Year of Release: 1964
We've encountered the Embassy label on "Left and to the Back" before, of course. (Yes. We have). It was the label John Lennon referred to in a moment of despondency, jokingly commenting that even they had rejected The Beatles. Pressing up cheap sound-a-like discs for the cash-strapped or just plain unfussy, they were responsible for some truly awful howlers in their time. Just listen to this appalling caterwauling take on "Wimoweh" if you don't believe me, or this underpowered take on The Beatles themselves.
Occasionally, though, Embassy did turn up trumps, and it's to the credit of the session musicians they hired when things did go to plan. Frequently thrown in at the deep end, given next-to-no time to learn the songs and even less time than that to record them (usually a few takes at most) when these discs sound good, they sound good under the most pressured and unlikely of circumstances.
So then, if you were pop-picking in Woolworths in 1964, this record would actually have been a rather good buy. The version of "Remember (Walkin' In The Sand)" is a staggeringly effective take on the girl group classic. Joan Baxter handles the lead vocals and positively nails the yearning qualities of the song - so much so that this actually becomes a perfectly strong alternative version rather than just a cheap substitute for the real thing. This isn't some kind of dilute-to-taste ageing session muso's take on teenage heartbreak, there's genuine power and a certain innocence behind the performance, piercing right through everything else.
On the other side, The Typhoons take on "Little Red Rooster" isn't as great, but manages to capture the lazy sleaze of the blues track almost as well as the Stones did. It's hard to pick fault.
At the time it's doubtful any self-respecting teenager would have actually wanted to own this record over the original recordings, but now, with the reasonable passing of time, this has actually become something worth having. A shame the same can't be said for all of Embassy's output, but them's the breaks.