Jimmy Clanton

The Very Best of Jimmy Clanton [Westside]

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There are currently two Jimmy Clanton collections out on CD. This 24-song mid-priced collection contains lots of good stuff, all of his best-known work and one duet ("Down the Aisle") with former Miss America (and future actress) Mary Ann Mobley. Clanton was a charismatic performer as revealed here -- his R&B sides had an honesty that none of the other teen idols with whom he was normally grouped could begin to touch, and even his ballads displayed a mix of memorable phrasing and genuine passion that blew most of the competition away. And when he rocked, as on "I'm Gonna Try," it was with a convincingly raspy abandon. The only number that isn't here and ought to be is "It Takes a Long, Long Time," his featured hard-rocking song from Go Johnny Go, but there's enough unique to this collection to make it nearly definitive.