Barry & the Tamerlanes might have gone down as one-hit wonders for their semi-classic "I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight" except that main man Barry de Vorzon was a talented songwriter with a string of hits to his credit. Hits and Rarities compiles an astounding 32 recordings made by de Vorzon with and without the Tamerlanes for Columbia, RCA-Victor, and his own Valiant label between 1958 and the late '60s. A few of de Vorzon's songs that are included here were recorded by other artists without great success -- both Bobby Bare and Johnny Chester recorded "Can Can Ladies," for example -- but de Vorzon also interpreted material from other sources, like the Crows' R&B hit "Gee" and the Cascades' "Rhythm of the Rain." De Vorzon's style ranged from delicate, sometimes precious pop/rock reminiscent of an all-male version of the Fleetwoods to teen idol pop to mild, Ricky Nelson-style rock & roll. The neat "Honey Bunny" is an example of the latter, spinning rock clichés into a cute little bopper. Later in the '60s, de Vorzon created soft rock similar to the Association with "Pretty Things," which boasts some stomach-churning chromatic harmonies. Hits and Rarities is worthwhile for the adventuresome or obsessive oldies collectors for whom it was made.
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