Liner Note Author: Sam Szczepanski.
As clever an idea for a compilation as they come, Ace's 2015 collection Second Helpings: Sequels to the Songs That Left 'Em Hungry for More rounds up 24 singles that were explicit sequels to hits. Almost all of these songs date from the first half of the '60s -- the ringer is the closing "My Image of a Girl (Is You)," where the doo wop group the Safaris revisited a hit in 1989, many years after the original -- and there's no strict stylistic guideline, either. Many of these songs are pop in some fashion but there's also a lot of country, rock & roll, soul, and even blues, with Slim Harpo turning "I'm a King Bee" into "Little Queen Bee (Got a Brand New King)," a song that illustrates just how shameless almost every one of these sequels was. The bittersweet exception is Buddy Holly's "Peggy Sue Got Married," where the object of his affection grows up and moves on, here presented in a version overdubbed by the Fireballs in 1966. Everything else rides on the coattails of the hit -- Booker T. & the MG's serve up "Mo' Onions," Paul Anka asks you to "Remember Diana," the Shirelles thrill that "(Mama) My Soldier Boy Is Coming Home" -- and the fun of the collection lies in that blatant calculation: even the stars (and maybe especially their labels) want another big hit, so they'll follow the path of least resistance toward their goal. Even if the songs aren't great -- which is more often than not -- the spirit is fun, and there are some memorable singles here, too: George Jones is horrified that his baby brought home "Root Beer" instead of white lightning, the Marvelettes swing with the "Twistin' Postman," Marty Robbins remembers "Feleena (From El Paso)" and, of course, Harpo proves that his low-key, low-down groove sounds good on any song or in any setting. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine