Remember Me Baby

by: The Earls

The Earls were a one-hit outfit, best known for their number 29 hit from 1963, "Remember When," a perennial romance/nostalgia anthem that got regular airings on oldies stations from the late-'60s onward. By the time they were on Old Town, they were actually something of a hybrid, a doo wop outfit in spirit who had a self-contained band -- Dick Levister (organ), Jimmy Fracasti (guitar), and Bobby Tzibuzio (drums) made a pretty good core group for Larry Chance (lead), Jack Wray (bass), Ronnie Calabrese (tenor), and Eddie Harder (tenor). Their sound was a slick and ornate version of R&B vocal harmony, generally coming more from the Italian than the black side of the tradition (they were a racially mixed group, with one black member), imbued with pop music slickness. This in no way detracted from the beauty, beat, or sheer attractiveness of what they produced -- it simply means that, given the least encouragement, they veered toward the smooth, commercial side of music, especially where Larry Chance's solo outings were concerned. This 22-song collection is mastered well and includes most of the essentials and a lot more besides -- apart from "Remember When" and similarly patterned efforts like "Cry Cry Cry," and the more sedate "Remember Me Baby," there are overtly pop sides like "Don't Forget," predictable if enjoyable dance numbers like "Let's Waddle" (which owes more than a bit of its content to "Twist and Shout"), and glorious efforts like "Never," in which the vocal interplay (and, particularly, Chance's performance) remains astounding no matter how many times one hears it; and a version of "Old Man River" that's sufficiently dramatic but ultimately can't carry the running time it's been given. The sound is more than acceptable, though one wishes there were new, more detailed notes, rather than a reprint of the vague jacket notes from the original LP of this title. ~ Bruce Eder

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