Includes fully illustrated booklet.
The Coasters are widely considered to be the pre-eminent vocal group of the original rock ´n´ roll era both in sound and attitude, and to have created some of the best vocal group harmonies ever waxed. They had made their musical debut as the Robins during the early years of rhythm and blues and as the Coasters they contributed to shape rock’n’roll with some of the most cheeky, exciting and entertaining songs of the 50s. The original line-up disbanded early but the crucial team of singers and their mentors Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, moved from California to New York and created most of the greatest hits we know today. They were important influences for many later artists who covered their songs, such as the Beatles, the Stones, the Who and the Kinks.
This compilation includes 19 hits listed in the Billboard pop and R&B charts between 1956 and 1962 and an accompanying 24-page booklet with many rare photos and notes on the group’s evolution.
Superlative compilations of essential American music history
Not many groups of any kind can claim to have such a distinct influence on pop and rock n roll music as The Coasters. Their lengthy string of iconic hits, mostly courtesy of the pen of their mentors and genius song writing team Leiber & Stoller, and also their unique blend of personality and vocal harmony, took the mixture of doo wop, rock n roll, soul and jazz to new territory, and put them at the pinnacle of the original Rock n Roll and R’n’B era. Covered by everyone from The Beach Boys, Elvis, Zappa, Leon Russell, Alex Harvey, the Grateful Dead, these tunes were also central to the Brit Beat boom of the early 60s (Hamburg-era Beatles’ live set was heavy on Coasters covers). In addition, it’s difficult to understate the sheer magnitude of their influence on popular music; Put simply; these are the explosive and innovative bricks and mortar of all the rock n roll and R’n’B you’ve ever loved. These two new lavishly packaged and annotated double CD collections from the ‘History of RnB’ stable certainly do justice to the legacy and the fantastic energy of this incendiary, funny, and entertaining music. This is energetic music that screams youth, attitude and sass, with jokes, wit, satire and risque humour in spades (the likes of ‘Little Egypt’ were banned on release) that even after all this time still leap from the speakers at full pelt.
The Definitive Coasters – The A & B sides collects both sides of the groups first 30 7” singles from their faultless run comprising 1954 to 1962. As such, the crammed-full first disc of A-Sides is as damn near perfect as an 80 minute receptacle of music can conceivably be, and an essential inclusion for anyone with even a passing interest in the development of American music. The B sides disc, quite understandably, has a moderately lower strike rate, and features some less exceptional ballads when compared with the vibrancy of the revolutionary hits, however its hard to argue with the likes of the genuinely funky ‘Turtle Dovin’ and ‘What is the Secret of Your Success’ which both rank as high as any A-Side. Absolutely essential.
Those Hoodlum Friends…Coasters in Stereo comprises 49 tracks of rare stereo takes of some of the hits and also key album cuts and out-takes, as well as a full disc packed with composite studio tracks and alternate versions and studio chatter from the archive, many of which have never been released before. Jazz standards like ‘Moonglow’, ‘Autumn Leaves’, ‘Moonlight in Vermont’ and ‘Sunny Side of the Street’ are recorded with orchestras and show a more polished traditional jazz and balladeering side to their style, which although perfectly good is not quite as exciting as their more forthright material. While many early stereo recordings are inferior to their mono comparisons, the mixes here are sharp, luxurious and well defined. Definitely one for the already converted, collectors and connoisseurs, but it’s a look at this important music from a slightly altered angle (‘Run Red Run’ and ‘The Snake and the Bookworm’ offer very fresh perspectives in their alternate forms).
Both these generous collections are finely packaged, expertly compiled sets, that are lovingly annotated with encyclopedic attention to detail. History has never been so much damn good fun!
Ian Fildes AmericanaUK 9/10
A simply fabulous collection! If you missed out on the limited edition four CD set issued by Rhino Handmade in 2007 the History Of RnB label comes to the rescue with two double sets featuring everything that this fabulous group recorded for Spark and Atco between 1954 and 1962 including a couple of items that were not on the Rhino set but omitting the post 1962 recordings which were generally not as good as the earlier sides. Set comes with 24 page booklet with informative notes, rare photos, label shots and posters. A fabulous set with great sound. Roots & Rhythm