This disc focuses on a pair of albums released shortly before the Four Seasons split from Vee Jay Records. Neither one is a top-flight album, but their value is increased by the two-for-one pairing they receive here. Ain't That a Shame and 11 Others collects the group's last few Vee Jay singles, along with a collection. The singles are stellar stuff, including such enduring gems as the calypso-flavored "Candy Girl" and a swaggering, doo wop-styled remake of "Ain't That a Shame." However, the filler ranges from tolerable (a smooth but tepid version of "Happy Happy Birthday Baby") to pure novelty fluff, like the mortifying "Dumb Drum." Live on Stage is actually a studio-created affair that uses overdubbed applause sound effects to achieve its "live" sound. Despite its ersatz nature, this album provides a nice impression of the kind of material the group performed during its pre-hit era thanks to a set list composed almost entirely of pre-rock standards. It also benefits from strong performances throughout its running time: The backing band energetically romps its way through a series of horn-laden, jazzy arrangements of songs like "Mack the Knife" and "Blues in the Night," while the Four Seasons give sharp and skillfully timed performances that make dynamic use of their harmonizing skills. Frankie Valli is in particularly fine form, dropping most of his usual falsetto stylings to give serious baritone readings of songs like "My Mother's Eyes." Ultimately, Ain't That a Shame and 11 Others/Live on Stage is a mixed bag that is probably of limited interest to the casual pop fan, but is of archival interest to Four Seasons enthusiasts thanks to its generous running time and rare contents.
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AllMusic Review by Donald A. Guarisco