Various Artists

Land of 1000 Dances, Vol. 2: 1956-1966

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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger

As the compilation title promises, this has 30 dance-oriented rock & roll singles from the mid-'50s to the mid-'60s, most of them big or mid-level hits, with a few rarities as well. There's no questioning the classic credentials of the big hits on board: the Miracles' "Mickey's Monkey," Hank Ballard & the Midnighters' original version of "The Twist," Jackie Wilson's "Baby Workout," the Larks' "The Jerk," Robert Parker's "Barefootin'," and Alvin Cash's "Twine Time." There are also a host of lower-charting hits that are nonetheless pretty familiar staples, though they tend not to make it onto mainstream oldies compilations: Bobby Comstock's "Let's Stomp," the Flares' "Foot Stomping Pt. 1" (with, mind you, the organ part missing from most reissues), Huey Smith's "Pop-Eye," and Danny & the Juniors' "Twistin' USA." For collectors, the real charm will be in the lesser-known low-charting singles and the rarities, some of which didn't make the Top 100 at all. There is, for instance, the pretty awful novelty "The Lurch" by Ted Cassidy, who played Lurch on TV's The Addams Family; Andre Williams' "Bacon Fat," covered to much better effect by the Sir Douglas Quintet a decade later; the Rivingtons' "The Bird's the Word," which formed part of the basis for the Trashmen's "Surfin' Bird"; the Five Du-Tones' "Shake a Tail Feather," the original version of an early soul standard which nonetheless isn't frequently anthologized; and the Novas' ridiculous wrestling novelty "The Crusher," familiar to Dr. Demento listeners and trash-culture lovers everywhere. Of course, some of the other obscurities aren't very good, though Candy and the Kisses' "The 81" is an extremely uncanny and enjoyable rip-off of Martha & the Vandellas' "In My Lonely Room." The annotation is superb, giving basic biographical details and specific stories behind each record.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 The Miracles 02:48 Amazon
2 Bobby Comstock 02:00 Amazon
3 Hank Ballard / Hank Ballard & the Midnighters / The Midnighters 02:35 Amazon
4 Johnny Thunder 02:21 Amazon
5 The Larks 02:35 Amazon
6 Candy & the Kisses 02:31 Amazon
7 Ray Bryant Combo 03:07 Amazon
8 The Olympics 02:37 Amazon
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Ted Cassidy 02:10 Amazon
10 The Rivingtons 02:11 Amazon
11 The Flares 02:16 Amazon
12 Alvin Cash & the Crawlers 02:22 Amazon
13 The Five Du-Tones 02:25 Amazon
14 Bobby Freeman 02:36 Amazon
15 The Del Vikings 02:12 Amazon
16 Pastel Six 02:02 Amazon
17 The Sweethearts / Gene & Wendell 02:32 Amazon
18 Mark IV 02:13 Amazon
19 Guitar Junior 02:16 Amazon
20 The Novas 02:01 Amazon
21 Andre Williams 03:01 Amazon
22 Curtis Lee 02:00 Amazon
23 Huey "Piano" Smith & the Clowns 02:54 Amazon
24 Robert Parker 02:35 Amazon
25 Lou Courtney 02:58 Amazon
26 Round Robin 02:17 Amazon
27 Gary "U.S." Bonds 02:39 Amazon
28 Jackie Wilson 02:59 Amazon
29
Danny & the Juniors 02:27 Amazon
30 Duane Eddy & the Rebelettes 02:42 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick