Street Corner Symphonies - The Complete Story
Of Doo Wop
At last Bear Family has worked with high class on the
definitive history of these vocal groups, year by year, using the same
concept that they did for the serie “Dim Light, Thick Smoke and
Hillbilly Music”. Many of these vocal groups started on churches,
street-corners or in stairwells of tenement apartments before, sometime,
finding some record deal. Many groups started to sing acapella so quite
a few times music is sparse or very basic but sometime it should be
very sophisticated. Most of the performers were African Americans deeply
rooted on gospel and black pop who build a style that became a major
contributing force to the evolution of Rock ‘n’ Roll. These
groups were the link between vaudeville, jazz, gospel, latin and caribean
music, popular, rhythm and blues and rock ‘n’ roll. That’s
more an affair of vocal abilities than an attempt to build an unique
or homogeneous musical style. The years or the regional locations may
bring some closeness and similarities but there’s a wide diversity
of styles. Some you will like, some you won’t. This series has
been compiled and anoted by Bill Dahl and covers the years 1939 to 1963
bringing 30 recordings by CD ranging from “pop” to “rock
‘n’ roll”. Each song come with the group full story,
rare pictures of the bands and records labels shot when possible, all
that displayed in a 82 pages booklet for each volume.
Them stories are brightly told and you will learn how these singers, like many birds, needed or liked to migrate from a group to another, from a label to another. The only thing most groups had in common was that they all dressed alike on the stage. Personality conflicts were commonplace especially after a record was made and if money starts rolling in. The same happened if any recording contract came and money stayed tight. Nevertheless, some groups had a long ride and you will enjoy them in almost all the CDs for that serie, some will be featured only once. Be ready for The Turkey Hop, for some Reveries or for One Mint Julep, Rockin’ Daddy-O!
Volume 1 – 1939 to 1949
Of course that CD covering the period from
1939 to 1949, you can’t expect any rock ‘n’ roll tune
but that when the roots of the 1950s rhythm and blues vocal group explosion
were laid. Many of these early groups started out singing spirituals before
crossing over to the secular side for obvious commercial reasons.
Musical work is often minimal and having an accompanying guitarist or pianist was already a luxury. “If I Didn’t Care” sung by The Ink Spots offers a very nice recitation by Orville “Hoppy” Jones and went to be a pop smash in 1939. Formed in 1934 that group was purveyor of classy music that owed much to the gospel tradition but being able to reach the white middle class. The Cats and The Fiddle were signed by Lester Melrose who got them a contract with Bluebird. “I Miss You So”, a mid-tempo ballad was their biggest hit in 1940. “Till Then”, sung by The Mills Brothers, was cut in February 27, 1944 following them classic “Paper Doll”. Beautiful voices that makes these four brothers (John, Herbert, Harry and Donald), an essential group on “Decca”. The 5 Red Caps recorded in Los Angeles for Joe Davis and follow the Ink Spots steps with “I Learned A Lesson, I’ll Never Forget”. Ivory “Deek” Watson, formerly member of The Ink Spots, assembled a new quartet called The Brown Dots in January 1945. The following month they cut the beautiful haunting ballad “Sentimentals Reasons” lead by tenor Joe King. Elvis probably listened these guys, any doubts about it. Dusty Brooks’ and his Four Tunes deliver the nice “Play Jackspot” cut for Memo in 1945. Very tasty piano and guitar solos in that ode to slot machine cut in California. In 1953, Dusty Brooks and his Tones had a very rare record issued by Sam Phillips as Sun 182 offering “Heaven on Fire”/”Tears and Wine”. A 78 rpm pressing of that record goes for over $ 3000 in 2010.
Next came the famous Golden Gate Quartet with an anti-nuclear warning “Atom and Evil” cut on June 5, 1946 for “Columbia”. That song sound a bit like a pre-Clovers recording. The Delta Rhythm Boys don’t need any presentation having recorded prolifically and even backed Ella Fitzgerald. Here they work vocally on a Duke Ellington’s number “Just A-Sittin’ and A- Rockin’” issued on Decca in 1946. Not surprising to know about that song having made a run on the popular charts. They are also featured on Vol 2 with “If You See Tears In My Eyes” recorded for Atlantic, a song borrowed to The Beavers. The Jubalaires sings “I Know”, a song that was covered by The Prisonaires for Sun few years later, while The Basin Street Boys sing “I Sold My Heart To The Junk Man” written by Leon and Otis Rene and issued on Exclusive 225. Bill Samuels goes on “I Cover The Waterfront” for Mercury while The Melody Masters, for Apollo, goes on the jumping “My Baby”. After three releases on that label, the members went their separate way. Cliff Givens, formely with The Ink Spots, went later record for “Trumpet” in Mississippi. The Four Aces, from Fort Worth (Texas), recorded for Trilon and 4-Star while The Four Vagabonds goes on a cover of an old song “P.S I Love You”. All these guys can sing … that’s those voices, not the rhythm nor the musical backing that make the thing. “Ol’ Man River” by The Ravens brings us some rhythm and Jimmy Ricks’ bass voice is just great. That first important “bird group” bring here a real rhythm and blues sound cleaned from the popular or jazz influence. They won an appearance on Ed Sullivan’s “Toast Of The Town” in January of 1949. Bill Johnson and His Musical Notes, The Five Bars delivers, from Nashville, and The Scamps goes on ballads with minimal musical backing. The big surprise came from Willie Dixon and The Big Three Trio with the muscular “After Awhile”, a bouncy cut from 1947 with Willie Dixon slapping his bass with force while the drummer keep a steady beat. A very nice recording about whiskey issued on “Columbia”.
Here come The Orioles with the flashpoint of the CD “It’s Too Soon To Know” lead by tenor Sonny Til (born Earlington Tilghman). That group was definitively more rhythm and blues than pop and that ultra-slow ballad that blends old spiritual harmony with sparse instrumentation is just perfect. The Deep River Boys recorded for RCA and were pretty popular in England. The Rockets, on Aladdin 3017, revamp with rhythm the old Scottish folk melody “Loch Lomond” while The Dixieaires, for Gotham, delivers “Go Long”, a solid song with the participation of Caleb Ginyard who formed The Du Droppers in 1952. We will be back later about that guy who “Can’t Do Sixty No More”. The year 1948 close with The Four Blues singing “It Take A Long Tall Brown Skinned Gal” issued on Apollo 398. That’s a happy house jumping song with piano. The Four Tunes goes on” You’re Heartless”, a cover of a Vaughn Monroe pop hit, before being featured on vol 2 with “Old Fashioned Love”. Still from 1949 came “A Kiss And A Rose” by The Charioteers, a group that did backup work for Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Pearl Bailey and many others. They are followed by The Four Knights goin’ on polished harmonies and The Syncopators singing “River Stay Away From My Door” leads by tenor James Pinkey. Great voice. The Robins, discovered by Johnny Otis, sang the very interesting and sizable hit “If It’s So Baby” with great guitar parts by Pete “guitar” Lewis. The sound is changing and the decade will close. Last song is “I’ve Been A Fool” by The Shadows, from New-Heaven, Connecticut, issued on Lee. That whole CD brings us to the dawn of rock ‘n’ roll but is not for rockers in any way. Vocal groups may work in various styles from smooth ballad to recitations or boogie song. You may like or hate each song for style or lack of rhythm question but nobody can contest these combos vocals abilities.
Volume 2 – 1950
1950 was something of a transitional year
for vocal groups with the coming of new groups challenging The Mills Brothers,
The Delta Rhythm Boys and The Ink Spots.
The Ravens (featured in vol 1) were flying high when they cut “Count Every Star” for National but some challengers were coming like The Johnny Otis Orchestra and The Robins. “Turkey Hop”, cut in January 11, 1950, is a very nice dancing song with Big Jay McNeely and his brother Bob on saxes. The Beavers’ “I’d Rather Be Wrong Than Blue”, issued on Coral 65026, is a smooth ballad but can’t not challenge with The Dominoes’ “Do Something For Me” issued on Federal 12001. Clyde McPhatter’s voice just can’t be beat when he pleads! Next is another very influential group but from Washington DC, The Clovers. Here they are featured with a pre-Atlantic cut “When You Come Back To Me” issued on Rainbow records. The Cap-Tans’ “Chief, Turn The Hose On Me” is an up-tempo number and a good dancing tune. The group started to record in 1950 and disbanded in 1953. Also featured in Vol 1, here The Orioles delivers “At Night” trying to stuck with them original style. 1950 ended badly for the group when Tommy Gaither, second tenor and guitarist, was killed behind the wheel and two members of the group seriously injured. The Three Riffs goes on “Jumping Jack”, a song written by Jesse Stone. From a solitary session for Apollo, that song is a crisp jump song delivered with a driven boogie piano and blowing sax. Make to dance! Steve Gibson and The Red Caps’ “I’ll Never Love Anyone Else” and The Whispers’ “I’ve Got No Time” are ballads well sung but with nothing special to my ears. “I Will Wait” by The Four Buddies is lead by the beautiful voice of Leon” Larry” Harrison.
A ballad with minimal musical backing but the voices of these buddies are enough to make it a good surprise. The Striders recorded for Apollo “Cool Saturday Night” while The Cats and The Fiddle goes on “Do You Love Me” lead by Johnny Davis. “I Don’t Mind Being All Alone” by The Colemans is an old Tin Pan Alley chestnut. The Blenders‘ “Gone (My Baby’s Gone)” is lead by Ollie Jones, former member of The Ravens. Great voice! The Shadows “I’ll Never, Never Let Let You Go” is a haunting’ ballad but that time recorded for “Sittin’ In With”. The Dozier Boys recorded “She’s Gone” for Aristocrat while The Four Blues waxed “As Long As I live” for Apollo. The Ravens with a second offering break that long string of ballad with an up beat rollicking jump blues “I Don’t Have To Ride No More” issued on National 9101. Great waxing. The Masterkeys’ bring to us the joyous rhythmic “Mr. Blues” issued on Abbey 3017, a record label located in New-York. The Carols offer the nice “Please Believe In Me” and The Mills Brothers came with “Nevertheless” decorated with guitar filigrees. The 5 Larks, The Flames, The Four Aces bring fine harmonies on average songs. King Odom Four recorded “Lover Come Back To Me” for Derby, a New-York label. That song from 1928 came from a Broadway musical. The Rivals from Candem, New-Jersey, only made a solitary single for Apollo, but that “Rival Blues” is a very nice bouncy jump. The Jubalaires, featured on Vol 1, are back with “A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes” recorded for Capitol. Smooth delivery on another ballad.
If in the 50’s some vocal groups were hot and jumping, here they are going mostly on smooth harmonies and popular ballads. Almost any stuff to dance but great voices to enjoy. The real meat for the vocal groups’ aficionados but a little weak for those who need a shot of rhythm and blues.
Volume 3 – 1951
That CD showcases perfectly how the old
guard of vocal groups from CD 1 and 2 continued to steadily loose ground.
Even The Ravens and The Orioles had cooled off considerably in spite of
quality releases. In the Billboard issue dated Sept 22, 1951 we can read:
“Vocal groups have taken command in the R&B field. Never before
in the history of the specialty field have so many groups developed and
taken so deep a root both on wax and in personal appearances”.
The main reason must be found on “Sixty-Minute Man”, a killer, recorded by The Dominoes with them bass singer Bill Brown taking care of the lead. “Sixty-Minute Man”, recorded December 30, 1950, made the Dominoes stars blasting’ up to the top of Rhythm and Blues chart and staying there for 30 weeks. Sixty-Minute Man was the first R & B hit to cross over the pop charts, the first double-entendre hit and the first million seller by a formative vocal group. Issued on Federal 12022 that song is a rock and roll milestone by the interest it raised on white teenagers and DJs like Alan Freed. Radio helped to skip the segregation rope and that song was even covered by hillbilly acts like Hardrock Gunter and The York Brothers. “The Glory of Love”, by The Five Keys, being an old Tin Pan Alley standard had nothing close to Lovin’ Dan but the vocal harmonies are just perfect. That group brings smooth vocal to support Rudy West’s lead tenor work. Issued on Aladdin 3099it’s a darn good side that charted in the autumn of 1951. The Four Buddies goes in a real rhythm and blues ballad with “Sweet Slumber” cut at them second session for “Savoy”. Them sound is not far from The Clovers who follow with “Don’t You Know I Love You” issued on Atlantic 934. That song went racing up to # 1 on the R & B chart in September 1951 and sold almost 250 000 copies. From Baltimore, The Swallows bring us “Will You Be Mine”, a ballad, cut in New-York for King record.
For sure I would have liked more them excellent “It Ain’t The Meat” from the same year for its libidinous gusto heavily patterned from sixty-minute man. Great sax background, piano triplet by Charles Harris and guitar work by Ralph Williams on The Orioles’ “Baby Please Don’t Go”. That recording is a lot bluesier than their usual output maybe ‘cause the song was borrowed to Big Joe Williams who recorded that classic in 1935 and again in 1941. The Ravens are back with “Gotta Find My Baby” issued on Columbia 39194 under Mitch Miller’s supervision. That movin’ song was the last recorded by the original band that disbanded late 1951. The Larks’ “My Reverie” is build on Claude Debussy’ Reverie. Minimal musical support on that recording build on Eugene Mumford’s voice. “Shouldn’t I Know?” by The Cardinals is a tasty ballad while “Wine” by The Hollywood’s Four Fames is a movin’ song about bottle of vino with tenor sax solo and hand clapping. Issued on the rare “Unique 003” 78 rpm before re-issued on Fidelity 3001. The Mello-Moods was a teenage combo from New-York who recorded “Where Are You”, a beautiful ballad, for Bobby Robinson. Issued on Robin 105 that song goes # 7 in the chart in February 1952.
The Marshall Brothers’ “Who’ll
Be The Fool From Now On” is a smooth ballad while “That’s
What The Good Book Says”, in spite of its religious title, is a
jumping rhythm and blues recording with vibes written by Jerry Lieber
and Mike Stoller. Sang by Bobby Nunn with The Robins it was issued on
Modern 807. Billy Bunn’s “I’m Afraid” and The
Cap-Tans “Asking” are straight ballads while “Lemon
Squeezing Daddy” by The Sultans bring us some rhythm with some good
piano. They had only two releases on Jubilee records. “Heartbreakers”
by The Heartbreakers, “My Dear” by The Four Dots, “Walkin’
And Wistlin’ Blues” by The Four Knights, “Little Small
Town Girl” by The Blenders are intimate ballads. “I Guess
You’re Satisfied” by The Victorian is the same kind of stuff
but from Art Rupe’s Specialty records. The Ryhthm Kings “I
Gotta Go Now” is more movin’. The 4 Deep Tones “Just
In Case Your Change Your Mind” is another slow ballad while The
Falcons “How Blind Can You Be” bring us the nice female voice
of Goldie Boots. A good release issued on “Regent” Sav-O-Flex
material. The Royals’ “Give Me One More Chance” brings
nothing special while The Drifters’ “Honey Chile” is
a light-hearted charmer with piano and winding electric guitar. Issued
on Excelior and it had any connection with Clyde McPhatter.
The Varieteers’ “I’ll Try To Forget I Loved You”, King Odom Four’s “Rain Is The Teardrops of Angels” are ballads while Steve Gibson and The Orignal Red Caps bring us some rhythm with “Would I Mind” issued on RCA 50-0138.The Four Tunes’ “May That Day Never Come” is a classy love ballad with sax. The Clovers are here again with them classic “Fool, Fool, Fool”, issued on Atlantic 944, which makes a big impression on a young Elvis Presley. Lead by John “Buddy” Bailey, the combo work to build in spite of obvious affinity with the Ink Spots work a new sound with vigorous tenor sax and bass. That record sold nearly 500 000 and The Clovers were firmly established. The Dominoes that opened the CD close with “I Am With You”, recorded on May 24, 1951, and lead by Clyde McPhatter. Bill Brown makes a great recitation on that release ending with piano glissando.
Volume 4 – 1952
That one opens with the solid “Have
Mercy Baby” by The Dominoes issued on Federal 12068. Here Clyde
McPhatter’s gospel-derived vocal are raucous and the rhythm is steady.
Recorded on January 28, 1952 that’s a wonder with sax solo and a
lot of shouts !
The Cardinals’ “The Wheel of Fortune” is a beautiful ballad that went in the Rhythm and Blues charts and was covered by Kay Starr, Dinah Washington, Arthur Prysock, The Four Flames. The Vocaleers’ “Be True” is a dreamy ballad issued on Red Robin 113 while “Baby Don’t Do It” by The ‘5’ Royales with Charlie Ferguson on sax is a solid bluesy ballad. Billy Bunn’s “That’s When You Heartaches Begin” is a remarke of the Ink Spots’ classic. That one was also cut by the young Elvis as you all know in the summer 1953 before a new version was cut on January 1957 and issued as the flip side to “All Shook Up” on RCA 20-6870. Now The Clovers are back with the all-time classic “One Mint Julep”, a song that tells a story. John “Buddy” Bailey relates an amusing tale of how “Mint Julep”, an aristocratic white woman drink, got him in serious troubles leading to a shotgun wedding and six kids. Cut in December 19, 1951 that song was a smash hit at the spring 1952 and was covered by Buddy Morrow and Louis Prima. The Serenaders’ “But I Forgive You” and The Royals’ “Every Beat Of My Heart” are two nice ballads well sung.
Dancers will enjoy The Ravens’ “Rock
Me All Night Long” issued on Mercury 8291. Here that old combo goes
on a swinging tunes with them pianist pounding out a great extended solo.
The Larks’ “Hold Me”, issued on Apollo 1194, brings
us back to a ballad sung by Eugene Mumford, a powerful tenor. The Four
Knights goes on a swinging “That’s The Way Its Gonna Be”
with a booting two-chorus sax solo. The Swallows’ “Beside
You”, The Four Buddies’ “You’re Part Of Me”,
The Orioles’ “Don’t Cry Baby” and The Four Tunes’
“Let’s Give Love Another Chance” are tender ballads
you make like or hate being all build on voices abilities. “The
Last Of The Good Rockin’ Man” by The Four Jacks will bring
you alive again with hot sax highlighting the story of that Lovin’
Dan’s rival on that song issued on Federal 12087. The Marylanders’
“Make Me Thrill Again” is them second release on “Jubilee”
while The Blazes’ “Rug Cutter”, a Duke Ellington’s
platter from 1937, is nicely sang with scat by Floyd McDaniel that play
guitar in a true Charlie Christian’s style. Kinda jazzy! The Sultans’
“Don’t Be Angry” was written by Clyde Wright who later
joined The Golden Gate Quartet.
Great voice work. From Harlem came The Diamonds who recorded for Atlantic, “A Beggar For Your Kisses”, with them leead tenor Harold “Sonny” Wright making a very nice work. Foot taping and happy rhythm music came back with The Du-Droppers going on “Can’t Do Sixty No More” issued on Red Robin 108. Caleb Ginyard delivers a jumping answer to The Dominoes with the Ben Smith’s quintet. The Enchanters is an all girls group lead by Della Simpson who delivers “I’ve Lost” with the support of a tasty tenor sax. The Checkers are boasted by two recently departed Dominoes: William “Bill” Brown and Charlie White. These guys were boared of Ward’s dictatorial ways went on King record for a first session set on June 1952. “Flame In My Heart” lead by Charlie White feature a nice recitation by Bill Brown. The Five Keys, featured in another volume, are here with “Serve Another Round” while The Mel-O-Dot delivers a energetically mover lead by Earl “Ricky” Wells but wrecked by an organist. The Five Crown, from Harlem, recorded for Rainbow a gorgeous ballad titled “You’re My Inspiration”.
They had three more releases on that label. Follow “Rockin’ Daddy-O” a lowdown blues sang by The Heartbreakers and issued on RCA 20-4662. Great stuff that should fit perfectly to The Treniers brothers. Specialty records had always produced great records and “Later” by The Four Flames” makes no exception. Nice mover with muscular sax and strong four-man harmonies. The Dominoes came again for one more goodies, “That’s What You’re Doing To Me”, a great dancing tunes lead by Clyde McPhatter with sax, hand clappin’ and great vocal chorus. Follow the Holy Grail for vocal groups aficionados due to its unparalleled rarity, “Stormy Weather” sung by The Five Sharps. No 45 rpm copy are know and just a handful of 78 rpm pressing changed hands over the years. Hailing from the Jamaica section of Queens in NYC, these guys goes on a 1933’s classic for what seems to be them only record ever released. “Ting-A-Ling”, by The Clovers, was covered by Buddy Holly for “Decca” on July 1956. Issued on Atlantic 969, that song close nicely that CD showing than rhythm and blues and vocal groups offering had change some that year.
Volume 5 – 1953
The Rhythm and Blues explosion was in full
swing by 1953. Clyde McPhatter had broken away from Billy Ward’s
Dominoes to do his own thing as front man for The Drifters. Billy Ward,
an ex-boxer, and a harsh disciplinarian fired Clyde in May 1953. The Moonglows,
Flamingoes, Platters, Harptones, Spaniels and Spiders all made their début
Clyde McPhatter had revolutioned the R&B
vocal group field with its gospel-fueled tenor and “Money Honey”
is a houserocker winner that was picked by Elvis just like “Crying
In The Chapel” by The Orioles that follow. With Sonny Til melodramatic
storyline and stunning voice you’re in heaven. Don’t forget
about that song been recorded originally by a hillbilly singer by the
name of Darrell Glenn. The Spaniels’ “Baby It’s You”
is another wonder but from Vee-Jay catalog. James “Pookie”
Hudson’ voice skyrocket that first recording on the R & B charts.
The Checkers are back with a superb muscular moving rendition of “White
Cliffs Of Dover”, originally recorded by bandleader Glenn Miller.
Premium stuff for dancers. Despite 10 excellent King releases in all extending
to the end of 1954, none of The Checkers’ singles climbed in the
charts. Of all the vocal groups Alan Freed helped to break on radio, The
Moonglow probably came first in his heart. Lead by baritone Harvey Fuqua
and lead tenor Bobby Lester, they had them first record on Champagne,
a record label co-owned by Alan Freed and Lew Platt. Alan took half of
the song writing credit under the alias of Al Lance but the record didn’t
make it outside Ohio. From here Alan Freed got his protégés
on Chance records and on them first session they cut the blues-soaked
“Baby Please” with a tasty sax support by Red Holloway.
The Vocaleers’ “Is It A Dream”
was issued on Red Robin 114. Don’t need to write much about The
Crows’ “Gee”, a stunning jumping recording issued on
Rama 5. It was them second release for that label and that song cracked
the charts becoming a definitive 50’s classic with a rarely heard
jazzy guitar break probably played by Lloyd “Tiny” Grimes.
A wonder! Even if Daniel “Sonny” Norton’ voice was really
something else, the group lasted only for a year or so. Also from Cleveland
were The Coronets who recorded “Nadine”, a song written by
Allan Freed (sic), for Chess. A soft and gentle ballad by a little know
vocal combo. The Crickets’ “You’re Mine” issued
on MGM 11428 is a nice ballad while “Too Much Lovin’ (Much
Too Much)” by The ‘5’ Royales is a nice move with great
work on sax by Charlie Ferguson.
That song soared to # 4 on The Billboard’s “Rhythm and Blues Best Sellers”. The definitive and ultimate classic “A Sunday Kind Of Love” was cut by The Harp-Tones from New-York. Writen by Louis Prima in 1946, that old song find a new life with the fabulous voice of Willie Winfield and its partner. It was issued on Bruce 101, the first release for that record label owned by Monte Bruce, Alan Freed’s brother in law. That song was one of the most common for the street gang to know who could hit a tune or couldn’t. The Flamingoes’ “Golden Teardrops” is a smooth ballad while “Good Lovin’”, a bluesy rocker, is another impressive contribution by The Clovers. The best musicians from Atlantic roster, Sam “The Man” Taylor (Sax) and Harry Van Walls (piano), were bring along to support Bill Harris on guitar. By then The Clovers seemed unstoppable having massive influence on young white teenagers like Dick Penner or Elvis Presley. The Robins’ gave a full vocal treatment to “(Now and Then There’s) A Fool Such As I” waxed at them first session for RCA. Borrowed to Hank Snow, that song will be cut by Elvis Presley at the tail end of the 50’s. I wonder if Elvis had ever heard that Robins’ rendition, he would have liked Bobby Nunn and Grady Chapman lead duties. The Castelles’ “My Girl Awaits Me” is a nice ballad sung by a youthfully vulnerable high tenor.
“Marie”, written by Irving
Berlin was a 1929 hit, when picked by The Four Tunes. Issued on Jubilee
5128 that’s a contagious dancing tune with vocal gymnastics still
sang by current bands. The beat slow down with “These Foolish Things
Remind Me Of you” beautifully sang by The Dominoes and issued on
Federal 12129. The Wanderers recorded “We Could Find Happiness”
on Savoy 1109. Nothing special here but a nice bridge from The Dominoes
to The Du Dropper “I Wanna Know” with its gospel delivery.
A very nice moving rocker with sax and piano. The Buccaners recorded “Dear
Ruth” for Southern and The Prisonaires “Just Walkin’
In The Rain” for Sun records in Memphis. That bunch of convicts
lead by Johnny Bragg stacked at the Tennessee State Penitentiary were
driven, under Governor Frank Clement’s permission, to the Sun studio
to be recorded by Sam Phillips. That song is pure heaven. The Midnighters’
“Git It”, an obviously salacious and suggestive song, was
issued on Federal 12133.
“Lovie Darling”, recorded by The Cardinals for Atlantic, finds obviously musical inspiration in Lloyd Price’s Lawdy Miss Clawdy. A very nice waxing. The Flairs delivers “I Had A Love” with Cornell Gunter taking care of the lead while The Five Keys goes on “My Saddest Hour” issued on Aladdin 3214. It’s now time to have The Platters coming on bandstand with them dynamic “Hey Now” issued on Federal 12153. A catchy jump number with Jesse Ervin on guitar. “I”, one of the shortest song title you could find, as cut by The Velvets for Red Robin. Charles Sampson’ voice is just beautiful. From Chicago came The Five Echoes who recorded “Baby Come Back to Me” for Sabre. A blues-kissed song a bit repetitive. The Swallows’ “Nobody’s Lovin’ Me” is a smooth ballad while “Big Leg Mama” by Van Walls and The Rockets is more muscular. It was them only release for Atlantic. The Hornets “I Can’t Believe” was issued on the extremely rare States 127. Only three 45 rpm are know in existence and the last that changed hands goes for $ 18.000. Hard to understand why if you’re not a vocal group crazy. The Spiders close that CD with” You’re The One” issued on Imperial 5265 and recorded at Cosimo Matassa’s location in New-Orleans. Her you’ve got Lee Allen on tenor sax and Earl Palmer on drums. That first record was a smash and will make them instantly the Crescent City top R&B group.
On that first ballot of CDs, the image of the vocal groups was well captured. Every nuance of the lead singer pleading his case in ballad is captured. You can imagine these groups wearing loud colored suit with shoulder pads, white shirt, fancy tie, stage jewellery and hair processed doing them dance routines. Have only ears for them with these very neat CDs.
Dominique "Imperial" Anglares - June 18, 2012.