Various Artists

Atlantic Rhythm & Blues 1947-1974, Vol. 3 (1955-1958)

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Atlantic hit its stride between 1955 and 1958, the years covered on Atlantic Rhythm & Blues 1947-1974, Vol. 3 (1955-1958). Nearly every song on this double-album/single-disc set was a major R&B or pop hit and has turned into a genuine pop music classic. In hindsight, the depth of talent on Atlantic's roster in the late '50s becomes all the more astonishing. Between 1955 and 1958, Joe Turner was still turning out rollicking, infectious jump blues, as reprsented by "Flip Flop and Fly," "The Chicken and the Hawk," "Corrine Corrina" and "Midnight Special Train," and LaVern Baker continued to have hits ("Jim Dandy," "Play it Fair"). But what makes theis disc remarkable is the juxtaposition of Ray Charles' ascension into the greats with new signings like the Coasters, Ivory Joe Hunter and Chuck Willis. Charles truly came into his own during these years -- this disc alone contains "This Little Girl of Mine," "Drown in My Own Tears," "Hallelujah, I Love Her So" and "Lonely Avenue," songs that have become an indelible part of pop and R&B. The Coasters also arrive with a vengeance, contributing "Down in Mexico," "Searchin'" and "Young Blood," along with "Smokey Joe's Cafe," which was a release from their early incarnation as the Robins. Hunter and Willis each released classics during this time ("Since I Met You Baby" and "Empty Arms" for Hunter, "It's Too Late" and "C.C. Rider" for Willis), while Clyde McPhatter began a solo career, and the Cookies, the Drifters and the Clovers all contributed great singles. The result makes Vol. 3 an intoxicating, whirlwind journey through some of the most vital records of the '50s.

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