As anybody who pays attention to the history of rock & roll knows, Pat Boone was never a rocker. He was always a crooner, so the existence of Bear Family's 31-track The Ballads of Pat Boone is by no means a stretch, but that hardly means the compilation is a bust. Usually, Boone's worst work was his rock & roll covers -- they may have reached the Top 10, but his covers of "At My Front Door (Crazy Little Mama)," "Ain't That a Shame," "Tutti Frutti," and "Long Tall Sally" sounded stiff and square -- so whittling his '50s and '60s work down to its sweetest, sappiest sides winds up benefiting both Boone and his fans. Here, it never seems as if Pat Boone ever bothered with rock & roll, as he was too busy with sockhops and slow dances, which is perfectly fine. Boone was meant to sing songs like "Love Letters in the Sand," "April Love," and "Sugar Moon," which are here, along with 28 other sides, including two duets with Shirley Boone. This may not round up all his charting singles -- songs in this soft vein are also missing -- but this concentration on the slower, sweeter side showcases Boone at his best, so it's hard not to think of this as one of the better Pat Boone comps ever released.
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