Various Artists

Flip Hits! and Misses

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The Flip label was a run-of-the-mill Los Angeles R&B/rock & roll label from the mid-'50s to the early '60s, and actually it had a lot more misses than hits. It only reached the Top 40 once, with the Six Teens' "A Casual Look," though it did notch up some good West Coast sales with the original version of "Louie, Louie" (on a 1957 single by Richard Berry), which is its biggest claim to fame. It managed to record a good deal of music, however, and this 30-track compilation has a lot of it. (Just to get a technicality explaining the album title out of the way, Flip released just two LPs, both various-artist compilations, one titled 12 Flip Hits, the other The Original Recordings by the Artists Who Made These Hits!, with seven tracks appearing on both records; this CD has all of the cuts that appeared on either of the albums, as well as 13 others, two of which were previously unreleased.) "A Casual Look" and "Louie, Louie" are both here, naturally, and the Six Teens are represented by six cuts that share the innocuous doo wop style of "A Casual Look," including their modest follow-up hit, "Arrow of Love." Richard Berry's three songs are the definite highlights of the disc, and like "Louie, Louie," the tough "Have Love Will Travel" captures the lightning of R&B changing into ferocious rock & roll. Otherwise the tracks here, taken from rare singles by forgotten artists, are only mildly interesting outings into various R&B/doo wop/rock & roll styles. Donald Woods & the Vel-Aires get into ridiculously exaggerated doo wop pathos with "Death of an Angel"; Jonathan W. Craig & the Colby Wolf Combo's "Rock-a-Billy-Gal" sounds like the work of a band that usually had little or nothing to do with rockabilly, almost as if they're being taught the style phonetically. It's not a great sign when some of your label's more interesting records are notable for their strangeness, and most of this is forgettable period stuff, though the label did make some moves into more modern rock & roll with Jimmie Smith's 1959 proto-girl-group-soul single "Night Time Is the Time (I Miss You)" and Shank & Maydiea's sultry 1962 platter "Bye, Bye Baby (My Pride)." The most significant material Flip recorded, however, can be found on the Richard Berry compilation Have "Louie" Will Travel, which has all the Berry tracks here and much more.

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