Various Artists

Ocean Boulevard, Vol. 1: The Warner-Atlantic-Atco Masters

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Ocean Boulevard, Vol. 1: The Warner-Atlantic-Atco Masters has it over many other beach music collections due to the fact that it consists of original recordings of classics by Ben E. King, the Drifters, Archie Bell & the Drells, and loads more. Beach music is notable for its emphasis on uptempo grooves and breezy sentiments, the soul music for dancing with sand in your shoes, and the songs here certainly fall into that category with sunshine-y pop-soul hits from Doris Troy ("Just One Look"), J.J. Jackson ("But It's Alright"), and Willie Tee ("Teasin' You"), along with a few sweet ballads from Otis Redding ("Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay") and the Drifters ("Zing Went the Strings of My Heart"). The second half of the disc takes a strange detour into '50s R&B (the Clovers' "One Mint Julep," Big Joe Turner's "Shake Rattle & Roll," and the Ravens' "Green Eyes") that sends the disc off the rails a bit as far as beach music goes, but for the non-purist it still sounds swell. If you have been burned by beach comps made up of modern tracks and re-recordings, on the Ripete label even, then this disc is one to look for since it is authentic and loads of fun.

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