Although it has different artwork and liner notes, otherwise this 23-track compilation is identical to the 1991 CD compilation The Liberty Years
. Even the sequencing of the songs is duplicated. It's not necessarily redundant of The Liberty Years
, however, since by the time of this 2007 release, that 1991 anthology was pretty difficult to find. In addition to including both sides of all seven of the Rivingtons
' 1962-1964 Liberty singles, it has nine cuts from the sole LP they issued for the label, forming a definitive retrospective of this rockin' vocal group in their most popular period on disc (though they did go on to record for a bunch of other different companies in the '60s). The classically silly manic nonsense hit "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow" is here, of course, as are several soundalike follow-ups, the most memorable of which is "The Bird Is the Word" -- which, together with "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow," would form the basis of the Trashmen
's "Surfin' Bird." Other tracks, particularly the ballads used on some of their B-sides, illustrate their overlooked proficiency as a straight R&B/doo wop group. The fact is, however, that the flaying energy of the up-tempo tunes with novelty-tinged lyrics represent both what the Rivingtons
were best at, and what distinguished them most from the other vocal groups of the time who were bridging the '50s doo wop/R&B era with the '60s rock/soul era. Of the non-A-sides here, the frenetic gospel-soul-rock update of Billy Ward
's "Have Mercy, Mercy Baby" is the standout; of the A-sides, "Mama-Oom-Mow-Mow" sticks out as one of the most inventive, crazed uses of nonsense syllables in a rock & roll song, surpassing even its prototype "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow" in that regard.