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Best Of Bill Deal & The Rhondells

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Album Review

For real fans, this 22-song CD contains all but one track off of Varese's CD, plus ten more songs, among them the group's covers of the Bee Gees' "Words," the Spector-Barry-Greenwich "River Deep, Mountain High," and the Doors' "Touch Me," and the four Buddah Records sides, never before compiled anywhere. "Words" is OK, with an intense performance, though they do better with Maurice Williams' repertory — "River Deep, Mountain High" is absolutely funky, a too-brief reinterpretation, while their cover of "Touch Me" could almost pass for a lost Motown demo, with fine playing and ensemble singing that grabs the seductive side of the words like they're really meant; they might have reworked this into a disco version eight years later. Among the Buddah songs, their attempt to put a very quick tempo to Carole King's "It's Too Late" was an interesting but futile venture, which would almost be a parody if they weren't trying so hard (the synthesizer is the kiss of death here, and doesn't add anything to "Everybody's Got Somethin' to Hide"). The only drawback is that the album version of "Swingin' Tight" isn't here. The 1999 Heritage Records CD version is a re-release, with no changes, of the 1994 Sequel Records version of this title.


Born: Virginia Beach, VA

Genre: Pop

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

Bill Deal & the Rhondels were among the first of a cadre of big band rock outfits that began showing up in the mid- to late '60s. Working in a more accessible vein than the more progressive Blood, Sweat & Tears, Deal and his septet released five nationally charting singles in 1969 and 1970 with a soulful dance-rock sound. Deal put together the Rhondels in 1965 and they made their names and a fair living over the next few years by playing clubs in Virginia and the Carolinas. They became popular regional...
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Best Of Bill Deal & The Rhondells, Bill Deal
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