The Drifters

British Years

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By the 1970s, the Drifters had splintered into several separate touring groups, one of which was led by Johnny Moore. Moore, recognizing that the group had always been popular in Britain, moved there and enlisted Bill Fredericks, Gant Kitchings, and Butch Leak to form yet another incarnation of the group, which then signed to Bell Records in 1973. This set, which spans 1973 to 1978, shows the British Drifters to be but a pale shadow of their earlier configurations, and the material they recorded, a dozen tracks of which are featured here, slides to the bland and near-disco side of things. There are a few glimmers of past glory, most notably on "Kissin' in the Back Row of the Movies," which has the feel but not quite the accomplished joy of a classic Drifters side, a somewhat overblown version of Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline," and the Motown-like "Looks Like I'm the Clown Again," but on the whole, what's collected here hardly lives up to the original group's considerable recorded legacy.

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