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The Coasters - Coast Along With The Coasters

The Coasters

Coast Along With The Coasters

Released: January 25th, 1962

4.2
Album Review The Coasters

The events we write about at Gaslight Records happened in some form or another 50 years ago to the day. Roll along with us and imagine you are back in 1969.

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'Coast Along With The Coasters' may well be a tropical holiday concept record. It may also be a family summer camp in the mid-west concept record. (Not too sure of the differences between these two types of holiday really, it was just that I thought of a boat cruise around the sun when I heard 'Keep On Rollin' for obvious reasons, and then upon hearing 'Wait A Minute' the summer retreat from Dirty Dancing came to mind). 'Coast Along' may also be some kind of half-arsed attempt at reinvigorating the nursery rhyme, and it may well be just another wet dance hall release without a whole lot of substance and/or originality. The point being that I'm not too sure where this record falls and neither were The Coasters in my opinion. Perhaps the best description would be to say that 'Coast Along' is a relatively directionless amalgam of everything as aforementioned.

Another simple way to put it would be to say that in many respects 'Coast Along' does exactly that and is a surprisingly flat record for it – surprising as The Coasters have shown plenty of steaze with previous releases like the classic 50's tracks' 'Down In Mexico' and 'Young Blood' . However, most of that melodic power and raw energy has dissipated on this album and we are instead left with a list of largely uninspired sounding tunes.

Take for instance '(Ain't That) Just Like Me' – a great Ray Charles-esque chorus melody and vintage Coasters vocal sound, but when coupled with the use of one nursery rhyme inflection after another in order to lazily fill the verses and draw parallels between humpty dumpty and; 'ain't that just like me, cracking up over you', it's just straight up annoying for the first minute or so, and then by the time we reach the cow jumping over the moon that annoyance has turned to a blank mixture of pity and boredom.

Then we move on to numbers like 'Wait A Minute' and 'What About Us', where the naturally loose dynamic that usually finds The Coasters at their best tries to sneak through but is swamped by twee novelty and a complete lack of lyrical substance. If only someone had told the guy who sounds like Barry White on smack to stop chiming in at awkward moments then these would've been far stronger tunes, but they didn't. I blame him for a lot of things.

The frustrating thing about 'Coast Along' is that you can hear the quality musicianship and natural feel that exists between the members of The Coasters, but it's just too often supressed by what seems like an attempt to safely cover all bases, and also by unnecessary garbage like the ridiculous screechy/octivated vocal at the end of 'Little Egypt' that only serves to irritate and further confuse the listener with regards to the direction of the material: We were in the tropics, then almost twisting, now we're at the circus. And it's the insecure and indirect nature of this record as highlighted by elements such as these that limit 'Coast Along' to the point of being largely forgettable.

'Keep On Rollin' is the one highlight here and really perhaps suggests that The Coasters should have stuck to the tropical holiday concept album idea. Go to Mexico, make a record for twenty bucks, leave Barry White at home, don't over think the lyrics, shoot anyone who sings like a chipmunk, and just get in a room and play like Acapulco Bay.

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