Doc Pomus, It’s Great to Be Young and in Love

John Morthland

By John Morthland

on 01.03.13 in Reviews
A blues set that’s more than just a curiosity

Yeah, that Doc Pomus, the one who wrote such ’50s and ’60s rock ‘n’ roll standards as “Save the Last Dance for Me” for the Drifters, “Teenager in Love” for Dion and the Belmonts and “Little Sister” for Elvis. Inspired by the powerhouse voice of Big Joe Turner, Doc entered the record biz as a jazzy, jump blues shouter. He turned to writing after realizing he’d never make it as a performer, especially as a white blues singer. But you know what? He sang with real feeling for the blues, making this set more than just a curiosity. He swings on “Too Much Boogie,” rocks on three versions of “Bye Baby Bye,” belts on “Pomus Blues,” makes with the double entendre on “Pool Playing Baby” and croons something suspiciously like a rock ‘n’ roll ballad in the title song. He also had access to the better New York sessions cats, so his records usually sound good, if not quite good enough that he really could have been a blues star. In other words, Doc made the right move.