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Definitive Soul: The Drifters

The Drifters

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The Drifters have one of the most convoluted histories of any major R&B or soul group ever to top the charts -- you can sort of tell that by the fact that the 1960 Drifters' Greatest Hits album, released seven years into their 15-year history with Atlantic Records, contains songs that, with two possible exceptions (and one of those in a version by a completely different artist), would scarcely be recognized by seven-eighths of the people counting them as fans of the group. They did chart records with amazing regularity for 21 years, placing 37 singles on the R&B charts, 25 in the Top Ten, and five that hit the top spot, but in the process, they also traded in two very different sounds in two different major eras, characterized by five distinctive lead singers (one of whom, Johnny Moore, bridged both). So it's not entirely surprising that it's taken 40 years for someone to get together a comprehensive history of the group's hits on Atlantic. Formed in Harlem in 1953 by lead singer Clyde McPhatter (after quitting Billy Ward & the Dominoes), the Drifters roared out of the starting gate with the R&B classic "Money Honey," and over the next four years were among Atlantic Records' most successful groups. With McPhatter as lead, followed by Johnny Moore, they generated a superb array of hit R&B-harmony singles, among them "Such a Night," "Lucille," "Honey Love," "Bip Bam," "White Christmas," "What'cha Gonna Do," "Adorable," and "Ruby Baby" (which was also later a huge pop hit for Dion). The first 12 cuts on disc one of this set cover the group's early history, from 1953 through 1958 -- which has ended up being neglected because of subsequent events -- when their sound was basically a hard yet romantic brand of harmony-based R&B. The group all but collapsed in 1958, between personnel problems and the greed of their manager, George Treadwell, and the Atlantic label decided to make one last-ditch effort to record a new lineup of the Drifters, recruited by Treadwell's signing an existing group of no seeming special merit, the Five Crowns, to fulfill a performing gig, pairing them with producers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller (who were already doing great things with the Coasters). The result of that session, "There Goes My Baby," impressed few people and confused others (including Atlantic producer Jerry Wexler, who felt its mix of soulful vocals and dense strings and percussion sounded like "a radio tuned to two different stations"), but it topped the R&B charts and opened a whole new era for the group and its new lead singer, Ben E. King, as well as his successors Rudy Lewis and -- returning to the fold -- Johnny Moore. From that record forward, the Drifters' sound under Leiber & Stoller and their successors (principally Bert Berns) mixed R&B with a somewhat smoother brand of harmony singing and orchestral-style strings, horns, and percussion accompaniment, much of it flavored by South American rhythms. The result was a slightly exotic soul sound that regularly made the pop charts as well as the R&B listings. "There Goes My Baby," "Dance with Me," "This Magic Moment," "Save the Last Dance for Me," "I Count the Tears," "Some Kind of Wonderful," "Please Stay," "Sweets for My Sweet," "Up on the Roof," "On Broadway," "Under the Boardwalk," and "Saturday Night at the Movies" all charted high in both categories, and by 1964 the "new" Drifters had very much eclipsed the work and memory of the earlier incarnation of the group. Indeed, until the end of the 1980s, Atlantic hardly saw fit to acknowledge that earlier version of the Drifters at all, and it's only in the couple of years leading up to this release that the label -- this time working through Rhino Records -- linked the two catalogs in the same anthology for U.S. release (Europe was a different matter, as one version of the group relocated there and continued scoring hits, in a much more pop-oriented mode, into the 1970s). The Drifters were ultimately more a brand than an actual group, with some 35 members passing through the ranks during their Atlantic run -- this was certainly true of their post-Clyde McPhatter era, when Treadwell ran the group and did all the hiring and firing, and even more so from 1959 onward, especially after Ben E. King (who did write songs) left the lineup, and when their studio sound as well as their recorded output was very tightly controlled by their producers. But the quality of the music always remained high, and singles like "Money Honey," "Ruby Baby" "There Goes My Baby," "This Magic Moment," "Sweets for My Sweet," "Save the Last Dance for Me," "Some Kind of Wonderful," "Up on the Roof," and "Under the Boardwalk" are undisputed classics. All of these are included on this fine two-disc overview from Rhino Records, which moves chronologically through the group's impressive singles catalog. The liner notes by Billy Vera are a plus here, delivering a concise -- sometimes too concise -- history of the Drifters (which has been the subject of an entire book) and adding in some interesting anecdotes from the most telling moments in their history. It's also a little more limited than WEA International's Definitive Drifters, but as a survey of their prime years in the U.S., this is the anthology to get, short of the Rhino triple-CD box, with state-of-the-art mastering and a nice, broad overview that will probably whet one's appetite for more from this group.
© Bruce Eder & Steve Leggett /TiVo

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Definitive Soul: The Drifters

The Drifters

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1
Money Honey (with Clyde McPhatter) Single Version
The Drifters with Clyde McPhatter
00:02:58

Jerry Wexler, Producer - The Drifters, MainArtist - Mickey Baker, Guitar - Sam Taylor, Tenor Saxophone - Jesse Stone, Piano, Writer - Clyde McPhatter, Lead Vocals - Adams, Band Member - A Thrasher, Band Member - G Thrasher, Band Member - Willie Ferbie, Bass Vocals

© 2006 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 1953 Atlantic Recording Corporation

2
Such a Night (with Clyde McPhatter) LP Version
The Drifters with Clyde McPhatter
00:02:29

Jerry Wexler, Producer - LINCOLN CHASE, Writer - Lloyd Trotman, Upright Bass - The Drifters, MainArtist - AHMET ERTEGUN, Producer - Connie Kay, Drums - Mickey Baker, Guitar - Sam Taylor, Tenor Saxophone - Clyde McPhatter, Vocals, FeaturedArtist - Andrew Thrasher, Vocals - Gerhart Thrasher, Vocals - Dick Hyman, Piano - Bill Pinkney, Vocals

© 2006 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 1954 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

3
Lucille (with Clyde McPhatter) LP Version
The Drifters with Clyde McPhatter
00:03:03

Jerry Wexler, Producer - The Drifters, MainArtist - AHMET ERTEGUN, Producer - Clyde McPhatter, Lead Vocals, Writer, FeaturedArtist

© 2006 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 1953 Atlantic Recording Corporation

4
Honey Love (with Clyde McPhatter) Single/LP Version
The Drifters with Clyde McPhatter
00:02:23

Jerry Wexler, Producer, Writer - Lloyd Trotman, Upright Bass - The Drifters, MainArtist - AHMET ERTEGUN, Producer - Connie Kay, Drums - Mickey Baker, Guitar - Sam Taylor, Tenor Saxophone - Clyde McPhatter, Writer, FeaturedArtist - Dick Hyman, Piano

© 2006 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 1953 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

5
Bip Bam (with Clyde McPhatter) LP Version
The Drifters with Clyde McPhatter
00:02:44

Jerry Wexler, Producer - Lloyd Trotman, Upright Bass - The Drifters, MainArtist - AHMET ERTEGUN, Producer - Connie Kay, Drums - Mickey Baker, Guitar - Sam Taylor, Saxophone - Clyde McPhatter, FeaturedArtist - Charles Calhoun, Writer

© 2006 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 1953 Atlantic Recording Corporation

6
White Christmas (feat. Clyde McPhatter & Bill Pinckney) LP Version
The Drifters feat. Clyde McPhatter & Bill Pinckney
00:02:37

Jerry Wexler, Producer - Lloyd Trotman, Upright Bass - The Drifters, MainArtist - AHMET ERTEGUN, Producer - Connie Kay, Drums - Mickey Baker, Guitar - Sam Taylor, Tenor Saxophone - Clyde McPhatter, FeaturedArtist - Irving Berlin, Writer - Andrew Thrasher, Vocals - Gerhart Thrasher, Vocals - Bill Pinkney, FeaturedArtist

© 2006 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 1953 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

7
Whatcha Gonna Do (2007 Remaster) Remastered LP Version
The Drifters & Clyde McPhatter
00:02:46

Jerry Wexler, Producer - Lloyd Trotman, Upright Bass - AHMET ERTEGUN, Producer, Writer - Connie Kay, Drums - Mickey Baker, Guitar - Sam Taylor, Tenor Saxophone - Clyde McPhatter, Lead Vocals - Andrew Thrasher, Vocals - The Drifters & Clyde McPhatter, MainArtist - Dick Hyman, Piano - Bill Pinkney, Vocals - Gerhardt Thrasher, Vocals

© 2006 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 1953 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

8
Adorable (2003 Remaster) Remastered LP Version
The Drifters
00:02:40

Jerry Wexler, Producer - The Drifters, MainArtist - AHMET ERTEGUN, Producer - Plas Johnson, Tenor Saxophone - Andrew Thrasher, Baritone Vocals - Jimmy Oliver, Guitar - JOHNNY MOORE, Lead Vocals - Buck Ram, Writer - Bobby Hendricks, Tenor Vocals - Bill Pinkney, Bass Guitar

© 2006 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 1955 Atlantic Recording Corporation

9
Steamboat LP Version
The Drifters
00:02:27

The Drifters, MainArtist - AHMET ERTEGUN, Producer - Ray Ellis, Arranger - Buddy Lucas, Writer - Andrew Thrasher, Baritone Vocals - Gerhart Thrasher, Tenor Vocals - Jimmy Oliver, Guitar - David Baughn, Lead Vocals - Bill Pinkney, Bass Vocals

© 2006 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 1955 Atlantic Recording Corporation

10
Ruby Baby Single/LP Version
The Drifters
00:02:25

Jerry Wexler, Producer - Jerry Leiber, Writer - Mike Stoller, Writer - The Drifters, MainArtist - AHMET ERTEGUN, Producer - Plas Johnson, Tenor Saxophone

© 2006 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 1956 Atlantic Recording Corporation

11
I Gotta Get Myself a Woman LP Version
The Drifters
00:02:14

Jerry Wexler, Producer - The Drifters, MainArtist - AHMET ERTEGUN, Producer - Jesse Stone, Writer - Andrew Thrasher, Baritone Vocals - Gerhart Thrasher, Tenor Vocals - JOHNNY MOORE, Lead Vocals - Bill Pinkney, Bass Vocals

© 2006 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 1958 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

12
Fools Fall in Love (2012 Remaster) Remastered LP Version
The Drifters
00:02:32

Jerry Wexler, Producer - Jerry Leiber, Writer - Mike Stoller, Writer - The Drifters, MainArtist - AHMET ERTEGUN, Producer - JESSE POWELL, Saxophone

© 2006 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 1956 Atlantic Recording Corporation

13
There Goes My Baby (Single Version) [2019 Remaster] Remastered Single/ LP Version
The Drifters
00:02:10

George Treadwell, Writer - Stan Applebaum, Arranger - Jerry Leiber, Producer - Mike Stoller, Producer, Piano - The Drifters, MainArtist - Sticks Evans, Drums - Benjamin Nelson, Writer - Ben E King, Lead Vocals - Lover Patterson, Writer - Lewis Leiber, Writer

© 2006 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 1959 Atlantic Recording Corporation

14
Dance with Me (Single Version) [2011 Remaster] Remastered Single/LP Version
The Drifters
00:02:24

George Treadwell, Writer - Irving Nahan, Writer - Abdul Samad, Guitar - Jerry Leiber, Producer - Mike Stoller, Producer, Piano, Writer - The Drifters, MainArtist - Richard Wess, Arranger - Lewis Lebish, Writer - Sal Gubin, Vibraphone - Mundell Lowe, Guitar - Osie Johnson, Drums - Charlie Thomas, Vocals - Dock Green, Vocals - Elsbeary Hobbs, Vocals - Ben E King, Lead Vocals - Emo Glick, Writer - JerryLeiber, Writer - Johnny Lee Williams, Vocals

© 2006 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 1959 Atlantic Recording Corporation

15
(If You Cry) True Love, True Love [Single Version] Single/LP Version
The Drifters
00:02:18

Abdul Samad, Guitar - Stan Applebaum, Arranger - Jerry Leiber, Producer - Mike Stoller, Producer - The Drifters, MainArtist - Doc Pomus, Writer - Mort Shuman, Writer - Charlie Thomas, Backing Vocals - Dock Green, Backing Vocals - Elsbeary Hobbs, Backing Vocals - Ben E King, Backing Vocals - Johnny Lee Williams, Lead Vocals

© 2006 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 1963 Atlantic Recording Corporation

16
This Magic Moment (Single Version) [2003 Remaster] Remastered Single/LP Version
The Drifters
00:02:29

Phil Bodner, Saxophone - Stan Applebaum, Conductor - Ernie Hayes, Piano - Jerry Leiber, Producer - Mike Stoller, Producer - The Drifters, MainArtist - Bucky Pizzarelli, Guitar - Doc Pomus, Writer - Mort Shuman, Writer - George Barnes, Guitar - George Duvivier, Upright Bass - Shep Shepherd, Drums - Ben E King, Vocals

© 2006 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 1959 Atlantic Recording Corporation

17
Lonely Winds (Single Version) Single/LP Version
The Drifters
00:02:47

Jerry Leiber, Producer - Mike Stoller, Producer - The Drifters, MainArtist - Doc Pomus, Writer - Mort Shuman, Writer - Reggie Obrecht, Arranger - Johnny Williams, Vocals - Charlie Thomas, Vocals - Dock Green, Vocals - Elsbeary Hobbs, Vocals - Billy Davis, Guitar - Ben E King, Vocals

© 2006 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 1960 Atlantic Recording Corporation

18
Save the Last Dance for Me (2009 Remaster) Remastered LP Version
The Drifters
00:02:34

Gary Chester, Drums - Jerry Leiber, Producer - Lloyd Trotman, Upright Bass - Mike Stoller, Producer - The Drifters, MainArtist - Alan Hanlon, Guitar - Bucky Pizzarelli, Guitar - Doc Pomus, Writer - Mort Shuman, Writer - Ben E King, Lead Vocals

© 2006 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 1955 Atlantic Recording Corporation

19
I Count the Tears Single/LP Version
The Drifters & Ben E. King
00:02:11

Stan Applebaum, Arranger - Jerry Leiber, Producer - Mike Stoller, Producer - The Drifters, MainArtist - Doc Pomus, Writer - Mort Shuman, Writer

© 2006 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 1958 Atlantic Recording Corporation

20
Some Kind of Wonderful LP Version
The Drifters
00:02:18

Jerry Leiber, Producer - Mike Stoller, Producer - Carole King, Writer - Gerry Goffin, Writer - The Drifters, MainArtist - Ray Ellis, Arranger - Charlie Thomas, Vocals - Dock Green, Vocals - Rudy Lewis, Vocals - Tommy Evans, Vocals

© 2006 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 1958 Atlantic Recording Corporation

21
Please Stay (Single Version) Single/LP Version
The Drifters
00:02:15

Jerry Leiber, Producer - Mike Stoller, Producer - Burt Bacharach, Writer - The Drifters, MainArtist - Ray Ellis, Arranger - Bob Hilliard, Writer - Charlie Thomas, Vocals - Dock Green, Vocals - Rudy Lewis, Vocals - Tommy Evans, Vocals - Billy Davis, Guitar

© 2006 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 1958 Atlantic Recording Corporation

22
Sweets for My Sweet LP Version
The Drifters
00:02:27

Jerry Leiber, Producer - Mike Stoller, Producer - The Drifters, MainArtist - Doc Pomus, Composer, Writer - Mort Shuman, Composer, Writer - Ray Ellis, Arranger - Charlie Thomas, Vocals - Dock Green, Vocals - Rudy Lewis, Vocals - Tommy Evans, Vocals - Billy Davis, Guitar

© 2006 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 1961 Atlantic Recording Corp

23
When My Little Girl Is Smiling (Single Version) Single/LP Version
The Drifters
00:02:33

Stan Applebaum, Arranger - Jerry Leiber, Producer - Mike Stoller, Producer - Carole King, Writer - The Drifters, MainArtist - Charlie Thomas, Vocals - Dock Green, Vocals - Rudy Lewis, Vocals - Tommy Evans, Band Member - Billy Davis, Guitar - Geffrey Goffin, Writer

© 2006 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 1962 Atlantic Recording Corporation

24
Up on the Roof (Single Version) [2017 Remaster] Remastered Single/LP Version
Jimmy Nottingham
00:02:36

Ernie Hayes, Keyboards - Gary Chester, Drums - Jerry Leiber, Producer - Mike Stoller, Producer - Carole King, Composer, Keyboards, Writer - Gerry Goffin, Composer, Writer - The Drifters, MainArtist - George Duvivier, Upright Bass - Jimmy Cleveland, Trombone - Jimmy Nottingham, Trumpet - Bob Bushnell, Guitar - George Devens, Percussion - Charlie Thomas, Vocals - Rudy Lewis, Vocals - Tommy Evans, Vocals - Eugene Pearson, Vocals - Al Casamenti, Guitar - Bobby Rosengarden, Percussion - Don Arnone, Guitar - Frank Saracco, Trombone - Garry Sherman, Conductor, Arranger - Greg Howard, Producer - Jimmy Sedler, Trumpet

© 2006 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 1962 Atlantic Recording Corporation

25
On Broadway (2018 Remaster) Remastered Single/ LP Version
The Drifters
00:02:59

Everett Barksdale, Guitar - Barry Mann, Writer - Gary Chester, Drums - Jerry Leiber, Producer, Writer - Mike Stoller, Producer, Writer - Phil Kraus, Percussion - The Drifters, MainArtist - Cynthia Weil, Writer - Joe Newman, Trumpet - Billy Butler, Guitar - PHIL SPECTOR, Lead Guitar - Bill Suyker, Guitar - Rudy Lewis, Vocals - Ernie Royal, Trumpet - Martin Grupp, Percussion, Additional Vocals - Nick Rodriguez, Percussion - Russ Saunders, Bass Guitar - Garry Sherman, Arranger

© 2006 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 1963 Atlantic Recording Corporation

26
I'll Take You Home (Single Version) Single/LP Version
The Drifters
00:02:43

BERT BERNS, Producer - Barry Mann, Writer - Jerry Leiber, Producer - Mike Stoller, Producer - The Drifters, MainArtist - Cynthia Weil, Writer - Charlie Thomas, Vocals - Rudy Lewis, Vocals - Eugene Pearson, Vocals - Billy Davis, Guitar - Johnny Terry, Vocals - JOHNNY MOORE, Vocals - Garry Sherman, Arranger

© 2006 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 1963 Atlantic Recording Corporation

27
Under the Boardwalk Remastered Single/LP Version
The Drifters
00:02:40

BERT BERNS, Producer - Mike Leander, Producer - KENNY YOUNG, Writer - Everett Barksdale, Guitar - Ernie Hayes, Piano - Gary Chester, Drums - The Drifters, Vocals, MainArtist - Arthur Resnick, Writer - Milt Hinton, Upright Bass - Bill Suyker, Bass Guitar - Bob Bushnell, Guitar - George Devens, Vibraphone - Charlie Thomas, Vocals - Eugene Pearson, Vocals - Johnny Terry, Vocals - JOHNNY MOORE, Lead Vocals - Teacho Wilshire, Conductor

© 2006 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 1964 Atlantic Recording Corporation

28
I've Got Sand in My Shoes (Single Version) Single/LP Version
The Drifters
00:02:50

BERT BERNS, Producer - KENNY YOUNG, Writer - Abdul Samad, Guitar - The Drifters, MainArtist - Charlie Thomas, Tenor Vocals - Eugene Pearson, Baritone Vocals - Johnny Terry, Bass Vocals - JOHNNY MOORE, Lead Vocals - Artie Resnick, Writer - Teacho Wilshire, Arranger

© 2006 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 1964 Atlantic Recording Corporation

29
Saturday Night at the Movies (Single Version) [2020 Remaster] Remastered Single/LP Version
The Drifters
00:02:28

BERT BERNS, Producer - Abdul Samad, Guitar - Barry Mann, Writer - The Drifters, MainArtist - Cynthia Weil, Writer - Charlie Thomas, Tenor Vocals - Eugene Pearson, Baritone Vocals - Johnny Terry, Bass Vocals - JOHNNY MOORE, Lead Vocals - Teacho Wilshire, Arranger

© 2006 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 1965 Atlantic Recording Corporation

30
At the Club (Single Version) Single/LP Version
The Drifters
00:02:53

BERT BERNS, Producer, Supervisor - Jerry Wexler, Supervisor - Carole King, Writer - Gerry Goffin, Writer - The Drifters, MainArtist - TOM DOWD, Recording Engineer - Charlie Thomas, Vocals - Eugene Pearson, Vocals - Billy Davis, Guitar - Johnny Terry, Vocals - JOHNNY MOORE, Vocals - Phil Iehle, Recording Engineer - Teacho Wilshire, Arranger

© 2006 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 1964Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

Albumbeschreibung

The Drifters have one of the most convoluted histories of any major R&B or soul group ever to top the charts -- you can sort of tell that by the fact that the 1960 Drifters' Greatest Hits album, released seven years into their 15-year history with Atlantic Records, contains songs that, with two possible exceptions (and one of those in a version by a completely different artist), would scarcely be recognized by seven-eighths of the people counting them as fans of the group. They did chart records with amazing regularity for 21 years, placing 37 singles on the R&B charts, 25 in the Top Ten, and five that hit the top spot, but in the process, they also traded in two very different sounds in two different major eras, characterized by five distinctive lead singers (one of whom, Johnny Moore, bridged both). So it's not entirely surprising that it's taken 40 years for someone to get together a comprehensive history of the group's hits on Atlantic. Formed in Harlem in 1953 by lead singer Clyde McPhatter (after quitting Billy Ward & the Dominoes), the Drifters roared out of the starting gate with the R&B classic "Money Honey," and over the next four years were among Atlantic Records' most successful groups. With McPhatter as lead, followed by Johnny Moore, they generated a superb array of hit R&B-harmony singles, among them "Such a Night," "Lucille," "Honey Love," "Bip Bam," "White Christmas," "What'cha Gonna Do," "Adorable," and "Ruby Baby" (which was also later a huge pop hit for Dion). The first 12 cuts on disc one of this set cover the group's early history, from 1953 through 1958 -- which has ended up being neglected because of subsequent events -- when their sound was basically a hard yet romantic brand of harmony-based R&B. The group all but collapsed in 1958, between personnel problems and the greed of their manager, George Treadwell, and the Atlantic label decided to make one last-ditch effort to record a new lineup of the Drifters, recruited by Treadwell's signing an existing group of no seeming special merit, the Five Crowns, to fulfill a performing gig, pairing them with producers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller (who were already doing great things with the Coasters). The result of that session, "There Goes My Baby," impressed few people and confused others (including Atlantic producer Jerry Wexler, who felt its mix of soulful vocals and dense strings and percussion sounded like "a radio tuned to two different stations"), but it topped the R&B charts and opened a whole new era for the group and its new lead singer, Ben E. King, as well as his successors Rudy Lewis and -- returning to the fold -- Johnny Moore. From that record forward, the Drifters' sound under Leiber & Stoller and their successors (principally Bert Berns) mixed R&B with a somewhat smoother brand of harmony singing and orchestral-style strings, horns, and percussion accompaniment, much of it flavored by South American rhythms. The result was a slightly exotic soul sound that regularly made the pop charts as well as the R&B listings. "There Goes My Baby," "Dance with Me," "This Magic Moment," "Save the Last Dance for Me," "I Count the Tears," "Some Kind of Wonderful," "Please Stay," "Sweets for My Sweet," "Up on the Roof," "On Broadway," "Under the Boardwalk," and "Saturday Night at the Movies" all charted high in both categories, and by 1964 the "new" Drifters had very much eclipsed the work and memory of the earlier incarnation of the group. Indeed, until the end of the 1980s, Atlantic hardly saw fit to acknowledge that earlier version of the Drifters at all, and it's only in the couple of years leading up to this release that the label -- this time working through Rhino Records -- linked the two catalogs in the same anthology for U.S. release (Europe was a different matter, as one version of the group relocated there and continued scoring hits, in a much more pop-oriented mode, into the 1970s). The Drifters were ultimately more a brand than an actual group, with some 35 members passing through the ranks during their Atlantic run -- this was certainly true of their post-Clyde McPhatter era, when Treadwell ran the group and did all the hiring and firing, and even more so from 1959 onward, especially after Ben E. King (who did write songs) left the lineup, and when their studio sound as well as their recorded output was very tightly controlled by their producers. But the quality of the music always remained high, and singles like "Money Honey," "Ruby Baby" "There Goes My Baby," "This Magic Moment," "Sweets for My Sweet," "Save the Last Dance for Me," "Some Kind of Wonderful," "Up on the Roof," and "Under the Boardwalk" are undisputed classics. All of these are included on this fine two-disc overview from Rhino Records, which moves chronologically through the group's impressive singles catalog. The liner notes by Billy Vera are a plus here, delivering a concise -- sometimes too concise -- history of the Drifters (which has been the subject of an entire book) and adding in some interesting anecdotes from the most telling moments in their history. It's also a little more limited than WEA International's Definitive Drifters, but as a survey of their prime years in the U.S., this is the anthology to get, short of the Rhino triple-CD box, with state-of-the-art mastering and a nice, broad overview that will probably whet one's appetite for more from this group.
© Bruce Eder & Steve Leggett /TiVo

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Zwischen 1967 und 1974 wandelte der Godfather seine Soul-Musik in Funk um. Mithilfe der zu diesem Zeitpunkt groovigsten Musiker überhaupt lieferte James Brown Songs, die zu den damaligen Brüchen innerhalb der amerikanischen Gesellschaft passten. Jeder wollte mit einsteigen in die Sex Machine!

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