Various Artists

East Side Story, Vol. 6

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There's something surprising and annoying about this CD, an extraordinary collection of late-'50s to late-'60s rock & roll and R&B classics in decent sound. The disc covers some bases that are usually overlooked in the typical oldies compilation-Jimmy Clanton's "Just a Dream" is the most familiar song here, and neither he nor it are exactly part of every record collection. The real highlights are titles like Brenton Wood's soft, sweet "I Like the Way You Love Me," Gene Chandler's soaring "I Fooled You This Time," the Gallahads' achingly lyrical "Lonely Guy," Don Julian's slow rocking "Lowrider Girl," and Etta James' brooding, violin-laden 1961 "At Last." Not all of the songs are quite up to their standard -- Tommy McClain's "Sweet Dreams" is too pop-oriented, and Rene & Ray's "Queen of My Heart" is downright strange with its odd, off-key touches. Rounding it out are such relatively obscure numbers as "So Dearly" by Rosie & Ron, "I'm Leavin' It All Up to You" by Dale & Grace, and, perhaps better known, "Baby, Baby All the Time" by the Superbs, featuring Eleanor "Punkin' " Green. One wishes the programming were more generous than a paltry 12-songs, and that there'd been some notes as well.

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