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Rhino Hi-Five: The Drifters - EP

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Album Review

The immortal Drifters provided the prototype for R&B vocal groups and set the stage for the onset of soul with over ten years of marvelous singles beginning in 1953. Blessed with a succession of great lead singers, starting with the angelic tenor of Clyde McPhatter through Ben E. King and the Rudy Lewis/Johnny Moore tandem of the later years, the Drifters set an impossibly high standard, helped in part by the songwriting and production talents of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Leiber and Stoller introduced innovative arrangements on the Drifters' hits, including odd orchestrations that keep these classic recordings sounding fresh some 40 years later. Not all the classics are here on this collection (King's "Stand By Me," in particular, is missing), but enough of them are here to make it worthwhile, including the loose urban trilogy of "On Broadway," "Up on the Roof," and "Under the Boardwalk."

Biography

Formed: May, 1953 in New York, NY

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

The history of rhythm and blues is filled with vocal groups whose names — the Orioles, the Cadillacs, the Crows, the Flamingos, the Moonglows, the Coasters, the Penguins — are held in reverence by fanatics and devotees. The Drifters are part of an even more exclusive fraternity, as a group that managed to carve out a place for themselves in the R&B firmament and also define that music, not only at its inception as a national chart phenomenon in the early '50s but also in the decade...
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