This Westside package features the first two albums by this influential and popular doo wop group of the 1950s. Their debut album from 1959, We Are the Imperials, brings together both sides of the group's first four singles (including their mega hit "Tears on My Pillow") plus four sides that were first issued on EPs in the late '50s. But the music on the disc is the group at their best and couldn't be bettered, boasting hits and turntable faves from one of the biggest stars to emerge from Goldner's doo wop stable of talent. The second album was the group's 1961 release, Shades of the 40's, a solid shot at moving the Imperials straight into the swank supper club market. The fare here is '40s standards done dead-straight with nary a rock & roll beat in sight, all designed to appeal to a more sophisticated adult audience. This can be heard to full effect on tracks such as "Loving You," "Glitter in Your Eyes," "Island of Love" (the group's debut disc), "Tragic" (heard here in two different single release forms: the original on Apex and its highly "echoed" reissue on Vee-Jay), "Come to Me," "Forgotten," "Elevator Operator," and "Give a Hug to Me." There's music on here so finely wrought and so heartfelt, certain passages of it will give you the cold chills by its sheer, unaffected beauty. This is much more than a dry history lesson; the Imperials made some mighty music that truly deserves a much wider hearing, and here's exactly where to start absorbing their genius.
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AllMusic Review by Cub Koda