Twenty-eight more of what Ace refers to as "rockaballads" from the late '50s and early '60s -- that is, the very poppiest and most ballad-oriented shade of early rock & roll, or tracks that are essentially pop songs but had enough rock or teen idol influence to appeal to a teen audience. It's a bit hard to figure which fans might want to pick this up. The best and most famous tracks -- Eddie Cochran's "Sittin' in the Balcony," Ritchie Valens' "Donna," Jimmie Rodgers' "Honeycomb," and Skeeter Davis' "The End of the World" -- have been easily available on reissues for decades. So have hits like Frankie Avalon's "Venus," George Hamilton IV's "A Rose and a Baby Ruth," the Fleetwoods' "Come Softly to Me," and others. Almost half of these are lesser-known cuts, several of which only charted in the 20s or so, and are hard to find on reissues (and indeed rarely played even on oldies radio). The problem is, these cuts have been neglected for a reason; they're often facile teen pop songs that aren't very good, like Tony Bellus' "Robbin' the Cradle," Bobby Curtola's "Fortune Teller," Dale Ward's abominable "Letter from Sherry," and Garry Miles' "Look for a Star." About the most interesting off-the-beaten-path item is Jimmy Elledge's version of Willie Nelson's "Funny How Time Slips Away," which hit number 22 in 1961. This isn't that bad a listen, and points go to Ace for including a wide spectrum of light early ballad rock -- including black artists like Brook Benton and one-shots like singer Ed Townsend, who made the Top 20 in 1958 with "For Your Love" -- but it's no great shakes either.
Share this page