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I'm Back and I'm Proud

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Album Review

Was this particular comeback record something to be proud of? Not really. Recorded in 1969 for famed British DJ John Peel's Dandelion label and released the following year, it did feature some notables of the late-'60s Hollywood rock scene, including Skip Battin of the Byrds (on bass), Red Rhodes (on Dobro), Mars Bonfire (rhythm guitar), Jim Gordon (drums), and Linda Ronstadt (backing vocals), with Kim Fowley producing. But there was something of a rehash feel about the whole enterprise, which was short on new quality material, and heavy on reworkings of oldies like George Jones' "White Lightning," Dion/the Drifters' "Ruby Baby," and Bobby Day's "Rockin' Robin." There were also remakes of Vincent's own '50s hits "Be-Bop-a-Lula" and "Lotta Lovin'" that couldn't hope to displace the originals. The heavier late-'60s rock feel of the arrangements doesn't jibe well with Vincent's style, though some cuts boast a countrified touch (particularly the ones featuring Rhodes), and Vincent himself often sounds a little shaky and nervous on the vocals.


Born: 11 February 1935 in Norfolk, VA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s

Gene Vincent only had one really big hit, "Be-Bop-a-Lula," which epitomized rockabilly at its prime in 1956 with its sharp guitar breaks, spare snare drums, fluttering echo, and Vincent's breathless, sexy vocals. Yet his place as one of the great early rock & roll singers is secure, backed up by a wealth of fine smaller hits and non-hits that rate among the best rockabilly of all time. The leather-clad, limping, greasy-haired singer was also one of rock's original bad boys, lionized by romanticists...
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