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Dahl's Digs: Run the scale from Diddley to doo-wop to Darin

Jan & Dean’s early ’60s hits were the perfect musical personification of the sun-and-fun southern California lifestyle: surfing and hot rodding were their twin passions. So, how can you recapture that fun now? And what other new releases are out from your favorites?

Road Runner/The Chess Masters, 1959-1960 is Hip-O Select’s second exhaustive two-CD look at Bo Diddley’s massive Chess Records discography, and if the titles aren’t as familiar on this 52-tracker as its predecessor, they’re every bit as exciting.

There are more alternate takes this time, more unissued gems, and just as much inspired lunacy from the rock and roll guitar pioneer as he roars through “She’s Alright,” “Run Diddley Daddy,” “Cadillac,” and “Let Me In,” and picks up his violin for a bizarre treatment of “To Each His Own.” (


For a lot of East Coast doo-wop aficionados, the genre doesn’t get any better than The Five Satins’ 1956 hit “In The Still Of The Nite.” Acrobat’s three-CD The Five Satins Chronicles is the most comprehensive collection ever issued by the New Haven quintet: 65 tracks by the group and Fred Parris’ pre-Satins group, The Scarlets, whose eight 1954-55 classics for Red Robin open the set.

The third CD trawls the Ember Records vaults for a slew of alternates, including contrasting takes of their signature song and “To The Aisle.” (


Beautifully blending crisp doo-wop harmonies with the emerging soul sound, The Manhattans made hits for a full quarter century. Shout! Factory’s Sweet Talking Soul 1965-1990 spreads the Jersey City-bred vocal group’s classics over three CDs, beginning with eight of their splendid early sides for Carnival Records (“I Wanna Be [Your Everything],” “Can I”) and seven more hard-to-find cuts for DeLuxe.

From there, the comp eases into the group’s avalanche of slick ’70s ballad smashes for Columbia, led by the spine-chilling R&B chart-topper “Kiss And Say Goodbye,” and ultimately follows them all the way up to 1990. (


Two dozen hard-driving soul groovers with a tinge of blues, ranging from the late ’50s to the late ’60s, comprise Kent’s New Breed R&B with Added Popcorn. Foremost is Luther Ingram’s previously unreleased workout “Oh Baby Don’t You Weep;” Banny Price, Chet “Poison” Ivey, Gene Burks, Paul Clifton, King James, “Marry” Clayton and Barbara Perry’s “A Man Is A Mean Mean Thing” (also unissued) are similarly infectious. (

Kent also pays tribute to an unsung New York producer/composer on the 24-song anthology Larry Banks’ Soul Family Album, leading with his wife Bessie Banks’ stunning ’64 original “Go Now” before digging deeper into Banks’ exploits with ’60s tracks by second wife Jaibi, Kenny Carter, Milton Bennett and vocal groups both unknown (The Shaladons, Devonnes, Geminis, Dynamics, Cavaliers) and not (The Hesitations and Exciters). The late Banks sings the uptown soul standouts “Will You Wait” and “Ooh It Hurts Me.”


It seems so obvious, yet no CD reissue label ever compiled a comprehensive overview of Bobby Darin’s early rock and roll exploits on Atco prior to Bear Family’s Bobby Rocks.

Its 36 tracks include all the expected hits —“Splish Splash,” “Queen Of The Hop”