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Collectors Gold Series

The Olympics

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Album Review

The Olympics often get compared to the Coasters, in part since the group's main songwriting team, Fred Smith and Cliff Goldsmith, were very much a poor man's version of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, the architects of the Coasters' sound. If anything, the Olympics were even rougher and looser, and the group's novelty dance tunes are quite infectious, although a lot of their sides start to sound alike after a while. 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). Most of these sides were regional hits, but the Olympics never really broke through nationally with any of their Arvee tracks, although several of them bubbled around the low end of the pop and R&B charts. Check out "(Baby) Hully Gully," which launched a thousand rhythmic imitations, "Big Boy Pete," which formed the template for "Jolly Green Giant" and a whole host of similar garage band clones, the galloping "Workin' Hard," and the Olympics' masterpiece, the joyous "Dance by the Light of the Moon." Fun stuff.

Collectors Gold Series, The Olympics
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