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Dr. Joseph Lee (Toronto, Canada)
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Original American Idol: Complete Singles As & Bs
Original American Idol: Complete Singles As & Bs
Price: CDN$ 25.62
15 used & new from CDN$ 11.58

5.0 out of 5 stars Bobby Rydell: Original American Idol (2CDs): most comprehensive coverage of his singles 58-62 + 2 albums;57 songs; good sound!, Aug. 26 2014
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INTRODUCTION:

Bobby Rydell was born Robert Louis Ridarelli on April 26, 1942 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was a regular on Paul Whiteman’s amateur TV show, 1951-1954. He was a drummer with Rocco & His Saints, which included Frankie Avalon on trumpet in 1956. He first recorded for Veko in 1956. He also appeared in movies like Bye Bye Birdie and That Lady From Peking. Rydell, Fabian, Frankie Avalon and Chubby Checker were Philadelphia-based teen idols of the late 1950s-early 60s.

Bobby Rydell has 33 charted singles on Billboard Hot 100. I have just finished a Complete Singles Discography on Bobby, and found that he has an amazing 45 singles (90 songs) from 1958 to 1976. His labels include Veko (1958), Cameo (1959 – 1964), Capitol (1964 – 1966), Reprise (1967 – 1968), RCA-Victor (1970) and Epic (1976). He has also released 13 domestic albums.

CONTENT:

This 2 CD set, released by Jasmine Records from UK, has 57 songs.

POSITIVE POINTS:

1 This set is the most comprehensive coverage of Bobby Rydell’s singles (a and b-sides, charted and uncharted), arranged chronologically from 1958 to 1962. Up to now, the best available CDs are The Best of Bobby Rydell on Abkco (25 songs) and a bootleg one called Original Hit Records on Park 556. With this set, there are many songs that made their CD debut: You Never Tame Me, I’d Do It Again, Don’t be Afraid (To Fall in Love), and Gee, It’s Wonderful (above are all b-sides).
2 There are also two complete albums included: We Got Love (Cameo 1006)(1959) and Bobby Sings And Bobby Swings (Cameo 1007)(1960). It is nice of Jasmine Records to point out that the album version of Please Don’t Be Mad is different from the single version.
3 The sound is very well remastered, clean, vibrant with no hiss. But my reference is still the version on Abkco (with DSD and in stereo).
4 All the versions are original versions, no re-recorded versions.
5 Jasmine Records is slowly improving: all the label & number, chart positions (Billboard Hot 100, Cashbox, Record World & UK) are included. The 6-page booklet also has an informative essay written by Bob Fisher.
6 The price is reasonable, especially from seller.

NEGATIVE POINT :

1 This set will be the ultimate Bobby Rydell Singles Collection if Jasmine Records did not stop at 1962 (probably due to the Public Domain & copyright issues). According to my Complete Singles Discography, there are still 36 singles (a and b-sides) missing. If you want to find those missing songs, the best sources include The Complete Bobby Rydell on Capitol (on Collectors’ Choice, 2001, unfortunately also a collector’s item now with expensive price), The Best of Bobby Rydell (Abkco, 2005), Original Hit Records (Park) and Bobby’s Biggest Hits (Famous Groove Records, 1997). Fortunately, most of his later recordings are readily available on internet. Of all the 90 songs in my discography, I am still missing two: Dolce Melodia (Cameo 235, 1963) and Every Little Bit Hurts (Reprise 0751, 1968).

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Bobby Rydell is a great singer with many hits. Unfortunately, songs on Cameo-Parkway label were locked up for many years, and refused to be released (just like Dave Clark Five’s recordings). In 2005, finally, The Best of Bobby Rydell on his original label was finally released, and that is it. Finally, Jasmine Records has partially corrected this injustice, by releasing all his singles from 1958 to 1962, plus two complete albums. If you just want a single set, The Best of Bobby Rydell on Abkco is still the best choice, covering later hits like Forget Him, and A World Without Love. I wish Real Gone Music will undertake a Complete Singles Collection or 8 Classic Albums series on Bobby on 4 CD series. He certainly has been much neglected and fully deserves the royal treatment. If you needed a reminder of just how important he was during this hit making era, remember that when the writers of “Grease” needed a name for the High School that the action takes place in, they called it Rydell High. This set is highly recommended.

Anthology
Anthology
Price: CDN$ 28.04
13 used & new from CDN$ 11.53

5.0 out of 5 stars Ral Donner: Burned! Ral Donner Anthology (2CDs): all the singles (1959 – 1963), stereo versions, good sound, definitive Best Of!, Aug. 23 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Anthology (Audio CD)
INTRODUCTION:

Ral Donner was born Ralph Stuart Emanuel Donner in Norwood Park, Chicago, Illinois on February 10, 1943. His first group was called the Rocking Five. He appeared on Alan Freed’s Big Beat Show, and his group was changed to Ral Donner & The Gents. The final backing group was called the Starfires. He has long been acknowledged as the all-time finest Presley ‘soundalike.’ He famously registered his breakthrough hit in 1961 with Girl of My Best Friend, the song from Elvis Is Back, massive hit for the King in UK, but never issued as a single in the US. Both versions were so aurally alike that when Ral’s disc first began to break, its success was propelled by strong rumours that ‘Ral Donner’ was actually Elvis, singing under a pseudonym.

Although Ral Donner only has 8 charted singles from 1961 to 1963 on Billboard Hot 100, I have just done a Complete Singles Discography on Ral Donner, and to my amazement, he actually has released 26 singles from 1959 to 1980. He started with Scotti Records in 1959, followed by Gone Records (18 singles from 1961 to 1962). He had 4 singles on Reprise in 1963, followed by Fontana label (1964), Rising Suns, Mid Eagle, Sunlight, and finally Chi-Town in 1980. Interestingly, the b-side of his last single in 1980 on Chi-Town was called A Message to Ayatullah Khomeni! He has released only one album: Takin’ Care of Business (Gone 5012, 1961).

Ral Donner was also the narrator for the movie This Is Elvis. He sadly died of cancer on April 6, 1984 at age 41.

CONTENT:

This 2 CD set by Great Voice of The Century label in UK contains 58 songs. (Disc 1: 28 songs: The Singles; Disc 2: 30 songs: album tracks, stereo cuts and collector’s rarities.

POSITIVE POINTS:

1 This set represents the most comprehensive coverage of Ral Donner’s singles releases, from 1959 to 1963 covering all the labels (Scotti, Gone, Tau and Reprise). All the songs are arranged chronologically, a- and b-sides, charted and uncharted. The tracks on Reprise are making their CD debut. (The recent Jasmine’s release Singles Collection is more inferior in that it only goes as far as 1962 (probably due to Public Domain issues).
2 There are 11 stereo versions of the above singles on Disc 2.
3 The entire album Takin’ Care of Business was featured.
4 There are 12 previous unreleased songs, all on Gone label.
5 The sound is very well remastered, clean with no hiss.
6 There is a 6-page booklet, containing an informative essay by Roger Dopson. All the label and number are included.
7 Picture sleeves and label pictures appeared on the inner page of the back cover.
8 The price is reasonable, especially from sellers.

NEGATIVE POINTS:

1 According to my Complete Single Discography, there are 22 songs still missing (11 singles). Because they were all uncharted singles, they may never be released in the future. Instead of the unreleased tracks on Gone label, inclusion of some of the above rare tracks on other labels will be icing on the cake.
2 No chart positions are included.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

This 2 CD set covers his singles from 1959 to 1963, much more complete than the Jasmine’s recent release (which I also bought). The entire set is totally enjoyable. His singing is really quite good, and all the tunes are very catchy. In Run Little Linda, he almost sounded like Dion. If you are looking for a Best of Ral Donner, this set is the definitive edition, and is highly recommended.

Platinum & Gold - the MGM Year
Platinum & Gold - the MGM Year
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 60.87
6 used & new from CDN$ 30.18

5.0 out of 5 stars Joni James Platinum & Gold the MGM Years (2CDs): 42 singles with many rare gems making CD debut; wonderful sound; very expensive, Aug. 23 2014
INTRODUCTION:

Joni James was born Giovanna Carmello Babbo on September 22, 1930 in Chicago, Illinois. She worked as a dancer from age 12, and model during high school. She toured Canada as a dancer in the late 40s, and changed her professional name to ‘James.’ In 1952, while singing at Chicago’s Vines Club, she signed a contract with Sharp Recording, with 2 single releases: Let There Be Love (Sharp S-46) and You Belong To Me (Sharp S-50). Because both sold over 10,000 copies, MGM took over the releases, becoming MGM E-11223 and MGM E-11295 respectively. She married her orchestral arranger/conductor Tony Acquaviva. By 1965, she suddenly quit and gave up recording and performing, in order to care for her sick husband with complications of diabetes. He eventually passed away in 1988. In 1997 she re-married to General Bernard Adolf Schriever, a retired ballistics expert.

I have recently done a Complete Singles and Albums Discography on Joni James. Contrary to her charting records (with only 29 singles, double charted-sides counted as one), I have compiled a total of 48 singles (a and b-sides, charted and uncharted) from 1952 to 1963. There are also 38 domestic album releases. Her song Why Don’t You Believe Me? topped the chart for 6 weeks.

CONTENT:

This 2 CDs, released by Collectors’ Choice in 2002, contain 42 songs. Although Amazon.ca has a song listing already, I have compiled a more detailed song listing (including single label & number plus chart position) which is as follows:

DISC 1
01 Have You Heard (a-side, MGM 11390)(4/1953)
02 Almost Always (a-side, MGM 11470)(9/1953)
03 Purple Shades (b-side, MGM 11333)(26/1952)
04 Your Cheatin’ Heart (a-side, MGM 11426)(2(3)/1953)
05 Why Don’t You Believe Me (a-side, MGM 11333)(1(6)/1952; UK 11/1953)
06 Is It Any Wonder? (b-side, MGM 11470)(16/1953)
07 Wishing Ring (b-side, MGM 11390)(17/1953)
08 My Love, My Love (a-side, MGM 11543)(8/1953)
09 How Important Can It Be (a-side, MGM 11919)(2/1955)
10 You Are My Love (a-side, MGM 12066 (8/1955)
11 My Believing Heart (a-side, MGM 12126)(49/1955)
12 When We Come Of Age (a-side, MGM 11865)(28/1954)
13 When You Wish Upon A Star (b-side, MGM 11960)(1955)
14 Danny Boy (a-side, MGM 12369)(uncharted, 1956)
15 Day Dreaming (b-side, MGM 12531)(1957)*rare gem; CD debut
16 I’ll Be Waiting For You (b-side, MGM 11426)(1953)
17 You’re Fooling Someone (b-side, MGM 11543)(11/1953)
18 How Lucky We Are (b-side, MGM 12288)(70/(1956)*double sided hit; a-side is Give Us This Day
19 You Belong to Me (a-side, Sharp S-50/MGM 11295)(1952; MGM 12848)(1960)
20 Everyday (b-side, MGM 11753)(1954)*in some cases, spelled as Every Day.
21 I Give You My Word (a-side, MGM 12565)(uncharted, 1957)*rare gem; CD debut

DISC 2:
01 Is This The End of The Line (a-side, MGM 11960)(uncharted, 1955) *rare gem; CD debut
02 In a Garden of Roses (a-side, MGM 11753)(22/1954)
03 Dansero (b-side, MGM 12607)(1957)*b-side to Love Works Miracles, never released on CD.
04 There Goes My Heart (a-side, MGM 12706)(19/1958)
05 Little Things Mean A Lot (a-side, MGM 12849)(35/1959)
06 There Must Be A Way (a-side, MGM 12746)(US 33/1959; UK 24/1959)*rare gem; CD debut
07 Be My Love (a-side, MGM 12848)(uncharted, 1960)*rare gem; CD debut
08 I Still Get A Thrill (Thinking of You)(a-side, MGM 12779)(51/1959) *rare gem; CD debut
09 We Know (a-side, MGM 12895)(uncharted, 1960)
10 They Really Don’t Know You (b-side, MGM 12895)(1960)*rare gem; CD debut
11 Are You Sorry (a-side, MGM 12828)(102/1959)*rare gem; CD debut
12 My Prayer of Love (b-side, MGM 12807)(1959)
13 I Laughed at Love (b-side, MGM 12849)(108/1959)*double sided hit; a-side: Little Things Mean a Lot.
14 Perhaps (b-side, MGM 12779)(1959)*rare gem; CD debut
15 I Still Get Jealous (a-side, MGM 12807)(63/1959)*rare gem; CD debut
16 Maybe Next Time (a-side, MGM 11696)(22/1954)*rare gem; CD debut
17 Give Us This Day (a-side, MGM 12288)(30/1956)
18 I’ll Never Stand In Your Way (a-side, MGM 11606)(23/1953)
19 Nina-Non (a-side, MGM 11637)(27/1953)
20 Mama, Don’t Cry at My Wedding (a-side, MGM 11802)(23/1954)
21 Am I in Love (b-side, MGM 11696)(22/1954)*double sided hit; a-side: Maybe Next Time.

POSITIVE POINTS:

1 This 2 CD set has the most comprehensive coverage of Joni James’ singles, with many rare gems and 12 songs making their CD debut.
2 The source is from the authentic MGM analog masters, remastered by Joni’s personal sound engineer, Tom Perry and personally supervised by Joni James.
3 The sound is simply wonderful: warm, vibrant, clean with clear differentiation among the instruments. All the songs in this set have become my reference standards.
4 There is a 6-page booklet, with an informative essay, and two album front covers occupying the entire page: Joni James and More Joni Hits.

NEGATIVE POINTS:

1 The price now is extremely expensive.
2 Disc 1: 58 minutes; Disc 2: 54 minutes. Surely, they could have filled up both discs with more songs. Although I have 36/38 of her domestic albums on CDs and many compilations, I am still missing 12 songs out of 96 songs in her Complete Singles Discography.
3 No label number; no chart positions.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Of the 38 domestic album releases, I am still missing two: Award Winning Albums Volume 2 (1958) and Beyond the Reef (1964). If you are interested in collecting singles by Joni James, I would recommend the current set, plus Why Don’t You Believe Me (on BD label, not the Living Era one) and Jukebox Joni (with many rare singles). I love Joni James. My favourite album is Among my Souvenirs. Taragon has released it on CD in 1996. If you just like a single Greatest Hits CD and don’t mind slightly inferior sound, I would recommend A Portrait of Joni James, released on Stardust label by my friend Ron Hall.

As a tribute, Barbra Streisand said; "As a 9-year old, I tried to sing like Her for my audition at MGM. They just said, "Thank You." But this is a wonderful chance to remind ourselves just how special she is." Just turn off the lights and turn up the volume. Her voice is so mesmerizing and soothing, slowly leading you into her dream world. This set is very highly recommended.

Why Dont You Believe Me?
Why Dont You Believe Me?
Price: CDN$ 12.06
5 used & new from CDN$ 4.19

5.0 out of 5 stars Joni James: Why Don't You Believe Me: 28 songs; most comprehensive coverage of her singles (1953 - 1956); good sound & value!, Aug. 22 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
INTRODUCTION:

Joni James was born Giovanna Carmello Babbo on September 22, 1930 in Chicago, Illinois. She worked as a dancer from age 12, and model during high school. She toured Canada as a dancer in the late 40s, and changed her professional name to `James.' In 1952, while singing at Chicago's Vines Club, she signed a contract with Sharp Recording, with 2 single releases: Let There Be Love (Sharp S-46) and You Belong To Me (Sharp S-50). Because both sold over 10,000 copies, MGM took over the releases, becoming MGM E-11223 and MGM E-11295 respectively. She married her orchestral arranger/conductor Tony Acquaviva. By 1965, she suddenly quit and gave up recording and performing, in order to care for her sick husband with complications of diabetes. He passed away in 1988. In 1997 she re-married to General Bernard Adolf Schriever, a retired ballistics expert.

I have recently done a Complete Singles and Albums Discography on Joni James. Contrary to her charting records (with only 29 singles, double charted-sides counted as one), I have compiled a total of 48 singles (a and b-sides, charted and uncharted) from 1952 to 1963. There are also 38 domestic album releases. Her song Why Don't You Believe Me? topped the chart for 6 weeks.

CONTENT:

This current release by BD (Bygone Days) label featured 28 songs. Since Amazon.ca did not provide a song listing, I have compiled a detailed song listing (including single label & number and chart positon/year):

01 Why Don't You Believe Me (a-side, MGM 11333)(US 1(6)/1952; UK 11/1953)
02 Wishing Ring (b-side, MGM 11390)(17/1953)*double-sided hit; a-side was Have You Heard.
03 Almost Always (a-side, MGM 11470)(9/1953)
04 Is It Any Wonder? (b-side, MGM 11470)(16/1953)*double-sided hit.
05 I'll Be Waiting For You (b-side, MGM 11426)(1953)*b-side to Your Cheating Heart.
06 You're Fooling Someone (b-side, MGM 11543) (11/1953)*double-sided hit
07 My Love, My Love (a-side, MGM 11543)(8/1953)
08 I'll Never Stand In Your Way (a-side, MGM 11606)(23/1953)
09 You're Nearer (b-side, MGM 30829)(1953)
10 You're My Everything (a-side, MGM 30829)(uncharted, 1953)
11 Every Time You Tell Me You Love Me (b-side, MGM 11865) (1954)*rare gem; CD debut.
12 Why Can't I (b-side, MGM 11606)(1953)*rare gem; CD debut.
13 Nina-Non (a-side, MGM 11637)(27/1953)
14 Every Day (b-side, MGM 11753)(1954)
15 In A Garden of Roses (a-side, MGM 11753)(22/1954)
16 Mama, Don't Cry at My Wedding (a-side, MGM 11802) (23/1954)
17 When We Come of Age (a-side, MGM 11865)(28/1954)
18 Pa Pa Pa (b-side, MGM 11802)(1954)*ultra-rare gem; CD debut.
19 This Is My Confession (b-side, MGM 11919)(1955)
20 I Lay Me Down to Sleep (b-side, MGM 12066)(1955)*b-side to You Are My Love (not included here).
21 How Important Can It Be? (a-side, MGM 11919)(2/1955)
22 How Lucky You Are (b-side, MGM 12288)(70/1956)*double-sided hit.
23 Give Us This Day (a-side, MGM 12288)(30/1956)
24 People Will Say We're In Love (album track from When I Fall in Love, 1955)
25 I've Never Been In Love Before (album track from When I Fall in Love, 1955)
26 Embraceable You (album track from When I Fall in Love, 1955)
27 I Could Write A Book (album track from When I Fall in Love, 1955)
28 Love Letters (a-side, MGM 12353)(uncharted, 1953)

POSITIVE POINTS:

1 If you want to collect the first 15 singles by Joni James, this set represents the most complete coverage on one CD. 24 songs are singles (a or b-sides). As noted above, 3 of them are making their CD debut: Why Can't I, Pa Pa Pa and Every Time You Tell Me You Love Me.
2 The sound is well remastered, clean with no hiss. But the sound is still inferior to those by Taragon or Collectors' Choice releases, the latter still represents my reference standards.
3 There is a 6-page booklet with an informative essay written by Peter Dempsey in 2010. Orchestras are stated when available, plus year of release.
4 The price is truly dirt cheap, especially from sellers. I was fortunate to have purchased all the Taragon and Collectors' Choice releases on Joni James albums. These are collector's items now, costing over $40.

NEGATIVE POINTS:

1 I was hoping that the singles on Sharp label would be released. I am still searching for their b-sides: My Baby Just Cares For Me and Yes, Yes, Yes. Some major singles are missing, like Purple Shades, Have You Heard, Your Cheating Heart, Christmas And You, Maybe Next Time and Am I In Love? Fortunately, all the above songs, except those b-sides on Sharp label, can be found in other releases. Those 4 album tracks could be replaced by her singles. Overall, 72 minutes is not too shabby.
2 There are no label & number and no chart positions.
3 There are no picture sleeves or single label pictures.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Of the 38 domestic album releases, I am still missing two: Award Winning Albums Volume 2 (1958) and Beyond the Reef (1964). If you are interested in collecting singles by Joni James, I would recommend the current set, plus Platinum & Gold: the MGM Years (2 CDs with 42 songs) on Collectors' Choice and Jukebox Joni (with many rare singles). I love Joni James. In my Complete Singles Discography, I am still missing 12 songs out of 96 songs (48 singles). Her voice is so mesmerizing and soothing. This set is very highly recommended.

6 Classic Albums
6 Classic Albums
Price: CDN$ 24.17
18 used & new from CDN$ 8.67

5.0 out of 5 stars Jim Reeves Volume 2 (6 Classic Albums): 4 CDs 92 songs: Great albums, bonus singles; great sound; great value!, Aug. 18 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: 6 Classic Albums (Audio CD)
INTRODUCTION:

Jim Reeves was born on August 20, 1923 in Panola County, Texas. He is best known as “Gentleman Jim.” He has an amazing 80 charted entries in the Billboard Country Chart from 1953 to 1980, including 11 Number 1 hits. He also has 44 studio albums. He sadly died in a plane crash in Nashville on July 31, 1964 at the age of 40.

CONTENT:

This 4 CD set (Volume 2) from Real Gone Music contains Jim’s next 6 albums (from 1960 to 1962), plus parts of 2 other albums, followed by singles. There is a total of 92 songs. The albums (with label, number & year) included in this set are:

Disc 1: 1 The Intimate Jim Reeves (RCA Victor 2216) 1960
2 Tall Tales And Short Tempers (RCA Victor 2284) 1961
Disc 2: 3 Talkin’ To Your Heart (RCA Victor 2239) 1961
4 The Country Side of Jim Reeves (RCA Camden 686) 1962
Disc 3: 5 A Touch of Velvet (RCA Victor 2487)(97/1962)
6 We Thank Thee (RCA Victor 2552) 1962
Disc 4: 7 Jim Reeves Sings (7 songs) 1955*his very first album
8 In Suid-Afrika (3 songs) 1962*rare gems(a compilation album from Jim Reeves, Floyd Cramer and Chet Atkins; the title was misspelled on the back cover as Suid Africa)
Singles (12)

POSITIVE POINTS:

1 Individual albums on CDs by Jim Reeves are hard to come by. Following the release for Jim’s first 8 albums (Volume 1)(my review elsewhere), here, we have his next 6 complete album releases in one set, plus extracts from 2 other albums, plus singles, with 92 songs – great value.
2 There are many singles found in this 4 CD set:
I Love You (with Ginny Wright)(Fabor 101)(C&W 3/1954)
I Will Follow You (Abbott 170)(b-side to Penny Candy)(1954)
Yonda Comes A Sucker (RCA Victor 6200)(C&W 4/1955)
My Lips Are Sealed (RCA Victor 6517)(C&W 8/1956)
Waitin’ For A Train (RCA Victor 6749)(b-side, 1957)
Four Walls (RCA Victor 6874)(C&W 1(8)/1957)
Two Shadows On Your Window (RCA Victor 6973)(C&W 9/1957)
Overnight (RCA Victor 7171)(b-side to I Love You More)(C&W 10/1958)
Blue Boy (RCA Victor 7266)(C&W 2/1958)
I’m Gettin’ Better (RCA Victor 7756)(C&W 3/1960)
I Missed Me (RCA Victor 7800)(C&W 3/1960)
Am I Losing You (new version)(RCA Victor 7800)(b-side, C&W 8/1960)
The Blizzard (RCA Victor 7855)(C&W 4/1961)
Danny Boy (RCA Victor 7855)(b-side, 1961)
What Would You Do? (RCA Victor 7905)(C&W 15/1961)
Losing Your Love (RCA Victor 7950)(C&W 2/1962)
Adios Amigo (RCA Victor 8019)(C&W 2(9)/1962)
A Letter To My Heart (RCA Victor 8019)(b-side, C&W 20/1962)
I’m Gonna Change Everything (RCA Victor 8080)(C&W 2(3)/1962)
Welcome To My World (RCA Victor 8289)(C&W 2/1964)
3 There are 12 singles as bonus tracks, many of them being rare gems.
4 There are many excellent album tracks, like Have You Ever Been Lonely, Patti Page’s No One To Cry To, Am I That Easy To Forget, I Fall To Pieces, plus all his religious tracks.
5 The sound is excellent and very well remastered – Jim’s soothing baritone voice comes through cleanly with no hiss.
6 The price is right – I bought this from seller.

NEGATIVE POINTS:

1 There is no booklet. Real Gone Music usually has fantastic booklet on individual artist’s compilation with album covers. None here in this series.
2 There is no label & number; no chart positions.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Being a collector and fan of Jim Reeves, I have been trying to get as many CDs and LPs as possible on Gentleman Jim. So far, I managed to find 19 vinyl albums. I am glad that Real Gone Music has first released his first 8 albums as Volume 1, and now Volume 2 has 6 more classic albums, with many rare gems. Anyway, here, the sound is excellent. And if you are a Jim Reeves fan, this 4 CD set is highly recommended and great value.

Night Is Still Young/Golden Age of Rock N Roll
Night Is Still Young/Golden Age of Rock N Roll
Price: CDN$ 28.94
21 used & new from CDN$ 13.10

5.0 out of 5 stars Sha Na Na: Night Is Still Young/Golden Age of Rock N Roll (2CDs): 42 songs, all original versions; great clean sound; rare gems!, Aug. 16 2014
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INTRODUCTION:

Sha Na Na is the rock and roll group specializing in 1950’s-style music. All the original members were graduates of Columbia University (except Henry Gross). They gained fame by appearing for 40 minutes at Woodstock, and paid $300. According to John ‘Jocko’ Marcellino, that cheque bounced. The group’s name is taken from a 1957 doo-wop hit single ‘Get A Job’ by the Silhouettes. They hosted their own TV variety show from 1977 – 1981. They also appeared in the 1978 film ‘Grease’ in which they played the part of a group known as Johnny Casino & The Gamblers, and performed six songs for the movie. Although Sha Na Na only has 3 charted singles, I have done a Complete Singles Discography and found that they have 12 singles, charted and uncharted from US and UK. Sha Na Na also has 6 charted albums, the first 4 being released by BGO Records.

CONTENT:

BGO Records, a very reputable reissue label from UK, renown for their excellence in remastering, is releasing the 3rd and 4th albums on two CDs. Since Amazon.ca did not provide a song listing, I have compiled a detailed song listing, including label & no for both albums plus singles, chart positions with personal comments:

DISC 1: THE NIGHT IS STILL YOUNG (Kama Sutra 2050)(156/1972):
01 Sunday Morning Radio
02 Sea Cruise (a-side, Kama Sutra 2013 045)(1972)(UK)
03 You Can Bet They Do*written by Jeff Barry and Andy Kim
04 Bounce In Your Buggy (a-side, Kama Sutra 555)(1972)*rare gem; written by Jeff Barry & Andy Kim
05 It Ain’t Love
06 The Vote Song (b-side, Kama Sutra 2013 045)(1972)(UK)*rare gem
07 Sleepin’ On A Song
08 Bless My Soul (b-side, Kama Sutra 555)(1972)*rare gem; written by Jeff Barry and Bobby Bloom
09 So Fine
10 Oh! Lonesome Boy
11 It’s What You Do With What You Got*written by Jeff Barry and Bobby Bloom
12 Glasses*written by Bowzer
13 In The Still of the Night

DISC 2: THE GOLDEN AGE OF ROCK ‘N’ ROLL (double albums)(Kama Sutra 2073 (2)(38/1973)*gold record:
01 Lover’s Question (original version: Clyde McPhatter, 6/1959)
02 His Latest Flame (original version: Del Shannon, later popularized by Elvis Presley, 4/1971)
03 Pretty Little Angel Eyes (original version: Curtis Lee, 7/1961)
04 Chantilly Lace (original version: the Big Bopper, 6/1958)
05 Why Do Fools Fall In Love (original version: Frankie Lymon, 6/1956)
06 Little Darlin’ (original version: the Diamonds, from Toronto, 2/1957)
07 Heartbreak Hotel (original version: Elvis Presley, 1/1956)
08 Wild Weekend (original version: the Rebels, 8/1963)
09 Get A Job (original version: the Silhouettes, 1/1958)
10 Rock Around the Clock (original version: Bill Haley & His Comets, 1/1955)
11 Tears on My Pillow (original version: Little Anthony & the Imperials, 4/1958)
12 Tell Laura I Love Her (original version: Ray Peterson, 7/1960)
13 Yakety Yak (original version: the Coasters, 1/1958)
14 Jailhouse Rock (original version: Elvis Presley, 1/1957)
15 Blue Moon (original version: Elvis Presley, 55/1956; later, Marcels, 1/1961)
16 A Teenage in Love (original version: Dion & the Belmonts, 5/1959)
17 I Wonder Why (original version: Dion & the Belmonts, 22/1958)
18 Runaround Sue (original version: Dion, 1/1961)
19 Sixteen Candles (original version: the Crest, 2/1959)
20 Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On (original version: Jerry Lee Lewis, 3/1957)
21 Shake, Rattle ‘N’ Roll (original version: Bill Haley & His Comets, 7/1954; also sung by ’Big’ Joe Turner)
22 Rama Lama Ding Dong (original version: the Edsels, 21/1961)
23 Sea Cruise (original version: Frankie Ford, 14/1959)
24 Walk Don’t Run (original version: Jimmy Smith; later popularized by the Ventures, 2/1960)
25 At the Hop (original version: Danny and the Juniors, 1/1958)
26 Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay (original version: Danny & the Juniors, 19/1958)
27 Hound Dog (original version: ‘Big Mama’ Thorton (R&B 1/1953); later popularized again by Elvis Presley, 1/1956)
28 Great Balls of Fire (original version: Jerry Lee Lewis, 2/1958)
29 Lovers Never Say Goodbye (original version: the Flamingos, 52/1959)

POSITIVE POINTS:

1 All the above songs are original versions, not re-recorded versions. Beware of re-recorded versions on their compilation or Greatest Hits CDs. Real the reviews before you buy.
2 BGO is renown for their excellence in remastering. There is no exception in this set. The sound is wonderfully clean with no hiss. Great job!
3 There is an excellent 16-page booklet, with the album covers on the front page. There is an informative essay by John Tobler. Here, I learned the trivia about Henry Gross was the only member in the group that was not a graduate of Columbia University; his most well-known song, ‘Shannon’ was written about the passing of Beach Boys Carl Wilson’s dog!
4 There are many rare gems in this set, especially the charted singles.
5 The price is reasonable, especially from seller. To have the double album, ‘The Golden Age of Rock ‘N’ Roll’ in one single separate CD is appreciated.

NEGATIVE POINTS:

1 There is no information on label & number or chart positions.
2 To have each cover occupying the entire page will be appreciated, plus the addition of album back covers. The inclusion of 45 rpm single picture sleeves is also appreciated.
3 The additions of singles as bonus tracks will add tremendous values to this set, such as Maybe I’m Old Fashioned, (Just Like) Romeo & Juliet, Hot Sox and Sha Bumpin’

FINAL THOUGHTS:

This set is a reliable source to get original versions of the hits by Sha Na Na. I am fortunate to have purchased a Greatest Hits called Heartbreak Hotel – 19 Rock & Roll Hits on SPA label in 1989 from UK, which contains the above missing hits. But I am still searching for some missing songs, like Pay Day, and Stroll All Night. Other missing songs like Circles of Love and Shanghied can be found in their Sha Na Now CD, only available on Amazon.co.uk, which I am going to purchase to complete my coverage of Sha Na Na. Their earlier set ‘Rock & Roll Is Here To Stay’ and ‘Sha Na Na’ is being reviewed separately.

If you like golden oldies, Sha Na Na really gave a very credible job in reviving and givng new touch to those songs. The entire set is very enjoyable. When you listen to the entire The Golden Age of Rock ‘N’ Roll, it surely brought back many happy memories of days gone by. The sound is also excellent. If you are planning to collect Sha Na Na, this is the way to go. The set is highly recommended.

Rock & Roll Is Here to Stay!/Sha Na Na
Rock & Roll Is Here to Stay!/Sha Na Na
Offered by importcds__
Price: CDN$ 12.69
17 used & new from CDN$ 12.69

5.0 out of 5 stars Sha Na Na: Rock & Roll Is Here To Stay/Sha Na Na: 28 songs, all original versions; great clean sound; many rare gems!, Aug. 16 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
INTRODUCTION:

Sha Na Na is the rock and roll group specializing in 1950’s-style music. All the original members were graduates of Columbia University (except Henry Gross). They gained fame by appearing for 40 minutes at Woodstock, and paid $300. According to John ‘Jocko’ Marcellino, that cheque bounced. The group’s name is taken from a 1957 doo-wop hit single ‘Get A Job’ by the Silhouettes. They hosted their own TV variety show from 1977 – 1981. They also appeared in the 1978 film ‘Grease’ in which they played the part of a group known as Johnny Casino & The Gamblers, and performed six songs for the movie. Although Sha Na Na only has 3 charted singles, I have done a Complete Singles Discography and found that they have 12 singles, charted and uncharted from US and UK. Sha Na Na also has 6 charted albums, the first 4 being released by BGO Records.

CONTENT:

BGO Records, a very reputable reissue label from UK, renown for their excellence in remastering, is releasing the first two albums on one CD. This set has 28 songs. Since Amazon.ca did not provide a song listing, I have compiled a detailed song listing, including label & no for both albums plus singles, chart positions with personal comments:

ROCK & ROLL IS HERE TO STAY (Kama Sutra 2010)(183/1969):
01 Remember Then (a-side, Kama Sutra 503)(1970)*rare gem
02 Come Go With Me
03 Chantilly Lace (a-side, Kama Sutra 2013 001)(1970)(UK)
04 Little Darlin’ (a-side, Kama Sutra 2013 010)(1970)(UK)
05 Long Tall Sally
06 Book of Love
07 Rock & Roll Is Here To Stay (a-side, Kama Sutra 2013 042) (1971)(UK)
08 Young Love
09 A Teenager in Love (b-side, Kama Sutra 2013 010)(1970)(UK)
10 Little Girl of Mine
11 Heartbreak Hotel (b-side, Kama Sutra 2013 001)(1970)(UK)
12 Teen Angel
13 Silhouettes
14 Lovers Never Say Goodbye (b-side, Kama Sutra 503)(1970)*rare gem

SHA NA NA (Kama Sutra 2034)(122/1971)*known to fans as the ‘Gold Boots’ album; tracks 16 - 22 recorded live at Columbia University, NYC on March 1, 1971; tracks 23 – 28 recorded at Electric Lady Studios, NYC in May 1971:
15 Yakety Yak (b-side as a medley, Kama Sutra 522)(1971)
16 Jailhouse Rock (b-side as a medley, Kama Sutra 522)(1971)
17 Duke of Earl
18 Tell Laura I Love Her
19 Blue Moon
20 I Wonder Why (b-side, Kama Sutra 528)(1971)
21 Great Balls of Fire
22 Rock & Roll Is Here To Stay (a-side, Kama Sutra 2013 042) (1971)(UK)
23 Only One Song (a-side, Kama Sutra 522)(110/1971)*rare gem
24 Depression
25 Canadian Money
26 Top Forty (a-side, Kama Sutra 528)(84/1971)*rare gem
27 Ruin Me Blues
28 Just A Friend

POSITIVE POINTS:

1 All the above songs are original versions, not re-recorded versions. Beware of re-recorded versions on their compilation or Greatest Hits CDs. Real the reviews before you buy.
2 BGO is renown for their excellence in remastering. There is no exception in this set. The sound is wonderfully clean with no hiss. Great job!
3 There is an excellent 16-page booklet, with the album covers on the front page. There is an informative essay by David Wells. Here, I learned the trivia about Henry Gross was the only member in the group that was not a graduate of Columbia University; his most well-known song, ‘Shannon’ was written about the passing of Beach Boys Carl Wilson’s dog!
4 There are many rare gems in this set, especially the charted singles.
5 The price is reasonable, especially from seller.

NEGATIVE POINTS:

1 There is no information on label & number or chart positions.
2 To have each cover occupying the entire page will be appreciated, plus the addition of album back covers. The inclusion of 45 rpm single picture sleeves is also appreciated.
3 The additions of singles as bonus tracks will add tremendous values to this set, such as Maybe I’m Old Fashioned, (Just Like) Romeo & Juliet, Hot Sox and Sha Bumpin’

FINAL THOUGHTS:

This set is a reliable source to get original versions of the hits by Sha Na Na. I am fortunate to have purchased a Greatest Hits called Heartbreak Hotel – 19 Rock & Roll Hits on SPA label in 1989 from UK, which contains the above missing hits. But I am still searching for some missing songs, like Pay Day, and Stroll All Night. Other missing songs like Circles of Love and Shanghied can be found in their Sha Na Now CD, only available on Amazon.co.uk, which I am going to purchase to complete my coverage of Sha Na Na. Their later set ‘The Night is Still Young’ and ‘The Golden Age of Rock ‘N’ Roll’ is reviewed separately.

If you like golden oldies, Sha Na Na really gave a very credible job in reviving and givng new touch to those songs. The entire set is very enjoyable. The sound is excellent. If you are planning to collect Sha Na Na, this is the way to go. The set is recommended.

Ivory Tower-Very Best of Otis Williams
Ivory Tower-Very Best of Otis Williams
Price: CDN$ 24.89
19 used & new from CDN$ 11.94

5.0 out of 5 stars Otis Williams & His Charms: Very Best (Collectables): best single Greatest Hits CD with 25 songs., Aug. 15 2014
INTRODUCTION:

Otis Williams and the Charms is a black duo-wop group from Cincinnati, Ohio, consisting of Otis Williams, Richard Parker, Donald Peak, Joe Penn and Rolland Bradley. This group is under various names: (1) the Charms (1954 to 1955 with 11 singles under Deluxe label, 1955 – 1956 with 3 singles under Chart label), (2) Otis Williams and his New Group (1955 – 1956, with 5 singles under Deluxe label), (3) Otis Williams and the Charms (1956 – 1969, with 16 singles under Deluxe label, 12 singles under King label and 3 singles under Okeh label) and (4) Otis Williams (1969, with 3 singles under Stop label). Although there are only 6 charted hits, I have done a Complete Singles Discography and discovered they have 55 singles with 110 songs (a- and b-sides).

CONTENT:

Compared to earlier Collectables releases with only 10-12 songs, this set is a vast improvement, contains 25 songs from 1953 to 1960. Although Amazon.ca has provided a song listing, I have compiled a more detailed song listing (with label & no, chart positions and personal comments):

01 Heaven Only Knows (a-side)(Deluxe 6000)(1953)
02 Happy Are We (a-side)(Deluxe 6014)(1954)
03 Bye Bye Baby (a-side)(Deluxe 6034)(1954)
04 Please Believe In Me (b-side)(Deluxe 6034)(1954)
05 My Baby Dearest Darling (a-side)(Deluxe 6056)(1954)
06 Who Knows (b-side to Heart of Stone)(Deluxe 6062)(1954)
07 The First Time We Me (b-side to Two Hearts)(Deluxe 6065)(1954)
08 Hearts of Stone (a-side)(Deluxe 6062)(Pop 15/1954)(R&B 1(9)/1954)*many people thought that Fontaine Sisters’ version was the original version, but her version was the cover of Otis Williams & the Charms’s version; the original version was by the Jewels.
09 Two Hearts (a-side)(Deluxe 6065) (R&B 8/1954)*again, Pat Boone’s version was only the cover version; original version by Otis Wiliams & His Charms.
10 When We Get Together (a-side)(Deluxe 6087)(1955)
11 Bazoom (I Need Your Lovin’)(b-side)(Deluxe 6076)(R&B 1955)
12 Ling, Ting, Tong (a-side)(Deluxe 6076)(Pop 26/1955)(R&B 5/1955) *original version by the Five Keys.
13 That’s Your Mistake (a-side)(Deluxe 6091) (Pop 48/1956)(R&B 14/1956)(Record World 39/1956)
14 Ivory Tower (a-side)(Deluxe 6093)(Pop 11/1956)(R&B 5/1956) (Record World 63/1956)
15 I’d Like To Thank You, Mr. DJ (a-side)(Deluxe 6097)(1956)
16 Blues Stay Away From Me (b-side to Pardon Me)(Deluxe 6105)(1956)
17 Walkin’ After Midnight (a-side)(Deluxe 6115)(1957)
18 One Kind Word From You (b-side to Talkin’ To Myself)(Deluxe 6137)(1957)
19 Dynamite Darling (a-side)(Deluxe 6149)(1957)
20 United (a-side)(Deluxe 6138)(R&B 5/1957)
21 Could This Be Magic (a-side)(Deluxe 6158)(1957)
22 The First Sign Of Love (a-side)(King 5389)(1960)*CD debut
23 Don’t Wake Up The Kids (a-side)(Deluxe 6174)(1958)
24 My Prayer Tonight (a-side)(Deluxe 6183)(1959)
25 Silver Star (a-side)(King 5332)(1960)

POSITIVE POINTS:

1 If you are looking just for a Greatest Hits CD, this set is for you, with a wide coverage.
2 They are all original versions. No re-recorded versions.
3 The price is reasonable, especially from seller.

NEGATIVE POINTS:

1 The sound is only average. If you want better remastered efforts, you should get the versions on Jasmine Records or Ace Records. (my reviews elsewhere)
2 The 6-page booklet is pitiful with no label & number, and chart positions. Of course there are no picture sleeves.
3 Total time: 64 minutes. By Collectables standard, this is vast improvement. But they are still far lacking behind when compared to many other current labels. You could have easily filled up the remaining 16 minutes with more songs.

HOW TO CHOOSE:

If you are just looking for a single Greatest Hits CD, this set is perhaps the best set currently available. If you are looking for a much more comprehensive coverage from 1953 to 1958, Ivory Tower on Jasmine Records with 2 CDs and 63 songs is recommended. If you are looking for their later releases, the best CD is It’s A Treat on Ace label with 24 songs, covering from 1959 – 1963.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

For old-timers like myself, I grew up surrounded by doo-wop music and soulful harmonies. Otis Williams and the Charms is really an understated doo-wop group with great soulful harmonies. This is a decent Greatest Hits single CD and is recommended.

1959-1963  Its A Treat  King/D
1959-1963 Its A Treat King/D
Price: CDN$ 22.24
18 used & new from CDN$ 14.80

5.0 out of 5 stars Otis Williams and his Charms 59-63 (Ace): comprehensive coverage of singles 59-63, many rare gems making CD debut; great sound, Aug. 15 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
INTRODUCTION:

Otis Williams and the Charms is a black duo-wop group from Cincinnati, Ohio, consisting of Otis Williams, Richard Parker, Donald Peak, Joe Penn and Rolland Bradley. This group is under various names: (1) the Charms (1954 to 1955 with 11 singles under Deluxe label, 1955 – 1956 with 3 singles under Chart label), (2) Otis Williams and his New Group (1955 – 1956, with 5 singles under Deluxe label), (3) Otis Williams and the Charms (1956 – 1969, with 16 singles under Deluxe label, 12 singles under King label and 3 singles under Okeh label) and (4) Otis Williams (1969, with 3 singles under Stop label). Although there are only 6 charted hits, I have done a Complete Singles Discography and discovered they have 55 singles with 110 songs (a- and b-sides).

CONTENT:

This set by Ace Records, a reputable reissue label from UK, contains 24 songs from 1959 to 1963. Since Amazon.ca has already provided a song listing, it will not be repeated here.

POSITIVE POINTS:

1 If you are just looking for their singles from 1959 – 1963, this set has the most comprehensive coverage, with most of the entire content all rare gems making their CD debut. Great collection.
2 The sound is very well remastered vibrant with no hiss.
3 There is an excellent 16-page booket, containing an informative essay by Tony Rounce. Most precious of all is the inclusion of 25 original 45 rpm single label pictures. Label & number, plus year, are included.
4 The price is reasonable, especially from seller.

NEGATIVE POINTS:

1 There are 30 songs during the period 1959 – 1963. 6 songs are missing: (1) Watch Dog (b-side)(Deluxe 6183)(1959), (2) Blues Stay Away From Me (b-side)(Deluxe 5189)(1959)*can be found in Jasmine’s 2 CD Ivory Tower, (3) Rickety Rickshaw Man (b-side)(King 5332)(1960), (4) The First Sign of Love (King 5389)(1960)*can be found in Collectable Best of CD, (5) So Be It (b-side)(King 5389) (1960), (6) Friends Call Me A Fool (b-side)(King 5880)(1964)*last single for King label).
2 The singles on Okeh and Stop labels (12 songs from 1966 to 1969) are not included.
3 No chart positions were included.

HOW TO CHOOSE:

This current release is the only place you will find their single releases from 1959 to 1964. If you are simply just looking for a Greatest Hits with wide coverage, I would recommend Ivory Tower: The Very Best of Otis Williams and his Charms on Collectables with 25 songs. If you are a completest and collector, a very comprehensive coverage of their releases from 1953 to 1958 on Jasmine label is highly recommended (my review elsewhere).

FINAL THOUGHTS:

For old-timers like myself, I grew up surrounded by doo-wop music and harmonies. Otis Williams and the Charms is really an understated doo-wop group with great soulful harmonies. If you are looking for their earlier hits, don’t bother with this one. This set is the only place you will find their output from 1959 to 1963, and is highly recommended.

Ivory Tower & Other Great Hits
Ivory Tower & Other Great Hits
Price: CDN$ 24.22
20 used & new from CDN$ 12.03

5.0 out of 5 stars Otis Williams & the Charms Ivory Tower (2CDs): the most comprehensive coverage of singles from 1953 to 1958; great sound!, Aug. 15 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
INTRODUCTION:

Otis Williams and the Charms is a black duo-wop group from Cincinnati, Ohio, consisting of Otis Williams, Richard Parker, Donald Peak, Joe Penn and Rolland Bradley. This group was under various names: (1) the Charms (1954 to 1955 with 11 singles under Deluxe label, 1955 – 1956 with 3 singles under Chart label), (2) Otis Williams and his New Group (1955 – 1956, with 5 singles under Deluxe label), (3) Otis Williams and the Charms (1956 – 1969, with 16 singles under Deluxe label, 12 singles under King label and 3 singles under Okeh label) and (4) Otis Williams (1969, with 3 singles under Stop label). Although there are only 6 charted hits, I have done a Complete Singles Discography and discovered they have 55 singles with 110 songs (a- and b-sides).

CONTENT:

Jasmine Records, a reputable reissue label from UK, has released this 2 CDs, consisting of 63 songs! As stated on the title, it contains singles from 1953 to 1958.

POSITIVE POINTS:

1 If you are interested in their singles from 1953 to 1958, this set has the most comprehensive coverage, containing a- and b-sides, charted and uncharted, arranged chronologically, and clearly under the group’s various names. Great presentation.
2 There is a 8-page booklet containing an informative essay by Bob Fisher. Jasmine Records is slowly improving in that label & number, plus chart positions from Billboard Hot 100, R&B chart, Cash Box and Record World being included. It certainly helped me a lot in preparing their complete singles discography using label & number as reference.
3 The sound is very well remastered, with no hiss.
4 The songs are all original versions, no re-recorded versions.
5 The price is reasonable especially when you buy from seller. I used to buy UK release from Amazon.co.uk. For some unknown reasons, these UK releases from Jasmine and Sepia have release dates 1-2 months after North American dates. Further the Canadian $ is still quite low, so that I am rethinking my future strategy - wait until the price of local seller is right.

NEGATIVE POINTS:

1 Although the coverage is fairly complete, there are five songs missing: (1) Rolling Home (b-sides)(Deluxe 6092)(1956), (2) Love Love Stick Shove (Chart 608)(1956), (3) Love’s Our Inspiraton (b-side)(Chart 608)(1956), (4) Talking To Myself (a-side, Deluxe 6137)(1957), and (5) Baby O (b-side)(Deluxe 6160)(1958). The above list is more for completest like myself.
2 No year was listed.
3 As per usual Jasmine Records tradition, there are no picture sleeves. This is not the case with another compilation on Ace.
4 The songs were only up to 1958. There are 42 songs from 1959 to 1969.

HOW TO CHOOSE:

This current release is very comprehensive, but more for completest and collector. If you are simply just looking for a Greatest Hits with wide coverage, I would recommend Ivory Tower: The Very Best of Otis Williams and his Charms on Collectables with 25 songs. If you are looking for their 1959 to 1963 release, It’s A Treat: The King/Deluxe Recording on Ace label is highly recommended.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

For old-timers like myself, I grew up surrounded by doo-wop music and harmonies. Otis Williams and the Charms is really an understated doo-wop group with great harmonies. Their original hit Hearts of Stone was No. 1 for 9 weeks on the R&B chart, but only No. 15 on the pop chart. And many people thought that Fontaine Sisters had the original version because their version hit No. 1 on the pop chart. The same situation applies to Two Hearts, when Pat Boone took it to a higher position at No. 16 in 1955. But Otis Williams and the Charms had the original version. In this set, the sound is very well remastered, but as I noted earlier, this set is more for collectors, only covering the period from 1953 to 1958.

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