For the fifth volume in Ace's Radio Gold series (which collects American pop and rock tunes that hit the British charts in the late '50s and early '60s), compiler Marty Wesker has focused on lighter pop material rather than the more rambunctious rock sides that dominated earlier volumes. There are a few potent rockers on board -- most notably Eddie Cochran's "C'mon Everybody," Jerry Lee Lewis' "High School Confidential," the Coasters' "Poison Ivy," and Fats Domino's "Be My Guest" -- but the presence of hits from Doris Day, Perry Como, the Chordettes, and the Four Preps make it clear Wesker is aiming for a different focus with this disc, and the rock-era hits of Neil Sedaka, Bobby Vee, Johnny Tillotson, and Jimmy Clanton clearly lean to the less-threatening end of the musical spectrum. But if this collection isn't much on rock & roll, it's still a fun listen, full of half-remembered hits that made their way across the airwaves many years ago, and there are a few surprises along the way, including the Tarriers' version of "The Banana Boat Song" (featuring a young Alan Arkin!), Perry Como's futile attempt at something resembling teen-friendly rock ("Kewpie Doll"), and the brassy swing of Ruth Brown's "Lucky Lips." The liner notes by Tony Rounce are excellent, and the mastering by Duncan Cowell and Rob Shread sounds crisp and snappy throughout. Fine accompaniment for your next trip to the malt shop or Inspiration Point, and it sounds a lot better than your old 45s.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming