Robin Luke

Susie Darlin' [Compilation]

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Here are 31 Robin Luke songs from the Bertram International and Dot Records vaults, ten of them previously unissued. For some reason, the producers haven't assembled the songs in chronological order, which is annoying. "Susie Darlin'" was a beautiful song with an engaging simplicity, heavily overdubbed, but cut on a primitive recording unit that gave it a strangely appealing raw, basic sound, despite its overall prettiness. The rest varies according to whatever contemporary trend Luke and his producers were trying for -- Ricky Nelson seemed to be their benchmark, although "Won't You Please Be Mine" features a Buddy Holly-like sound and "Foggin' Up the Window" (cut with actress Roberta Shore, best remembered for her work on The Virginian) is a cute novelty number. It always seems like a "Peggy Sue"-beat wasn't far from anyone's thinking, at least on Luke's 1959 sessions, which was his biggest year. Some of it, such as "Make Me a Dreamer" and (especially) "All Because of You" is sappy, but the music is all of a piece with a very innocent era in pop-rock, and for balance there are rockers like "You Can't Stop Me From Dreaming" and Luke's cover of "Bad Boy," which has some of the Gene Vincent-like menace of the original, despite being done on the fly at one o'clock in the morning. The Dot Records demos also show Luke working in more of a rock & roll mode, incorporating elements of country and even rockabilly in his sound. Colin Escott's notes are very informative and the photos, including shots of Luke alongside Sam Cooke, Connie Francis, the Everly Brothers and Frankie Avalon, and surrounded by dozens of adoring female fans speak volumes for his appeal and popularity. The sound ranges from good to excellent.

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