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150 Rock 'N' Roll Classics (Re-Recorded Versions)

Various Artists

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Customer Reviews

Classic songs and original vocalists but NOT original hit recordings

Like many oldies compilations on the market, this one is populated with remakes. These may be the original artists, but these generally aren’t the original hit recordings. In a few cases the differences are subtle, but in many they’re blazingly obvious. Little Richard’s opening version of “Good Golly Miss Molly,” for example, features Richard’s trademark vocal style, but hasn’t the uncontrolled fervor of the original. More tellingly, the guitar tone is reedy, the production is in modern stereo, and the overall sound is too clean to have been produced by Bumps Blackwell in New Orleans in 1956. Similar discrepancies can be heard in Lloyd Price’s remake of “Personality,” in which the drums haven’t the New Orleans shuffle rolls of the hit single, and the tempo is more lethargic. Check out the original on Price’s 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection and the differences will be obvious to you. In contrast to the leisurely tempo used on many of these tracks, a few actually rush, such as Buddy Knox’s remake of “Party Doll.” Compared to the original on Rhino’s Best of Buddy Knox this remake sounds hurried. In some cases, such as with the Clovers’ “Love Potion No. 9,” the lead vocalist doesn’t sound even remotely like the original, as can be heard on The Very Best of the Clovers. Most of these remakes don’t have the verve of the original hits, as is the case with the Coasters’ “Yakety Yak.” Compared to the original (which can be heard on The Very Best of the Coasters), the remake sounds more like a cover than an attempt to recreate the hit single’s ephemeral magic. A few productions are close enough that they might be the real thing, such as Jimmy Clanton’s “Venus in Blue Jeans,” Duane Eddy’s “Because They’re Young,” and the Troggs’ “Love is All Around,” but given the collection’s overall lack of provenance, you can’t be sure. And that’s an underlying problem with a set like this – by including remakes that aren’t clearly labeled, the historical record is blurred, and a new generation of listeners may forever wonder what was so special about these songs. Hit singles are more than the sum of a singer and a song; they’re an alchemy of people, places and times. The original performances and productions are essential elements of hit singles: the vocalist’s age, the instrumentalist’s playing, the producer’s choices, the acoustics of a given studio, and the period recording equipment all contribute to what makes a hit a hit. Even the specific take is a factor, as anyone who’s heard alternate versions of favorite songs will know. To remake hit singles without clearly indicating so is a disservice to listeners and everyone involved in making the originals. That said, whoever selected the titles for this set did a nice job, with material that ranges through original 1950s rock ‘n’ roll and doo-wop, Brill Building classics, instrumentals (all of disc 4), girl singers and groups (all of disc 5), British Invasion, frat rock, soft rock, soul (all of disc 8), bubblegum, and 70s radio pop. But as tempting as the price may be for 150 songs (and nearly 6-1/2 hours of music!), these remakes just don’t deliver the thrills of the original hit recordings. Even if you aren’t sufficiently familiar with the originals to pick out the differences, you still won’t get the same charge from these remakes. Your money is better spent on a collection of original hit recordings. [©2009 hyperbolium dot com]

Buyer Beware

These are all Re-records

K-Tel Strikes Again

Whenever you see K-Tel, be careful of re-recorded crap. These are all re-recordings, and yes they're crap.

150 Rock 'N' Roll Classics (Re-Recorded Versions)
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Customer Ratings