The Collins Kids

At Town Hall Party, Vol. 3

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The third volume of the series of Bear Family's incredibly exhaustive presentation of the Collins Kids television clips presents 28 more live performances, all from 1959. Like volume two, it might not quite be the cream of their Town Hall Party appearances, and is populated by a surprising number of cover versions of rock & roll hits and pop standards that they never put on their studio discs. And, as with volume two, some of the numbers are done more than once, leading to a more repetitive DVD experience than would be optimal -- there are four versions here of "Ramrod" alone, and many of the tunes (including "Ramrod") are also done on the other Bear Family Collins Kids DVDs. Some of the comic routines preceding specific numbers, too, are repeated almost verbatim, and as amusing as they might be, you might get tired of hearing Larry Collins' sniggering laugh so many times. Still, as in the first two volumes, the duo's blazingly energetic presentation breathes life into not just songs that you imagine they'd be pretty well-suited for ("Great Balls of Fire," "Sea Cruise"), but also more surprising choices like Paul Anka's "Lonely Boy" (where Lorrie Collins doesn't bother to change the lyric, singing "I'm just a lonely boy"), Ricky Nelson's "I Got a Feeling," and the Coasters' "Charlie Brown." The charge through "Johnny B. Goode" (the lyric changed to refer to "Larry" instead of "Johnny") is a highlight, as is Larry Collins and Joe Maphis' exotic instrumental "The Rockin' Gypsy." Larry takes some spots here on his own without Lorrie, but usually they sing together in effervescent, nearly-cheek-to-cheek form. As with the other volumes, it's unfortunate that there aren't more songs from the Collins Kids' '50s records, although this does include versions of tunes from their "Sugar Plum"/"Kinda Like Love" single, which wasn't one of their best. Nonetheless, these are consistently entertaining performances, revealing Larry Collins as one of the most kinetic stage artists in all of '50s rock & roll, even if you get the feeling his hyperactivity would drive you up the wall if you had to spend more time with him than you do when watching these DVDs.

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