Elite Boys, The
Band members Related acts
- none known
Rating: 2 stars **
Title: Nonstop Hits
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Catalog ID: 5741
This sounds incredibly sexist, but this album gets an extra star just for the stunning woman posing with the cool, tricked-out Mustang on the cover art. Unfortunately it gets docked a star for the dweeb band photo on the back cover ... The reviewer gives and takes away.
So, I'm a massive fan of the Hans Pokora collector guides. I've bought all eight volumes of the series and readily admit I've spent way to much time looking though these reference books. Call them porn for vinylholics. And this album serves to underscore one of the shortcomings associated with many reference guides. Being rare doesn't actually equate to being good. There are thousands of rare albums out there. In many cases they're rare precisely because they aren't very good. Here's a perfect example - this one's value and collector appeal seem to largely stem from it being so rare, as opposed to it's musical quality. Okay, the cover photo might have something to do with the collector factor ...
While there are no performance credits on the album, judging by the back cover photo, The Elite Boys were apparently a real life entity. Judging by their repertoire, these guys were apparently a marginally talented cover band with a penchant and appreciation for then-popular American and UK soul and pop hits. Imagine a low end wedding band (complete with tacky suits), or perhaps an Austrian version of a Justice label garage band and you'd be in the right aural neighborhood. To be perfectly honest, their lack of refinement and finesse added a certain tacky charm to "Nonstop Hits". Tracks like 'Baby Come Back', 'Young Girl', and 'Delilah' were kicked along by heavily accented vocals which gave the performances kind of a Saturday Night Live-does-Arnold Schwarzenneger feel. 'Spicks and Specks' warranted special notice given it came off sounding like a racial slur with 'specks' sounding like 'spics'. This stuff won't appeal to everyone out there, but there's certainly a cult following for this kind of stuff. Whoever these guys were (the back panel cover photo showed six members), they played with quite a bit of enthusiasm, though it frequently exceed their technical prowess. Check out their instrumental stab at covering Redding's 'The Dock of the Bay'. Their intentions were certainly good, but they managed to turn it what may be the lamest Otis Redding cover ever made. That said, they were smart enough to not even try to sing many of these soul classics, turning in instrumental versions of 'I've Been Loving You Too Long' and 'Knock On Wood'. Giving credit where due, the sax player was actually quite good. The rhythm section, not quite as impressive. Not quite sure what the writing credit for the closing tune 'Mohair Sam' was about. The inner label showed it as being written by 'Wrazler', while I thought it was a Dallas Frazier effort.
Hits" track listing:
1.) Baby Come Back (Grand) rating: **** stars
Maybe its just my sense of humor, but there was something quite endearing in their heavily accented attempts to handle the blue-eyed soul 'Baby Come Back'. These guys were so earnest, you just had to smile whenever they hit the chorus. Would love to have seen their stage moves. (Great bass pattern.)
2.) I've Been Loving You Too Long (instrumental) (Otis Redding - Jerry Butler) rating: *** stars
Their instrumental cover of the classic soul tune 'I've Been Loving You Too Long' was actually far better than you would have anticipated. Nice sax solo throughout and the Steve Cropper-styled guitar was quite nice.
3.) Knock On Wood (instrumental) (Eddie Floyd - Steve Cropper) rating: ** stars
Showcasing and extended sax solo, 'Knock On Wood' didn't stray far from the original melody, but quickly became dull and forgettable.
4.) Young Girl (F. Fuller) rating: ** stars
So it you ever wondered what Tom Jones would have sounded like if he'd been born in Germany, rather than Wales, here's your chance to check it out. Yeah, 'Young Girl' lost a bit of its power and energy on this cover. Course, the anonymous lead singer probably sounded better than Tom Jones trying to sing in German. Funny, but this version of the song made me realize how creepy the song lyrics were.
5.) The Dock of the Bay (instrumental) (Otis Redding - Steve Cropper) rating: ** stars
I guess these guys had a thing for Stax since they subjected Otis Redding's 'The Dock of the Bay' to the same sax-solo cover arrangement. Unfortunately, this time around the sax wasn't nearly as good.
6.) Spicks and Specks (Gibb) rating: ** stars
'Spicks and Specks' was an early Bee Gees tune. The title has always been a puzzle to me and hearing this cover tune makes it even stranger. Bouncy enough to have some entertainment value.
7.) It was a Very Good Year (instrumental) (Brake) rating: * star
Wow, you couldn't get much more Herb Alpert than their trumpet powered instrumental 'It was a Very Good Year'. Only those with an MOR fetish need apply.
8.) Delilah (Reed - Mason) rating: *** stars
- Hum, two Tom Jones covers on one album ... Well this one at least had a high humor factor with the poor singer holding on for dear life as he tried to phonetically fight his way through the song.
Geez, just when you wondered if it could get any stranger, along came 'You Came a Long Way From St. Louis' which was apparently meant to be the group's stab at a Frank Sinatra-styled slice of big band jazz. Completely forgettable.
2.) Honey (Bobby Russell) rating: * star
Why anyone would even think of remaking a horrible song like 'Honey' is beyond comprehension. Why you'd elect to turn it into a sax-propelled slice of adult contemporary jazz-op, is even more incomprehensible. Maybe the worst song on an album full of them
3.) Back On My Feet Again (MacCauley - McLeod) rating: *** stars
Not as good as The Foundation's hit, but at least their attempts at blue-eyed soul and pop were modestly funny. 'Back On My Feet Again' was a perfect example demonstrating the band could play ... hearing the singer hit that high note was a cheap thrill.
4.) Don't Fight It (Wilson Picket - Steve Cropper) rating: *** stars
Admittedly their cover of Wilson Pickett's classic 'Don't Fight It' can't come close to the original, but give them credit for turning in a credible stab at the song.
5.) Greensleeves (instrumental) (traditional) rating: * star
Geez, the instrumental 'Greensleeves' sounds like the theme for a '60s cigarette commercial.
7.) Mohair Sam (Wrazler) rating: **** stars
Even though it was mis-credited, their cover of 'Mohair Sam' was probably that album's standout performance. Catchy and actually quite commercial; I might actually pick this version over the earlier Charlie Rich hit.
Rating: 2 stars **
Title: Soul Party
Grade (cover/record): --
Catalog ID: --
Rating: 2 stars **
Title: More Soul
Grade (cover/record): --
Catalog ID: --
I've never seen, or heard them, but there are a pair of Elite Boys EPs - 1968's "Soul Party" and "More Soul". The EPs were released by the Swedish Gala label which was a "record club" outfit - just like the old American record clubs - for a membership fee you received a collection of monthly albums/EPs. In this case Gala apparently decided to simply take the original Elite Boys album and break it into two six track EPs.
The first EP was also released in Demark by the Danish Populaire Platen Kring (catalog number HPK-779).
Party" track listing:
1.) Knock On Wood (Eddie Floyd - Steve Cropper)
2. You Came a Long Way from St. Louis (Brooks - Russell)
3.) I've Been Loving You Too Long (Otis Redding - Jerry Butler)
2.) It was a Very Good Year (Brake)
3.) Back On My Feet Again (MacCauley - McLeod)
Soul" track listing:
1.) Delilah (Reed - Mason)
2.) Honey (Bobby Russell)
3.) Mohair Sam (Wrazler)
2.) The Dock of the Bay (instrumental) (Otis Redding - Steve Cropper)
3.) Spicks and Specks (Gibb)
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