George Goldner Presents The Gone Story: Doo-Wop to Soul 1957-1963 contains 65 songs representing a dead-perfect cross-section of the singles output of one of New York's great R&B labels of the late 1950s and early 1960s. The opening cut, the Dubs' slow, romantic "Don't Ask Me (To Be Lonely)," shows just how far George Goldner's conception of rhythm & blues had come in the four years since he'd founded Rama Records in 1953. Gone Records, starting in 1957, featured a more sophisticated output, oriented toward elegant, impassioned ballads rather than the dance numbers that had gone over so big in the mid-'50s. The label's sound was very polished, although Goldner and company found room for an occasional hard rocker like "Love Is Dynamite" by would-be rockabilly star Gary Dale or lady rock & roller Jo Ann Campbell's "Wait a Minute." A few of the harmony groups turn in rousing, rocking performances -- the Willows' rendition of "Let's Fall in Love" is a delight, a bright, glowingly fresh rendition of an old chestnut that, if it isn't in the league of "I Only Have Eyes for You" by the Flamingos, is still worth owning. Other noteworthy items include the Channels and their soaring "Altar of Love," and the Isley Brothers, whose "Everybody's Gonna Rock 'n Roll" is a lost jewel out of their early history. Even Cab Calloway rose to the occasion with a solid piece of rock & roll, "Tomorrow Night," showing that the '30s entertainer could have cut it with the kids if they'd given him a listen. Another oddity worth giving more than one listen is Jackie DeShannon (billed as Jackie Dee) doing a Brenda Lee/Wanda Jackson turn on the countrified rock & roll ballad "I'll Be True to You." The notes are reasonably thorough, and the sound is state of the art.
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