Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Drifters: The Very Best of the Drifters [Rhino, 1995]
Contract singers hired out to contract producers, the post-1958 Drifters were pop product as perfect as Abba or the Archies: where some cite Ben E. King's "There Goes My Baby" as primal soul music, I say Leiber & Stoller's "There Goes My Baby" was the first true rock and roll record with violins on it. Here the product is reduced to 16 songs in 41 minutes--roofs and boardwalks, last dances and numbered tears, this magic moment and some kind of wonderful. Deprived of such professionalism, beach music would be immeasurably poorer. A