Rev-Ola is a British Independent Record Label, formed in 1990 and specialising in re-issues, new issues and headed by Joe Foster. Rev-Ola was originally a subsidiary of Creation Records publishing and drawing inspiration from “old, rare and bizarre records”. Along with Joe Foster, other executives at Rev-Ola include art director and songwriter Andy Morten, and mastering engineer Norman Blake (Teenage Fan Club). Based in Glasgow, Rev-Ola is now a subsidiary PoppyDisc label, which was founded by Joe Foster with Paul Cardow.
From this catalogue of records, re-issued from Rev-Ola Records, you will find an eclectic collection of records, which exudes quality, entertainment, style, originality, showmanship, exoticism, class and charisma, which are all immaculately produced. A host of music for every mood, occasion and passing whim. It’s also a label which represents various love children from Creation Records such as Peter Astor, Weather Prophets, Slaughter Joe, Revolving Paint Dream and Biff Bang Pow.
What’s wonderful about Rev-Ola records is their passion for music which is individualistic,authentic, innovative, unique, ethereal, sensual and exotic. With re-issues from the The Peruvian Songbird ” Yma Sumac”, Rev-Ola remind us of extraordinary music, which resides in a Mambo Lounge, amongst the fluttering birds, Mariarchi trumpets, tribal beats and Spanish acoustics, which is lifted by the supreme vocals of Yma Sumac. A complete one-off, Yma Sumac had a voice which was a standalone instrument, and whose impressive vocal range had a duality of soprano and low baritone, with a five octave range. Listening to Yma Sumac is like partying in 1950s paradise, amongst the exotic birds, shaking pineapple buckets, sipping cocktails and dancing until the early hours of the morning. It’s music that is flamboyant, thrilling, eargasmic, exhilarating, sensual, quirky, celebratory, sultry, kitschy, free-styling and primal, whilst being the perfect exotic party sound track…
Likewise, Rev-Ola records reminds us of some of the great musical pioneers of the 1950s and 1960s, who shaped American rhythm, blues, soul and rock n roll, which would change music forever, creating a blueprint, which would inspire and significantly change the face of music. Through the re-issues from musical pioneers, Rev-Ola have gone back to basics of musicianship, taking us back in time to artists such as Clyde Mc Phatter, who was a key contributor of shaping the “doo-wop” sound of rhythm and blues, along with Gene Vincent who pioneered the stylistics of rock an roll, and rockabilly, with his smooth and jittery delivery and trade-mark “Be-Bop-A-Lula”, personified cool and innovative rebellion of that era.
Along with the legendary Fats Domino, whose fusion, of jazz, rhythm and blues, distinctive vocals and virtuoso triplet-based piano style, made him one of the key figures who would shape and move the foundations of rock n roll. Along with the fusion of saxophone and trumpets, Fats Domino inspired legions of musicians, whose simple melodies where grooved up with his boogie-woogie chord arrangements.
Again with Solomon Burke, the American Preacher who captivated us with his rich and powerful tones, who added the soul in rhythm and blues music, creating music which had an intangible sensuality, whilst fusing a funked up, gospel-esque sound, is regarded one of the founding fathers of soul music.
Adding an eccentric, idiosyncratic, macabre, voodoo blues, comedic showmanship to jazz, rhythm and blues, Screaming Jay Hawkins was an early pioneer of “shock rock”, whose theatrical live performances thrilled, chilled and left a lasting impression.
As well as representing music from the golden age of rhythm, blues and rock and roll, Rev-Ola also takes us on a trip to the 1960s sounds of Psychedelic rock and Sunshine Pop. Bands such as The Grass Roots, captured the spirit of folk, rock, jangly psychedelia of 67, and whose poetic and lovelorn lyrics evoked a wistful sense of romanticism.
Inspired by the novelist HP Lovecraft, the band HP Lovecraft greeted a haunting fusion of chilling riffs, ghostly narrative, misty melancholy, incorporating jazz and folk, with swirly waves of farfisa, psych-space riffs, led by horns and marching aside the militant beats.
Staying true to the authentic sound of the 60s Psychedelia, July were a kaleidoscopic mix of Eastern, wah, sitar strumming, farfisa fog and chaotic swirls of rainbow riffs, soaring, beaming, scribbling aside the trippy vocal deliveries and surreal lyrics. A visceral band, July, whose wayward riffs, relaying harmonies and extended interludes, were hypnotic and abstract in equal measures.
Again with The Peanut Butter Conspiracy, the groovy, jagged, jangly, breezy, abstract and flutey fusion of folk, baroque pop jazz and psychedelia, was captured in the sunshine, trippy asetheics of America, circa 67. An underrated band, The Peanut Butter Conspiracy are a great reminder of psychedelic music, which incorporated a diverse range of genres whilst producing a colourful and cohesive sound.
Reminding us again of the golden age of 1960s American Sunshine Pop, The Clique were that exuberant, upbeat, dreamy, band who captured the carefree, romanticism and warm-spirit of the 60s. Through their fusion of jazz, soul , bubblegum pop, happy-go lucky harmonies, orchestral sweeps, groovy riffs, hammond haze and rattling beats, The Clique have remained influential with their B-Side “Superman”, covered by REM on their 1986 album “Life’s Rich Pageant”.
Moving onto the the Power-pop sound of the late 70s, The Scruffs are an American band whose re-issues are represented by Rev-Ola Records. Through their jangles, slams, glides and nimble-fingered riffs, “The Scruffs” are that solid, guitar-laden band whose rock-n-roll roots remains very much in their psyche.
What’s also great about Rev-Ola records is their penchant for digging out old classics, forgotten gems and celebrating all that is influential, innovative and invigorating. They are a label whose deep appreciation for music, cuts deep, remembering the intricate craftmanship and meticulous details that makes music of a high calibre, or entertainingly kitsch. They are a label which sees the art-form, the beauty and the vintage chic, taking you out of your comfort zone and remembering the joys and passion of yesteryear. By tapping into forgotten gems such as the multi-talented Diana Dors, you can escape into a world of 1950s/60s glamour of Dors. You could dim the lights, close your eyes and be seduced by the velvet and sultry tones and enjoy her Jazzy, Sax appeal.
Again with Eartha Kitt, Rev-Orla is reminding us about this unique, purring siren. An artist in the truest sense, Eartha Kitt was a true star, who oozed charisma, wicked sex appeal and whose jazz arrangements and bluesy ballads were captivatingly cabaret and whose dark lyrics bordered on the macabre. Since singing from the age of eleven, Eartha Kitt spoke four languages, which was often demonstrated in her recordings and live performances.
Along with the Brazillian Bossa Nova Singer and lyrist Mario Telles, you find yourself in the company of music that touches the soul, lifts the spirits and romanticises about all the finer things in life. An accomplished multi-instrumentalist, Mario Telles created a baroque-pop, jazz, classical landscape whose impeccable arrangements escape you to a different world, and sweeps you away by the rich and sensual vocals.
For anyone wanting to re-connect with the smokey, sultry sounds of good old-fashioned Jazz, then Peggy Lee is probably the gal for you. A versatile Jazz singer, Peggy Lee was effortlessly cool, whose low key, vocals, were the epitome of breezy jazzy, smouldering ice-queen.
Again with proving to be purveyors of impeccable taste, Rev-Ola records have remastered and reissued music from the Avant-garde, bebop, wizard Sun Ra, whose catalogue of free-styling space jazz raises the bar and is testament to his prodigious talent demonstrated from a young age. An improviser of cosmic and transcendent music, Sun Ra is a prolific artist, whose oblique and intriguing music takes you on a celestial voyage towards another galaxy.
Leaving no stone unturned, Rev-Ola are also a record label who has re-issued records from Cassius Clay, whose “Spoken Word”arrangements, cover versions and collaborations, captured the humour and soulful spirit of “The Greatest”. Likewise with William Shatner, Rev-Ola, resurrected the zany, cover songs and, whose spoken word recitations proved both entertaining and humorous.
With an ear for the the avant-garde, the spoken word, satire and Trad Jazz, Rev-Ola is a record label which has hand-picked the innovators, the cult heroes, and artists which shine with originality and finesse. So it comes as no surprise that Rev-Ola re-issue albums from the eccentric, and multi-instrumentalist, Vivian Stanshall. A curious, cerebral and quirky performer, Vivian Stanshall, whose lead vocals use of the wind instruments with his art school band The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, was a mix of slapstick, chaotic, absurdism and rock parody, creating a poetic and surreal narrative.
Likewise with reissues of Ivor Cutler, Rev-Ola remind us again of that British eccentric performer, who broke the mould, whose music was interspersed with poetry and humour which appealed to his native Scotland and further a field. An influential, whimsical, humorous performer, Ivor Cutler was an innovator in the world of trad jazz, rock and spoken word, and nonsensical musings were both observational, absurd and with perfect comedic timing.
For anyone who loves good fashioned Blues, fused with Jazz, then acts like Dom Pomus will get your foot tapping and take you to some smokey, cooled underground club. Through the array of trumpets, cello bass, boogie-woogie pianos and rich vocals, Dom Pomus created the grandiose of a Swing band, whilst remaining the Bona-Fide Blues man. With a prolific career, Dom Pomus was recognised as being one of the leading Blues men in the late 50s and early 60s,whilst co-writing some of the greatest hits in rock n roll history, including “This Magic Moment” (the Drifters), “Young Blood” (the Coasters, co-written with Leiber and Stoller), “A Teenager in Love” (Dion and the Belmonts), “Lonely Avenue” (Ray Charles) and “Save the Last Dance for Me” (Ben E. King) to name a few.
Again with the melodic, pensive, blues-folk man Fred Neil, you get an invitation from Rev-Ola records to hear music from a forgotten age, but has remained timeless and original. Through the jangly and illuminated riffs and laid back, velvet tones of Fred Neil, you get a sense of real musicianship, music which has been meticulously crafted, to resonate and soothe the senses.
With Dana Gillespie, Rev-Ola Records takes us to a sultry, risque, folk-psych, sensual, baroque-pop, mind-altering world of the mid 60s and whose pristine vocals, show-stopping acting performances and collaborations with artists such as David Bowie and Mick Jagger, has given her the staying power which has enabled her everlasting career.
For anyone who likes a bit of 1950s Sci-fi and would like to abducted by a faster than light space ship, explore and discover deep marvels in a Forbidden sound, then I would recommend you check out Louis and Bebe Barron’s soundtrack for the film, Forbidden Planet. It’s as iconic as the 1956 film, whose pioneering, avant-guarde, sonic sounds were ahead of the game, back in the day. Using an array of cybernetic circuits, or “valve-driven oscillators”, which were originated by Norbert Weiner but later designed by Louis, the Forbidden Planet soundtrack is a collector’s album, an album which was groundbreaking and really has stood the test of time. It is music which is a historical gem and “would exhibit characteristic qualities of pitch, timbre, and rhythm, and had a sort of life cycle from their beginnings until they burned out” (historian Barry Schrader).
As a soundtrack, it’s an album which really captures the imagination of the listener and whose menacing, eerie drones Space synths, splutters, bubbles, minimalist tonalities, beastly growls, bleeps, screeches, robotic hums, makes you really feel like you are being exposed to a Forbidden Plant. It’s an abstract, mesmerising album, which delves deep into the Sci-psyche, providing an atmospheric and eerie narration, sending tingles to your spine, whilst escaping the torturous tones of the futuristic aliens, monsters and robots.
Again with the Touch of Evil’s soundtrack, by Henry Mancini, you escape back to the 1950s and travel underground into an intriguing, thrilling, suspenseful, scandalous, vengeance world of film noir. An evocative, provocative, exotic and exuberant soundtrack, the album marks Orson Welles’ 1958 return and outstanding contribution to the classic era of Hollywood. As a soundtrack, the album is composed of all the Mexican, Latino, Afro-Cuban razzamatazz, which creates an atmospheric motif which brings the music alive. Through the bongo beats, zooming trumpets, sassy saxophones, aloof Cellos, honky tonk pianos, fluctuating tempos, quivering and breezy tones, Henry Mancini ingeniously created a masterpiece, which incorporates all the elements in technicolor from the film.
Moondog/Songs Of Sense And Nonsense – Tell It Again is a delightful album, whose backdrop of folky flutes, tribal beats and rattles, provides the enchanting backdrop for this poetic and exquisite production. Starring the supreme four-octave soprano, Broadway Star, children’s film hero and overall legend Julie Andrews and Gilbert and Sullivan’s comedic operatic Martyn Green, “Songs Of Sense And Nonsense” is an intriguing mix of spoken word, off beat poetry and spontaneous burst of singing, which appeals to all children from the age of 0-100 years.
With so many artists’ albums re-issued by Rev-Ola Records, I strongly recommend you check out their facebook page and website, as there is literally a vast range of forgotten gems and music which covers a spectrum of genres, from rock, folk, psychedelic rock, power-pop, rhythm and blues, jazz, Bossa Nova, Latin Jazz,Country blues, folk Brazilian jazz, Blue-eyed soul, pop, rock, soul, garage rock, avant garde and spoken word etc as you won’t be disappointed.