Save the Last Dance for Me

by: The Drifters

The first LP appearance by the Ben E. King-era Drifters, as was usually the case with this group, took place more than a year after King himself had left the group, replaced by Rudy Lewis whose voice is featured on most of the tracks here. This album is more unified than its predecessor, which is understandable as it appeared in the wake of a succession of hits utilizing the same core group and the same style of production, mixing strings into an R&B sound and creating something new and attractive that crossed over very easily to pop listeners. "When My Little Girl Is Smiling," "Room Full of Tears," and the title track exemplify the sound, but the finest cut here might be "Nobody but Me." A Doc Pomus/Mort Shuman-authored B-side to the title cut, "Nobody but Me" should have been a hit in its own right. Actually, as with prior releases by the group, the album is comprised of single A- and B-sides, including "Please Stay," "Jackpot," and "Mexican Divorce." The album also provides a likely explanation for the non-release of the excellent "She Never Talked to Me That Way": its similarity (especially in the chorus) to another Pomus/Shuman number on this album, "Somebody New Dancing With You," which was cut earlier and probably precluded the release of "She Never Talked to Me That Way" on a single at the time. ~ Bruce Eder

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