James F. Cullinan writes:
I defy any fan of R&B harmony to find a 'bad' track here; and what is almost certain is that everyone who purchases this CD will find ten or more tracks to rave about. The recordings here vary from the sublime to raw street corner doo woppin'. As usual with this series, there is a spread of the better known and the unknown, including tracks making their legal debut on CD. The earliest dates from '56, the latest '63. I personally love all 30 tracks, but it's hard to get another to agree 100%, for everyone's taste varies, but this CD is as close as it gets!
Doo wop is often a kind of 'soul music', possessing an emotion that makes one tingle. Dig the sublimely atmospheric 'I Know' by The Futuretones. Tension is generated by the slow hypnotic cymbal rap, whilst the lead delivers the song in an understated way which paradoxically increases the emotional effect. Doo wop it is, but you can also call it 'soul'. It sends shivers down my spine. Likewise, the sensational 'Summer Is Here' by The Pals, 'Sensational' because it has everything a fabulous doo wop record should have, and more. For many this will probably be the most raved about track. Better known is The Desires' 'Let It Please Be You': mid-tempo, pleading, emotive, another gas.
More 'soul doo wop' can be heard on The El Venos' 'Lonely Girl', a version of The Classmates tune, only better, for the idiosyncratic female lead pours her heart out. There is a solid gospel and almost menacing air about The Jewels' 'Please Return', and by contrast we get the light and airy 'Alphabet Of Love' by The Suburbans - difficult to get out of one's head after a few plays!
Jimmy Jones is best known for his cheerful ditties of 1960, but never was he better than in 1957, when as lead of The Pretenders, he delivered 'Close Your Eyes (Sleep & Dream)'. Light years away fromn 'Good Timin' it drips with emotion and a quiet, beautiful intensity. By contrast, The Sentimentals' 'I Want To Love You' is a knockout rhythmic street corner doo wop with a hook difficult to get out of one's head. Incidentally, for those in the know, this is the original '57 cut and not the later slower version. Also up-tempo, The Genies' 'Who's That Knockin' with blaring sax and its intense ballad flip, 'The First Time', delivered by Roy 'C' Hammond are also here.
The Mystics' 'Adam & Eve' is perhaps the best thing they've ever done: haunting, ponderous and full of the impossible romantic promise typical of the genre. Dig, too, The Crests' 'Flower Of Love', The Gaylarks' 'Lil' Dream Girl'; and 'I Want To Know' by The Charts are here. Amongst the other groups present are Lee Andrews & The Hearts, Paragons, Rainbows and Five Satins.
And with even all these goodies, had I not previously known it, I would have thought the CD worth several times the price, just for the opening track, the up-tempo but plaintive 'Won't You Let Me Know?' by The King Krooners.
1. The King Krooners - Won't You Let Me Know
2. The Genies - Who's That Knockin'?
3. The Rannels - Blue Island
4. The DuMauiers - All Night Long
5. The Pals - Summer Is Here
6. The Desires - Let It Please Be You
7. The Mystics - Adam & Eve
8. The Pals - My Baby Likes To Rock And Roll
9. The Paragons - Florence
10. The Crests - Flower Of Love
11. The Sentimentals - I Want To Love You
12. The Futuretones - I Know
13. The Suburbans - Alphabet Of Love
14. The Gaylarks - Lil' Dream Girl
15. The Pretenders - Close Your Eyes
16. The Genies - The First Time
17. The Charts - Zoop
18. Lee Andrews & The Hearts - Boom
19. The Rainbows - They Say
20. The Ambers - Never Let You Go
21. The Ladders - I Want To Know
22. The Nutmegs - My Story
23. The Fantastics - There Goes My Love
24. The Bop Chords - So Why
25. The Five Satins - Shadows
26. The Jewels - Please Return
27. The El Venos - Lonely Girl
28. The Marquees - The Bells
29. The DuMauriers - Baby, I Love You
30. The Charts - Deserie