Various Artists

A Year in Your Life: 1961, Vol. 1

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One Way Records' A Year in Your Life series is a generally excellent budget-line value, collecting ten tracks per volume that were pretty big hits in their time. What's more, the series helpfully tends to concentrate (though not exclusively) on artists who had only a handful of hits at most, making various-artists comps the most appealing way to collect their best work. The first 1961 volume features classic singles like Del Shannon's "Runaway," the Tokens' "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," Bobby Lewis' "Tossin' and Turnin'," and Ricky Nelson's "Travelin' Man," among several other infectious pre-Beatles pop/rock oldies. The sound quality isn't too bad, which means that if the majority of these songs aren't already in your collection, this is a decent, affordable way to pick them up.

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