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Lunch » Tags » Music » Reviews » P.S. I Love You: The Best of The Hilltoppers » User review

Nice collection of this popular vocal group from the pre rock & roll era.

  • Dec 18, 2008
Rating:
+2
Fans of the Hilltoppers will certainly have no complaints with this collection. "P.S. I Love You: The Best of the Hilltoppers" offers up 18 tracks including all of the group's biggest records. In the three year period from 1953 through 1955 the Hilltoppers were a fixture on Billboards "Hot 100". In fact, 9 of their tunes would become Top Ten hits. Each and every one of them is included in this very fine anthology from Varese Sarabonde.
Led by talented lead vocalist Jimmy Sacca, the Hilltoppers recorded a number of memorable tunes including "Till Then", "P.S. I Love You", "I'd Rather Die Young" and the #3 smash "Marianne". It might also be worth noting that the group also included Billy Vaughn who would go on to have a quite a few instrumental hits as leader of the Billy Vaughn Orchestra. One of my favorite selections on this disc is a tune called "Time Waits For No One" which peaked at #25 late in 1954. I also enjoyed "The Kentuckian Song" as well as the groups very first hit record "Trying". As usual, Varese Sarabond does a nice job with the 8 page booklet that is included here and I found the sound quality to be excellent.
One might wonder why I would give "P.S. I Love You: The Best of The Hilltoppers" just three stars. The truth of the matter is that I found a good many of these songs to be rather bland and somwhat monotonous which was not an unusual criticism for Dot recordings in those days. While I can enjoy listening to 3 or 4 of these tunes here and there this is not a disc I would ever play in it's entirety. Frankly, I prefer the music of some of the Hilltoppers contemporaries like the Four Aces, Four Lads, Four Coins and the Ames Brothers. As an avid collector, I own this disc primarily because I find it to be the best available collection from a significant group of this era. In most cases, I find myself deducting points from an anthology because the record company failed to include meaningful liner notes or maybe because the sound quality is mediocre. But in this case I find that the music leaves something to be desired. As such, I can only offer up a lukewarm recommendation at best.
The Hilltoppers

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Paul Tognetti ()
Ranked #2
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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Wiki

The Hilltoppers were a pop vocal quartet that lit up the hit list in the early 50's to the tune of 25 charters in five and a half years, but in early 1952 Jimm Sacca (23, lead), Seymour Spiegelman (21, tenor), and Don McGuire (21, bass) were just three students at Western Kentucky State College.

They sang barbershop harmony at the Goal Posts, the campus candy store and hangout. What turned the barbershop banter into serious singing was Jimmy's association with a piano player in the Ace Dining band, Billy Vaughn. The college was located in Bowling Green where Ace's band played, and Jimmy would occasionally sit in.(Ace, by the way, was the brother of Lou, Ginger and Jean, the Dinning Sisters of Chicago whose 1948 million seller "Butons and Bows" helped keep girl groups visible in the 1940's)

In the spring of 1952 Billy wrote a song he felt would be terrific for Jimmy's voice called "Trying" but wanted a group to sing it with him. Now the college barbershop boys had a purpose and a fourth member since 30-year old Vaugn turned out to be the baritone they were missing.

On a Satruday in April the campus cutup cut a session in Van Meter Auditorium on the school grounds. Vaughn then took the ballad to local disc jockey Bill Stamps at WLBJ, who programmed it and received enough phone call response to watrrant sending it on to his old boss Randy Wood at Dot Records in Gallatin, Tennessee. Wood liked the group so much he shufled of to Bowling Green to sign the boys. The no-name group ...

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Details

Performer: The Hilltoppers
Release Date: October 25, 1994
Label: Varese Sarabande
Genre: Pop Vocal
Release Date: October 25, 1994
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