Various Artists

The 50's Decade: Memorable Hits

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From a distance, the 50's Decade series looks to be pretty harmless. Ten songs, mostly hits, for a low price with packaging that is clean and cute. The compilers even take the time to group the tracks thematically on each disc. The only problem is that the songs aren't the originals. Instead of hearing the artists at their peaks, listeners get pale and stiff re-recordings done at much later dates. The 50's Decade: Memorable Hits manages to include three original tracks (Jan & Dean's "Baby Talk," Frankie Avalon's "Bobby Sox to Stockings," and Gogi Grant's "The Wayward Wind"), but that doesn't make it any easier listening to Santo & Johnny sleepwalk through a maudlin "Sleep Walk" or the Coasters searching for some excitement on "Searchin'." In fact, it almost makes it worse to have any originals on board for comparison. The easiest thing to do is just avoid this disc and the whole 50's Decade series. If you want a low-priced collection of quality '50s material, there are other places to turn.

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