It is not clear why Timelife decided to release new oldies collection box set while their previous release, Malt Shop Memories, still on the market. Althouth, the 'upgrade version' seems to be an appropreiate reason behind this release.
This 10-CD boxset, 5 volumes of double CD album, contains about the same number of tracks as its predecessor, but the song selection is much stricter than the previous one. While 'Malt Shop Memories' covers little in late 1950s and heavily in early 1960s, 'Oldies But Goodies' strictly remains in late 1950s (only a couple of 1960-61 tracks had slipped in). This way, more of the '50s classics can be added into the collection. Many tracks here are, inevitable, identical to the previous boxset. Because it is hard to imagine any late 1950s collection without Mark Dining' s "Teen Angel", Thurston Harris' "Little Bitty Pretty One", Dion & the Belmonts' "A Teenage In Love", Santo & Johnny's "Sleepwalk", the Diamonds' "Little Darlin'", Lloyd Price's "Stagger Lee", Connie Francis's "Lipstick On Your Collar", and Ricky Nelson's "Pool Little Fool". This collection also contains many important tracks in the rock & rolls era previously absent from the previous set, such as Danny & the Juniors's "At the Hop", Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues", the Bobbettes's "Mr. Lee", Jimmy Rogers' "Honycomb", Buddy Knox's "Party Doll", Sonny James' "Young Love", and Conway Twitty's "It's Only Make Believe". In addition, several rock guitar classics have been added including Duane Eddy's "Rebel Rouser", Johnny & the Hurricanes' "Red River Rock", Bill Justis' "Raunchy", and Sandy Nelson's "Teen Beat".
Furthermore, this collection also offers a good number of one-hit wonders from the latter half of the '50s. Not only a couple of them that already scattered through out the first 4 volumes, there are also a special volume dedicated for one-hit wonders. You can find many one-time gems here, including Bobby Day's "Rockin' Robin", the Poni-Tails' "Born Too Late", Robin Luke's "Suzie Darlin'", Thomas Wayne's "Tragedy", Little Caesar & the Romans' "Those Oldies But Goodies", Frankie Ford's "Sea Cruise", the Royal Teens' "Short Shorts", the Jamies' "Summertime, Summertime", Johnnie & Joe's "Over the Mountain, Across the Sea", and Jody Reynolds' "Endless Sleep".
This collection really did a great jobs in collecting hits and gems from the golden age of rock & rolls, with a wide range of selection from rock, blues, R&B, and instrumentals. For anyone who want to start a late '50s collection, this is a place to start. But for anyone who already own 'Malt Shot Memories', you might have to think a bit since many of the tracks here are already in your hand.