Various Artists

Super Oldies of the 50's, Vol. 4

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As oldies radio stations have progressively played newer music, few bother to reach back to the first decade of rock & roll in the '50s. Serial compilations like Super Oldies of the 50's, then, provide fans with a good starting place to return to doo wop and rock & roll's beginning and create their own version of oldies radio. Super Oldies of the 50's, Vol. 4 has many of the strengths of the previous volumes, though overall, the set list may be less familiar than, say, Super Oldies of the 50's, Vol. 2. This is thrown into relief by the presence of several very well-known songs, including Chuck Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen," the Coasters' "Yakety Yak," Little Richard's "Lucille," and Bill Haley & the Comets' "Rock Around the Clock." Other material, like "I'll Be Forever Loving You" by the El Dorados and "Rockin' in the Jungle" by the Eternals, is enjoyable, but will probably only appeal to fans who wish to dig beyond the obvious hits of the era. Super Oldies of the 50's, Vol. 4 also has the distinction of including Shirley & Lee's "Cherry Pie," a simple melody that manages to evoke the innocence of the era...until one listens to the lyrics, which suggest that no era was that innocent. While Super Oldies of the 50's, Vol. 4 is quite enjoyable as a collection, the series lacks liner notes and the sound quality is less than pristine. Vol. 4 will nonetheless allow the listener to re-create a nearly hourlong version of oldies radio, '50s style.

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