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Various Artists: Till The Night Is Gone - A Tribute To Doc Pomus

[cover art]
Most tribute albums are great ideas but usually leave a lot to be desired in the execution department. Here's one that is aces all around. Doc Pomus was one of the finest songwriters of the '50s and '60s, as evidenced by the performers who sang his songs: the Coasters, Elvis, Bobby Darin, Ray Charles, Dion and the Drifters, among many others. That he was one of the most respected is evidenced by the artists who appear on this album.

Off to an auspicious start with Los Lobos' take on "Lonely Avenue," things are kept on an exemplary level. Bob Dylan rocks through "Boogie Woogie Country Girl" and actually sounds like he's having fun. Shawn Colvin reads "Viva Las Vegas" in a totally original manner, assuming the guise of a two-bit loser down to her last chip as opposed to Elvis' excitable optimist. "Youngblood" has been covered many times, but it took Levon Helm to find the level of humor that the Coasters mined in the original. Other standouts include B.B. King and his version of "Blinded By Love" (not his first experience with a Pomus tune: back in 1981, after recording Doc's "There Must Be A Better World Somewhere," B.B. broke down and sobbed for an hour when the painfully haunting lyrics finally hit him). Also, Roseanne Cash's heartfelt "I Count The Tears," Brian Wilson's swirling production of "Sweets For My Sweets" and a revelatory "Save The Last Dance For Me" by Aaron Neville, who forsakes that annoying yodel he's affected over the past few years and showcases the song rather than his voice.

A wheelchair-bound musical sage who had overcome great odds just to be alive, let alone a success, Doc Pomus was one of the most beloved people in the music business ... Phil Spector doesn't inaugurate just anyone into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. Jerry Wexler once paid Pomus the ultimate compliment by saying, "If the music industry had a heart, it would be Doc Pomus." Heartfelt best describes this loving testament to an artistic giant.
--Rex Patton

The Doc Pomus tribute released by Rhino in March 1995 includes a rousing version of "Young Blood" by the Band. Levon sings lead, and Garth Hudson(!) is also credited for vocals.

See also the Doc Pomus home page.


1. Boogie Woogie Country Girl
2. I Count the Tears
3. Lonely Avenue
4. Save the Last Dance for Me
5. Still in Love
6. Sweets for My Sweet
7. This Magic Moment
8. Young Blood AU file (299K)
9. Viva Las Vegas
10. There Must Be a Better World Somewhere
11. Blinded by Love
12. A Mess of Blues
13. Turn Me Loose
14. I'm on a Roll


(only members of the Band listed)
  • Richard Bell, piano/vocal
  • Randy Ciarlante, percussion/vocal
  • Rick Danko, bass/vocal
  • Levon Helm, drums/vocal
  • Garth Hudson, keyboard/sax/vocal
  • Jim Weider, guitar

Various Artists - Till The Night Is Gone - A Tribute To Doc Pomus - 1995 - Forward/Rhino R2 71878

AMG Rating: Good

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