The Innocents

Classic Innocents

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By their very name, you'd expect that the Innocents would be, well, innocent -- and the 2013 Ace compilation Classic Innocents proves you correct, as this collection of 28 tracks recorded for Reprise, Decca, Warner Bros, and A&M in the early '60s is naïve in the best possible sense. The crew-cutted trio didn't delve into dangerous territory but that doesn't mean their records were completely square: they were clean-cut but, thanks to recording in Southern California, they incorporated several shifting fashions on their sides, which winds up making Classic Innocents more varied and fun than you otherwise might expect. The dreamy cover suggests a buttoned-down group ignorant of sock hops and rock & roll, but the music here, including many unreleased cuts, are elastic and beguiling, cognizant of shifting fashions without exactly adhering to trends. Although this may be livelier than you'd think, it's still hardly rock & roll -- the backbeat never swings, the trio prefers candied harmonies to instrumental invention -- but Classic Innocents nevertheless surprises because these songs are just nimble and clever enough to keep things interesting. Ultimately, the Innocents are an early-'60s oddity -- beholden to the time but not enough to gain fame -- but their quirks make them worth hearing many years later.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:00
2 2:17
3 2:02
4 2:32
5 2:51
6 2:27
7 2:06
8 2:42
9 2:07
10 2:07
11 2:21
12 2:54
13 2:18
14 1:55
15 2:31
16 1:59
17 2:00
18 2:25
19 2:37
20 2:59
21
feat: Jim West
2:48
22
feat: Al & Jim
2:10
23 2:35
24 2:52
25 2:33
26 2:49
27 2:04
28 2:22
blue highlight denotes track pick