Thursday, October 29, 2009

465. The ultimate collection of the golden hits of the very best of the essential greatest All time Drifters hits.

Album: Any drifters greatest hits compilation (there are millions of them)

Artist: The Drifters

Year: Any year from the invention of the compact disc until now (1968)

Genre: Do-wop.


(something like the following)

1. Dance With Me
2. Under the Boardwalk
3. Please Stay
4. On Broadway
5. There Goes My Baby
6. Saturday Night at the Movies
7. Save the Last Dance for Me
8. Up on the Roof
9. Stand by Me
10. Spanish Harlem

I'm imagining a scene in a hospital emergency ward. Two paramedics wheel a middle aged woman on a trolley down the corridor, she’s wearing slippers and a cardigan, she’s clutching a copy of The Daily Mail which she somehow got her hands on even though she lives in Duluth Minnesota. There’s no visible injury except for a small trickle of blood from the ears but she’s clearly in great pain. “The Milk!” She screams. “The angry girl has no milk! For god’s sake someone get her some milk!” Serious looking doctors and nurses rush to her side.

“What happened?” asks a medic of some description to another medical person.

“Live through this, it’s an album by Hole.”

“Courtney Love?”

“That’s the one. Somehow she listened to the whole thing from start to finish. It was too much anger for one middle-aged woman.”

“What’s her name?”


“Okay Agnes. Listen to me, I’m a doctor. It’s okay Agnes I know it hurts now but believe me you’re going to live through this.”

The woman screams as the doctor regrets a bad choice of words. “The angry girl! She kept sounding sweet and then suddenly she got angry again! The shouting! The shouting!”

The doctor turns to a nurse who is standing by. “Nurse, this is serious. Bring me... The Drifters!”

If you’re not an angry teenager and you’ve recently listened to an entire Hole album then can I recommend a good dose of The Drifters as an immediate cure. You couldn’t get more polar opposites than Courtney Love and the doo-wop stylings of Ben E King and friends. A few minutes spent in their company will have an amazing effect on shattered ear drums and fragile nerves.

The first thing that grabs you about the Drifters is how crystal clear their vocals are. Every single word comes at you with diction and a clarity of tone. There’s no doubting what the songs are about, they’re all simple tales simply told but beautifully sung. The arrangements behind them are full but not overbearing and the backing vocals might be daft (lots of bom boms and wawoos and other nonsense) but still work. I expected most of their music to be in the ballad vein but there’s lots of up tempo toe-tappers here as well. While it’s true that a lot of their songs sound exactly like Under The Boardwalk (their biggest hit) there are lots of songs that don’t and so a greatest hits album is great fun to listen to.

I must point out here that I wasn’t listening to the exact collection of songs that Rolling Stone Magazine was reviewing because it seems like there is a new Drifters compilation released every week. A search on allmusic revealed a staggering 192 compilation albums released by the Drifters, not bad for a band who only released 19 studio albums in their career. Name me another band who had three times as many members in their ranks than they released albums. Apparently over 60 people have been a Drifter at one stage with a line-up so fluid it’s a wonder they weren’t changing personnel mid-song. But then I’m not sure it matters that much, the important thing is that every member had a golden voice and did what they were told when the song was arranged. The end result is a pleasant musical experience. I’m not sure I’d listen to them regularly but I’ve installed one of their CD’s in a cabinet in my house with a sign saying “In case of Courtney, break glass”.

Highlight: Under the boardwalk, its’ a great song that even Tony Soprano couldn’t ruin with his lyrical rewrite. Look out for Sand in my shoes which is the songs sadder, but very clever sequel.

Lowlight: Probably This magic moment but it’s definitely not as low as some other lowlights I’ve been subjected to recently.

Influenced by: Gospel music.

Influenced: Boy bands.

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "This is a classic cd that everyone needs to own. South Carolina beach music cannot be summarized better than through this cd. It's a MUST HAVE!!"

-That seems like a very specific location. I've never heard msuic described as South Caroline Beach Music before. I had no idea it was a genre all it's own.

So do you catch their drift or would you rather leave their musical career under the boardwalk? Let me know below.

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