Various Artists

Rock n' Roll Reunion: Class of 64

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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 modern-day re-recordings of classic hits. Rock n' Roll Reunion: Class of 64 contains 16 tracks, mainly inferior cover versions of songs like "Dancing in the Street" by Martha & the Vandellas, "Tobacco Road" by the Nashville Teens, and "Under the Boardwalk" by the Drifters. Not all of the versions are terrible; some are even half-decent. There is even the occasional original hit (like the two Shangri-Las tracks, "Walking in the Sand" and "Leader of the Pack") thrown in just to frustrate you. What stinks most is the concept itself. 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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