Clyde McPhatter Rocks

Bear Family Records have compiled a compilation of tunes by Drifters’ founder Clyde McPhatter, a continuation of their long-running ‘Rocks’ series of albums. Containing 34-songs recorded in the ’50s and early ’60s for labels including Mercury, MGM and Atlantic; Is this album worth picking up?

As with other albums in this series, the emphasis is on the faster rockier end of the artist’s library. The album opens with Can It Be Wrong, a mid-paced RnB rocker with a great solo.

Albums in the Rocks series are usually good for a great cover version, and this one is no exception. Hearing Clyde’s distinctive vocals on often covered tracks like What I’d Say, Rockin’ Robin and Movin’ On, among others, is a joy one should experience. The album would not be complete without (possibly) his most recognizable song, Lover Please. The groovy drum, horn and piano combo fronted by McPhatter’s silky smooth vocals still sounds fresh and vibrant.

There is no self-indulgence in these recordings. Everything you hear is justified and well balanced. The style of each element is perfectly contemporary, without feeling staid or predictable. McPhatter’s gospel roots can still be heard in his sparkling, stylish vocals. There is a purity, without losing any of the passion and flair which should come with anything on the more pop-rock end of things.

Recordings made with the Drifters also form a small part of this collection, with Money Honey, What’cha Gonna Do and Bip Bam included. Their inclusion helps to illustrate the evolution of McPhatter’s sound.

There should be no question as to why McPhatter recorded for music industry giants such as Mercury and MGM. His performances are strong, elegant and pleasing. The overall vibe is one that makes you want to move when listening. Clyde McPhatter does indeed Rock!

Sound Quality:

It is clear much care and attention has been taken to the sound quality of this release, despite many coming from less than ideal sources. Releases of this type are often a mixed bag quality-wise, but still enjoyable.

A Little Something Extra…

Inside a nicely printed digipak is a 35-page booklet containing extensive liner notes, written by music historian Bill Dahl. Also included are rare photographs and illustrations, and a detailed discography by Nico Feuerbach.

Track listing

  1. Can It Be Wrong
  2. Thirty Days
  3. Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters – Money, Money
  4. Lover Please
  5. I Do Believe
  6. Take A Step
  7. Deep Sea Ball
  8. What’d I Say
  9. Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters – What’cha Gonna Do
  10. Rockin’ Robin
  11. Hey Love
  12. Three Thirty Three
  13. A Lover’s Question
  14. Up To My Ears in Tears
  15. Come What May
  16. (You’ve Got Everything) From A to Z
  17. Such a Night (Mercury)
  18. The Drifters feat. Clyde McPhatter – Bip Bam
  19. Same Time, Same Place
  20. Twice As Nice
  21. Lovey Dovey
  22. I’m Gonna Be A Wheel Someday
  23. I Can’t Stand Up Alone
  24. Let The Boogie Woogie Roll
  25. Don’t Let Go
  26. Little Bitty Pretty One
  27. You’re For Me
  28. Ta Ta
  29. Money Honey (Mercury)
  30. Since You’ve Been Gone
  31. Climb The Mountain of Love
  32. Stop
  33. This Is Not Goodbye
  34. I’m Movin’ On


This album contains a neat selection of uptempo numbers that showcase some of the artist’s strengths. As is the case with many of the compilations in this series, the album does not represent the whole story; Bear Family has released another compilation, The Ballads Of Clyde McPhatter, to fill the gaps. For those looking to add to their already existing collection, or who want a nice selection of uptempo tracks, this is worth the purchase.

Clyde McPhatter Rocks is available from Bear Family Records as part of their Rocks series.

Clyde McPhatter Rocks




Jamie Dyer

Jamie Dyer is an experienced writer, broadcaster, musician and social media marketer. He enjoys Old Time Radio, vintage TV, collecting vinyl and supporting the New York Knicks.

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