Various Artists

The Rock 'N' Roll Era: Lost Treasures

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No matter how many songs are collected from how many eras, there are always lost treasures, tracks that were left out for whatever reason. Lost Treasures covers the 1958-1964 era, a time when rock & roll, after an initial burst of energy in the mid-'50s, was in decline. Few of the 22 songs collected show up on post-millennium oldies play lists, but a number of the performers -- the Coasters, the Drifters, and Ben E. King -- will be familiar to fans of early rock. Most familiar is Roy Hamilton's "Don't Let Go," a likable, easygoing rocker, followed by Ivan's "Real Wild Child." There are also a few real oddities here. Big Dee Irwin's take on "Swinging on a Star" probably caused Jiminy Cricket to roll over in his grave, and the Coasters' live version of "T' Ain't Nothin' to Me" falls under the heading of "had to be there." Ben E. King turns in his usual, high-quality vocal on "Seven Letters," a song, unfortunately, that comes near the end of the collection. One might ask if these Lost Treasures are indeed treasures (because surely they're no longer lost); many pale in comparison to the B-list of songs from 1956 and 1957. But Lost Treasures, while less than fabulous, is certainly easy on the ears, and not unlike tuning in to an oldies radio station with a new set of tunes.

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