Various Artists

As Good as It Gets: Doo Wop

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A second cousin to R&B, and the half-brother of rock & roll, doo wop is the most unabashedly romantic of all the pop genres, as it constantly serenades the night, the stars, the moon, and the tidal pull of that first love in a world where the past hardly matters, and the future never quite gets here. This two-disc collection does a wonderful job of presenting the variety of vocal approaches this genre employs and, while not strictly chronological, it has a kind of historical sweep that most compilations of doo wop lack. There is a wealth of great songs in these 60 tracks, but some of the obvious highlights include the streetwise opening track, "My Pigeon's Gone," by The Five Keys, "Speedoo" (and its sequel, "Speedoo Is Back" by the Cadillacs), "Book of Love" by The Monotones, and the sleek and bouncy "Gee" by The Crows. "I'm Not a Juvenile Delinquent" by Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers is here, but one wonders if Frankie really got it right when he sings "it's easy to be good/it's hard to be bad," while Jimmy Hurt & the Del-Rios ask the make or break question in "Are You Old Enough." This is a marvelous compilation, with enough variety to keep it interesting, and enough of the big hits to keep it familiar.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:20
2 3:13
3
2:12
4 4:06
5
2:03
6 2:21
7 2:42
8
2:22
9 3:03
10
2:17
11
2:16
12 1:52
13 3:09
14 2:22
15 2:29
16 2:16
17 1:48
18 2:55
19 2:43
20 2:36
21 1:56
22
2:36
23
2:09
24
2:20
25 2:19
26
2:24
27
2:28
28 2:08
29 2:45
30 2:19

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:22
2 2:42
3
2:11
4 2:26
5 2:57
6 2:00
7 3:21
8 2:35
9 2:19
10
2:25
11
2:18
12 2:49
13
2:27
14
2:17
15 2:12
16 3:00
17 2:51
18 1:52
19
2:07
20
2:47
21 2:14
22
2:20
23
2:26
24 2:06
25 2:28
26
2:08
27 2:39
28 2:46
29 2:17
30 3:02
blue highlight denotes track pick