Pat Boone

20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Pat Boone

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The title of this collection seems to suggest that the new millennium is cause for a reexamination of Boone's musical contributions. And that may be the case, if only to remember that he rivaled the chart dominance of Elvis Presley during the early years of rock & roll, and that whereas Elvis popularized the stylings of unrecognized black artists, Boone "protected" suburban America from black R&B performers by offering tamer versions of their hits. As evidence, this collection offers his stilted, ultra-velvety takes on Fats Domino's "Ain't That a Shame," the Flamingos' "I'll Be Home," and Ivory Joe Hunter's "I Almost Lost My Mind," all of which provided hits for Pat. (Strangely absent, however, is his version of Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti.") To his credit, Boone was somehow able to extricate any sense of sexuality or danger from rock & roll -- no mean feat. Nevertheless, one can't dismiss the fact that Boone was a first-class pop crooner, and that when he wasn't committing offenses against rock & roll, he was rivaling the talents of Dean Martin and Eddie Fisher on such well-suited tracks as "Friendly Persuasion (Thee I Love)."

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