CD Soul/R&B Review

THE PLATTERS: What do you mean, “They rocked”?

Title: Rock 

Label: Bear Family

It’s a weird concept, I have to agree. This is, after all, a legendary group responsible for such classics songs such as The Great Pretender, Only You and who can forget Smoke Gets in Your Eyes. I’m sure that you’re even singing each one in your head an you’re reading this. And while you’re doing that you also thinking, “doo-wop”. Because I am too. That tone from the lead singer, Tony Williams offered a signature sound. And now Bear Family wants to tell us that it is giving us a 30 (30!) track CD compilation of The Platters rocking out?!

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Indeed it does. The place is their time on Chicago’s Mercury label and the reason is the group’s former training as a R&B combo and also because, despite recording Only You for their earlier Federal contracts (a song that had been ‘buried’ since the recording and was re-recorded at Mercury in April 1955, a-waiting release that Summer), it was not then decided that The Platters would become balladic specialists. Instead, a number of other styles were examined, early on in the group’s career.

During that April, the group tackled a raucous ditty called Bark, Battle and Ball which was supposed to be an answer song to Joe Turner’s classic Shake, Rattle & Roll. This storming song, sung well by the girl member of the group, Zola Taylor, was actually the B-side to Only You and was authentically rock’n’roll. It even had a Shake, Rattle & Roll refrain.

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As their career took off, The Platters would inject an upbeat song into the mix whenever they could get away with it which is how thirty tracks fill this CD including the likes of I Wanna, Winner Take All and It Isn’t Right.

Look out for another new release fro Bear Family in this series, Arthur ‘Bigboy’ Crudup, the man who penned That’s All Right for Elvis Presley.

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