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Various Artists

Good Old Summertime - 33 Hot Sunny Gems For Your Summer Holidays

Review by Gary Hill

As the weather is heading toward warmer zones (at least in the Northern Hemisphere), the theme of this compilation from Bear Family Records seems appropriate.  Bear Family is pretty consistent in putting out quality releases of oldies, and this set really fits with that theme, too. We get everything from crooner music to jazz, rock and roll and more here. The digipack case includes an extensive booklet, and the whole thing is a class act.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2021  Volume 2. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2021.

Track by Track Review
Evelyn Knight & The Stardusters - Powder Your Face With Sunshine
An old school pop tune with a real musical theater vibe, this is fun, but not my thing.
Derrell Felts - It's A Great Big Day
1950s rock and roll is on the menu here. I like the changes to this cut, and the track has some rockabilly in the mix.           
Toni Dee - June, July And August
A high-energy cut, this has plenty of rock and roll along with doo-wop in the mix.. I like the guitar solo and the slightly raw edge of the tune is cool.
Gene & Billy - It's Hot
A classic rock and roll progression is at the heart of this tune. I'm reminded to a good degree of Chuck Berry on this song. I like the guitar fills on the number. This song is pretty classy.
Pee Wee Crayton - Rockin' The Blues
There is a down-home rock and roll meets jazz concept at play here. This is fun, but not one of the standouts here.
The Dovells - Summer Job

This bouncy little groove is fun. It has some doo wop styled vocals.

The Del Vikings - The Sun
The doo wop ballad concepts of this tune are classic and classy. The lead vocal line is mostly spoken on the tune.
Gerald Sims - Cool Breeze
I dig the drums that lead this track off. The cut works to a more mainstream 50s rock sound from there. It has a bit too precious arrangement via the backing vocals and strings, though.
The Videls - Now That Summer Is Here
Speaking of a precious arrangement, this one definitely has that. It's a doo-wop styled ballad. It's pretty lightweight stuff, even in comparison to the rest of the music here.
Joe Jones - California Sun
This bouncy number with jazz and rock and roll is a real highlight. It's a well-known tune, and a catchy one at that.
The Charades - Surf N' Stomp

Bouncy doo-wop styled music is on the menu here. It's pretty fun, if dated.         

The Pyramids - Bikini Drag
Now, this is more my kind of thing. I love surf guitar music, and that's what we've got here. It also includes a scorching saxophone solo, all in a tasty instrumental arrangement. This is a highlight of the disc for me.
Annette Funicello - Bikini Beach Party
Bouncy energized old-school rock and roll, this is fun stuff. I suppose since "fun" is in Funicello's name, you should expect that, right?              
Andrea Carroll - Please Don't Talk To The Lifeguard
This feels like musical theater to me. It seems like something that would have fit in "Grease." It's silly, but also entertaining.
The Andrews Sisters - Her Bathing Suit Never Got Wet
Theatrical, this cut is fun. It's a tasty jazzy romp.
Dick Glasser (a.k.a. Dick Lory) - Jeannie's Bikini
Old school rock and roll, the piano and vocals really steal the show on this number.
Edmundo Ros & his Orchestra - Summertime
This jazz instrumental piece has some cool melodies and great textures.
Debbie Reynolds - Summer Romance
A song built around the pop music of the era, this is a balladic piece that's pretty effective.
Jimmy Daley & The Ding-A-Lings (Kip Tyler) - Summer Love
A bouncy rock and roller, this tune is a lot of fun. I love the guitar soloing that explodes out later.
Richard Barrett & The Chantels - Summer's Love

A pretty ballad, this is set in that classic 50s ballad style.

The Sh-Booms - Short Skirts

This is a bouncy and fun little tune.

The Shades feat. The Knott Sisters - Sun Glasses

Doo wop is the order of business on this tune.         

Jerry Lee Lewis - Milkshake Mademoiselle
This rockabilly stomper is unmistakable Jerry Lee Lewis. It's a fun cut with some crazed piano. It's another highlight of the set.
Don Carroll - Seven Up And Ice Cream Soda

A rather silly tune, this is bouncy and fun.

Lorrae Desmond - Soda Pop Hop
Another that's bouncy, I like this. It's silly and very dated, but it's also particularly catchy and entertaining.
Jan Raye Quartet feat. Lilyann - Soda Pop
This has a swinging jazz arrangement. The vocal hooks are infectious and the saxophone wails. It's another standout tune.  
Donny Baker With The Dimensionals - Drinkin' Pop-Sodee-Odee (Pop Pop)
While this is fun, it's not as effective as the last couple pieces were. I like the crowd singing parts, and the musical punctuation is cool.
Dean Martin - In The Cool, Cool, Cool Of The Evening
With the jazzy kind of arrangement you'd expect from Dean Martin, this number is a lot of fun. He always had such a smooth voice, and it shines here.
The Four Mints - Night Air
A high-energy romp, this is fun.
Mel Tormé - Moonlight Cocktail
Speaking of smooth voices, Mel Tormé might be the poster-child for that label. I like the jazz arrangement here, particularly when it drops to a piano dominated movement. This song is all class, and actually another highlight of the set.
Joey Welz & His Rock-A-Billy Piano - Shore Party
This is one of those old school rock and roller with no lyrics other than the title. This is a fun romp, and another standout tune.           
King Curtis & The Noble Knights - Beach Party
I dig the smooth groove of this cut.
The Kirby Stone Four - In The Good Old Summertime
Old fashioned music is at the heart of this. The tune is a musical theater kind of song. It's not my thing, but it's fun.
 
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