Various Artists

Rock n' Roll Reunion: Class of 59

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Initially, a disc in Madacy's Rock n' Roll Reunion series looks to be a decent collection of material by some big names in rock & roll and pop. Each volume has a healthy amount of tracks, a wealth of big-name rock and pop performers along with some lesser-known acts to keep things interesting, and loads of classic songs from each year covered. All at a low price, too. Then that sinking feeling that so often accompanies oldies compilations from labels like Madacy sets in. The cover trumpets that the "Original Artists" appear on the disc. What about the "Original Hits"? The word reunion in the title also sets off alarms. Indeed, your fears are justified and fully realized; the discs are made up of a bewildering mix of modern-day re-recordings of classic hits and actual classic hits. Rock n' Roll Reunion: Class of 59 contains inferior cover versions of songs like "Personality" by Lloyd Price, "Charlie Brown" by the Coasters, and "Sleepwalk" by Santo & Johnny. Not all of the versions are terrible; some are even half-decent, but what you really need are the originals. The handful of original recordings aren't enough to save the collection, as it is mostly unlistenable to anyone who cares even a little about music. It is sad that, for whatever reason, the artists involved must resort to covering their old hits, and it is even sadder that labels like Madacy try to foist these knockoffs on the record-buying public. If you are reading this and thinking about buying a disc in this series, do yourself a favor and don't. You can find most of the songs here on a legitimate release from a reputable label.

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