Top positive review
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An Essential Purchase
on 9 June 2007
I've been trying to assemble on CD all of what I consider the essential recordings. A lot of the task has been easy - but the last twenty or thirty songs have been very elusive. It is, therefore, a huge pleasure to find several of the recordings for which I've been searching all neatly tied up on one disc.
Highlights I've previously found hard to find include Barry Mann's original version of Who Put the Bomp. Why is it that cover versions (including those of Jan & Dean and Frankie Lymon) change it to "I Put the Bomp"? Didn't they realise that - since Barry Mann was the man who put the bomp - there's a good joke here? Duh?! Also here are the original versions of Witch Doctor, Beep Beep, The Purple People Eater and They're Coming to Take Me Away Ha-Haa! All of which are a lot harder to find than they should be.
Other gems - like Brian Hyland's Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini - can be found elsewhere easily enough, but I can't criticise their inclusion.
Some purchasers may be disappointed that Alley-Oop is not the version by the Hollywood Argylles. It's an interesting early cover - but those who don't already have it are still going to be searching for the original recording. (They'll find it on a double CD called "60 Number Ones of the Sixties" - which has been deleted, but can still be had from Amazon Marketplace sellers.)
Inevitably, there are omissions and some naff tracks. But the inexcusable inclusion of one track is what led me to give the album 4 stars instead of 5. I refer to Russian Band Stand - a lamentable and heavy handed piece of Cold War propaganda. It was neither funny nor musically enjoyable in 1959 - and it is neither funny nor musically enjoyable now. There is nothing funny about the Soviet Union having been an oppressive regime, there is nothing funny about the jibes made here being largely unfair and - least funny of all - is that the record was clearly designed to make Americans like the Russians even less and thus bring the world a little bit closer to nuclear annihilation.
So - do yourself a favour and skip Russian Band Stand. But you will find, here, a lot of indespensible gems you're going to have trouble tracking down elsewhere.