Various Artists

Atlantic Rhythm & Blues 1947-1974, Vol. 4 (1958-1962)

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Atlantic Rhythm & Blues 1947-1974, Vol. 4 (1958-1962) continues the streak of hit singles and classic R&B cuts that Atlantic began in earnest in the years covered by Vol. 3. Most of the album is devoted to hits by the Coasters ("Yakety Yak," "Charlie Brown," "Along Came Jones," "Poison Ivy," "Shopping for Clothes"), Ray Charles ("What'd I Say," "The Right Time," "Let the Good Times Roll"), the Drifters ("This Magic Moment," "There Goes My Baby," "Save the Last Dance for Me"), Ben E. King ("Spanish Harlem," "Stand By Me"), Chuck Willis ("Betty and Dupree," "What Am I Livin' For?," "Hang Up My Rock and Roll Shoes") and Clyde McPhatter ("Long Lonely Night," "A Lover's Question"). There's also a handful of great singles from Solomon Burke ("Just Out of Reach (Of My Two Empty Arms)"), the Bobbettes ("Mr. Lee") and LaVern Baker ("I Cried a Tear," "Saved") thrown in, along with the first fruits from Atlantic's distribution deal with Stax/Volt (Carla Thomas' "Gee Whiz"). In general, Atlantic's singles -- and R&B in general -- began to expand its boudnaries during these years, incorporating more sophisticated, lavish productions, particularly in the Drifters recordings. Despite the strings and tympanis, these songs remain soulful and arguably represent the peak of Atlantic's R&B achievements in the late '50s.

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