Various Artists

Teen Time - The Young Years of Rock & Roll, Vol. 1: Love Me Forever

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The long-running series Golden Age of American Rock 'n' Roll from Ace has rewarded long-suffering fans of early rock and pop with a bounty of late-'50s and early-'60s songs, most of which reached the Top 40, but have been under-served by reissues since. The Eric label, with its own series, Teen Time: The Young Years of Rock & Roll, picked up yet more slack with its 20-song collections of pop hits -- most of them on the rare side -- that serve the same purpose as the Ace volumes and pay similarly high dividends. The first volume of Teen Time, subtitled "Love Me Forever," focuses on ballads and love songs (not all of them downtempo). It casts the net wider than Ace volumes, taking in several low chart entries, as well as a few later hits from the mid-'60s, but narrows the focus on material by including more artists with jazz-vocal tropes and ignoring R&B (with only a few exceptions). Any listeners with a dedicated interest in '50s rock and pop will still find at least a few undiscovered nuggets here, like Valerie Carr's bewitchingly inquisitive "When the Boys Talk About the Girls" or Cathy Carr's mildly silly "First Anniversary." None of the tracks have been overplayed (at least not since the '60s), and every one is a high-caliber production despite the novelty factor. Also appreciated is the fact that both Eric and producers Bill Buster, Tom Daly, and Mark Mathews have high standards of sound quality.

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