|Sweet Memories, Eddie Sulik (The Echoes)
Hard Rock Hattie Productions, 2000
I love my job, especially when a package like this one falls on my doormat. I have been looking at it for over an hour before even playing the CD. This must be the most beautifully wrapped release I have ever seen. Yes, this is a CD release, but it is packed with collectors stuff. Included is a free red colored vinyl 45, complete with jukebox label, with the best rocking tracks of The Echoes "Bye-Bye My Baby" and "Do I Love You", and it will surely get a special spot in my '59 Seeburg. A colored fifties style 11x17" poster with a series of 60s black & white photographs of Eddie Sulik is also part of the deal. All this packaged in a 7-inch gatefold cover with great pictures, stories and information. I already love this issue, and I haven't even begun to review the music!
Let's first quote some excerpts from the liner notes to shed a little light on the artist: During the 1950s, singer, songwriter, and guitarist, Eddie Sulik, kept audiences spellbound with his unique blend of rock & roll, country and western, rhythm & blues, pop, and latin sounds. On November 2, 1959, as lead singer of a rockabilly duo (together with George Kiriakis, ed.) known as the Echoes, Eddie recorded four of his original compositions at Bradley Film and Recording Studio in Nashville, Tennessee. These recordings were backed by the same Nashville session musicians, collectively found on hit records by Elvis Presley, Patsy Cline, Roy Orbison, Marty Robbins and the Everly Brothers.
Titles: "Bye-Bye My Baby", "Do I Love You", "Ecstasy", and "Loving and Losing', were released by a major record label, received critical acclaim, and hit on local charts in the Northeastern United States. Unfortunately, these records debuted during the height of the infamous payola probe that swept the country causing certain paranoia among radio stations that literally stifled airplay for new artists on the scene. For the most part, the Echoes' records went down as lost classics, a casualty of the era, known only to the privileged few of die-hard record collectors.
In the early 1960s, Eddie wrote and produced much new material. As a solo artist, he was nearly signed by a major record label in New York City. Sadly, Eddie's untimely death in a 1965 automobile accident prevented this from taking place. Eddie Sulik left behind an impressive collection of original compositions and unreleased recordings. "Sweet Memories" archives Eddie's timeless recordings from the 1950s. All tracks on this unique collectors CD have been digitally restored, remixed and remastered. The majority of tracks contained in this collection have never been available to the public prior to this release.
Well, did you dig all that cat? And there is much more to read for you on the inside of the cover, nut now; let's play the music. The opening tracks are all 4 Echoes' songs of the 1960 EP (Columbia 41549) in superb sound quality. Two great rockers and two even more beautiful ballads with a latin tinge that overshadow all the Everly Brothers ever did. It's a mystery to me that these songs were not top 10 hits back then.
Quote: Do I Love You - The Echoes handle this swinging rocker with gusto over good support. --Billboard, 1960--
Next is a series of previously unreleased ballads written and performed by Eddie Sulik, gems, each and every one. "Mmm-Hmm, Oh Boy" is a rocker though, somewhat influenced by the great Buddy Holly, and sung in Eddie's own wonderful vocal style. "You Oughta See My Baby" is also a (pop) rocker, with some nice doo-wops. The instrumental "Andrea" with it's latin influences reminds of early Ritchie Valens recordings. The title track "Sweet Memories" is last on this platter, a love song that will bring tears to your eyes, tears over the memory of a late great artist, tears over times long passed, but brought back to you with this sensitive album that will move everyone who loves 50s music.
No, this album might not be a top hit for the hardcore rockabilly fan, but even the toughest alley cat will melt listening to the music of Eddie Sulik, a singer who, as so many other great performers before him, passed away much too soon...
Reviewed by The BlackCat, 2000
Hard Rock Hattie Productions LLC.