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Arvee Singles Plus

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Album Review

The Olympics' main songwriting team of Fred Smith and Cliff Goldsmith was very much a poor man's version of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, the architects of the Coasters' sound, and in essence, the Olympics were a rougher and looser version of the Coasters. This set covers the group's stay at Richard Vaughn's Los Angeles-based Arvee Records between 1959 and 1962 (unfortunately it doesn't include one of their best Arvee sides, 1965's "Good Lovin'," the original from which the Rascals drew their hit version). The Olympics never really broke through nationally with any of their Arvee tracks, although several of them were regional hits and a few bubbled around the low end of the pop and R&B charts. The Olympics' influence far exceeds their chart impact, however, and the group's best-known song, "(Baby) Hully Gully," launched a thousand rhythmic imitations (including several by the Olympics themselves), while "Big Boy Pete" formed the template for "Jolly Green Giant" and a cottage industry of similar-sounding singles by '60s garage bands. Also included here is the galloping "Workin' Hard" and the Olympics' unsung masterpiece, a joyous version of "Dance by the Light of the Moon."

Arvee Singles Plus, The Olympics
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