Although he's lumped in with the gaggle of Bobbies and Frankies that sent rock & roll into its first stages of manufactured, pre-packaged teen pop oblivion, Louisiana-born and -bred Jimmy Clanton had a lot more to offer. Growing up in a musical scene far removed from New York City slickness, Clanton's vocals had a lot more soul than his contemporaries; he played guitar and wrote many of his own songs. This 24-track collection shows how Clanton started recording in New Orleans, utilizing many of that city's best R&B players to make a sound with much more emotional and musical depth than the other teen idols of his day. As the compilation moves forward to the end of his hit-making days, however, the teen confections start coming to the fore, with slicker productions appended to them. But Clanton's more soulful sense of phrasing imparts a more listenable quality to even these tracks than just about any Fabian record you'd care to name. If you're willing to reject him on teen-magazine pretty-boy looks alone, you're missing out on perhaps some of the best music from that genre contained on this superior-sounding disc. He could rock, he could croon, and he wasn't gaffed to singing some songwriter's second-rate mewly handouts. In the pop landscape of that era, that's saying a lot.
Cub Koda, Rovi