The Lettermen

College Standards

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The Lettermen were a forward-looking vocal group, but this hit album from 1963 found them in a nostalgic mood, recalling the sound of the mid-'50s vocal group Somethin' Smith & the Redheads. The prominent banjo is a dead giveaway that Smith is their target, but the selection of old songs clinches it: they sing the Pied Pipers' "Dream," the Four Lads' "Moments to Remember," and the Four Freshmen standard "Graduation Day," as well as collegiate oldies like "The Halls of Ivy" and "The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi." Not all of the songs adhere to the theme of matriculation, but all have the clean-cut, freshly scrubbed aura of idealized days gone by. The group's harmonies have never been better displayed, and their respect for -- and re-creation of -- the sounds of '40s and '50s vocal groups made College Standards an album for listeners of all ages.

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