Various Artists

Pittsburgh's Greatest Hits, Vol. IV

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The fourth entry into Itzy's main series of local Pittsburgh radio favorites kicks off with a track that virtually defines the series' very strengths and weaknesses. "Cloudburst" by the Orlandos is both -- by turns -- a doo wop slow classic that's painfully out of tune in spots, whose production values hover somewhere in the one-mike-in-a-broom-closet category while being solidly of one piece, resolutely and defiantly sincere in its spirit. In other words, music of the highest and most immediate warts-and-all reality, a thing to be treasured. That this ragged but right asthetic would find a place on the radio in a market like Pittsburgh is amazing enough, that it prospered even more amazing. That it pops up again and again on this collection ("Lover's Prayer" by Anne Keith with the Altairs is of massive head-shaking ambience) is even more of a testimony to its uniqueness and vitality. Jewel Akens and the Four Dots' "Pleading for Your Love," the Sabres' jazzy "You Can Depend on Me," the Three Vales' crude blueser "Blue Lights Down Low," and the Contrails' lone instrumental offering of Chet Atkins' "Slinky" are the notable highlights here, but as always, another entry that's of one stylistic big picture, for sure.

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