Friday, 15 May 2009

“The Platinum Collection” by THE CLOVERS (2007 Warner/Rhino CD Compilation - Reissue of "Down In The Alley- The Best Of..." from 1991 plus extra track) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"...One Mint Julep...Was The Cause Of It All..." 

The UK and Europe-only CD reissue "The Platinum Collection" by THE CLOVERS is essentially Rhino's American 21-Track CD compilation "Down In The Alley – The Best Of The Clovers" from 1991 - but with one more song added on to it at the end - "I Played The Fool".

The new 2007-issued 22-track running order is shuffled around a bit for sure and it comes with different/lesser artwork too. But it still has that great Rhino Remastered sound of old - and at budget price (under four quid from most retailers) - costs a fraction of the now deleted and pricey 1991 original. The compromise is losing the decent booklet - but little else.

Part of a large number of collections issued in 2007 to celebrate the label’s 60th Anniversary - "The Platinum Collection" consists of 22 Fifties Rhythm 'n' Blues 78" and 7" singles by Atlantic's first R&B superstar Vocal Group - the much loved CLOVERS. A huge number of these tracks charted big time on the US R&B charts between 1951 and 1957.

Being a cheapo reissue the new reissue inlay on Warner/Rhino 8122-79995-6 (Barcode 081227999568) is merely a gatefold slip of paper with barely any details - so here’s a track-by-track breakdown of all those cool American R&B 45s on this new 2007 variant (61:15 minutes):

1. One Mint Julep – 1951 on Atlantic 963 [A]
2. Good Lovin' – 1953 on Atlantic 1000 [A]
3. Ting-A-Ling – 1951 on Atlantic 969 [A]
4. Lovey Dovey – 1954 on Atlantic 1022 [A]
5. Down In The Alley – 1957 on Atlantic 1152 [B-side to "There's No Tomorrow"]
6. Fool, Fool, Fool – 1951 on Atlantic 944 [A]
7. Don't You Know I Love You – 1951 on Atlantic 934 A, debut single]
8. Wonder Where My Baby's Gone – 1951 on Atlantic 969 [B-side to "Ting-A-Ling"]
9. Crawlin’ – 1953 on Atlantic 989 [B-side to "Yes It's You"]
10. Hey, Miss Fannie – 1952 on Atlantic 977 [B-side to "I Played The Fool"]
11. Middle Of The Night – 1951 on Atlantic 963 [B-side to "One Mint Julep"]
12. I've Got My Eyes On You – 1954 on Atlantic 1035 [B-side to "Your Cash Ain't Nothin' But Trash"]
13. I Confess – 1954 on Atlantic 1046 [A]
14. Your Cash Ain't Nothin' But Trash – 1954 on Atlantic 1035 [A]
15. Little Mama – 1953 on Atlantic 1022 [B-side to "Lovey Dovey"]
16. Nip Sip – 1955 on Atlantic 1073 [A]
17. Devil Or Angel – 1956 on Atlantic 1083 [A]
18. Blue Velvet – 1955 on Atlantic 1052 [A]
19. In The Morning Time – 1955 on Atlantic 1060 [B-side to "Love Bug"]
20. Love Bug – 1955 on Atlantic 1060 [A]
21. If I Could Be Loved By You – 1955 on Atlantic 1073 [B-side to "Nip Sip"]
22. I Played The Fool – 1952 on Atlantic 977 [A]

The 5-piece Washington DC vocal group had two great leads in John "Buddy" Bailey and later Billy Mitchell and were backed up with killer fun songs from Rudolph "Rudy" Toombs, Jesse Stone and even the label’s founder Ahmet Ertegun (often credited with his name spelt backwards as Nugetre). They could handle jump and ballads with ease and scored a No.1 with their debut single "Don't You Know I Love You" released in June 1951 - pretty much dominating that decade thereafter (the liner notes mentions their biggest hit "Love Potion No.9" from 1959, but it isn’t on here because it was on United Artists). Their success allowed the fledgling Atlantic label top class signings like Ruth Brown, LaVern Baker and the wonderful Big Joe Turner – and of course paved the way for so much astonishing music to come.

Highlights include the classic too-many-drinks song "One Mint Julep", the 'gotta have all your' demands of "Good Lovin'" and the dancing penicillin that is "Love Bug" – they’re all R&B wonders that would make any heart go 'bippety bam'. In fact listening to these half-century old boppers, strollers and smoochers - it’s hard not to be grinning from ear-to-ear with admiration at their timeless brilliance. They really are 'so' good…

A fantastic listen then, and at a retail price that is laughable, it’s a great place to start your Atlantic Rhythm 'n' Blues journey – and God do I envy you that!

PS: the other Atlantic artists in "The Platinum Collection" series are: LaVern Baker (see REVIEW), Archie Bell & The Drells (see REVIEW), Brook Benton (see REVIEW), Booker T & The M.G.'s, Ruth Brown (see REVIEW), Solomon Burke, Clarence Carter (see REVIEW), Arthur Conley (see REVIEW), Don Covay, The Detroit Spinners, Eddie Floyd, King Curtis, Barbara Lewis (see REVIEW), The Mar-Keys, The Persuasions, Sam & Dave, Percy Sledge (see REVIEW), Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas, (Big) Joe Turner (see REVIEW) and Betty Wright

"Down In The Alley – The Best Of The Clovers " – 1991 Track List:
1. One Mint Julep
2. Good Lovin'
3. Don't You Know I Love You
4. Wonder Where My Baby's Gone
5. Ting A Ling
6. Crawlin'
7. Hey Miss Fannie
8. Lovey Dovey
9. Middle Of The Night
10. Fool Fool Fool
11. I've Got My Eyes On You
12. I Confess
13. Your Cash Ain't Nothin' But Trash
14. Little Mama
15. Down In The Alley
16. Nip Slip
17. Devil Or Angel
18. Blue Velvet
19. In The Morning Time
20. Love Bug
21. If I Could Be Loved By You

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Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

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