Various Artists

Rock & Roll: 50th Anniversary Collection

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The Madacy label rarely put out excellent collections, often resorting to poor material and lightweight running times, but this two-disc set is a solid exception to the rule. Rock & Roll: 50th Anniversary Collection celebrates the golden anniversary of rock & roll (or, put better, the date of its first impact on the charts) and functions as a very suitable tribute to the era with 34 tracks of huge hits from the late '50s (Elvis not included, unfortunately). All of the versions are originals and sound excellent -- "Maybellene," "Tutti Frutti," "(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock," "Rocket '88," "Blueberry Hill," "Blue Suede Shoes," "That'll Be the Day," and "Chantilly Lace." Although the compilation doesn't include any rarities, there are a few intriguing also-rans, like Bo Diddley's "Say Man" and Bill Haley's "Crazy Man, Crazy."

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