Rosie & the Originals

The Best of Rosie & the Originals

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The Best of Rosie & the Originals Review

by Richie Unterberger

Rosie & the Originals are among the first early rock acts to come to mind when people think of one-shot artists, so you might think it a bit of a stretch to come up with a 21-song compilation. That it is, combining about a dozen of her early-'60s tracks for Highland and Brunswick -- the first of which were done with the Originals, the later of which were done simply as Rosie -- with ten previously unissued tracks from a 1969 session. "Angel Baby" was a memorable, unique single, but Rosie Hamlin, who wrote most of the material she recorded, didn't have much else to offer as either a singer or songwriter. Most of her post-"Angel Baby" output was similar and inferior to that hit, often so elementary in content as to be banal. These tracks laid out the same sort of doo wop/pop-rock ballads, exploiting her propensity to hit high, wordless notes that sounded a little like a record rotating at a slightly higher-than-normal speed. "Lonely Blue Nights," her only record to chart (which it did, lowly) besides "Angel Baby," is here, and is so close to "Angel Baby" in structure that one wonders why anyone would be surprised that it didn't rise any higher than #66. The 1969 sessions are mediocre updates of her transitional doo wop-to-girl group sound, with more modern arrangements (noted session player Jerry Scheff is on bass) that mute whatever charm was heard on the early-'60s sides. As marginal enticements for serious collectors, this includes the wholly uncharacteristic B-side of "Angel Baby," a disorganized, improvised R&B tune on which male R&B singer Bluford D. Wade (who wasn't in the Originals) takes lead vocals. There's also a different, and worse, alternate take of "Angel Baby" that was only issued in the U.K.