ARTIST: The Drifters
TITLE: The Definitive Soul Collection
YEAR RELEASED: Compilation
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Top 5: Money Honey (#1 US R&B), Honey Love (#21 US, #1 US R&B), White Christmas (#80 US, #5 US R&B), Such a Night (#2 US R&B), Whatcha Gonna Do (#2 US R&B), Adorable (#1 US R&B), Steamboat (#5 US R&B), There Goes My Baby (#2 US, #1 US R&B), (If You Cry) True Love, True Love (#33 US, #5 US R&B), Dance with Me (#15 US, #2 US R&B), This Magic Moment (#16, #4 US R&B), Save the Last Dance for Me (#1 US, #1 US R&B), #2 UK), Up on the Roof (#5 US, #4 US R&B), Under the Boardwalk (#4 US, #45 US R&B), #45 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: On Broadway – it hit #9 and #7 R&B only!
LINEUP: Lead Singers on these tracks: Clyde McPhatter, Bill Pinkney, Johnny Moore, Johnny Lee Williams, Ben E. King, Rudy Lewis, Charlie Thomas
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Probably the greatest 50’s vocal group – this collection spans their prime years from 1953-65.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The Drifters churned through several members and lead singers, but one thing was certain in their prime period. Their material and vocals would be impeccable.
From the early days, with Clyde McPhatter’s distinctive voice, to the sides sung by Johnny Moore, then Ben E King, then finally with Lewis, the Drifters were consistent hit makers, and introduced several songs into the pantheon of music.
Their only fallow periods were 1957 through 1958, until Ben E. King established himself as the voice (and the manager fired the entire group before hand). But when he hit his stride, they were a constant presence on the charts. Every music fan needs a good Drifters collection.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Getting a really good, thorough Drifters collection is a chore. Atlantic has a lot of their early albums streaming, which is fine but a bit overwhelming. They also have collections of singles and masters, but those end around 1960 or 1962, so the later stuff isn’t compiled there. There are also a lot of pseudo-hits albums, done by later versions of the Drifters with no original members. (This is what happens when a manager owns the name of the group, not the group members).
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No. But there are other compilations.
GRADE: A: A must have, in some permutation.