Monday, July 22, 2013


This is a themed double-disc collection from the 50's and early 60's, that skirts (pun intended) around the rock and roll era, presenting the safest tracks of those radio days, from the dreamboat vocalists of the era.  The closest we get to the great rhythm and blues of the day is Chuck Berry, but mostly this is the sanitized version of pop and rock 'n' roll, the white singers with syrupy strings.  SO it's Pat Boone, Bobby Vee, Connie Francis and the like.  Yes, the real raw stuff was better, but there's room now for these original teen idols too, and some of them did pretty good renditions.

It's also an interesting collection of 52 tracks, because the set was produced in England, and features many of their singers of the day, most of whom didn't reach our shores in the pre-Beatles era.  They were doing the same thing there as here, turning out safe cover versions of r'n'b, so that the parents would let their kids listen.  British hit maker Marty Wilde (Kim's dad) covers Teenager In Love.  Craig Douglas topped the U.K. charts with Only Sixteen, and sold more copies there than the Sam Cooke original.  Mark Wynter raced Steve Lawrence with his cover of Go Away Little Girl in 1962.

There's a lot of syrup here, but there's also some strong early rock and roll, including a couple from Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison's Only The Lonely, and a great sequence with Dion's Runaround Sue, Gene Vincent's Be-Bop-A-Lula, and Del Shannon's Runaway.  There's some doo-wop, skiffle, and that long-neglected staple, the instrumental, with Duane Eddy, The Shadows and The Tornados' Telstar all included.  The set is patchy, with the inexcusable Bobby Vee number Rubber Ball ("bouncy-bouncy") a horrible choice, with this many classics available cheap, most fans will find a few things worth having on a clean digital copy.

No comments:

Post a Comment