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- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
When this series first hit the market back in 1988 from BMG/RCA it was greeted enthusiastically by all fans of 1950's music, not only for the generous 20 selections offered (at a time when most only offered 10 to 12), but also the digitally remastered sound that made these golden oldies come to life again, the voluminous 6-pages of track-by-track notations by Ron Furmanek, Steve Kolanjian, and Patrick Snyder, and the great cover art by Christoph Hitz. Since then, of course, many of the selections offered have been included in numerous compilations, both for the individual artists involved and in other multiple-artist sets. And, in retrospect, if there was a fault it was in trying to cover a decade like the 1950s in just two volumes.
Because, in that span, RCA Victor, at 1,917, was second only to Columbia at 2,220 in terms of total hit singles, while Capitol came third 1,739 and Decca fourth at 1,178, so attempting to come up with a definitive 40 of Nipper's Greatest Hits was a fool's errand right from the get-go for producer John Snyder. But you know what? I and many other diehard collectors could easily fill out ten pages of titles that we feel would have been better suited to such a 2-volume set ... and sound arguments could then be made both for and against THEIR inclusion. So let's just consider the two volumes as a decent collection of "40 of Nipper's Greatest Hits" and leave it at that.
This one offers, in order, two from 1950, one from each of 1951 and 1953, three from 1955, two each from 1956 and 1957, four from 1958, and five from 1959 (Jim Reeves' He'll Have To Go hit its peak early in 1960). With the exception of tracks 6, 13, and 15 to 17, all were Top 10 on the Billboard Pop Top/Hot 100, and seven were # 1 hits (tracks 2,3,5,8,9,12 and 18). Tracks 11, 12, 13 and 16 to 20 are stereo while the remainder are mono.
Eddy Arnold's 1955 version of Cattle Call (he first recorded it back in the 1940s) only hit # 69 Top 100 but was a Country # 1, while Don Gibson's Oh Lonesome Me, also a Country # 1, made it to # 7 Top 100. Lou Monte's classic rendition of Lazy Mary (Luna Mezzo Mare) reached # 12 in 1958. In Hank Locklin's case, Send Me The Pillow You Dream On was a # 5 Country and a # 77 Top 100, Guess Who by Jesse Belvin topped out at # 31 Top 100 but was a solid # 7 on the R&B charts, and Floyd Robinson's Makin' Love (still not easy to find) settled at # 20 Hot 100 in 1959. Both The Three Bells and He'll Have To Go were huge hits on both the Country and pop charts.