Jo Ann Campbell

That Real Gone Gal

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Featuring her complete Gone and Roulette recordings, the first authorized Jo-Ann Campbell release on CD rates an 11 out of a possible ten for sound. The content is hot, too, opening with her first single, a Campbell original called "What a Minute." The sound leaps out at the listener, the rhythm section in your face with the brass and Campbell's hot singing (like a sassy Wanda Jackson) bursting out with astonishing presence. Indeed, that may be a problem for some '50s purists, as the songs no longer sound like "records," but like masters. But whew, Campbell's numbers sizzled -- apart from a few slowies like "I'm Nobody's Baby" and "You Ooh," there are very few slack moments in her output. And when "Mama, Can I Go Out" starts up, the guitar is practically in the listener's lap, with the rhythm section not far behind. There are some musical surprises here as well -- the tone, beat, and break on "Beachcomber" (a reject from Conway Twitty) should have made it not only a hit, but a natural for any British girl groups of the early 1960s. And "Let Me Do My Twist" may be the hottest twist number this side of Hank Ballard, the searing sax solo and hot, close rhythm section adding to its appeal. The notes by Stuart Colman are fully detailed, and in addition to including Campbell's complete output for the Gone and Roulette labels, the 19-track disc features two distinctly different alternate takes of established songs ("Mama, Can I Go Out," "It's Time") plus the unmixed backing track to "Wait a Minute." Normally, the latter would be an irrelevant bonus, except that Campbell did write the song as well as singing it, and it's a cool backing track.

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