Various Artists

Pittsburgh's Greatest Hits, Vol. 2

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While certainly any compilation can be slanted into whatever concept is imaginable, it only takes about three or four tracks into this one that you realize that the music that made the Pittsburgh airwaves and coalesced into local favorites were a breed apart. Raucous, blues-slanted and doo wop-driven, with a penchant for recordings as raw as the performances that lived inside of them, the Pittsburgh crowd was exposed to records far more crude and basic than those in other radio markets. And this excellent series keeps unearthing myriad treasures from that rich vein, bringing records to compact disc that never would have shown up anywhere else. Highlights are indeed plentiful on this generous 28-track collection, but of special note are "Oh But She Did" by the El Capris, the garage band innocence of "Someone" by the Contrails, the rambling soul of the Alma-Keys' "Please Come Back to Me," early Lou Christie with the Classics on "Close Your Eyes," Johnny Jack's classically constructed proto-soul beauty "Need You," and an early Vogues effort under their original Val Aires handle, "Which One Will It Be." But for sheer curiosity and nutzoid novelty value, nothing tops the inclusion here of a premium 45 issued by Brooke Bond Foods, promoting its TV commercial with the Marquis Chimps masquerading as rock & rollers proselytizing the virtues of Red Rose Tea. This is loose, raw, out of control and slightly demented-sounding; in short, just about everything great we've come to love about this series' concept, of which this edition is a noteworthy addition.

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