Mainly Rock & Roll

Mainly Rock & Roll

by The Chordettes

CD

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Overview

This 32-song compilation stretches from 1954 to 1962 -- from their "Mr. Sandman" chart-topper through their flirtation with rock material in the late '50s and their final discs in the early 1960s. The liner notes view the Chordettes as a link between the Andrews Sisters and the girl groups of the rock era, and while there's some truth in that, the Chordettes undoubtedly owe much more to the Andrew Sisters. The rock & roll flavor in some of their hits sounds more like a nod to necessary incorporation of commercial trends than genuine inspiration. The pop material is executed with a cleanliness that is both impressive in its virtuosity and innocuous, even a little sterile, in a family-entertainment sort of way. Still, this has all that almost anyone will need to hear by the group, including all of their big hits and many misses. For a while in the late 1950s they dipped into the rock & roll repertoire often, with covers of "Lonely Boy" (the lyric changed to "He's just a lonely boy" for gender compatibility), LaVern Baker's "I Cried a Tear," "Charlie Brown," "Pink Shoelaces," Annette Funicello's "Tall Paul," and "To Know Him Is to Love Him," with unimpressive results. "A Girl's Work Is Never Done" and "No Wheels" even have King Curtis on sax, resulting in the raunchiest (relatively speaking) Chordettes tracks. "Pink Shoelaces" actually isn't bad.

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