Various Artists

Fabulous Fifties: 20 Original Fifties Classics [Disc 2]

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The thing most of these 20 pop tracks from 1950-1958 have in common is that they now reside in the vaults of EMI, having been released originally in the U.S. on Capitol. Disky, the Dutch reissue label, frequently licenses EMI material, and with only a couple of exceptions ("Dear Hearts and Gentle People" by Bing Crosby on Decca and "Busy Line" by Rose Murphy on RCA), that's what it's done here. Of course, that's invisible to the consumer, who simply finds that this second of three discs in a budget-priced box set appears to be a miscellaneous collection. There are some big hits -- "Sixteen Tons" and "You Belong to Me" hit number one -- and some major artists -- Crosby, Dean Martin (with two tracks, neither of them hits for him), Jo Stafford, and Nat King Cole. But of the 20 tracks, 12 either were not hits or the versions included were not the biggest hit versions. A listen to the album certainly will give a sense of what pop music sounded like in the early '50s and in the non-rock arena later in the decade -- fun, light, and frothy, for the most part. But there are more varied collections and ones with more hits.

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