Love Potion No. 9: The Best of the Clovers

The Clovers

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Love Potion No. 9: The Best of the Clovers Review

by Bruce Eder

Admittedly, the period of the Clovers' music represented on this CD -- derived from the group's stay on Poplar Records in 1958 and then with United Artists Records from 1959 through 1961 -- was a less productive time than their years on Atlantic Records. Their music became much more pop-oriented and, in fact, far closer in spirit to the work of the Platters than to their own Atlantic sides. That said, much of it was beautifully sung and produced, and some of it was superb music, but little of it attracted notice from the public -- the major exception was "Love Potion No. 9," a Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller song and production that became the Clovers' first pop hit, reaching number 23 on that chart in the fall of 1959. This 23-song compilation assembles the best songs from that late period in the group's history, including the strongest tracks off of their albums The Clovers in Clover and Love Potion No. 9, both the single and LP versions of "Love Potion No. 9," and the final single releases of the intact group, through 1961. It's all a far cry from their Atlantic material, substituting slick, smooth sounds, reminiscent at times of the work of the Ink Spots, for the complexity and sheer excitement of their classic sides. However, some of the music -- "You Said," "Easy Lovin'," and their 1960 remake of "One Mint Julep" -- is compelling, and all of it is worth hearing. The annotation is reasonably detailed and the sound is above average for an early-'90s oldies CD. Anyone genuinely interested in finding out what the Clovers were about or why they were so important should definitely get Rhino's Down in the Alley: The Best of the Clovers first, but this CD (which was out of print as of 2002) is worth buying if it turns up.

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