“The Very Best of the Drifters” (Metro Select) This enjoyably dated anthology focusses attention on the Drifters’ classic recordings from the fifties and early sixties,including several gems from Ben E.King’s highly productive stint with the group, including “Save The Last Dance For Me,” “This Magic Moment” and “There Goes My Baby,” the 1959 hit which made revolutionary use of a full string orchestra for the first time on a rock’n’roll record. Their constantly shifting lineup meant that in later years quite a few former members would take to the stage in an often vain attempt to convince audiences that they were the authentic Drifters, but the 58 tracks featured here are unquestionably the genuine article, and well worth an hour or so of anyone’s time.
Sad Cafe,”Live” (Cherry Red CDLEMD221) Sad Cafe’s stylish brand of soft rock is captured in all its melodic glory in this undemanding 2 CD set,which was recorded at Manchester’s Apollo Theatre over three nights in April 1980. Vocalist Paul Young would later go on to achieve even greater fame and fortune as frontman of the similarly slick Mike and the Mechanics but the soulful Mancunian was in particularly fine fettle at these triumphant hometown shows as Sad Cafe served up immaculate performances of much loved crowd pleasers such as “My Oh My,” “Strange Little Girl” and their most popular creation, “Every Day Hurts.”
The Korgis, “...by appointment” (Angel Air SJPCD452)The newly reformed Korgis celebrate their return to the fray with the release of a typically tuneful package featuring rerecordings of the best of their repertoire from the late seventies and early eighties. The mildly eccentric Bristolian duo are obviously firm believers in the enduring power of a quirkily memorable melody and some fine examples of their distinctive songwriting style are gathered together here, including “If I Had You,” “Mount Everest Sings The Blues” and their 1980 hit, “Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime.”
“Simply Jazz After Dark” (Union Square Music) This inexpensive 4 CD set explores the more mellow end of the jazz spectrum, boasting no less than seventy tracks from many of the leading lights of the genre during the fifties and sixties. Luminaries such as John Coltrane, Lester Young, Charles Mingus and Miles Davis all make telling instrumental contributions to the proceedings, and the compilers have also found space to showcase the vocal abilities of the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and the legendary Billie Holiday,who chips in with the classic “That Ole Devil Called Love.”