The Soul Era Is Born On This Outstanding 2CD Drifters Set
Anthony G Pizza | FL | 08/31/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Talk about playing up to the uniform...you have to wonder if manager George Treadwell knew more than 40 years ago that when he recrowned a struggling black group, the Crowns, with the even-then legendary monicker "The Drifters," that he would introduce a second half-decade of hits and jump-start the legendary soul era.But the songs on "All-Time Greatest Hits And More," did just that, and are among early rock and roll's most elegant and enduring. Credit this to lyrically precise compositions by the best songwriters of the day (Cynthia Weil-Barry Mann, Gerry Goffin-Carole King, Doc Pomus-Mort Shuman) meeting dramatic, orchestral production (from legendary producers Jerry Wexler, Jerry Leiber-Mike Stoller, and Bert Berns) meeting distinctive vocals from Charlie Thomas, Ben E. King, Rudy Lewis, and Johnny Moore.You hear little histrionics and vocal effects here that today date (but also charm) much 50s vocal group music. Instead, you feel the rhythmic Latin pulse of "Save The Last Dance For Me" and the gorgeous "Sweets For My Sweet" (featuring excellent King and Thomas leads, respectively), Phil Spector's famous guitar intro to "On Broadway," the swinging sway of the upbeat "What To Do," Johnny Moore's tribute to summer past and to co-member Rudy Lewis on "Under the Boardwalk," recorded the day Lewis died. This album captures what any city, particularly early 1960s New York City in summer, must have felt and sounded like at its most romantic. Colin Escott's thorough liner notes chart the history of the Drifters, their label, management, and production during this critical period.This 2CD set was released concurrently in 1988 with "Let The Boogie Woogie Roll" which covered the early Drifters hits with Clyde McPhatter on lead. It's a different sounding Drifters, but equally compelling and worth seeking. For now, "All-Time Greatest Hits" is among the most complete Drifters collections short of Rhino's "Rockin' and Driftin'" box set; seek only Atlantic or Rhino Records' collections for this essential music at its original best."
Good Original Material.
Peter Durward Harris | 07/14/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There are so many bad remakes of Drifters classics that you will be pleased to know that this album contains all original material - including the distortion on "Under the Boardwalk". Better to have the original with the distortion than a poor remake eh?Only disappointment is that the collection stops short of "I'll take you where the Music's Playing" and "Baby What I Mean"."
The DriftersTunes We Most Remember
Eclectic Reviewer | Tucson, AZ. | 10/01/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the one, folks! Although Clyde McPhatter made some memorable songs in the early '50s as lead singer for the Drifters (songs later covered successfully by other name artists), the Drifters we most remember had Ben E. King or one of the seven others (count them) who followed him as lead singer. They are all in this compilation. Everybody has a favorite of these; although I like all the "A" sides (and many of the B's), I have always been fond of "Please Stay" (Don't Go) which is virtually never played on the radio. Today many of the Drifters are gone and various groups travel the country singing their songs (sometimes alternately appearing as The Coasters). If you want the real deal, though, this is it. By the way, in case you didn't know, Ben E. King "left" the group because the other members of the group failed to show up for a recording session and his product was released under his name only. Do you remember the name of it?"
All the Drifters hits from 1959 to 1965 - and much more
Peter Durward Harris | Leicester England | 10/06/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Drifters were onne of those groups that went through a lot of line-up changes, so let's first clear up any confusion first. There was a group with that name before 1959 - it feautured Clyde McPhatter and recorded some wonderful R+B, some of which is available on other CD's. That group was disbanded, and a totally different group was given the Drifters name. It is that line-up, featuring Ben E King, that opens this collection (which is presented in chronological order). Ben left after Save the last dance for me to pursue a solo career. His solo hits are not included in this collection, which is why Spanish Harlem and Stand by me are missing. You can obtain these recordings on Ben's own albums, although I've also seen Drifters compilations which include Ben's solo hits. So, what you get here are forty of the finest tracks from their best period, including Save the last dance for me, There goes my baby, Dance with me, On Broadway, Some kind of wonderful, One way love, Up on the roof, Under the boardwalk, Saturday night at the movies, When my little girl is smiling, Sweets for my sweet and others - all huge American hits. Only Save the last dance for me was a big hit in Britain for the Drifters, because record companies at that time often found local singers to cover the songs and they had the hits instead. This shameful practice died out by the end of the sixties.Even with all their hits included, there is plenty of room to explore their B-sides and album tracks. All the ones included here are excellent, but my favorite is their cover of Stranger on the shore, an extremely sad song which which was a huge instrumental hit for clarinetist Acker Bilk. Many vocal versions of this song exist, but the Drifters sing it as well as anybody.After 1965 (which marks the end of this compilation), the Drifters didn't have much success in America, but they enjoyed a new wave of popularity in the seventies in Britain, where they had several top ten hits. Even as a Brit, I prefer their sixties music, but anybody interested in their seventies music should seek out a British compilation."
Joseph L. Schofield | West Haven, CT United States | 12/01/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For those of us who were teenagers when this music first appeared (40 years ago!), it was a grand time. The Drifters were the first R&B/RnR group to use string instruments as a signature. Lead singer Ben E. King continued that innovation in his solo career, where he recorded "Stand By Me" and "Spanish Harlem", among others. I bought this CD for its "B" sides, including "I Don't Want to Go on Without You." These guys preceded the Temptations and Boyz II Men. But their music is as fresh and powerful as ever. Listening to it is still a grand time well spent."