A minuscule Glaswegian, possessed of an awesome voice which took no prisoners whatsoever and defied either description or categorisation, Karl Denver was a genuine one-off. Musically, he occupied an area almost entirely of his own making, presenting something of an unlikely hybrid of Jimmie Rodgers, Frankie Laine and Lonnie Donegan, with a passing nod to Johnny Cash, meshed together to produce a challenging, ear-splitting, yet oddly irresistible cacophony. Indeed, had Mars Attacks! been a British film, it wouldn’t have been Slim Whitman’s ‘Indian Love Call’, with its polite, mellifluous yodeling that killed off the Martians, it would have been the blood-curdling, throat-shredding howls of Karl’s ‘Wimoweh’!
An unlikely Pop star, being skinny, lantern-jawed, exceptionally short (he even wore lifts in his cuban heels!) and clearly a few years older than his Press biogs would have had us believe, he cut a somewhat incongruous figure on package tours. And yet, night after night, The Karl Denver Trio would regularly upstage the younger, considerably hipper and more handsome bill-toppers, winning unconditional respect for their musicality and professionalism. Denver had no comparable peers in the British Hit Parade, and he appeared to draw on just about every known musical genre - Folk, Country, Blues, Jazz, mainstream Pop,World Music, show tunes, MOR ballads, Western Swing, you name it. However, as NME journalist Derek Johnson observed, at the time: “When there have been a spate of unimaginative performers and carbon-copy artists, it is refreshing to find an artist with a totally different and distinctive approach.”
Karl’s peak years were 1961-62, during which he kicked off his recording career with five consecutive Top 20 singles and a series of hugely-popular hit EPs and LPs. He even managed to survive the first onslaught of the Beat Boom before graduating to a career spent largely in the Northern clubs, cabaret, summer seasons and ultimately, the Folk circuit. This compilation comprises his first two LPs, an EP and four non-album singles, and includes most of his significant hits.
It remains an entirely unique body of work.