Various Artists

The Rock 'N' Roll Era: 1961 - Still Rockin'

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Although not remembered as a great year for rock & roll, 1961 wasn't a bad year for rock & roll. 1961: Still Rockin' draws 22 songs from that year to make its case, starting with Barry Mann's "Who Put the Bomp" and ending with the Paris Sisters' "I Love How You Love Me." The first impression that this collection leaves is that the music, despite the year, is still very much rooted in the '50s. Fats Domino's "Let the Four Winds Blow," the Coasters' "Little Egypt," and Curtis Lee's "Pretty Little Angel Eyes" all give the impression that the decade never changed. While nothing is wrong with this, it's nonetheless noticeable that seminal influences like Buddy Holly seem to have had no impact on many of these artists. Exceptions include girl groups and girl singers who, if not exactly trend setters, seemed to at least be moving in new directions. The Shirelles' "Mama Said" is fresh and spunky, while both Carla Thomas' "Gee Whiz" and the Pips' "Every Beat of My Heart" have a nice soulful groove. Certain songs from 1961, whether throwbacks or not, remain favorites in the post-millennium. Bobby Vee's "Take Good Care of My Baby," the Regents' "Barbara-Ann," and the Edsels' ridiculous "Rama Lama Ding Dong" will probably never go away. All in all, 1961: Still Rockin' is a fun collection guaranteed to please anyone who thought things were never the same following the British Invasion.

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