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Various Artists: Great R&B Duets

Track List

>Baby (You've Got What It Takes) - Brook Benton/Dinah Washington
>Love Is Strange - Mickey & Sylvia
>Gee Baby - Joe & Ann
>Let the Good Times Roll - Shirley & Lee
>Over the Mountain, Across the Sea - Johnnie & Joe
>Ko Ko Mo (I Love You So) - Gene & Eunice
>Hope You're Satisfied - Betty & Dupree
>You're Mine - Robert & Johnny
>Creepin', Crawlin', Cryin' - Billy & Lillie
>Cherry Pie - Marvin & Johnny
>It's Gonna Work Out Fine - Ike & Tina Turner
>I Think You Jiving Me - Huey & Jerry
>I'm Leaving It (All) Up to You - Don & Dewey
>Bewildered - Mickey & Sylvia
>Chains of Love - Bob & Earl
>Eddie My Love - The Teen Queens
>It's Too Late - Tarheel Slim & Little Ann
>Let's Get Together - Oscar McLollie & Annette
>Real Gone Party - Ruth & Al
>Tick Tock - Marvin & Johnny
>Poco-Loco - Gene & Eunice
>Love Me - Willy & Ruth
>Dream Girl - Robert & Johnny
>If I Can't Have You - Etta & Harvey
>Rockin' Good Way, A (To Mess Around and Fall in Love) - Brook Benton/Dinah Washington

Album Notes

Includes liner notes by Stuart Colman.

The R&B duets that this 25-track anthology emphasizes are those from the early days of rock & roll, spanning 1954-1960. The song selection is a bit quirky and uneven, but generally it's a pretty good sampling of some hits and choice obscurities from the era, emphasizing male-female duets most often, but also including male duos and a solitary female duo (the Teen Queens, with their doo wop hit "Eddie My Love"). A number of these tunes are familiar hit classics: Mickey & Sylvia's "Love Is Strange," Brook Benton & Dinah Washington's "Baby (You've Got What It Takes)" and "A Rockin' Good Way (To Mess Around and Fall in Love)," Ike & Tina Turner's "It's Gonna Work Out Fine," Shirley & Lee's "Let the Good Times Roll," Johnny & Joe's "Over the Mountain, Across the Sea," among others. More intriguing for those in search of something they might have seldom or never heard are cuts like Tarheel Slim & Little Ann's splendid "It's Too Late," a minor-key haunter with scarifying blues/gospel overtones. Also on hand are a number of original versions of songs that became more famous via subsequent white cover versions: Gene & Eunice's "Ko Ko Mo (I Love You So)," Marvin & Johnny's "Cherry Pie" (later a hit for Skip & Flip), Don & Dewey's "I'm Leaving It (All) Up to You" (later a huge hit for Dale & Grace), and most enticingly of all Willy & Ruth's original 1954 version of Leiber-Stoller's "Love Me" (covered in 1956 by Elvis Presley). Some of the other relatively unknown selections are on the forgettable side, but overall this is a good alternation of familiar and unfamiliar performances in this early rock & roll subgenre. ~ Richie Unterberger


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