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Splendid collection of pre rock and roll favorites.

  • Dec 20, 2008
In the early 1950's, before the dawn of rock and roll, vocal groups were all the rage. This was certainly the case in black communities across America where one could find vocal groups performing on almost every street corner. To a somewhat lesser extent this phenomenon also existed in white America. It was certainly quite apparent on radio and television especially during the first half of the decade. Of all of the popular white vocal groups of that era, I would have to say that my favorite was probably the Four Aces. "The Best of The Four Aces" was released in England in 2001. This collection offers a fine overview of the groups body of work from the fabulous fifies. During that decade the group hit the Billboard pop charts a total of 44 times and 10 of the tunes made it into the Top Ten. Just about everyone should be familiar with the groups most popular songs. "Love Is A Many Splendored Thing" from 1956 made it all the way to the top of the charts and remained there for 6 big weeks. Some years earlier in 1951, "Tell Me Why", a tune co-written by lead singer Al Alberts spent 24 weeks on the charts and peaked at #2. And who can forget other great hits like "Three Coins In The Fountain", "Heart and Soul" and my all time favorite Aces tune "The Gang That Sang 'Heart of My Heart'". That one makes me yearn for the elusive "good old days". All of these big hits are included among the 18 tracks on this disc. I opted for this import disc over MCA's American release "The Four Aces Greatest Hits" because it features 2 tunes not included in that compilation. "Friendly Persuasion (Thee I Love)" and "The World Outside" are terrific songs and very hard to come by. To my great disappointment, one song that failed to make the cut was the group's 1954 offering "Wedding Bells (Are Breaking Up That Old Gang Of Mine)". Since most of these recordings were made more than 50 years ago you might be wondering about the sound quality on this one. Rest assured that even though all but one of the cuts are presented in "mono", I found the fidelity on this disc to be superb. For those who are concerned with such things I must report that the liner notes are brief and very ordinary. But this is a minor flaw. Suffice to say that if you are a fan of group harmony this one would be a nice addition to your music collection. Highly recommended!

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Paul Tognetti ()
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I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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The Four Aces, led by the at times overpowering lead voice of Al Alberts, had a string of solid hits in the early '50s ("Mister Sandman," "Three Coins in a Fountain," "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing," "[It's No] Sin," "Tell Me Why"), and while it would be easy to pass them off as just another competent vocal quartet blessed with uptown songs, the truth is, their sound is just slightly odd. Not enough to alarm anybody, but enough to make them worthy of a second look. The lush string arrangements on "Three Coins" and "Splendored" give them a huge, sweeping cinematic feel that suits the throw-the-stops-out singing style of Alberts to a T. At the other end of the scale, both "(It's No) Sin" and "Tell Me Why" are structured around simple roller-rink organ arrangements that are just a little eerie in their steady bubbling. The vocal harmonies at first seem pretty standard, but are actually quite innovative, with Alberts' lead always threatening to run away with everything, and the tension that creates just below the surface of these songs is fascinating. We're not talking the Mills Brothers here, but as this collection shows, we're not talking cookie-cutter pop, either. ~ Steve Leggett, All Music Guide 

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Artist: The Four Aces
Label: Polygram International
Genre: Traditional and Vocal Pop
Release Date: September 18, 2001

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