedy Performance – Spoken Word.

This 2CD set features every track from those two albums and also from his next two albums Behind The Button Down Mind of Bob Newhart and The Button Down Mind On TV.

A thorough overview of the first crucial years of his career, this collection includes such legendary sketches as Driving Instructor, Bus Drivers School, Abe Lincoln Vs Madison Avenue and Introducing Tobacco To Civilisation. For many younger generations Newhart is fondly remembered as Papa Elf in the Christmas movie Elf or Professor Proton on The Big Bang Theory, but the comedian will be forever known as one of the greats… an original observationalist with a subversive streak whose style transcends time and continues to influence generations of comics.


December 2020

ARTIST: Benny Goodman TITLE: The Small Bands Collection 1935-45 CAT NO: ACTRCD9103 GENRE: Jazz FORMAT: 3CD

Clarinettist and bandleader Benny Goodman was one of the giants of the swing era. However, he also greatly enjoyed playing in more flexible small jazz groups, where his superb technique had more of a chance to shine. This 3CD set brings together a significant proportion of the titles he recorded in Trio, Quartet, Quintet, Sextet and Septet environments the heyday of his swing orchestra. With repertoire ranging across standards and original compositions it’s a feast of great small band jazz. It is a thoroughly enjoyable anthology that showcases Benny and his colleagues swinging and improvising in some star-studded line-ups.

ARTIST: The Larks TITLE: The Collection 1950-55 CAT NO: ADDCD3365 GENRE: Doo-Wop FORMAT: 2CD

Hailing from North Carolina, The Larks were a classic doowop group of the early 1950s. With their roots firmly in gospel, the collective moved to secular music to form The Larks. Although they were not among the most prolific  hitmakers, their style and technique made them one of the most admired of the early doowop ensembles. This 2CD collection features their Top 10 R&B hits Eyesight To The Blind and Little Side Car. It’s a substantial overview of their career and  it’s a thorough  showcase for their highly-regarded skills as vocal harmonisers. A worthy showcase for a group whose talent and influence merited much greater chart success.

ARTIST: Fran Warren TITLE: The Collection 1945-56 CAT NO: ADDCD3367 GENRE: Easy Listening  + Jazz FORMAT: 2CD

Fran Warren was a talented and versatile big band singer in the 1940s who went on to enjoy a solo career as chart performers in the 1950s before turning to acting and the album market. Born Frances Wolff, she worked briefly with Art Mooney’s band and Billy Eckstine, who coined the name of Fran Warren. Recordings with the Charlie Barnet Orchestra and Claude Thornhill Orchestra from the 1940s feature on this 2CD collection, alongside her singles on the RCA-Victor, MGM and Unique labels. Songs include I Said My Pajamas (And Put On My Pray’rs), A Wonderful Guy, Envy, A Sunday Kind Of Love and her last chart hit It’s Anybody’s Heart.

ARTIST: Richard Hayes TITLE: The Collection 1949-61 CAT NO: ADDCD3368 GENRE: Easy Listening FORMAT: 2CD

Richard Hayes was a singer, actor and TV personality who enjoyed a string of hits before the rock ’n’ roll revolution. This 54-track set features selected A- and B-sides from his singles for Mercury, ABC-Paramount, Decca and Columbia during this era, including duets with Kitty Kallen and recordings with Xavier Cugat. All 11 of his career chart entries, including the No. 2 hit The Old Master Painter, and the Top 20 hits Come On-A My House, Out In The Cold Again, Junco Partner and Forgetting You, are included. He was a fine performer who has probably not received the attention that his talent and success merit, so this collection will help address this situation.

ARTIST: Jim Lowe TITLE: The Collection 1953-61 CAT NO: ADDCD3366 GENRE: Pop + Country FORMAT: 2CD

Jim Lowe was a disc jockey, singer and songwriter from Springfield, Missouri, who achieved a career highlight in 1956 with the US No.1 and UK No. 8 The Green Door. Over a period of three years during the mid-1950s, he had a run of chart entries which enabled him to maintain his recording career into the 1960s before concentrating on his radio work. This 60 tracks here include most of his A- and B-sides for the Mercury, Dot and Decca labels during this era, plus the tracks from his Mercury album Door Of Fame and his Dot album The Songs They Sing Behind The Green Door. It naturally includes Green Door, along with all his pop, R&B and country chart entries, which include the Top 20 hits Maybellene, Four Walls and Talking To The Blues.

ARTIST: Memphis Jug Band TITLE: The Collection 1927-34 CAT NO: ACTRCD9104 GENRE: Blues FORMAT: 3CD

The Memphis Jug Band are primarily associated with the blues, but in truth they were a more broad-based musical agglomeration, whose music was designed to be danceable, humorous and out-and out entertaining. This great-value 72-track compilation features most of their recordings for Victor and Okeh during this era, including recordings as The Memphis Sheikhs and The Carolina Peanut Boys. It features  He’s In The Jailhouse Now, Move That Thing, On The Road Again, and Bottle It Up And Go. An charming showcase for their rough-edged but finely-honed skill as entertainers.


Celebrate the music of Ma Rainey as new biopic comes to Netflix

With Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, starring the much-missed Chadwick Boseman in his final film role, scheduled to be released on December 18 by Netflix, we celebrate the pioneering music of Rainey with Acrobat’s Definitive Collection 1924-28 (ACQCD7131).

Along with Bessie Smith, Gertrude “Ma” Rainey is now recognised as one of the towering figures of early blues. Born in 1896, she became popular as a travelling minstrel, and during her touring across the southern states in the early years of the 20th century absorbed blues songs which she incorporated into her act. Turning to the vaudeville stage, she was heard in Chicago theatres and signed in 1924 by J. Mayo Williams at Paramount, for whom she recorded for the next five years, working solo, or with piano or guitar accompaniment, or more often with jazz ensembles, which were billed on record as her Georgia Jazz Band.

Her accompanists during that time featured some of the luminaries of the early jazz scene, including Louis Armstrong, Fletcher Henderson, Coleman Hawkins, Buster Bailey and Don Redman as well as blues musicians like Tampa Red, Blind Blake and Thomas Dorsey.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom stars Academy Award-winning Viola Davis as the “Mother of the Blues” opposite Boseman who died of colon cancer during post-production on August 28. Boseman plays the ambitious trumpeter Levee, who has an eye for Ma’s girlfriend and is in attendance at a fateful Rainey recording session in 1927 Chicago.

Acrobat’s definitive 4CD collection features 94 tracks and includes all of the titles she recorded for Paramount during her career. All her classics, such as See See Rider Blues, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Stack O’Lee Blues and Jelly Bean Blues, appear.

It is a comprehensive showcase for one of the most important personalities of early blues.

The glorious upcoming Netflix drama - watch trailer here - directed by George C. Wolfe and written by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, has been produced by Denzel Washington and is based on the play of the same name by August Wilson.


Before The Cool - The Miles Davis Collection 1945-48

Miles Davis was, without doubt, one of the most important and influential jazz musicians of the post-war era.

His landmark debut for Capitol, The Birth Of The Cool, is seminal in the history of jazz, a pioneering exploration of harmony and texture. The 2CD set, Before The Cool - The Miles Davis Collection 1945-48 (ADDCD3363), comprises his studio recordings in small ensembles, in which he is the only trumpeter, from his studio debut in 1945 through to the end of 1948, just weeks before the first of the Birth Of The Cool sessions in January 1949. As a bonus, it concludes with a ‘live’ recording with Charlie Parker’s All Stars in December 1948.

A deserving celebration of a true innovator.


Remembering the legend of Rumble hitmaker Wray

This month we celebrate the life of rock legend Link Wray, who passed away on 5 November 2005, aged 76.

Guitarist and Rumble hitmaker Wray, was a key figure in the history of rock ’n’ roll and modern rock. Having developed the technique of using power chords on a distorted electric guitar, he was a pioneer for any axe-wielding rocker that followed in his wake... Pete Townshend of The Who said that: “If it hadn’t been for Link Wray and Rumble I would have never picked up a guitar.”

Of Shawnee native American parentage, he contracted tuberculosis while serving in the Korean War, losing a lung, and was told he might never sing again. However, he pursued a music career, and made rockabilly records before in 1958 recording Rumble, a brooding instrumental which was banned by some radio stations for fear it would incite gang violence. It proved an inspirational for just about every teenager who picked up a guitar. He had a chequered and brief recording career with major labels, frustrated by the corporate machine, and in the early ’60s made his own records in an improvised studio.

Wray died of heart failure at his home in Copenhagen in 2005, but his pioneering legacy transcends generation. Iggy Pop, Neil Young and Mark E. Smith have all cited him as an influence. Guitar god Jimmy Page says that Wray had a “real rebel attitude” and credits him in It Might Get Loud as a major influence in his early career. In 2007, musician Steven Van Zandt inducted Wray into the Native American Music Hall of Fame with a tribute performance by his grandson Chris Webb and Native Artist Gary Small.

Link Wray: The Collection 1956-62 (ADDCD3316), features select A- and B-sides of his early singles on a variety of labels, plus the tracks from his two albums Link Wray & The Wraymen and Great Guitar Hits By Link Wray And His Raymen. It includes Rumble, Raw-Hide, Jack The Ripper and is a fascinating showcase for one of rock ’n’ roll’s true innovators.


Cultural Trailblazer: Remembering Annie Ross

It was with great sadness we read the news that British-American actress and jazz singer Annie Ross had died on Tuesday, July 21 at the age of 89.

The performer, born in July 1930 to Scottish vaudeville artists John and Mary Short, rose to fame after winning a radio talent show and a film contract, later playing Judy Garland’s sister in the 1943 musical comedy Presenting Lily Mars aged 13.

Ross, who began her career as a child star dubbed “Scotland’s Shirley Temple”, excelled as a jazz singer and recorded music both as a solo artist and as a trio with Dave Lambert and Jon Hendricks.

The Lambert, Hendricks & Ross trio revolutionised the world of vocal jazz in the 1950s.

With their unique musical and lyrical techniques, the trio combined bop harmonies with complex lyrical settings to create a unique sound that laid the groundwork for later groups like Manhattan Transfer. Blending the talents of Lambert as arranger, Hendricks as lyricist and Ross’ graceful vocals, the trio recorded a series of ground-breaking albums. In 1947, she went to Paris to work with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. Here, she met drummer Kenny Clarke, with whom she had a son - Kenny Clarke Junior.

She wrote the hit vocalese song Twisted at the age of 22, which was later covered by Joni Mitchell and Bette Midler, alongside recording seven albums with Lambert, Hendricks and Ross. But she left the trio and New York in order to beat a heroin addiction, the Guardian reported. She said: “I kind of knew that if I came back to America I might die.”

A documentary about Ross’ life, entitled No One But Me, premiered in 2012 and tributes have poured in for the performer since her death was announced. Singer Barb Jungr described her as “a great woman with soul and swing”. She said: “RIP the late, great Annie Ross... They broke the mould. It’s raining in her honour in Scotland, I hope the Great Bar In The Sky is ready for a great woman with soul and swing.”

The 43-track 2CD set, Lambert, Hendricks & Ross: The Early Years 1954-59 (ADDCD3307), features all the titles from the albums Sing A Song Of Basie, Sing Along With Basie, The Swingers and The Hottest New Group In Jazz.


Yuliesky González: Cubanero

Cubanero (YGCV2020) is the outstanding debut album by the Cuban trumpet player and composer Yuliesky González.

The Camagüey-born artist began performing at the age of 10 at the Music Conservatory of Camagüey. Aided by his father and grandfather, who taught him all the secrets of the trumpet, González graduated at the age of 19 and enrolled in the military. Based in Habana, it was during his obligatory stint in the army that he formed a brass quintet and began writing his own music. González went on to perform with the likes of Omara Portuondo, Feliz Valoy, Changuito, Manolito Simonet, Pupi Pedroso, and Alexander Abreu, and relocated to Berlin.

Rooted in the street environment of his Cuban childhood, the eight tracks on Cubanero reveal a personal journey of development. Incorporating all the mysticism of Afro-Cuban spirit, the album is coloured by influences from Yuliesky’s education in classical European music and African rhythm, while celebrating the legacy of Cuban jazz and popular music.

The album line up includes two of the greatest exponents of Scandinavian jazz: guitarist Bjarne Roupé and saxophonist Tomas Franck. Roupé had performed with Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Hermeto Pascual, John Scofield, Deedee Bridgewater, Eddie Harris and Toots Thieleman, while Franck has played alongside John Scofield, Eliane Elias, Steve Swallow, Carla Bley, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen and David Sanborn.

Talking about the exciting talent, One World Records’ Carolina Vallejo says: “The first time I heard González play the trumpet I felt a magic call from the place in my heart where music begins… His feeling and sound is of such quality that makes you want to hear more.”


Big Mama Thornton: The Singles Collection 1951-61

Big Mama Thornton: The Singles Collection 1951-61 (ACMCD4401)

When it comes to debating the greatest male voices to emerge in the fifties, Howlin’ Wolf and Little Richard are always fighting it out at the top of the league.

When it comes to putting the fairer sex under the spotlight, Willie Mae ‘Big Mamma’ Thornton is also always up there fighting for honours. And quite rightly so for a singer who was built like a heavyweight boxer and blessed with a pair of leather lungs that at their most ferocious, were capable of stopping a clock and making Brian Blessed’s booming vox box sound like a rat’s fart. Alternatively, in more emotive moments, she had the ability to pull at the heart-strings like the Blessed Mary. A Big Mama CD is for life and not just for lockdown!”

Pete O'Gorman Now Dig This Issue 448


Honouring the life and music of Dame Vera Lynn

Dame Vera Lynn, whose songs helped boost morale during World War Two, has died aged 103.

Celebrated as “The Forces’ Sweetheart”, Lynn became a symbol of resilience during the war effort. The Queen evoked Dame Vera’s message of hope 75 years later when, during a televised address to a nation separated by the coronavirus pandemic, she assured: “We’ll meet again.”

Two weeks earlier, Dame Vera herself had sent a message on her 103rd birthday, calling on the British public to find “moments of joy” during these “hard times”.

After a lifetime of service to her country, she was still held as the embodiment of the best of the British spirit. Best known for the songs We’ll Meet Again and (There’ll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs Of Dover, Lynn’s role during World War II remains a key aspect of her musical and historical legacy.

However, she was also a versatile performer and interpreter of the popular songs of her era, who had a significant number of hits in the pop chart on both sides of the Atlantic, including the US No. 1 Auf Wiederseh'n Sweetheart and the UK No.1 My Son, My Son.

The 6-CD retrospective, The Singles Collection 1936-62 (ACSCD6007), is a substantial memento of an artist whose significance transcends simply the world of popular music. 

In May, as we celebrated the 75th Anniversary of Victory In Europe Day, her music could be heard on radios and at social distancing street parties across the British Isles. 

To coincide with these celebrations, Acrobat released The 75th Anniversary VE Day Collection (ADDCD3335), a commemorative compilation of poignant wartime songs.


Remembering Little Richard - “The Architect Of Rock ’n’ Roll”

It was with genuine sadness we read the news that Little Richard, the self-proclaimed “architect of rock ’n’ roll”, had died on Saturday, May 9 2020, at the age of 87.

Richard, whose electrifying hits such as Tutti Frutti, Rip It Up, Ready Teddy, The Girl Can’t Help It, Lucille, Good Golly Miss Molly and Long Tall Sally, was a rock ’n’ roller like no other.

An inductee to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, his flamboyant stage presence influenced legions of performers and his music changed the musical landscape forever.

“Little Richard died in Tullahoma, Tennessee of bone cancer. He was loved by his family and adored by millions,” his family said in a statement this weekend. His ground-breaking music, a boiling blend of boogie-woogie and rhythm and blues, drew in both young black and white fans at a time when parts of the US were still strictly segregated.

“I’ve always thought that rock ’n’ roll brought the races together,” Richard once said. “Although I was black, the fans didn’t care. I used to feel good about that.” Richard’s music and message spread around the globe influencing everyone from Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney, to Bob Dylan and David Bowie, to James Brown and Otis Redding.

“I am the innovator,” Richard would tell audiences. “I am the originator. I am the emancipator. I am the architect of rock ’n’ roll!” An extremely entertaining overview of his early career, Acrobat’s 60-track collection, The Collection 1951-1962 (ADDCD3141),  features all those classic Little Richard hits… the hits that helped change the world.

Nobody could wail like Little Richard… he was a true pioneer who will live on through his music... “Awap bop a lup bop a wop bam boom”, indeed!


Celebrating Peggy Lee on what would've been her 100th birthday


May 26 2020 marks the centenary of the birth of Peggy Lee, and Acrobat is celebrating the occasion with two special releases.

The 101 tracks on The Centenary Singles Collection 1945-62 (ACQCD7146) are selected A- and B-sides from her releases on the Capitol and Decca labels. It features more than 40 US and UK chart hits, including the No.1 Manana and the Top 10s Fever, Mr. Wonderful, Golden Earrings, Waitin’ For The Train To Come In, Riders In The Sky, I Don’t Know Enough About You, It’s All Over Now and Chi-Baba, Chi-Baba (My Bambino Go To Sleep). It’s a hugely entertaining tribute to one of the most illustrious singers of her era and a marvellous showcase for her unique style.

The Centenary Albums Collection 1948-62 (ACQCD7147) is also available. Peggy Lee’s incredible career spanned six decades and, between 1948 and 1962, she delighted listeners with a repertoire that covered everything from the most contemporary of pop songs to the Great American Songbook.

This 109-track set features performances with Nelson Riddle, Billy May, George Shearing, Quincy Jones, Frank Sinatra, Dave Barbour, Benny Carter, Gordon Jenkins, Hal Mooney, Victor Young, Sy Oliver, Joseph Lilley and Jack Marshall. This 4CD collection is a fitting celebration of her remarkable talents.


Remembering rebel rocker Cochran 60 years on

In April we celebrate the life and career of Eddie Cochran, the rocker behind Summertime Blues and C’mon Everybody, whose life was cruelly taken in a car accident on 17 April 1960.

Cochran was only 21 when the taxi transporting him from a show at Bristol’s Hippodrome crashed in Chippenham, en route to the airport in London, where he was due to catch a flight back home to the US. His fiancé Sharon Sheeley, tour manager Pat Thompkins and Gene Vincent, were all in the taxi with him and survived the crash. By 1960, Cochran had established himself as one of the most exciting rock ’n’ rollers around and his songs epitomised the teenage aspirations and frustrations of the times.

As biographer Mark Deming wrote: “Cochran was a songwriter young enough to understand the teenage mindset and its fascination with cars, girls, and good times, but he was also talented enough to bring his stories to life and marry them to energetic, catchy melodies.” Cochran’s brief career included the famous teenage anthem Summertime Blues and the hits C’mon, Everybody, Somethin’ Else, Teenage Heaven.

Following the tragedy, Three Steps To Heaven topped the UK Singles Chart and tracks like My Way, Weekend and Nervous Breakdown, also enjoyed chart success. In 1987, Cochran’s legacy was recognised by the music industry when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. A memorial stone commemorating Cochran’s death was placed in the grounds of St Martin’s Hospital, in Bath and a Three Steps To Heaven plaque has recently been refurbished at the site of the crash in Wiltshire.

A raw rocker with a rebellious image, Cochran was very different from the polished teen idols heavily marketed to American teenagers in the years between the rise of Elvis and the arrival of the Beatles.

While he may have faded from popular memory in the years since his tragic death, his biggest hits have not and this great value 2CD collection brings together every recording he released during his brief, but brilliant, career.