The Drifters / Clyde McPhatter

Clyde McPhatter & the Drifters

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The Drifters' debut album didn't appear until 1956, more than a year after Clyde McPhatter had left the group that he founded. Thus, this LP was actually an oldies release from the date of its first appearance, and even more so when it was repackaged in 1958 (a time when McPhatter's solo career was running as hot as a pistol). With McPhatter's high tenor voice featured as the lead on every song (basso Bill Pinkney occasionally stepped forward as well), this release and its title made perfect commercial sense on either date. For fans of the singer or the group, or anyone who wasn't around to buy the singles assembled here when they first came out, this is an awesome collection. Numbers like "Money Honey" became the basic language of rock & roll as surely as anything ever written by Chuck Berry, and soaring soul ballads like "Warm Your Heart" are good to hear in any era. On hot "jump" numbers like "What'cha Gonna Do?," McPhatter uncannily anticipates the sound upon which Jackie Wilson would build his career in the second half of the '50s. In short, this is an album that just didn't stop rocking. Helping out in the endeavor were saxman Sam "The Man" Taylor and guitarist Jimmy Oliver, who shines with some particularly hard-edged playing on "Warm Your Heart."

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