This CD is a wonderful surprise from Beat Goes On. Not that Dave Berry didn't deserve the reissue of his first two albums, but neither Dave Berry nor its follow-up, One Dozen Berrys, was remotely the best album -- or even among the better albums -- to come out of the mid-'60s British beat boom. Berry's heart was in the right place when it came to R&B and rock & roll, and he had a voice, but as a stylist he was at a disadvantage to rivals such as Chris Farlowe and Zoot Money. Still, he had some good instincts (when he followed them) and a strangely compelling sound, courtesy of producer Mike Smith and an array of musicians who, in addition to Frank Miles from his own band the Cruisers, included Jimmy Page and Big Jim Sullivan. The mix of country and pop sounds juxtaposed with serious R&B (including the killer "I Love You Babe" and the wrenchingly compelling "Baby, It's You") may be off-putting, but that diversity is more a sign of the times in which these two albums were made than any indication of weakness in the execution -- truth is, the diversity of sounds here calls up flashes of the Beatles, even if Berry doesn't make the switch in genres as smoothly as the Liverpool quartet did. Even the presence of ballads such as "The Girl from the Fair Isle" isn't a disadvantage -- Paul McCartney was putting the same kind of material onto the Beatles' albums by way of Meredith Willson songs -- and followed by the searing blues-rocker "Go On Home," it's not a bad showcase for Berry's range. Ultimately, "Go On Home" must be considered one of the cuts that makes this CD worth every cent, and the ballad is an unexpected bonus. Even the next number, a rhythm guitar-driven slow ballad called "Everybody Tries," is a perfect little beat-era soft rocker of the kind that the Roulettes or any number of serious bands did on their albums. The notes by John Firminger stay very close to the two albums at hand and their production. The sound is excellent, and considering what the original vinyl versions of either of these albums would cost today, the CD is a bargain.
Dave Berry/One Dozen Berrys Review
by Bruce Eder