One wonders what the targeted market was for Pop Jewels, a grab bag cassette of cover versions of instrumentals that were hits in the 1950s and '60s. Admittedly there are some pretty decent guitar instrumentals here -- eg., Ghost Riders in the Sky (original: Ramrods), Apache (Jorgen Ingmann) and Dance with the Devil (Cozy Powell). But with the originals of all of these readily available who exactly is going to buy this except for obsessive collectors.
This collection also includes its share of dreck including two songs you hope never to hear again -- Dance Little Bird (otherwise known as Bird Dance, Chicken Dance, etc.) and the repetitive electronic bleating of Popcorn.
It's obviously not the same group playing all 12 tunes as they vary greatly in instrumentation, sound quality and musical expertise.
I've always liked the String-A-Longs hit Wheels (1961). The version by Billy Vaughn is OK, too. But the one on Pop Jewels has to be heard to be believed. It's only a bit over two minutes but it seems to plod on forever, complete with fluffs by the guitarist and electronic strings that are so far in the background that they sound like the wind whistling through a crack in a leaky window. Picture a Legion or Elks hall on a Friday-Saturday night in the '60s and you'll get the idea.
Pop Jewels was put out by the Quebec-based Madacy label, probably in the early 1980s, although there's no date or any recording information on the insert. It was sold mainly in discount stores. Watch those thrift store bins for your own personal copy.
For those of you who've stuck with me this far here's the String-a-Longs original of Wheels.