Dee Clark

You're Looking Good/Hold On, It's Dee Clark

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This is a superior compilation of two fine albums from Dee Clark's Vee Jay library, showcasing the two sides of his early career in vivid detail. The material off of You're Looking Good presents his rougher-hewn, more directly soulful sound -- from the opening title track, which applies a Bo Diddley-beat to a string accompaniment, the rhythms never let up on this bracing document of late-'50s R&B at its most highly developed. And after 11 songs in that vein, Clark's 1961 album Hold On, It's Dee Clark takes us into more of a pop-influenced mode, without forgetting Clark's R&B roots. The results aren't quite as consistent but they're all enjoyable, and this entire collection is essential listening for any fans of Chicago soul (and also for fans of Sam Cooke and Clyde McPhatter, whose influences are felt throughout the material here). And the excellent sound, coupled with highly detailed annotation by Bill Dahl, should seal the deal as far as anyone sitting on the fence about buying it.

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