Various Artists

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

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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
1 02:48
2 02:00
3 02:35
4 02:21
5 02:35
6 02:31
7 03:07
8 02:37
10 02:11
11 02:16
12 02:22
13 02:25
14 02:36
15 02:12
16 02:02
17 02:32
18 02:13
19 02:16
20 02:01
21 03:01
22 02:00
23 02:54
24 02:35
25 02:58
26 02:17
27 02:39
28 02:59
30 02:42
blue highlight denotes track pick