Various Artists

Cruisin' 1968

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An instantly recognizable bargain-bin staple since the late '70s, thanks to their colorful comic book covers tracing the romantic life of an Everycouple named Peg and Eddie, the Cruisin' series of discs is built on a brilliant concept: Each disc is devoted to a single year, with hit songs, local commercials, station jingles, and news headlines, all presided over by a noted DJ from the era, for a near-perfect recreation of that year's AM radio experience. Cruisin' 1968 is a mixed bag. There are some terrific songs here, including Merrilee Rush's original (and still definitive) version of "Angel of the Morning," the Box Tops' ultra-soulful "Cry Like a Baby," and Gladys Knight & the Pips' swell original version of "I Heard It Through the Grapevine." On the other hand, there's Bobby Goldsboro's "Honey," just about the most vomit-inducing single ever released, and the Supremes' misguided bid for social relevancy, "Love Child." The DJ, Johnny Dark of WCAO in Baltimore, is fine but, unfortunately, many of the commercials on this disc are repeated on other volumes of the series.

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