The Olympics

Very Best of the Olympics

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As a group that recorded for about half a dozen labels in its prime, the Olympics' catalog hasn't lent itself well to a comprehensive cross-licensed compilation. Though The Very Best of the Olympics has most of the hits that listeners seeking a best-of would want, the absence of the original version of "Good Lovin'" guarantees that this isn't completely satisfactory. There's nothing else they recorded for the Loma label in the mid-'60s either. Other than that, this 17-song compilation does a good job, with all the familiar early Coasters-styled hits: "Western Movies," "(Baby) Hully Gully," "Big Boy Pete," "Shimmy Like Kate," and "Dance By the Light of the Moon." This has an advantage over DCC's All-Time Greatest Hits! compilation in that it has a couple small hits they did for the Tri Disc label ("The Bounce" and "Dancin' Holiday") in 1963, and three much more modern up-tempo mid-'60s soul sides they did for Mirwood in 1966, including the small hits "Mine Exclusively" and "Baby, Do the Philly Dog." All-Time Greatest Hits! doesn't have any of those, but on the other hand it has "Good Lovin'" and considerably more tracks (26) in total. So it's back to the old A-B comparison game if you just want one Olympics CD, ensuring that you're either a little dissatisfied no matter which one you choose or have to spend twice as much money as you'd like to if you break down and get both. Also on this compilation is the Marathons' "Peanut Butter," which used the same backing track as "(Baby) Hully Gully" (and was actually sung by the Vibrations), and a dispensable 1974 soft soul cut, "I'm a Dead Man (Still Walking Around)."

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