Various Artists

The West Coast East Side Sound, Vol. 1

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This 16-song collection may be a little too diverse for its own good. Overall, it's a nicely assembled opening volume of a four-CD series devoted to the music of Faro, Rampart, and other labels owned and operated by Eddie Davis in Los Angeles from the '50s through the mid-'70s. It opens with the biggest single that Faro ever issued, "Land of 1,000 Dances" by Cannibal & the Headhunters. The rest of the CD jumps around throughout the history of Davis' various labels, back a year earlier for the Romancers' "Don't Let Her Go," and then on to "Darling (Please Bring Your Love)," a doo wop throwback from 1961, and so it goes. One wants to say that the emphasis is on early-'60s dance and novelty tunes ("Olive Oyl" by the Mixtures being the only annoying example of the latter), but then there's the Village Callers' version of "Evil Ways" from 1969, which nearly hit in place of the Santana version. The CD then jumps back to Ron Holden's early-'60s soul showcase "Girl I Love You"; further along is the Motown-flavored "Crazy Little Things" by the Soul-jers. There's very little sense to much of the order, although it plays great. The producers' apologies for some supposedly substandard sources seems uncalled for, since the sound is good to excellent throughout. The majority of the material on this CD will be unfamiliar to all but the most serious West Coast music buffs. One just wishes that it could've been assembled in a more coherent manner, so that the discoveries could be more orderly.

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