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Album Review

Not surprisingly, this album opens with "Double Shot (Of My Baby's Love)," and the two minutes and 21 seconds of inspired craziness that in 1966 gave the Medallions their sole taste of national fame. Three decades later, the number Bruce Springsteen once called "the greatest fraternity rock song of all time" still delivers the goods: a wonderful, cheesy-sounding organ; wild party sounds; and a deliberately sloppy vocal about how "it wasn't wine that I had too much of/It was a "double shot" of my baby's love." The rest of Anthology is a mishmash, and no wonder: despite the cover billing, only part of the album is by the original Medallions, who survived from 1963 to 1967. The rest comes from several successor bands, including the Pieces of Eight, a group formed in 1967 that contains several veterans of the original group; and a 1990s outfit that uses the original band's moniker but includes only one of its members. Which group performs which songs is often far from clear; the skimpy liner notes don't say, nor do they list any songwriters, vocalists in the original group, producers, or release dates. To further confuse matters, the album art includes a photo labeled "The Original Swingin' Medallions" that's captioned with the names in the 1990s lineup.

Quality and approach vary widely, as the various aggregations try everything under the sun to get back on the charts. One highlight is "She Drives Me Out of My Mind," an at least partly successful attempt to re-create the magic of ""Double Shot."" The only thing most of the other songs have in common with the group's hit, however, is that they're covers ("Double Shot" was first recorded by the obscure Dick Holler & the Holidays). Many of them — including versions of Bruce Channel's "Hey Baby," the Tams' "What Kind of Fool (Do You Think I Am)," and the O'Jays' "Lonely Drifter" — are memorable. And there are other highlights, such as "Shaggin' in the Moonlight," a polished nod to the dance craze from the Medallions' native South Carolina. But there are also such space fillers as "I Want to Be Your Guy," which sounds like a Jay & the Americans' outtake, and "Willie Don't Play That Saxophone," an inane comment on Bill Clinton. The album is worth buying, but you'll be glad your CD player makes it easy to skip a few of the tracks. [An import version was also released.]

Customer Reviews

Setting the record straight

As much of the history of The Swingin' Medallions written to date, the reviews so far contain a lot of misinformation and errors. I grew up and attended college (1965-70) with these guys in South Carolina, so I was there as it happened. I remember their releasing "Double Shot" on their own "4Sale" label, before they signed with Smash Records. First of all, tracks 1 thru 13 are all by the "original" Swingin' Medallions pictured here. Tracks 14 and 15 are by the current incarnation of the band, led by the founder of the group's twin sons. Secondly, none of the songs here are by The Pieces of Eight, a spin-off band that contained only two of the original Medallions. They had regional success with their recordings of "Lonely Drifter" and "Come Back Girl", which I don't see listed. Rest assured that the group pictured on the album is the "original" Swingin' Medallions (front row - Brent Fortson and Joe Morris / back row - Charlie Webber (deceased), Steve Caldwell (deceased), Jimmy Perkins, John McElrath (group's founder and still performs on occasion), Carroll Bledsoe, and Jim (Jimbo) Doares. The songs are all original, with the two exceptions noted. Good album by a good band that has stood the test of time and earned the nickname, "Party Band of The South".

Hard to give this one a 4 or 5....

This CD is a real mish-mash of old and fairly new. First off, the cover art is the picture off the original "Double Shot" LP. I still have that LP sitting in my basement and this is the exact picture on the cover. So what you see here is a picture of the original group. That said, only a couple of the songs on this Anthology are from the original "Double Shot" LP. The fact of the matter is that specific LP is their greatest hits and it is ashame someone doesn't remaster the original LP in its original state.... not mixed in with a bunch of other stuff from spin off groups or a group that had only one original band member in it. I do know that one of the founders of the band passed away not long ago in South Carolina. If I remember the news article it was the lead singer and sax player. Sadly we see a lot of this going on today.. a group has one or two LPs from back in the mid-1960s and the next thing you know their are a dozen Anthology CDs done with completely bogus groups (using the name of the real group) or spin off groups with one or two members (or family members) of the original group members. This is a case of where I would go through the list and pick out the songs that are most likely from the "Double Shot" LP and just purchase those.

You always remember the first time.

In the 9th grade (1970), Harry, Eric, Phil and I went to some club in Lake City, SC and saw this band. Harry was older so that's how we got in. It was an awesome night, they played several "Beach Sets" which included most of these first 10 songs and a lot of others. However, this band could play anything and it sounded great. This was my first taste of band parties, beer and girls. I remember wearing weejuns, kakahis and a heavy starched blue button down...we all did. You always remember the first time. Great memories and great music. Can't stop listening.

Biography

Formed: 1965 in Greenwood, SC

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The Swingin' Medallions' one claim to fame, "Double Shot (Of My Baby's Love)," charted at number 17 on July 2, 1966, and made them an institution in the South. It was the band's second release for Smash Records; the first, "I Wanna Be Your Guy," went unnoticed. "Doubleshot"'s successors didn't pack the same wallop; the follow-up, "She Drives Me Out of My Mind," stopped climbing at number 71 in 1966, and "Hey Baby" failed too. They began as Pieces of Eight in the late '50s, and changed to the Swingin'...
Full Bio