Co-Ed Records Story

Co-Ed Records Story


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Coed was one of the crowd of New York labels riding the doo wop and light pop-rock wave in the late '50s and early '60s. It was not hugely successful, but it was more successful than some, getting some big hits with the Crests and the Duprees, as well as lower-charting items by acts like the Rivieras and Trade Martin. Its group harmony sides, often sweetened by strings and pop-friendly tunes, are the focal points of this 30-song collection, drawn from 1958-1964 singles (some issued on Coed subsidiary Companion). It's another of those anthologies where, whether because of familiarity or (more likely) higher quality, the hits -- the Crests' "16 Candles," "Step by Step," "Trouble in Paradise," and "The Angels Listened In," as well as the Duprees' "You Belong to Me" -- really stick out from the pack. The remainder of the disc is fair but also-ran music of its time and place. It brings forth images of ducktails, bobby sox, and door stoops in the Bronx and Philadelphia (not to mention professional slicksters grinding out grist for the teenage consumer mill), but does not beg for repeated spins. As with many compilations that drag their nets over a fairly sizable label's back catalog, some oddities of interest to collectors pop up. Ronnie & the Schoolmates' 1964 single "Don't, Don't, Don't Drop Out" features the lead of Ronnie Bright, a session singer best known for his bass vocals on Johnny Cymbal's hit "Mr. Bass Man." The Calendars' "I'm Gonna Laugh at You" has a vocal arrangement designed to shamelessly exploit the Marcels' "Blue Moon." Trade Martin's sub-Dion 1962 Top Thirty hit "That Stranger Used to Be My Girl" (with farting horn) rarely turns up on oldies anthologies or oldies radio. Coed did make some vain attempts to update its sound in its waning days in 1964 with the Beach Boys-Four Seasons-influenced production of the Visions' "Down in My Heart" and the Joy Tones' Mary Wells-ish "This Love That I'm Giving You," both of which are also included on the CD.

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