Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs Present State Of The Union.

Label: Ace Records.

Release Date: ‘26th; October 2018.

By 1968,  the times they were a changing in the land of the free, and many Americans watched on as the country they loved and were proud of changed, and sadly not for the better. The Vietnam War was raging, while at home Americans were still struggling to comprehend the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963.

Less than three years later, Dr Martin Luther King, one of the leading lights of the civil rights movement was assassinated on the ‘4th’ of April 1966, in Memphis. This shocked many Americans. So did the assassination of Robert Kennedy on the ‘6th’ of June 1966. Many Americans thought things couldn’t get any worse.

Sadly they did, and over the next two years unemployment and inflation grew and more Americans became victims of poverty. Many were living in substandard housing and frustrated at their lack of prospects for themselves, their children and grandchildren. The American Dream for many was fast becoming a nightmare.

Political commentators found themselves reporting on everything from racism and race riots to pollution in Cleveland and California to the sudden increase in the divorce rate. Many Americans wondered what was happening to their country?

Meanwhile, music was changing in America, and many of the pre-Beatles generation of artists and bands were no longer as popular. Others were reinventing their music, and some were becoming politicised and others releasing music full of social comment.

This included the comeback King Elvis Presley w who released Clean Up Your Own Back Yard in 1968. For an artist who usually kept out of politics, this was a first for Elvis Presley who had just returned to music.

Another artist on the comeback trail was Dion, who who had spent four years battling heroin addiction, before returning with Abraham, Martin and John in 1968. This resulted in a return to American for another of the pre-Beatles generation of musicians.

This included the Chairman Of The Board Frank Sinatra, who tackled the subject of divorce in his 1970 single The Train. Two years previously, The Four Seasons tackled the break-up of the nuclear family in Saturday’s Father.

One of the most powerful and poignant tracks was the Beach Boys’ ‘4th’ Of July lost classic. Another hidden gems is the title-track from Lou Christie’s 1971 album.

The standout track on Eartha Kitt’s 1970 album was Paint Me Black Angels where she tackles the subjects of racism and religion. Another powerful track is Roy Orbison’s 1969 seven-minute single Southbound Jericho. Equally powerful and thought-provoking singles from 1968 were Bobby Darin’s Questions and Paul Anka’s  1968 single This Crazy World. They both may have been part of the pre-Beatles generation of singers but were determined to make music that was relevant.

The Tokens’ Some People Sleep is a track from their 1968 lost album Intercourse. It’s  two magical minutes harmony pop that is a welcome addition to Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs Present State Of The Union. So to is Buddy Greco’s cover of Cardboard California which was arranged and produced by Tony Hatch after the singer moved to Britain. It documents another side to the music industry, that is very different to the world populated by The King and Frank Sinatra.

Two of the most powerful songs on Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs Present State Of The Union are cover versions, This includes Teresa Brewer’s 1972 cover of Gil Scott-Heron’s Save The Children and The Brothers Four version of Lennon and McCartney’s Revolution which is fitting way to close Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs Present State Of The Union.

Just like the two previous compilations they’ve compiled for Ace Records, Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs Present State Of The Union is another lovingly curated collection of songs. It features twenty-four songs from artists and bands from the pre-Beatles generation. Some of these artists and bands are familiar face and among the biggest names in music. They’re joined by some lesser known names on Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs Present State Of The Union which covers the period between 1967 when the American Dream became a nightmare for many.

Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs Present State Of The Union.

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