The Coasters are best known for their dynamic delivery, writing the book on harmonies and vocal interplay, allowing their songs to ride on a loosely fitting instrumental structure, and relying on numbers that are designed for the younger person, not so much because they’re immature, but because they’re more of a novelty in nature. But even so, tunes like “Smokey Joe’s Cafe,” “Yakety Yak,” and “Young Blood” will forever live in the minds of those who were around when the songs were receiving so much AM air time in the mid 1950’s and early 60’s, and a constant request at Sock Hops across America at the time.
Many of their songs were penned by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, artists in their own right, who managed to take The Coasters out of the Doo Woop circuit and move them into the R&B/Rock & Roll genre; though their music was covered and imitated so often that they will forever be linked to Doo Woop ... but that’s what happens when evolution takes place, with a constant looking back in order to redefine the future.
Every once in a while The Coasters would float a song like “Down In Mexico,” a song that was so unexpected and so good that it transcended time and boundaries. A tune like that would have me holding my breath, hoping that the next outing from the band would be equally dynamic and engaging. Even so, The Coasters will forever be part of a musical legacy, and though they toured under various lineups, any of their incarnations put on a splendid show.
But to this album 50 Coastin’ Classics, this is the one you need, this is the complete compilation. After all, The Coasters only put out five albums, and twenty eight ‘A Side’ singles ... yet have managed to tally something in the neighborhood of eighteen compilations, with I’m sure, more to come. While 50 tracks by The Coasters may be way more than you need, this is certainly a release that is both worth your time and your consideration. There is no way I’m going to tell you that you’re going to find yourself playing these selections over and over, they will certainly become part of your musical reference library, and a timeless source of satisfaction for the lineage and development of classic R&B and early Rock & Roll.
Enjoy! Vol.1 & Vol.2