Pat Boone's installment in the enjoyable Bear Family series of uptempo rock & roll doesn't include all of his big early hits -- many of which were ballads -- but it has a lot of his famed (or infamous) R&B covers. Boone, with his nice-guy looks, English degree, and precise diction, would've been a natural for the vocal pop game, but he chose the pop end of rock & roll to make his mark -- and more than a few R&B should've-been-hits to undercut. Fans may argue that his versions increased the popularity of the originals (and the purses of the composers and publishers), but it's hard to argue with the vicious quality of Boone's A&R handlers, who chose their material carefully by studying songs that were climbing the R&B charts and quickly recording covers. Boone himself was a solid singer, and would've been perfectly suited to the type of Mitch Miller material that his vocal forebears Guy Mitchell and Frankie Laine were churning out, but he missed the mark on many of these covers, even in a pop sense. Proof positive comes in the track titles, such as changing "Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee" to "Havin' Fun Spo-Dee-O-Dee" and even arguing (unsuccessfully, in this case) that his cover of Fats Domino's "Ain't That a Shame" should be retitled "Isn't That a Shame" (English major that he was). A raft of 34 clean-cut, uptempo, pop-based rock & roll songs makes for a fun addition to any early rock jukebox (assuming it's on shuffle), but he's a little too stiff here, and a Pat Boone compilation without "Love Letters in the Sand," "April Love," and "Don't Forbid Me" is a hard one to recommend.
AllMusic Review by John Bush