Various Artists

Since doo-wop masters the Platters and the Drifters are shimmying through Irving Arts Center this week, now's as good a time as any to take a listen to Doo Wop Vocal Group Greats, the umpteenth doo-wop box set (which happens to feature both touring groups) to hit stores in time for yet another gift-giving season. Makes sense--you won't find a better balance between quality and safety than a doo-wop compilation, which means neither Grandma, Dad nor Aunt Clara will be offended by Huey "Piano" Smith and the Clowns' "Little Bitty Pretty One" come Christmas Day. So what makes this one worth buying more than the others? Most of the songs have been remastered in stereo, which might make this set ideal for audiophile collectors, yet the set itself isn't particularly comprehensive in either its songs or liner notes. Sure, there are 60 classics here, but everything aside from the sound quality seems tailored toward casual listeners. That means rabid record-collecting Uncle Frank might pine for more, but musically clueless Aunt Clara will steal it from him to listen to on occasion. And isn't that what Christmas is all about?
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sam Machkovech