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Various Artists

Meet Me At The Candy Store - 31 Sweets for the Dentist's Joy

Review by Gary Hill

This collection focuses on musical celebrations of sweet treats. While there is quite a range of music here, I don't think that there are any real duds here. I will say that the order could have been improved from my point of view. It seems to me that too many songs of the same basic type are grouped together. I think it would have been a more exciting ride had similar things been separated more. That said, this is an effective collection of retro music.

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Track by Track Review
The Chesterfields - Meet Me At The Candy Store  

 This starts with just doo wop vocals. Some instruments appear later, but in an understated way. Some cool rock and rolling guitar and saxophone gain prominence later. I'm not a fan of doo wop, so this doesn't do that much for me.

The Capers - Candy Store Blues
Now this bluesy rock and roller is more like it. It does still include doo wop backing vocals, but the whole thing just rocks better. I like the piano a lot. The lead vocal has some real gravitas to it.
The Val-Chords - Candy Store Love
This is a driving rocker that works pretty well. It's another with a lot of doo wop in it.    
Johnny Redd - Bubble Gum
More of an in your face 50s rock and roller, I'd consider this to be a step up from the songs that preceded it. The saxophone solo is all class, and the tune is one of the stronger ones here.
Judy Valentine - Gum Drop
This rock out well enough, but I'm not crazy about lead vocal. She seems like she's trying to sound like a little kid. Add in the doo wop stuff, too, and I think it's one of the weaker things here.
Nat Russell - Chocolata      
Now, this is more like it. There is a bluesy  groove to it. The piano is classy. The vocals are a bit too tame for me, but the music manages to elevate it. So does the lack of doo wop vocals.
Ricky & The Vacels - Bubble Gum (Twist)
Doo wop vocals bring this cut into being. The number has a good energy and groove. It works reasonably well. The guitar solo break is classic.    
The Casual Three - Candy Store Blues
The guitar plinking and jamming in the backdrop is a nice touch. The vocal arrangement definitely lands in the doo wop zone.
The Ames Brothers - Candy Bar Boogie
I love the horns on this thing. There is a jazzy, bluesy concept at play here.
Eddie Miller & His Band - Patty Cake Man 
A bouncy romp, this tune is a lot of fun. It has plenty of old school rock and roll in the mix, but also some more country styled sound. The piano is an important feature of the tune.
Kidd Baker - Big Rock Candy Mountain
This is full country music. It has a real down-home vibe to it.
The Trail Riders - Jelly Do-Nuts
Bluegrass music is on the menu here. This is energetic and a lot of fun. In fact, I'd consider it to be another highlight. It features some prominent fiddle playing.
Charlie Walker - The Chocolate Song  
Cajun bluegrass sounds are at the heart of this classy tune. I love the guitar picking on the instrumental break.        
Buddy Greco & His Quintet - Bon Bons, Chocolates And Chewing Gum
A full jazz arrangement is on display here. This is a swinging tune that works so well. The recording seems a little bit of a step down from the rest of the stuff here, though.
Allan Copeland & The Hotrodders - Rock Candy Baby
I dig the horns on this. There are doo wop vocals on this, but they are pretty darn effective. The tune is packed full of energy and is a fun rock and roller with jazz angles.
Big Bill Schaeffer - I Hate But I Like Popcorn      
Rockabilly drives this song. It's another fun one, but perhaps not a standout. The guitar solo is absolutely classic, though.
Frank Virtuoso Quintette - Cotton Candy
This instrumental includes plenty of both jazz and rock and roll. It's a tasty groove.
Chuck Cabot & His Orchestra - Chocolate Cha Cha
This is a cha cha, but you can get that from the title. It's a Latin based tune with a bouncy vibe. It makes good use of horns, too.     
Tito Rodriguez - Cara-Caramel Choco-Chocolate
Another with a bit of a Latin vibe to it, this is packed full of powerful jazz music. It's a highlight of the set for me.
Lola Ameche - Sticky Apple And Bubble Gum
Another jazzy tune, this is a little over arranged and too vanilla for my tastes. It's certainly set in a contemporary pop soundscape.
Ronnie Diamond - Candy Store
Thjs is more like it. It has a great rock and roll groove.        
Mamie Bradley - The Patty Cake    
A bluesy, jazzy grind is on the menu here. This is packed with style and charm.
The Crew Cuts - Candy
A mellow tune, this has a good horn section at play. The tune is more of a crooner styled piece. It works quite well.   
Larry Dean & The Sisters - Bubblegum  
I really love the piano on this little romp. The vocal arrangement is interesting, if a little tame.
Sugar & Spice - Strawberry Shortcake
This is a bouncy tune that is a little too vanilla for me. Still, it has good energy and some solid hooks.
The Drifters - Cherry Chocolate Twist     
I love the guitar sound on this romp. Other than a vocal introduction, this is an instrumental set well in a surf guitar mode.
The Candymen - Candy Bar Twist
Here we get a classy old-school rock and roller. This is another fun one.    
The Col-Lee-Jets - Jam & Jelly
This high energy instrumental jam is on fire. I dig the guitar soond, and the wailing horns are so strong, too.      
The Kresents - Maple Syrup    
Here we get another up-tempo instrumental rock and roller. The guirar soloing on this is so strong. This has a punky edge to it. It's rockabilly meets surf guitar and more.
The McGuire Sisters - Sugartime Twist (stereo version)   
While I dig the rocking music portion of this number, the vocals don't work as well for me. They just seem too dull.
Art Mooney & His Orchestra, Vocal by Betty Harris - If I Knew You Were Comin' I'd've Baked A Cake
This is a classic version of a classic tune. It has a real jazz band sing and swing vibe it it. It is very effective and one of the highlights here.
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