Dale Wright

She's Neat: The Fraternity Sides

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Both sides of Wright's eight late-1950s Fraternity singles are on this 20-track CD, along with three previously unreleased songs and an alternate version of "That's Show Biz." Wright did subsequently record on a few small labels until the mid-1960s, but the Fraternity output is what will interest collectors the most, since his sole Top Forty hit, "She's Neat," was on the label. As early teen idol fare goes, it's not the best or the worst. The uptempo "She's Neat," with its ascending keys and growly guitar, was one of his better efforts, even if the opening section (whether by coincidence or not) sounds a whole lot like the intro to the Royal Teens' big hit of the same vintage, "Short Shorts." "That's Show Biz," which opens with spoken skit in which a greenhorn unsuccessfully pitches a record label, is a gently self-deprecating comment on the shallowness of the business (and of much early rock'n'roll). Those are about the best songs on what's really a pretty dull record. Wright was in real trouble when he went into the lower register, where his voice often trembled off-pitch. For the most part, the songs are formulaic late-1950s pop-rock, though with more energetic backing than the most lightweight teen idols used. There were some musicians with a real feeling for rock on the sessions, particularly the guy (or guys) with the low growly guitar, but there wasn't that much you could do with the songs, and the ballads could be awful.

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