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RITCHIE VALENS - "COME ON, LET'S GO!"  (1958)
 
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Ritchie Valens (born Richard Steven Valenzuela; (May 13th 1941 -- February 3rd 1959) was an American singer, songwriter and guitarist. A rock and roll pioneer and a forefather of the Chicano rock movement, Valens' recording career lasted only eight months. During this time, he had several hits, most notably "La Bamba", which was originally a Mexican folk song. Valens transformed the song into one with a rock rhythm and beat, and it became a hit in 1958, making Valens a pioneer of the Spanish-speaking rock and roll movement. On February 3, 1959, on what has become known as "The Day the Music Died", Valens died in a small-plane crash in Iowa, a tragedy that also claimed the lives of fellow musicians Buddy Holly and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, as well as pilot Roger Peterson. Valens was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.
Views: 970771 MANNY MORA
THE EARLS - "REMEMBER THEN"  (1962)
 
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Although 'Remember Then' was their only hit, the Earls were one of the most accomplished white doo-wop groups of the early 60s. The lead singer Larry Chance (Larry Figueiredo, 19 October 1940, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA) formed the group in New York's Bronx area in the late 50s. The other members were first tenor Robert Del Din (b. 1942), second tenor Eddie Harder (b. 1942), baritone Larry Palumbo (b. 1941) and bass John Wray (b. 1939). For their first single, the group revived the Harptones' 1954 R&B hit 'Life Is But A Dream', released by the local Rome label in 1961. The following year, the group moved to another New York label, Old Town, and made 'Remember Then' which reached the Top 30. The Earls continued to release singles on Old Town until 1965, but the only record to make an impact was a maudlin version of 'I Believe', dedicated to Palumbo, who had died in a parachute accident. With various personnel changes, including the addition of Hank DiScuillo on guitar, Chance continued to lead the group on occasional records for Mr G and ABC Records. With their big hit on numerous oldies compilations during the 70s, the Earls appeared on rock revival shows. 'Remember Then' was a UK Top 20 hit in 1979 for revivalist band Showaddywaddy.
Views: 395303 MANNY MORA
THE CAPRIS - "THERE'S A MOON OUT TONIGHT"  (1960)
 
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Not to be confused with the Philadelphia group of the same name, the New York City Capris were a white doo wop group. Although strongly associated with the 1950s rock & roll sound, the two records they are best known for, "There's a Moon out Tonight" and "Morse Code of Love," didn't become hits until the '50s were over. The group originally formed in 1957 in the borough of Queens, NY, when all were teenagers. The original lead was Nick Santa Maria (aka Santo), Mike Mincelli (first tenor), Steve Reina (second tenor), Vinnie Narcardo (baritone), and John Apostol (bass). In selecting their name, the guys were apparently unfamiliar with the Philadelphia group that had preceded them by a few years. Previous interviews with different members of the group make it unclear whether the group was named for the Isle of Capri, or the car of the same name. Perhaps it was a combination of the two. By 1958, the group had been gaining experience performing at local venues, and had even started adding some of their own original material to their repertoire. They attracted the attention of some independent record producers, and were soon in the studio cutting an original ballad called "There's a Moon out Tonight." For the B-side, they recorded an interesting up-tempo novelty tune titled "Indian Girl." With it's strong 1950s rock & roll flavor, the sides were quickly picked up for release by Planet, a small New York City label. Unfortunately for the Capris though, Planet was not able to effectively promote the record and it became an almost instant obscurity. Original Planet pressings of "There's a Moon out Tonight" can now fetch up to 1,000 dollars in collectors circles, when one of these rare platters surfaces. Soon thereafter, the group members all went their separate ways, and one would think that's where the story would end. But, for the Capris, things took a different and an interesting turn. By 1960, much of what was being passed off to teenagers as rock & roll was polished pop with a beat; lacking the original vitality of what preceded it in the mid-'50s. Discerning and disgruntled teenagers were looking backward, and radio programs were starting to focus on "oldies," even though these "oldies" may have been released only two or three years earlier. As luck would have it, the Capris' record found it's way in to the hands of Jerry Greene. At the time, Greene worked for Times Square Records, a legendary New York City "oldies" store that supplied DJ Alan Fredericks with material for his Night Train radio show. Fredericks played the record and now kids were looking to buy it. Greene was initially able to get a few hundred of the remaining copies of the record from Planet. With the demand exceeding the dwindling number of available copies, Greene finally purchased the masters from Planet, started his own label, and reissued "There's a Moon out Tonight" as Lost Nite 101. But the demand kept growing and so Greene turned to Hy Weiss, who released the disc again, now on his Old Town label. By early 1961, the record had made the national charts and stayed there for over three months. With a national hit on their hands, the Capris reunited and soon were playing some of the country's most prestigious venues, like the Regal in Chicago and the Apollo in New York City. Trying to capitalize on the success of "There's a Moon out Tonight," Old Town released three more singles by the group, all in 1961. "Where I Fell In Love" was an average ballad that borrowed lyrically from "Moon" but lacked it's energy. The flip side "Some People Think," another ballad, was a stronger effort by the group. It probably would have done better without the syrupy strings that were added. It barely broke in to the national charts, and quickly dropped out of sight. Their next release, "Why Do I Cry," was a cliché-filled ballad, again with too much strings added. The flip side, "Tears in My Eyes," was another pleasant ballad by the group. But again, neither side registered with the fans. For their last Old Town pairing, they broke with the back-to-back ballad formula of the previous two releases. "My Island in yhe Sun" was a nice mid-tempo number with a cha cha feel. The flip "Girl in My Dreams" was a decent ballad, although with some overly busy string bass work that somewhat intrudes on the group's vocal efforts. This one also scratched at the bottom of the charts but never took off. Some previously unreleased Capris tracks for Old Town have now been made available on a series of CDs put out by England's Ace Records.
Views: 165524 MANNY MORA
ERNIE K.DOE  - ''MOTHER IN LAW'' (1961)
 
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''Mother in Law'' - Lyrics (Mother in Law) Mother In Law (Mother in Law) Mother In Law The worst person I know (Mother-in law, mother-in law) (Mother-in law, mother-in law) A she worries me, so If she'd leave us alone A we would have a happy home Sent from down below Mother in Law Mother in Law Satan should be her name To me they're bout the same Every time I open my mouth She steps in, tries to put me out How could she stoop so low [Instrumental Interlude] I come home with my pay She asks me what I made She thinks her advice is the constitution But if she would leave that would be the solution And don't come back no more Mother in law My......mother in law, ah Oh yeah Ernie K-Doe scored one of the biggest hits (possibly the biggest) in the history of New Orleans R&B with "Mother-in-Law," a humorous lament that struck a chord with listeners of all stripes on its way to the top of both the pop and R&B charts in 1961. The song proved to be K-Doe's only major success, despite several more minor hits that were equally infectious, yet he remained one of New Orleans' most inimitable personalities. Born Ernest Kador, Jr. in New Orleans in 1936, he began singing at age seven in the Baptist church where his father served as minister. During his teen years, Kador performed with local gospel groups like the Golden Chain Jubilee Singers and the Zion Travelers, when he was influenced chiefly by the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi. He entered and won talent competitions and became more interested in secular R&B and blues, and at 17, he moved to Chicago with his mother and began performing at local clubs. Thanks to connections he made there, he got the chance to sing with the Flamingos and Moonglows, as well as the Four Blazes, a gig that earned him his first recording session in late 1953 for United. Kador returned to New Orleans in 1954 and honed his flamboyant stage act at numerous local hangouts (including the famed Dew Drop Inn), both solo and as part of the vocal group the Blue Diamonds. the Blue Diamonds cut a couple of sides for Savoy in 1954, and the following year, Kador (still billed under his real name) recorded his first solo single, "Do Baby Do," for Specialty. In 1957, he recorded a few more sides for Ember, as both Ernie Kado and Ernie K-Doe. Finally, in 1959, he caught on with the newly formed Minit label and hooked up with producer/songwriter/pianist/arranger/future legend Allen Toussaint. His first Minit single, "Make You Love Me," flopped, but the follow-up, "Hello My Lover," was a substantial regional hit, selling nearly 100,000 copies. K-Doe struck gold with 1961's "Mother-in-Law," a Toussaint-penned tune on which K-Doe traded choruses with bass vocalist Benny Spellman. That, coupled with the playful cynicism of the lyrics, made for a rollicking good time in the best New Orleans R&B tradition, and K-Doe was rewarded with a number one record on both the pop and R&B charts. He toured the country and landed a few more follow-up hits -- "Te-Ta-Te-Ta-Ta," "I Cried My Last Tear," "A Certain Girl" (later covered by the Yardbirds), "Popeye Joe" -- but none approached the phenomenon of "Mother-in-Law," and were more popular on the R&B side. Minit soon went under, and K-Doe followed Toussaint to the Instant label, but two 1964 singles failed to revive K-Doe's chart fortunes, partly because the early prime of New Orleans R&B was fading as Motown gained prominence. Over the remainder of the '60s, K-Doe recorded for Peacock and Duke, landing two very minor R&B chart entries in 1967 with "Later for Tomorrow" and "Until the Real Thing Comes Along" on the latter label. However, he had a difficult time adapting his loose, playful style to the R&B trends of the day. He reunited with Toussaint for a brief period in the early '70s, to no avail, and drifted into a long period of alcoholism. Fortunately, K-Doe was able to reclaim some of his popularity around New Orleans when he began hosting a radio program in 1982, earning an audience with his wild antics and blatant self-promotion. In 1994, K-Doe opened his own club, Mother-in-Law Lounge, in New Orleans, and frequently performed there in the years to come, occasionally returning to the studio as well. He was inducted into the city's Music Hall of Fame in 1995 and generally acknowledged for his contributions up until his death from kidney and liver failure on July 5th 2001.
Views: 530472 MANNY MORA
DAVID RUFFIN -"MY WHOLE WORLD ENDED (THE MOMENT YOU LEFT ME)"  [1969]
 
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After rising to superstardom as the Temptations' co-lead vocalist, David Ruffin concluded his oft-tumultuous relationship with the Motown quintet to forge a solo career. His debut album was less a statement regarding his status as a former Temp and more a reflection of the artist's temperament. Although drugs would begin to erode his immeasurable talents from the inside out, Ruffin can be heard at the top of his game on My Whole World Ended (1969). While he may have been out of the band, he was still considered a key component in the Motown family and, at least for a while, was afforded support by the best and brightest that the label had to offer. Among the perks was working with top-notch hit making producers Harvey Fuqua, Johnny Bristol, Paul Riser,and Ivory Joe Hunter -- all of whom add their magic to the mix. Ruffin's vocals are uniformly inspired, particularly when he pours himself into the performance. The LP kicks off with the title track, "My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)." The song's dark and somewhat menacing tone provides all the atmosphere Ruffin needs to unleash his trademark heart-wrenching leads. It is no wonder that the number made a significant impact as a Top Ten crossover smash. As was the assembly line nature of new Motown product, quite often the deeper cuts were just as appealing, especially when it was David Ruffin behind the microphone. The mid-tempo soul-stirrer "Pieces of a Man," as well as the churning funk-a-thons "World of Darkness" and "Flower Child" may be the effort's sleeper classics. Ruffin certainly isn't afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve either as the ballads "Message from Maria," "I've Lost Everything I've Ever Loved" and the radiant waltz "My Love Is Growing Stronger" demonstrate to great effect. Pop music fans will undoubtedly recognize the melody to "Everlasting Love" as it had already been a hit for Robert Knight two years earlier in 1967, while Carl Carlton -- a fellow Detroit-based singer -- would score even higher with his 1974 update. Perhaps the same fate could have befallen Ruffin's take had it been extracted as a single release. In the end the project didn't need too much help to take to the top of the R&B album survey for two weeks and into the Top 40 on the pop side. Parties looking for My Whole World Ended on CD are encouraged to check out the Hip-O Select Great David Ruffin: The Motown Solo Albums, Vol. 1 (2005) double-disc anthology. The contents have been digitally remastered and also offer Ruffin's follow-up long-players Feelin' Good (1969), David Ruffin (1973), and Me 'N Rock 'N Roll Are Here to Stay (1974).
Views: 199958 MANNY MORA
JOHNNY ACE - "PLEDGING MY LOVE"  (1955)
 
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"Pledging My Love" - Iyrics Forever my darling our love will be true Always and forever I'll love just you Just promise me darling your love in return May this fire in my soul dear forever burn My heart's at your command dear To keep love and to hold Making you happy is my desire dear Keeping you is my goal I'll forever love you For the rest of my days I'll never part from you and your loving ways My heart's at your command dear To keep love and to hold Making you happy is my desire dear Loving you is my goal I'll forever love you For the rest of my days I'll never part from you and your loving ways. Single Released Posthumously The most popular recording of the song was done by Johnny Ace. It was released by Duke Records as catalog number 136 in 1955 soon after Ace's death by an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound. Ace's version peaked on the Billboard chart at #17 and spent ten weeks at #1 on the R&B chart. The recording was produced by Johnny Otis, who also played the vibraphone on the track and featured the Johnny Otis band. Ace's "Pledging My Love" was used multiple times in the 1983 film Christine directed by John Carpenter and written by Stephen King about a 17-year old boy in love with a possessed 1958 Plymouth Fury. It is briefly heard in Back to the Future (1985) when Lorraine Baines is in the car with her future son Marty McFly. The song is also played during the movie Bad Lieutenant and another Harvey Keitel movie, Mean Streets. Paul Simon wrote a song called "The Late Great Johnny Ace" and released it on his Hearts and Bones album. In the early 2000s, Simon sang "Pledging my Love" live in concert, telling the audience that this record was the first one he ever bought.
Views: 116509 MANNY MORA
THE MARCELS - "BLUE MOON"  (1961)
 
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The Marcels were an American doo-wop group known for turning popular music songs into rock and roll. The group formed in 1959 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and signed to Colpix Records, with lead Cornelius Harp, bass Fred Johnson, Gene Bricker, Ron Mundy, and Richard Knauss. The group was named after a popular hair style of the day, the marcel wave, by Fred Johnson's younger sister Priscilla. In 1961 many were surprised to hear a new version of the ballad "Blue Moon", that began with the bass singer saying, "bomp-baba-bomp" and "dip-da-dip." The record sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. It is featured in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. The disc went to number one in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and UK Singles Chart.[5] In the U.S., additional revivals in the same vein as "Blue Moon" -- "Heartaches" and "Melancholy Baby" -- were less successful, although "Heartaches" peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and eventually sold over one million copies worldwide. In August 1961, due to problems encountered in the Deep South while touring because of the group being bi-racial, the white members, Knauss and Bricker left and were replaced by Allen Johnson (brother of Fred) and Walt Maddox. Mundy left soon after, leaving the group a quartet. In 1962, Harp and Allen Johnson left, and were replaced by Richard Harris and William Herndon. There was a brief reunion of the original members in 1973. The group made several recordings in 1975 with Harp back on lead. Original member Gene Bricker died in 1983. Allen Johnson died in 1995. By the early 1990s the group included Johnson, Maddox, Harris, Jules Hopson, and Richard Merritt. The group split around 1995. Fred Johnson formed his own group with new members, while the other four members recruited new bassist Ted Smith. Maddox won a lawsuit against Sunny James Svetnic, the manager of Johnson's group, for trademark infringement in 1996. Johnson reunited with Harp, Mundy, and Knauss in 1999 for the PBS special Doo Wop 50. The Marcels were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2002. In Brazil, their greatest hit, "Blue Moon", was the opening theme from the soap opera production O Beijo do Vampiro, from TV Globo network, exhibited between 2002 and 2003. Their original lead singer, Cornelius Harp, died in 2013.
Views: 515080 MANNY MORA
THE SILHOUETTES - "GET A JOB"  (1957)
 
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The Silhouettes were formed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1956, at first using the name The Thunderbirds. Their classic hit "Get A Job" - originally the B-side to "I Am Lonely" - was issued by their manager Kae Williams on his own Junior Records label before being sold to the nationally distributed Ember label in late 1957. It reached number 1 on both the R&B and pop charts in U.S. and the group performed it on television's American Bandstand. The song sold more than one million copies, and was awarded a gold record. The lyrics of "Get a Job" are notable for the depiction of a household in tension because of unemployment, despite the man's desperate attempts to find work, all delivered in a relentlessly upbeat style. A second release, "Heading for the Poorhouse", continued the economic theme. It was one of the few songs to allude to inflation, the trip to the poorhouse being because "all our money turned brown". This single and all their subsequent singles sold poorly and the group never entered the national charts again, making them a classic example of "one hit wonders". The Silhouettes toured with Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, Clyde McPhatter and others but the group never reached the top of the charts again. They disbanded in 1968, but the four original members reformed the group in the 1980s and continued to work until 1993. "Get a Job" is one of the best known doo-wop songs of the 1950s. Recorded by The Silhouettes in October 1957, the song reached the number one spot on the Billboard pop and R&B singles charts in February 1958. "When I was in the service in the early 1950s and didn't come home and go to work, my mother said 'get a job' and basically that's where the song came from," said tenor Richard Lewis, who wrote the lyrics. The four members shared the credit, jointly creating the "sha na na" and "dip dip dip dip" hooks later imitated by other doo-wop groups. The song was recorded at Robinson Recording Laboratories in Philadelphia in October 1957. Rollie McGill played the saxophone break and the arranger was Howard Biggs. It was released on the Junior label and Doug Moody who later formed Punk/Thrash label Mystic Records brought it to Ember Records where it was licensed for national distribution. Moody then worked with Dick Clark to get the group on American Bandstand. The Silhouettes performed the song several times on Dick Clark's American Bandstand in early 1958, the single sold more than a million copies. The song was later featured in the soundtracks of the movies American Graffiti, Stand By Me, the end credits for Trading Places and Joey (in which the group also performed it). The revival group Sha Na Na derived their name from the song's catchy doo-wop introduction. "Get a Job" inspired a number of answer songs, including "Got a Job", the debut recording by The Miracles. In 1999, this song was parodied in a Car Body Shop commercial, prior to that the UK recruitment agency, Brook Street Bureau, used the song in their two TV commercials although they replaced "get a job" with "better job". The Brook Street commercial was devised by Saatchi and Saatchi Garland Compton and cost over £1m in 1985 It was also covered by Neil Young & Crazy Horse on their 2012 album Americana.
Views: 514903 MANNY MORA
DAVID RUFFIN -"COMMON MAN" (1973)
 
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David Ruffin's third and self-titled solo offering was in many ways a collaborative effort with Bobby Miller, who produced the David Ruffin (1973) album and supplied eight of its ten tracks. There is a conspicuous dichotomy between the personas that Ruffin portrays throughout the project and the man whose fractious relationship with Motown had practically cost him his association with the label. Things had gotten so bad, they permanently shelved what should have been Ruffin's third LP. Motown simply refused to put it out until cooler heads eventually prevailed some three decades later. He was likewise no longer afforded access to "A-list" material and support musicians either. While his previous outings had sold respectably, they certainly were no match for the likes of Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, or even his former bandmates in the Temptations whose "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" had been a crossover pop chart topper months earlier. "The Rovin' Kind" gets things underway bearing an almost emblematic mid-tempo Motown groove. Ruffin's once crystalline voice now endures the sonic substantiation of chronic drug and alcohol addiction. In a perverse way, the combination of his aging falsetto, coupled with the rough-hewn timbre, actually enhance his role in the ballad "Common Man," as well as the blithe and bouncy "I'm Just a Mortal Man" with the Andantes providing the equally amicable background vocals. The update of "(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want to Be Right" -- a seductive side that Luther Ingram had considerable success with the previous year -- is personalized as Ruffin confides in the opening that he is "a man in desperation" backing it up with the plea "can't you help the situation"? His short rhythmically spoken intro continues as he owns up to his reputation as a "wild child," begging the question whether Ruffin is actually in or out of character. The Philly-style soul of the Kenny Gamble/Leon Huff written "I Miss You" suits the heart-wrenching adaptation. The six-plus minute gritty social commentary "Blood Donors Needed (Give All You Can)" is a starkly accurate portrayal of inner-city life. Perhaps in the escapism mentality of the times, it failed to make an impact on the singles charts. Yet, the lack of a marketable 45 seems to have had little relevance on R&B record buyers as David Ruffin made it into the Top Five album survey -- although it did not fare nearly as well, peaking at number 168 on the pop side. Those slipping figures are endemic indicators of the increasing lack of interest that Motown would invest in Ruffin's future endeavors.
Views: 595668 MANNY MORA
THE ORIOLES - "CRYING IN THE CHAPEL"  (1953)
 
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Earlington Tilghman created one of the most influential vocal groups of all time when he formed the Vibranairs in Baltimore after World War II. Tilghman was better known as Sonny Til, a charismatic tenor who loved rich arrangements and had a knack for picking (and writing) great material. Other members included Alexander Sharp, George Nelson, Johnny Reed, and Tommy Gaither. The Vibranairs soon became The Orioles, and in 1948 they recorded their first hit record, "It's Too Soon To Know." They toured endlessly on the strength of that single, and others like "Tell Me So" and "A Kiss and a Rose," becoming legends of the "Chitlin Circuit," the network of clubs and theaters open to black performers in the days of segregation. In 1953 The Orioles had their biggest hit, "Crying in the Chapel" (a tune later recorded by Elvis Presley), and were the toast of their new hometown, New York City. Albert "Diz" Russell had landed in New York in 1951 with his vocal group The Four Jays. They would sleep on the docks at night, while during the day making the rounds to club talent buyers and booking agents. They met jazz singer Eddie Jefferson, who introduced them to Duke Ellington in one memorable Brill Building meeting. The Duke hired the Four Jays to perform at a club called Snooky's, where their one-night stand turned into a year's engagement. Boxer Joe Louis heard them at Snooky's and got them into the Apollo, and it was there in 1954 that they ran into Sonny Til, who really liked what he heard. Til was having disagreements with the other Orioles, and was looking for a new sound and new talent. He fired The Orioles and asked the Four Jays (who had since changed their name to the Regals) if they would consider becoming The Orioles. "I thought, 'They're established already, this makes sense,' " Russell says. "But I want to tell you, it was Sonny who joined the Regals, we didn't really join the Orioles, even though that was the name we used after that." With the popular name, the band hit the road, constantly touring over the next decade, but never having another substantial hit. The Orioles broke up in the mid-'60s, when sophisticated doo-wop groups weren't finding an audience. Russell left music and went into the eye care business in Washington D.C., where he had family. He returned to the stage only after Til called him in 1978 saying he was getting the group together for one show. The reception they received at that concert convinced The Orioles to give it another shot. Then when Til died in 1981, Russell decided to keep the Orioles going. "We're like General Motors," says Russell. "The car doesn't stop because all the executives are dead." And what a car it's proven to be: the Orioles have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame, the Doo-Wop Hall of Fame and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. Today's Orioles are Russell, with Reese Palmer, who sang with Marvin Gaye in the Marquees, Skip Mahoney, who had a solo hit in 1972 with "Wherever You Go," Royal Height and Eddie Jones (who also plays lead guitar and fronts the soul band Eddie Jones & the Young Bucks). The Legendary Orioles were one of the first rhythm and blues groups ever. Influenced by celebrities such as the Mills Brothers and the Ink Spots, they fused traditional pop songs with gospel style and arranged blues and gospel material with smooth harmonies, resulting in a style that appealed to a wide audience. In 1949 they recorded their first hit, It's Too Soon to Know, written by their manager, Deborah Chessler. In 1953 their recorded their multi-million seller, Crying in the Chapel. They went on to become the most popular recording group in the rhythm and blues field, garnering national as well as international publicity. Their songs have become classics over the years and include the famous What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? And Tell Me So. IN the late 1980s they added "Legendary" to their name. Their stellar performance credits include appearances with The Four Tops, The Supremes, Jackie Wilson, Paul Anka, Frank Sinatra, Ann-Margaret and Connie Francis, In 1993 they sang for President Clinton's inauguration. Two year's later they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Their latest CD. The Orioles Sing for Lovers Only, has been noted for the doo-wop sound that has made them legends over the past fifty years.
Views: 310780 MANNY MORA
DAVID RUFFIN -"RODE BY THE PLACE (WHERE WE USE TO STAY)"  [1977]
 
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In My Stride is the final Van McCoy/David Ruffin collaboration. McCoy surrounded Ruffin's harsh, expressive tenor with strings, horns, New York studio musicians, and Faith, Hope & Charity's slick backing vocals. So much to choose from... "You're My Peace of Mind" is a deceptive groover, accented by an electric harmonica; "Questions" is an unsung gem, Ruffin at his pleading, inquisitive best. On the ballad side, "Just Let Me Hold You For a Night" is a majestic production and one of David's best leads, a gripper from the first note. But there's more: "Hey Woman" and "Rode By the Place (Where We Used to Stay)" are mature, introspective heartache sagas. It's about time Motown did us a favor and compiled all the Ruffin/McCoy sides on one CD package.
Views: 61481 MANNY MORA
THE STUDENTS - "I'M SO YOUNG"  (1958)
 
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Teen R&B vocal group the Students formed in Cincinnati in 1956 -- according to Marv Goldberg's profile in the June 2000 issue of Discoveries, lead Leroy King, first tenor Dorsey Porter, second tenor Roy Ford, baritone John Bolden, bass Richard Johnson, and guitarist Ralph Byrd all met while attending Samuel Ach Junior High School. For the first two years of its existence the group performed as the D'Italians, and after a winning a series of local talent shows caught the attention of Otis Williams & the Charms, at that time Cincinnati's most popular R&B act. Williams not only helped the D'Italians land gigs but also brought them to the attention of Chess Records distributor Mel Herman, and in mid-1958 they signed to Chess' Checkerboard subsidiary. At Herman's urging, they rechristened themselves the Students before traveling to Chess' Chicago studio to cut their debut single, "I'm So Young," a song given to them by writer William "Prez" Tyus, a local high schooler. For reasons unknown, "I'm So Young" appeared on both Checker and the tiny Note label at virtually the same time, becoming a hit throughout much of the Midwest. Its success enabled the Students to tour, and in the fall of 1958 they spent a week at New York City's legendary Apollo Theater. The following spring the Students returned to Chicago to record their sophomore release, "My Vow to You" -- this time, only a Note release was in the cards, but the quintet nevertheless spent the summer touring the U.S. as part of the All-American Shows tent revue. Minus Byrd, whose exit prompted the addition of guitarist Wilbur Longmeier, the Students began preparing for their third single in late 1959. After turning down an unreleased demo called "Cathy's Clown" (later a massive hit for the Everly Brothers), the group opted to record versions of "Misty" and "If I Were King" in a modern harmony style that did not appeal to Chess, which declined to release the single and released the group from its contract instead. Without the Students' knowledge, Chess' Argo subsidiary reissued "I'm So Young" in 1961, scoring a national Top 40 R&B hit in the process. The group was oblivious to this unexpected revival, however, playing only the occasional gig before splitting the following year. In 1983, the original Students lineup reunited for the first time in two decades to appear at Radio City Music Hall -- sadly, the subsequent deaths of King, Bolden, and Ford guaranteed it would be their final reunion as well.
Views: 103914 MANNY MORA
DAVID RUFFIN -"STATUE OF A FOOL" (1975)
 
04:30
''Who I Am'' (1975) former Temptations' vocalist David Ruffin joins forces with the multi-talented Van McCoy. McCoy -- who produced and arranged the album -- was a hot commodity thanks to his disco hit "The Hustle." Although Motown had relocated to Los Angeles, Ruffin and McCoy brought the project to New York City and availed themselves of the finest studio musicians that the Big Apple had to offer: Richard Tee (keyboards), Eric Gale (guitar), Hugh McCracken (guitar), and Steve Gadd (drums), just to mention a few. The opening midtempo title composition sets the pace and establishes the prevalent dance-centric nature. "It Takes All Kinds of People to Make a World" continues in the same four-on-the-four rhythmic vein with the McCoy-directed string section. Ruffin's "Walk Away from Love" -- which actually made it all the way to the number one slot on the R&B Singles survey -- bears an easygoing boogie enhanced by typical string and horn punctuations. Ruffin's begging lead vocals are reminders of his once golden throat. "I've Got Nothing but Time" and the light and lively "Finger Pointers" stand out as two of the catchier selections on the disc, the latter soaking up every McCoy element in the book -- syrupy strings, a pulsating groove, and enough of a syncopated melody to hook even the most jaded listener. The slightly Eastern-flavored arrangement on "Wild Honey" provides a bit of much needed stylistic variety -- although it doesn't stray too far -- while "Heavy Love" is essentially structured as if remaking "The Hustle." No wonder it climbed into the upper reaches of the R&B countdown. "Statue of a Fool" proves that Ruffin can still churn out a heartfelt ballad. Granted his delivery doesn't have the gut-check realism that informed the best of his Temptations' and first couple of solo sides, however it is suitably matched to the half-hearted material. Who I Am concludes on an up note with the funky and driving "Love Can Be Hazardous to Your Health." Ruffin manages to coax out a few of his vintage tonsil-grinding growls as he pleads for the listener to "...beware...beware...beware" before instigating a lyrical call-and-response. The cut was twice a 7" bridesmaid, appearing as the B-side to both "Walk Away from Love" and "Heavy Love." Hip-O Select gathered Who I Am along with the artist's last Motown long-players Everything's Coming Up Love (1976) and In My Stride (1977), as well as a dozen previously unreleased bonus tracks for Motown Solo Albums, Vol. 2 (2006). The double-CD might prove difficult to find or pricey as it is a limited edition.
Views: 909706 MANNY MORA
DAVID RUFFIN -"RAINY NIGHT IN GEORGIA" (1971)
 
04:44
It's well known that Motown recorded more material than it could release, but its reasons for shelving material remain a mystery to this day. Ever since the CD reissue boom of the late '80s, this unreleased material has begun to trickle out of the vaults, and when it does surface in such forms as the dynamite double-disc set A Cellarful of Motown!, the music is so good it's hard to believe that it never was released at the time. Knowing this, it should not come as a complete surprise that former Temptations lead singer David Ruffin had a full, completed album shelved in 1971, but hearing Hip-O Select's excavation of that album on the 2004 release David: The Unreleased Album, it's still a wonder that this record sat in the vaults for over three decades, with very few of the songs recorded during the sessions appearing on other records and compilations over the years. Far from being unreleasable, David (titled as such because the album was never given a proper title -- it was given a catalog number and track sequencing, with David Ruffin penciled in as its name, but that was used as the title for his 1973 album) finds Ruffin at a solo peak, not just a singer but in terms of material. He cut the 12 songs that comprised the album, along with the seven bonus tracks from the same sessions that fill out this CD reissue, in late 1969 and 1970, after he had a big solo hit with "My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)," with the intent of releasing the album in 1971. There were a pair of covers of recent hits -- an appropriately heartbroken and seductive "Rainy Night in Georgia" and a rather revelatory "I Want You Back," which added real grit to the Jackson 5's effervescent smash -- but most of this was material written for Ruffin and it played to his strengths. While this music was rooted in Motown's signature sound and performed by the Funk Brothers, it also looked beyond Detroit, adding heavy doses of funk, psychedelia, and smooth soul, filled with galvanizing horns, driving guitars, down-n-dirty clavinets, flourishes of electric sitar, fuzz tones, and wah-wah guitars, all grounded by Ruffin's earthy testifying and tied together by top-notch songwriting. All these elements wound up sounding much hipper than much of the music officially released by Motown in the early 1970, when Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye were just beginning to break free of the studio's formula, and while David and its accompanying bonus tracks are not a masterpiece along the lines of Talking Book or What's Going On (or even Where I'm Coming From, for that matter), it's vibrant, exciting music that still sounds fresh -- arguably fresher than full-length Temptations albums of the late '60s -- which qualifies it as a lost classic of sorts. Why was it lost, consigned to the vaults for nearly three and a half decades? According to the liner notes, nobody really knows. Ruffin wasn't popular among the executives at Motown in the early '70s, and he was also going through a number of well-documented personal problems, so it's possible that Motown simply didn't want to promote him at the time, but it's also true that the label had a number of great records, including Marvin's What's Going On, to release in 1971, and Ruffin had two LPs out in 1970, including a duet album with his brother Jimmy, so the market may have been saturated. We'll likely never know the reason why David was buried, but fortunately it has been unearthed, and it's a reason for hardcore soul and Motown fans to celebrate.
Views: 114744 MANNY MORA
THE CRESTS - "SIXTEEN CANDLES"  (1959)
 
02:55
The Crests were a New York R&B doo-wop group in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Their most popular song, "Sixteen Candles," rose to number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1959, selling over one million copies, earning a gold disc. The interracial group had three black members (one female), one Puerto Rican, and one Italian-American. Founded by J. T. Carter, the group included Talmoudge Gough, Harold Torres, and Patricia Van Dross, (older sister of R&B great Luther Vandross). Carter selected vocalist Johnny Mastrangelo (shortened to Johnny Mastro and later to Johnny Maestro) as lead vocalist. Maestro's recorded vocal style became instantly recognizable, and a juke box favorite of national teen audiences. Maestro's quality vocals, great song selections, and recordings, with dance-easy beats, made for charted hits. The group had several Top 40 hits in the late 1950s and early 1960s on Coed Records, including "16 Candles," "Six Nights a Week," "The Angels Listened In," "A Year Ago Tonight," "Step By Step", and "Trouble in Paradise." They also charted with "Sweetest One" (Joyce label) in 1957. In the late 1950s, the Crests appeared and performed on several, national, teen dance television shows. After recording two singles for Joyce Records, Van Dross left The Crests in 1958. Maestro left for a solo career in 1961. Maestro would briefly rejoin the band recording under the name Johnny Maestro & the Crests producing a single for Scepter Records, in 1965, and three singles, for the Parkway label, in 1966. He later joined The Del Satins, which would merge with The Rhythm Method to become Johnny Maestro & The Brooklyn Bridge. In 1969, they had a Top 5 hit with "The Worst That Could Happen". New lead James Ancrum, took his place in The Crests. The group recorded a new single, "Little Miracles." It was the first single not to chart in the Top 100. They also recorded "Guilty" (Selma label). Gough quit the group after the single, and was replaced by Gary Lewis (not to be confused with Gary Lewis of Gary Lewis & the Playboys fame). Subsequently, the group failed to find success throughout the decade. By the late 1960s, Torres was gone. The group continued until 1978 as a trio of Carter, Ancrum, and Lewis, when the group split. Carter went on to sing with Charlie Thomas' Drifters. Carter reformed the group in 1980, auditioning over 200 singers, finally settling on: lead Bill Damon, Greg Sereck, Dennis Ray, and New York drummer Jon Ihle. The group continued well into the 1990s. Carter sold the trademarks to The Crests name to Tommy Mara in the late 1990s. Mara was Carter's lead vocalist at the time, and now continues the group without Carter. Currently, Carter performs as part of the three person group, Starz.[3] Lewis is now singing with The Cadillacs. The 1984 John Hughes teen film, Sixteen Candles, took its title from The Crests' song, which was re-recorded by The Stray Cats for the Sixteen Candles soundtrack. In 1987, for a concert in Peekskill, New York, Maestro, Carter, Torres, and Gough reunited as The Crests. In 1993, Patricia Van Dross died of complications from diabetes. Hal Torres is deceased; Tommy Gough lives in Flint, Michigan. Johnny Maestro died of cancer on March 24, 2010, at his home in Cape Coral, Florida. He was 70 and had lived in Islip, New York, until 2003. In April 2010, the Los Angeles-based rights-management firm Beach Road Music, LLC, acquired the Coed Records catalog, subsequently re-releasing the Maestro song "The Great Physician" on the 2011 compilation album From The Vault: The Coed Records Lost Master Tapes, Volume 1. "The Great Physician" was originally released in 1960 as Coed 527, under the pseudonym "Johnny Masters."
Views: 291581 MANNY MORA
THE FIVE SATINS - ''TO THE AISLE''  (1957)
 
02:46
"To the Aisle" is a 1957 song by The Five Satins. The song was written by Billy Dawn Smith and Stuart Wiener. The Five Satins were formed in New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.A., in 1955. Members have included Fred Parris (from Scarlets, The (2)), Al Derby, Ed Martin, Jim Freeman, and Jessie Murphy. The Five Satins are best known for the doo wop classic "In the Still of the Night," a song that was popular enough to make the group one of the most famous doo wop outfits, although they never had another hit of the same magnitude. The origins of the Five Satins lie in the Scarlets, a New Haven, CT, doo wop group led by Fred Parris. The Scarlets formed in 1953, while Parris was still in high school. The group had a local hit with "Dear One" the following year. In 1954, Parris formed the Five Satins with vocalists Al Denby, Ed Martin, and Jim Freeman. Within the next year, Parris had the group record "In the Still of the Night," a song he had recently written in the basement of a local church. The first single the group released was "In the Still of the Night." The single was released on Standard Records in the spring of 1956. By the end of the year, it had been leased to Ember and became a huge hit, peaking at number three on the R&B charts and number 25 on the pop charts.
Views: 140158 MANNY MORA
THE CADETS - ''STRANDED IN THE JUNGLE''  (1956)
 
03:06
The Cadets are an American doo wop group, formed in Los Angeles. The group began as a gospel group, the Santa Monica Soul Seekers, in the late 1940s. The members were Lloyd McCraw, Willie Davis, Austin "Ted" Taylor, Aaron Collins, Glendon Kingsby, and Will "Dub" Jones. In 1955, the group auditioned for Modern Records, and were accepted. The group decided to switch to the popular R&B style, with the exception of Kingsby, who left to continue in gospel music. Modern came up with the name The Cadets, and the group released their first single, "Don't Be Angry"/"I Cry". Collins led the A side while Taylor led the flip side. The group followed with several more singles. One of them was slated to be a cover of The Feathers' "Why Don't You Write Me?" Modern worried that this single may compete with "Don't Be Angry", so it was recorded on their subsidiary label, RPM Records, and was credited to "The Jacks". Davis led "Why Don't You Write Me?", and the flip side, "Smack Dab in the Middle", was led by Jones. Many more singles followed, with the five recording as The Cadets on Modern, and "The Jacks" on RPM. McCraw left at the end of the year, and was replaced by Pete Fox (spelled Foxx). The group signed up to the Buck Ram management agency in March 1956, and continued churning out singles. A few months later, Taylor left to pursue a solo career. He was replaced for one session by Prentice Moreland. This particular session was instrumental, however. It was the recording of "Stranded in the Jungle", a cover of an already popular tune by The Jay Hawks. The song was spoken by Dub, with a duet refrain by Davis and Collins. The flip side, "I Want You", was led by Jones. It was Moreland who delivered the line, "Great googa mooga, lemme outta here!" in "Stranded in the Jungle." Following that session, Davis, Collins, Jones, and Foxx continued as a quartet They continued recording under both names, but toured only as The Cadets. They would, however, perform Jacks songs onstage. Collins was drafted that summer, with his place taken for a short time by the returning Ted Taylor. After only a matter of weeks, Collins was able to return to the group, and Taylor was back out. 1957 saw albums released under both the Jacks and Cadets names, under Modern and RPM, respectively. Confusing to many was the use of Cadets tracks on the Jacks album, and vice-versa. That year the group stopped touring, without any big hits since "Stranded". In May, there was a single release by "Aaron Collins and the Cadets", which was Collins backed by studio singers. In November, the four were back together for one more release. At the end of the year, the group split. Collins and Davis joined The Flairs. Foxx became a guitar instructor and continues (as of date of post; 30 December 2009) to give lessons out of his studio in Los Angeles, California; Jones joined The Coasters. A few recordings were made with the Cadets name in 1960; this was Davis and Collins with the Flairs. The group reformed in the late 1990s, with Davis, Foxx, Randy Jones, and Tommy Turner. This lineup appeared on the PBS special, Doo Wop 51. In 2001, while rehearsing for a show with the Doo Wop Society of Southern California, Jones had to be rushed to the hospital, requiring the other three to perform as a trio at the performance. Jones had suffered a stroke, and died thirteen months later. The group brought in new bass Ed Carter. Willie Davis died in 2011.
Views: 69254 MANNY MORA
DAVID RUFFIN -"SO SOON WE CHANGE" (1979)
 
03:54
David Ruffin's first LP outside of Motown finds him under the direction of legendary Detroit producer Don Davis, who worked with Ruffin before his Motown days. Davis had been igniting the charts with productions for Johnnie Taylor, the Dramatics, Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr., and others. Prior to his pop chart successes, he had established himself as one of Detroit's most soulful producers via his Groovesville work for Steve Mancha, J.J. Barnes, and Ortheia Barnes. The thought of him working with David Ruffin blew everybody's mind; no doubt, the product would be the best thing Ruffin ever released -- alas, no. So Soon We Change consists of one of Ruffin's most compelling vocals and seven stiffs. The ace is "Break My Heart," written by David Garner; this is Ruffin at his best, a sensitive plea for his woman to do him wrong, to hurt him deeply, making it easier for him to leave since he doesn't love her anymore -- a little reverse psychology. The other seven tunes are strange; Davis has Ruffin singing in a lower register then listeners were used to hearing, especially on "I Get Excited," where he heads for baritone territory. "Let's Stay Together" is not the Al Green classic, but a nondescript affair that does the title shame. This is the weakest David Ruffin LP ever, which didn't seem possible with Don Davis producing.
Views: 510863 MANNY MORA
JERRY BUTLER & THE IMPRESSIONS - "FOR YOUR PRECIOUS LOVE"  (1958)
 
02:45
Jerry Butler and Curtis Mayfield met while singing in the same Chicago church choir. After singing in a number of local gospel groups, the two of them joined a doo-wop group called "The Roosters" in 1957, whose members included Chattanooga, Tennessee natives Sam Gooden, Richard Brooks, and his brother Arthur Brooks. By 1958, The Roosters had a new manager in Eddie Thomas, a record deal with Vee-Jay Records, and a new name: "Jerry Butler & the Impressions". The group's first hit single was 1958's "For Your Precious Love", which hit #11 on the US pop charts and #3 on the R&B charts. However, soon after the release of the R&B Top 30 hit "Come Back My Love", Butler left the group to go on to a successful solo career. After briefly touring with the now-solo Butler as his guitarist, Curtis Mayfield became the group's new lead singer and songwriter, and Fred Cash, a returning original Roosters member, was appointed as the new fifth member. "For Your Precious Love" is a song written by Arthur Brooks, Richard Brooks and Jerry Butler, and performed by Butlers' group The Impressions in 1958. It was released as a single on Vee-Jay Records and peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Best Sellers in Stores and Top 100 charts. The song was ranked as the 327th greatest song of all-time by Rolling Stone magazine in 2004. The song has been covered numerous times with many versions reaching the US charts as well, including a new version by Butler himself, who peaked at number 99 on the Hot 100 chart in March 1966. The 1968 version in South Africa by Durban group, The Flames, reached the top spot on the local charts and has been considered a classic in the country ever since.
Views: 99102 MANNY MORA
DAVID RUFFIN -"(IF LOVING YOU IS WRONG) I DON'T WANT TO BE RIGHT" (1973)
 
04:33
David Ruffin's third and self-titled solo offering was in many ways a collaborative effort with Bobby Miller, who produced the David Ruffin (1973) album and supplied eight of its ten tracks. There is a conspicuous dichotomy between the personas that Ruffin portrays throughout the project and the man whose fractious relationship with Motown had practically cost him his association with the label. Things had gotten so bad, they permanently shelved what should have been Ruffin's third LP. Motown simply refused to put it out until cooler heads eventually prevailed some three decades later. He was likewise no longer afforded access to "A-list" material and support musicians either. While his previous outings had sold respectably, they certainly were no match for the likes of Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, or even his former bandmates in the Temptations whose "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" had been a crossover pop chart topper months earlier. "The Rovin' Kind" gets things underway bearing an almost emblematic mid-tempo Motown groove. Ruffin's once crystalline voice now endures the sonic substantiation of chronic drug and alcohol addiction. In a perverse way, the combination of his aging falsetto, coupled with the rough-hewn timbre, actually enhance his role in the ballad "Common Man," as well as the blithe and bouncy "I'm Just a Mortal Man" with the Andantes providing the equally amicable background vocals. The update of "(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want to Be Right" -- a seductive side that Luther Ingram had considerable success with the previous year -- is personalized as Ruffin confides in the opening that he is "a man in desperation" backing it up with the plea "can't you help the situation"? His short rhythmically spoken intro continues as he owns up to his reputation as a "wild child," begging the question whether Ruffin is actually in or out of character. The Philly-style soul of the Kenny Gamble/Leon Huff written "I Miss You" suits the heart-wrenching adaptation. The six-plus minute gritty social commentary "Blood Donors Needed (Give All You Can)" is a starkly accurate portrayal of inner-city life. Perhaps in the escapism mentality of the times, it failed to make an impact on the singles charts. Yet, the lack of a marketable 45 seems to have had little relevance on R&B record buyers as David Ruffin made it into the Top Five album survey -- although it did not fare nearly as well, peaking at number 168 on the pop side. Those slipping figures are endemic indicators of the increasing lack of interest that Motown would invest in Ruffin's future endeavors.
Views: 263600 MANNY MORA
THE VELVETS - "TONIGHT ( COULD BE THE NIGHT)"  (1961)
 
02:07
The Velvets were an American doo wop group from Odessa in Ector County in west Texas. The African American quintet was formed in 1959 by Virgil Johnson, a high school English teacher, with four of his students. Roy Orbison heard the group and signed them to Monument Records in 1960. Their first release was a tune called "That Lucky Old Sun". Their biggest hit single was "Tonight (Could Be the Night)", which hit #26 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1961. The follow-up, "Laugh", peaked at #90, and after a half-dozen further singles the group disbanded. "That Lucky Old Sun" (#46) and "Tonight (Could Be the Night)" (#50) made brief appearances in the UK Singles Chart in 1961. Their complete recorded output runs to just thirty songs, which were collected on one compact disc and released on Ace Records in 1996. Prior to his death, aged 77, in February 2013, Johnson sometimes appeared in nostalgia concerts.
Views: 62902 MANNY MORA
DAVID RUFFIN -"I WANT YOU BACK" (1971)
 
02:54
It's well known that Motown recorded more material than it could release, but its reasons for shelving material remain a mystery to this day. Ever since the CD reissue boom of the late '80s, this unreleased material has begun to trickle out of the vaults, and when it does surface in such forms as the dynamite double-disc set A Cellarful of Motown!, the music is so good it's hard to believe that it never was released at the time. Knowing this, it should not come as a complete surprise that former Temptations lead singer David Ruffin had a full, completed album shelved in 1971, but hearing Hip-O Select's excavation of that album on the 2004 release David: The Unreleased Album, it's still a wonder that this record sat in the vaults for over three decades, with very few of the songs recorded during the sessions appearing on other records and compilations over the years. Far from being unreleasable, David (titled as such because the album was never given a proper title -- it was given a catalog number and track sequencing, with David Ruffin penciled in as its name, but that was used as the title for his 1973 album) finds Ruffin at a solo peak, not just a singer but in terms of material. He cut the 12 songs that comprised the album, along with the seven bonus tracks from the same sessions that fill out this CD reissue, in late 1969 and 1970, after he had a big solo hit with "My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)," with the intent of releasing the album in 1971. There were a pair of covers of recent hits -- an appropriately heartbroken and seductive "Rainy Night in Georgia" and a rather revelatory "I Want You Back," which added real grit to the Jackson 5's effervescent smash -- but most of this was material written for Ruffin and it played to his strengths. While this music was rooted in Motown's signature sound and performed by the Funk Brothers, it also looked beyond Detroit, adding heavy doses of funk, psychedelia, and smooth soul, filled with galvanizing horns, driving guitars, down-n-dirty clavinets, flourishes of electric sitar, fuzz tones, and wah-wah guitars, all grounded by Ruffin's earthy testifying and tied together by top-notch songwriting. All these elements wound up sounding much hipper than much of the music officially released by Motown in the early 1970, when Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye were just beginning to break free of the studio's formula, and while David and its accompanying bonus tracks are not a masterpiece along the lines of Talking Book or What's Going On (or even Where I'm Coming From, for that matter), it's vibrant, exciting music that still sounds fresh -- arguably fresher than full-length Temptations albums of the late '60s -- which qualifies it as a lost classic of sorts. Why was it lost, consigned to the vaults for nearly three and a half decades? According to the liner notes, nobody really knows. Ruffin wasn't popular among the executives at Motown in the early '70s, and he was also going through a number of well-documented personal problems, so it's possible that Motown simply didn't want to promote him at the time, but it's also true that the label had a number of great records, including Marvin's What's Going On, to release in 1971, and Ruffin had two LPs out in 1970, including a duet album with his brother Jimmy, so the market may have been saturated. We'll likely never know the reason why David was buried, but fortunately it has been unearthed, and it's a reason for hardcore soul and Motown fans to celebrate.
Views: 86926 MANNY MORA
THE STUDENTS - "EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK"  (1958)
 
02:32
Teen R&B vocal group the Students formed in Cincinnati in 1956 -- according to Marv Goldberg's profile in the June 2000 issue of Discoveries, lead Leroy King, first tenor Dorsey Porter, second tenor Roy Ford, baritone John Bolden, bass Richard Johnson, and guitarist Ralph Byrd all met while attending Samuel Ach Junior High School. For the first two years of its existence the group performed as the D'Italians, and after a winning a series of local talent shows caught the attention of Otis Williams & the Charms, at that time Cincinnati's most popular R&B act. Williams not only helped the D'Italians land gigs but also brought them to the attention of Chess Records distributor Mel Herman, and in mid-1958 they signed to Chess' Checkerboard subsidiary. At Herman's urging, they rechristened themselves the Students before traveling to Chess' Chicago studio to cut their debut single, "I'm So Young," a song given to them by writer William "Prez" Tyus, a local high schooler. For reasons unknown, "I'm So Young" appeared on both Checker and the tiny Note label at virtually the same time, becoming a hit throughout much of the Midwest. Its success enabled the Students to tour, and in the fall of 1958 they spent a week at New York City's legendary Apollo Theater. The following spring the Students returned to Chicago to record their sophomore release, "My Vow to You" -- this time, only a Note release was in the cards, but the quintet nevertheless spent the summer touring the U.S. as part of the All-American Shows tent revue. Minus Byrd, whose exit prompted the addition of guitarist Wilbur Longmeier, the Students began preparing for their third single in late 1959. After turning down an unreleased demo called "Cathy's Clown" (later a massive hit for the Everly Brothers), the group opted to record versions of "Misty" and "If I Were King" in a modern harmony style that did not appeal to Chess, which declined to release the single and released the group from its contract instead. Without the Students' knowledge, Chess' Argo subsidiary reissued "I'm So Young" in 1961, scoring a national Top 40 R&B hit in the process. The group was oblivious to this unexpected revival, however, playing only the occasional gig before splitting the following year. In 1983, the original Students lineup reunited for the first time in two decades to appear at Radio City Music Hall -- sadly, the subsequent deaths of King, Bolden, and Ford guaranteed it would be their final reunion as well.
Views: 47782 MANNY MORA
DICK & DEE DEE - ''THE MOUNTAIN'S HIGH''  (1961)
 
02:13
Dick and Dee Dee (or Dick and Deedee) is an American singer-songwriter duo that reached popularity in the early to mid-1960s. The group was originally founded by California classmates Mary Sperling and Richard Gosting. They eventually changed their names to Deedee Sperling (currently Deedee Phelps) and Dick St. John. They had their first hit in 1961 when "The Mountain's High" reached No. 2 on the Billboard 100. They toured with the Beach Boys and opened for the Rolling Stones during the Stones' 1964 tour of California. Regulars on the show Shindig!, the duo had multiple hit songs before St. John and Sperling disbanded in 1969. In the 1980s, St. John toured with his wife, Sandy. Dick St. John died on December 27, 2003. Dee Dee Phelps began performing with actor/singer Michael Dunn as Dick and Dee Dee in 2008, appearing in large doo wop and rock and roll shows throughout the United States. Dick St. John and Dee Dee Sperling met while students at Paul Revere Junior High School in Los Angeles, California. They attended different high schools, only to re-encounter one another after graduation. At the time Sperling was attending college and working at a See's Candy store, and St. John was looking for a job. Both realized they were singer-songwriters, and together they began writing songs and singing the vocal parts. The duo were not romantically linked. The first Dick and Dee Dee 45 rpm release ("I Want Someone" backed by "The Mountain's High") was on Lama Records, a small company started by their record producers, the Wilder brothers and Don Ralke. Their recordings were created with four voice tracks. Each of them sang two separate harmony lines. St. John sang the highest and lowest parts including the falsetto, and Dee Dee sang in the middle notes. Without telling the duo, the record producers changed Mary's name to Dee Dee, something they did not discover until after the record was released. The rock and roll song "The Mountain's High" became a smash hit in San Francisco. The single was leased to Liberty Records for national distribution and spent two weeks at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. The track reached No. 37 in the UK Singles Chart, and eventually sold over a million copies. Sperling left college to perform with St. John on rock and roll tours in America, Europe, and Japan. In the United States early on in their career, Dick and Dee Dee performed at California high school assemblies with the upcoming surf band the Beach Boys. They eventually sang in 49 of the 50 United States, with acts like Roy Orbison, the Righteous Brothers, Ike and Tina Turner, Dionne Warwick, the Shirelles, The Dick Clark Caravan of Stars, Murray the K’s Brooklyn Paramount Theatre review, Paul Revere and the Raiders, the Kingsmen, Patti La Belle, the Crystals, the Drifters, Ben E. King, Jan and Dean, the Miracles, the Dovells, Johnny Tillotson, Jackie Wilson, and Sonny and Cher. Dick and Dee Dee were the opening act for the Rolling Stones when the band came to California for their first tour in 1964. The duo recorded their voices on three Rolling Stones tracks while visiting London in 1964, including "Blue Turns to Grey", and "Some Things Just Stick in Your Mind", penned by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. In an interview with BBC Radio recorded in 2006, Dee Dee Phelps revealed that their singing was overdubbed onto backing tracks recorded by the Rolling Stones with Mick Jagger's vocals removed. The songs were officially sanctioned, largely at the behest of Rolling Stones' manager Andrew Oldham and released on Warner Bros. Records. The duo had eight other singles chart with a total of five reaching the Top 30. Their other hits included "Tell Me" (1962), "Young and in Love" (1963), "Turn Around" in 1964 (written by Malvina Reynolds and recorded by Harry Belafonte), and "Thou Shalt Not Steal" (their second-biggest hit, reaching No. 13 in 1965, which included a special picture sleeve issue promoting Triumph Motorcycles). After their last hit "Thou Shalt Not Steal", they remained regulars on Jack Good's television show Shindig!. In 1965, Dee Dee married the duo's manager (later executive television producer for Dick Clark Productions), Bill Lee, and had one son. In 1969, St. John and Sperling parted ways. Dick St. John continued as a songwriter, co-writing "Yellow Balloon" for the group of the same name. After her divorce in the early seventies, Dee Dee married Kane Phelps and moved to Big Sur for the remainder of that decade. They raised two other children, moving back to the Los Angeles area in the 1980s, and are still married as of 2011. In the 1980s Dick revived the Dick and Dee Dee act with his wife, Sandy. The two of them also authored a cookbook in 1993, The Rock and Roll Cookbook, which featured recipes of various rock and roll artists. St. John died in 2003 after a fall from the roof of his house.
Views: 75133 MANNY MORA
THE WILLOWS - "CHURCH BELLS MAY RING"  (1956)
 
02:25
The Willows bloomed in 1950 from Harlem as the Dovers: Richie Davis, John Steele, Ralph Martin, Joe Martin (twins), and Bobby Robinson. Tony Middleton replaced Robinson who left in 1952 to open a record shop on 125th Street that became Fury Records. The Dovers built a reputation battling other groups; they often practiced with Gloria Lynne's group, the Delltones; Lynne later recorded on Premium with the Wheels before going solo.Pete and Goldie Doraine became their managers and financed the groups' 1953 debut, "Love Bells," on their own Pee Dee label, as the Five Willows Three singles followed on Allen Records in 1953 that balm egos but did nothing for their bank accounts. After two flops on Herald in 1954, they hit as the Willows (dropping the "Five" for booking purposes) on Melba in 1956 with "Church Bells May Ring," featuring Neil Sedaka on chimes. It blasted to number 11 R&B but died at number 62 pop due to the Diamonds' number 14 pop cover. The Cadets and Sunny Gale also played the cover game. They didn't have any more hits but hung tough until 1965. Platters on Eldorado and Gone in 1957-1958 credited to Tony Middleton & the Willows went unnoticed; ditto for singles as the Willows on Club and Warwick Records. The Martin twins, Freddie Donovan, and Dotty Martin (Joe's wife) were the Willows for two nonstarters on Heidi Records in 1964. And a lineup featuring Tony Middleton and Richie Davis appeared in the '70s to work the doo-wop revivals; but by the '90s, the Willows wept no more. Andrew Hamilton, All Music Guide
Views: 224901 MANNY MORA
THE TEEN QUEENS - ''EDDIE MY LOVE''  (1956)
 
03:14
The Teen Queens were an American musical group from the 1950s, most remembered for their hit single "Eddie My Love" which reached #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #3 on the R&B Best Sellers charts in March 1956. The group consisted of sisters Betty and Rosie Collins, sisters of Aaron Collins, a singer with the doo wop group The Cadets. It was Aaron who wrote their debut song, and the single that became their biggest hit. "Eddie My Love" was released by RPM Records, and following its success, was followed by a string of other releases. These included "Baby Mine", "Billy Boy", "Red Top", "Rock Everybody" and "I Miss You", but none of these achieved the success of their debut song. Consequently, the group left RPM in 1958 and signed a one record recording contract with RCA Records, who released "Dear Tommy". This also failed to make much of an impact on the charts. There then followed a later contract with Antler Records and a further two singles, "There Is Nothing on Your Mind" (an answer to "There's Something on Your Mind") and "I Heard Violins". Again, however, these songs enjoyed little success and by 1961, the group decided to call it a day. "Eddie My Love" was also recorded by The Chordettes and The Fontane Sisters, both of which also made the charts in 1956.
Views: 67863 MANNY MORA
THE PASSIONS - "JUST TO BE WITH YOU"  (1959)
 
02:25
One of the best of Brooklyn's white doo wop groups, the Passions helped to further the careers of two top writer/artists. The group members were among those vocalists whose harmony haven was the alley of Loew's Oriental Theatre in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn. The nearby Kelly's pool room served as an occasional rehearsal hall. When five of the bunch formed the Overons (who later became the Mystics), the remaining members became the Sinceres. They included Tony Armato, Albee Galione, Vinny Acierno, Nicky Lombardi and John Pangi. The quintet recorded a few demos in 1958, at which time Tony, Albee and Vinny began looking for replacements who were more career-minded. Another group in Bensonhurst had what they needed; when the three Sinceres heard Runarounds lead singer Jimmy Gallagher, they knew he was the one for them (Jimmy's previous group, the Palladiyms, included Joe DiBenedetto, who later formed "The Four-evers".) The Sinceres weren't sure how to approach Jimmy, so they followed him home one night and knocked on his door. After convincing his mother that they only wanted to sing with her son, not mug him, the foursome went to a nearby park and ended up harmonizing for hours. They were now a quartet, with Jimmy on lead, Tony on first tenor, Albee on second tenor, and Vinnie on baritone. In 1959, while the Mystics were recording "Hushabye" at their first session, their friend Tony Armato was there cheering them on promoting his own group to their manager, Jim Gribble. Gribble soon signed the Sinceres and renamed them the Passions. He gave them a demo by a duo of studio singers who called themselves the Cousins. The song was "Just to Be with You" written by Mary Kalfin. The Cousins were Paul Simon and Carole King. Released in August 1959 on Sol Winkler's Audicon label, the Passions' impeccable harmonies and Gallagher's impassioned lead put "Just to Be with You" on radios across America. It was a top 20 hit in many eastern cities and it charted nationally, rising to number 69. The follow-up out of Audicon's 1674 Broadway digs was twice as good. Both sides—the harmony filled "I Only Want You" and the beautiful Billy Dawn Smith ballad "This Is My Love" --vied for radio play and sales throughout the states. A reviewer in the in the January 11, 1960, issue of Billboard commented, "The group could score again via either of these rock-a-ballads. On both, the lead comes through with fine readings and he gets good group assists. Both remind of their previous hit, "Just to be with you.'" "I Only Want You" eventually took the lead, but the split play killed any hopes of one single becoming a national hit. "I Only Want You" stopped at number 113 in March 1960. The group attracted a great deal of attention from these singles and toured with some of the industry's top talent, including Chubby Checker, Dion & the Belmonts, The Skyliners The Isley Brothers, and of course their Kelly's pool room pals the Mystics. They also appeared on Dick Clark's Tver, Alan Freed's "Big Beat" TV show, and Clay Cole's show while performing at the Brooklyn Fox with Alan Freed. By the time the group recorded "Gloria" Vinny had left and been replaced by Gallagher's friend Lou Rotondo. Also in 1960 Lou Rotondo and Albie Galione, along with Albie Contrera of the Mystics, sang behind Clay Cole on "Here, There, Everywhere" (Roulette), single that became popular in the New York area. Audicon Records lost the group's next release, the harmony rocker "Made for Lovers." The group recorded a few more sides for Audicon which were leased to Jubilee and Octavia. By 1962, Gallagher had joined the navy and Gribble had died. The group signed with producer Teddy Vann, ABC Records and drafted Joey O'Neal for the lead. Before Joey could sing, however, Jimmy returned on leave and joined with the Passions to record "The Bully" (ABC, 1963) and an up-tempo version THE CRESTS' "Sixteen Candles" (Diamond, 1963). When both went out unpromoted, Gallagher returned to the navy. Graham Lee True (the Hitones, Fonsca) took over the lead, but they only recorded unreleased demos. The group broke up in 1963.
Views: 184466 MANNY MORA
SHEP & THE LIMELITES -"DADDY'S HOME"  (1961)
 
02:55
Shep and the Limelites was an American doo-wop group of the early 1960s, composed of James "Shep" Sheppard (September 24, 1935 -- January 24, 1970), Clarence Bassett (March 13, 1936 -- January 25, 2005) and Charles Baskerville (July 6, 1936 -- January 18, 1995). They are best known for their 1961 hit recording, "Daddy's Home", co-written by Sheppard. Sheppard and Bassett, both from Queens County, New York, and Baskerville, originally from Virginia, organized a group in Queens in 1960. This was billed initially as Shane Sheppard And The Limelites, but quickly became Shep and the Limelites. All three had previous experience in other groups: Shep with The Heartbeats (notable for "A Thousand Miles Away"); Bassett with The Five Sharps and then, with Baskerville, in The Videos. Shep & The Limelites' recording sessions for Hull Records started in August 1960. They recorded the original version of "Daddy's Home" on February 1, 1961. "Daddy's Home" reached no. 2 on the Billboard popular music chart in May and was covered by P J Proby (1970) Jermaine Jackson (1972), Toots and the Maytals (Funky Kingston 1973), Junior English, and Cliff Richard (1981). Later songs were not as successful as "Daddy's Home", but still sold well; among these were "What Did Daddy Do", "Ready For Your Love" and "Our Anniversary". Kahl Music, publisher of "A Thousand Miles Away", an earlier song written by Sheppard, sued Keel Music, publisher of "Daddy's Home", for copyright violation. Keel eventually lost, and this resulted in the end of the Limelites and Hull Records in 1966. Bassett joined The Flamingos and Baskerville joined The Players and then The Drifters. Sheppard re-formed the Limelites in the late 1960s, but was murdered on January 24, 1970. He was found dead in his car on the Long Island Expressway, having been beaten and robbed. Baskerville died, at age 58 on January 18, 1995 in New York. Bassett died on January 25, 2005, at age 68 from the complications of emphysema, at his home in Richmond, Virginia.
Views: 124514 MANNY MORA
CARL PERKINS - "PUT YOUR CAT CLOTHES ON!"  (1957)
 
02:51
Carl Lee Perkins (April 9th 1932 -- January 19th 1998) was an American rockabilly musician who recorded most notably at Sun Records Studio in Memphis, Tennessee, beginning during 1954. His best known song is "Blue Suede Shoes". According to Charlie Daniels, "Carl Perkins' songs personified the rockabilly era, and Carl Perkins' sound personifies the rockabilly sound more so than anybody involved in it, because he never changed." Perkins' songs were recorded by artists (and friends) as influential as Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and Johnny Cash, which further cemented his place in the history of popular music. Paul McCartney even claimed that "if there were no Carl Perkins, there would be no Beatles. Called "the King of Rockabilly", he was inducted into the Rock and Roll, the Rockabilly, and the Nashville Songwriters Halls of Fame; and was a Grammy Hall of Fame Award recipient.
Views: 61617 MANNY MORA
THE HARPTONES- ''LIFE IS BUT A DREAM''  (1955)
 
02:44
The Harptones are an American doo-wop group, which formed in Manhattan in 1953. The group never had a top forty pop hit, or even a record on the national R&B charts, yet they are still considered one of the most influential doo-wop groups, both for their lead singer, Willie Winfield and their pianist/arranger, Raoul Cita. The Harptones recorded for various labels, including Coed Records. The Harptones may have been the first doo-wop group to number a full-time arranger among their members, and Cita knew how to work to Winfield's strengths. Their best-known recordings include "Sunday Kind of Love" (1953), "Why Should I Love You?" (1954), "Life is But a Dream" (1955), and "The Shrine of St. Cecilia" (1956). In 1956, they recorded some songs for the film Rockin' the Blues: "Mambo Boogie", "Ou Wee Baby", and "High Flying Baby". The song "Life is But a Dream" was featured in the 1990 film GoodFellas, and can be found on the film's soundtrack.
Views: 170312 MANNY MORA
RANDY & THE RAINBOWS - "DENISE"  (1963)
 
01:59
Randy & the Rainbows are an American doo wop group from Maspeth, New York. The group was formed in 1962 in a neighborhood of Queens, and featured two pairs of siblings, along with a fifth member. The Safuto brothers had previously sung in the group The Dialtones. They recorded with the producers of The Tokens, releasing the single "Denise" in 1963. The song hit #18 on the US Black Singles chart and #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 that year. "Denise" was written by Neil Levenson, and was inspired by his childhood friend, Denice Lefrak. The song later became a European hit for Blondie, with the title changed to "Denis". Randy & The Rainbows' follow-up single, "Why Do Kids Grow Up", barely scraped the pop charts at #97, and the group never charted again.
Views: 37291 MANNY MORA
THE VIDEOS - "TRICKLE TRICKLE"  (1958)
 
02:06
The Videos placed second at the Apollo Theater's amateur night contest, they were awarded a recording deal with Philadelphia's Casino Records. The tune they recorded at their initial session with Casino was "Trickle, Trickle," which did pretty well for the short-lived doo-wop group. Before they were able to record a follow-up to their second release for Casino, "Love Or Infatuation," two members had died. One was lead Ronald Cussey, who had previously sung lead for the legendary Five Sharps on Jubilee. This marked the end of the Videos' SInging career Ronald Cussey (d) (lead), Clarence Bassett (1st tenor), Charles Baskerville (2nd tenor), Johnny Jackson (baritone), Ron Woodhall (d) (bass). Bassett also sang with the Five Sharps and later teamed up with Charles Baskerville and James Sheppard to form Shep & The Limelites. A video is an electronic medium for the recording, copying and broadcasting of moving visual images Video technology was first developed for cathode ray tube (CRT) television systems, but several new technologies for video display devices have since been invented. Charles Ginsburg led an Ampex research team developing the first practical video tape recorder (VTR). In 1951 the first video tape recorder captured live images from television cameras by converting the camera's electrical impulses and saving the information onto magnetic video tape. Video recorders were sold for $50,000 in 1956, and videotapes cost $300 per one-hour reel.[1] However, prices gradually dropped over the years; in 1971, Sony began selling videocassette recorder (VCR) tapes to the public. After the invention of the DVD in 1997 and Blu-ray Disc in 2006, sales of videotape and recording equipment plummeted. Later advances in computer technology allowed computers to capture, store, edit and transmit video clips.
Views: 143499 MANNY MORA
DAVID RUFFIN -"I LET LOVE SLIP AWAY" (1969)
 
02:46
Less than six months after the release of his triumphant solo debut My Whole World Ended (1969), Motown issued former Temptations' frontman David Ruffin's dozen-song follow-up Feelin' Good (1969). One factor in such a rapid turnaround was the availability of several leftovers from Ruffin's former project and another was undoubtedly to strike again while the iron was still hot -- as My Whole World Ended had topped the R&B charts for two weeks and spawned a pair of pop crossover hits to boot. Keen-eared listeners can discern the earlier recordings as Ruffin's voice hasn't developed the noticeably grittier quality that is reflected in the opening upbeat soul stirrer "Loving You (Is Hurting Me)." His timeless falsetto has a weariness that simply can't be simulated. Of the two non-Motown covers on this collection, the incendiary update of Dave Mason's "Feelin' Alright" wins hands down over the comparatively uninspired, but charming take of Jackie DeShannon's anthemic "Put a Little Love in Your Heart." None other than Motown founding father Berry Gordy himself is credited with the production on the gospel-flavored ballad "I'm So Glad I Fell for You." The raw emotion in Ruffin's fervent delivery and the spirited support of the Hal Davis Singers were enough to take the tune into the Top 20 R&B charts. Although the specific references may have changed, "I Could Never Be President" is as much a politically charged statement as it is an exuberant love song. It projects a more positive future than the present set of circumstances that most of Ruffin's core audience would have been concurrently experiencing. The exceptionally funky rocker "I Pray Everyday You Won't Regret Loving Me" -- which was co-penned by Gladys Knight and her brother (not to mention a Pip) Merald "Bubba" Knight -- is one of the better remnants from the My Whole World Ended sessions, standing among the album's better deep cuts. The lightness of Ashford & Simpson's "What You Gave to Me" pays an homage to Sagittarius' psychedelic sleeper "My World Fell Down" by essentially stealing the opening lyric "Just like a breath of spring/you came my way" and condensing it to "Like a breath of spring you came...." Ruffin's perfect falsetto helps turn in another excellent leftover, which is also the source for the sublime mid-tempo "I Let Love Slip Away." Before Ruffin was assigned the selection, a backing track was created for fellow Motown artist Marvin Gaye. As Gaye never got around to it, Ruffin was thankfully given a chance to see where he could take it. The austerity of Ruffin's instrument indicates more about his personal state of affairs than perhaps he had intended to reveal. Yet he is able to conjure up the same beguiling temperament that had contributed to masterpieces such as "I Wish It Would Rain" and "My Girl." Hip-O Select's Great David Ruffin: The Motown Solo Albums, Vol. 1 (2005) double-disc anthology includes Feelin' Good and its predecessor My Whole World Ended (1969), as well as David Ruffin (1973), and Me 'N Rock 'N Roll Are Here to Stay (1974) -- all of which have been digitally remastered for optimal fidelity.
Views: 30015 MANNY MORA
DAVID RUFFIN -"LET SOMEBODY LOVE ME" (1971)
 
03:57
It's well known that Motown recorded more material than it could release, but its reasons for shelving material remain a mystery to this day. Ever since the CD reissue boom of the late '80s, this unreleased material has begun to trickle out of the vaults, and when it does surface in such forms as the dynamite double-disc set A Cellarful of Motown!, the music is so good it's hard to believe that it never was released at the time. Knowing this, it should not come as a complete surprise that former Temptations lead singer David Ruffin had a full, completed album shelved in 1971, but hearing Hip-O Select's excavation of that album on the 2004 release David: The Unreleased Album, it's still a wonder that this record sat in the vaults for over three decades, with very few of the songs recorded during the sessions appearing on other records and compilations over the years. Far from being unreleasable, David (titled as such because the album was never given a proper title -- it was given a catalog number and track sequencing, with David Ruffin penciled in as its name, but that was used as the title for his 1973 album) finds Ruffin at a solo peak, not just a singer but in terms of material. He cut the 12 songs that comprised the album, along with the seven bonus tracks from the same sessions that fill out this CD reissue, in late 1969 and 1970, after he had a big solo hit with "My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)," with the intent of releasing the album in 1971. There were a pair of covers of recent hits -- an appropriately heartbroken and seductive "Rainy Night in Georgia" and a rather revelatory "I Want You Back," which added real grit to the Jackson 5's effervescent smash -- but most of this was material written for Ruffin and it played to his strengths. While this music was rooted in Motown's signature sound and performed by the Funk Brothers, it also looked beyond Detroit, adding heavy doses of funk, psychedelia, and smooth soul, filled with galvanizing horns, driving guitars, down-n-dirty clavinets, flourishes of electric sitar, fuzz tones, and wah-wah guitars, all grounded by Ruffin's earthy testifying and tied together by top-notch songwriting. All these elements wound up sounding much hipper than much of the music officially released by Motown in the early 1970, when Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye were just beginning to break free of the studio's formula, and while David and its accompanying bonus tracks are not a masterpiece along the lines of Talking Book or What's Going On (or even Where I'm Coming From, for that matter), it's vibrant, exciting music that still sounds fresh -- arguably fresher than full-length Temptations albums of the late '60s -- which qualifies it as a lost classic of sorts. Why was it lost, consigned to the vaults for nearly three and a half decades? According to the liner notes, nobody really knows. Ruffin wasn't popular among the executives at Motown in the early '70s, and he was also going through a number of well-documented personal problems, so it's possible that Motown simply didn't want to promote him at the time, but it's also true that the label had a number of great records, including Marvin's What's Going On, to release in 1971, and Ruffin had two LPs out in 1970, including a duet album with his brother Jimmy, so the market may have been saturated. We'll likely never know the reason why David was buried, but fortunately it has been unearthed, and it's a reason for hardcore soul and Motown fans to celebrate.
Views: 188123 MANNY MORA
THE HOLLYWOOD FLAMES - "BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ"  (1957)
 
02:20
The Hollywood Flames were an American R&B vocal group in the 1950s, best known for their hit, "Buzz Buzz Buzz". They formed as The Flames in 1949, in Watts, Los Angeles, at a talent show where members of various high school groups got together. The original members were Bobby Byrd (lead), David Ford, Curlee Dinkins and Willie Ray Rockwell. Rockwell was sometimes replaced by Clyde Tillis, and Ford sometimes sang lead. Their first paying gig was at Johnny Otis's Barrelhouse Club. They first recorded in 1950 for the Selective label, and the following year, billed as The Hollywood Four Flames, released "Tabarin", a song written by Murry Wilson (father of The Beach Boys). They later recorded another Wilson song, "I'll Hide My Tears". Over the years the group, under various names, is believed to have recorded for about nineteen different record labels, including Aladdin and Specialty. Although they had no big hits for several years, they were a successful local act in the Los Angeles area. The group also had a series of personnel changes, with Rockwell being replaced by Gaynel Hodge, and for a short while Dinkins being replaced by Curtis Williams. Hodge and Williams, with Jesse Belvin, were co-writers of The Penguins' "Earth Angel". In 1953 they released the sketch for this song "I Know" on the label Swing Time. Believed to be the first song to present the 6/8 piano-attacca known from later 50'es hits like Only You and Ain't That a Shame. By 1954, the group were usually billed as The Hollywood Flames, but also recorded as The Turks, The Jets, and The Sounds. David Ford and Gaynel Hodge recorded with Jesse Belvin and Hodge's brother Alex, as The Tangiers, before Hodge left The Hollywood Flames in 1955 to form a new version of The Turks. He was replaced by Earl Nelson, who had previously recorded with Byrd as The Voices, and with Byrd later formed the duo Bob & Earl. In 1957, the group - Byrd, Ford, Dinkins and Nelson - signed with Class Records, where Byrd was renamed "Bobby Day". The group recorded as The Hollywood Flames, as Bobby Day & the Satellites, and as Earl Nelson & the Pelicans. In July 1957, Bobby Day & the Satellites recorded "Little Bitty Pretty One", which was covered more successfully by Thurston Harris. Later that year, The Hollywood Flames - with Nelson singing lead - released "Buzz Buzz Buzz", co-written by Byrd, which reached #5 on the R&B chart and #11 on the pop chart. Byrd (alias Day) then left The Hollywood Flames, but continued to release singles, at first as Bobby Day & the Satellites, and then as a solo performer. His greatest success came in 1958 with "Rockin' Robin". On August 4, 1958 the Hollywood Flames appeared at the Apollo, as part of a Dr. Jive show. Others on the show were Larry Williams, the Cadillacs, Little Anthony & the Imperials, the Skyliners, Frankie Lymon, the Clintonian Cubs, and Eugene Church. After this, Curtis Williams quit. The new members were tenor Eddie Williams (former lead of the Aladdins) and baritone Ray Brewster who joined in 1958. (Ray had been in the Penguins in 1956 and both Eddie and Ray had been in the later Colts/Fortunes with Don Wyatt.) Then, the whole group picked up and moved to New York, after securing a contract with Atlantic Records' Atco subsidiary. In December 1959, they had their first Atco release: "Every Day, Every Way" (led by Earl Nelson) b/w "If I Thought You Needed Me" (fronted by Eddie Williams). Atco arranged for them to appear at the Apollo Theater to push the record (the week of December 25). Others on the show were: Lloyd Price, Tarheel Slim & Little Ann, and the 5 Keys. They were back at the Apollo on February 19, 1960 for another Dr. Jive show. This time they shared the stage with Johnny Nash, the Flamingos, Nappy Brown, Tiny Topsy, the Centurians, Eugene Church, Barrett Strong, Jean Sampson, and the Fidelitys. April 1960 Atco released "Ball And Chain" led by Earl Nelson. "I Found A Boy" was sung by Eddie Williams and an unknown female vocalist who recorded this one record with the Hollywood Flames. At the same session with Atco Ray and the Flames also recorded "Devil Or Angel" and "Do You Ever Think of Me". The Hollywood Flames made one record for Chess out of their Chicago studio "Gee" and "Yes They Do" Released in March 1961. In 1962 Ray left the Flames and became lead vocalist of The New York based Cadillacs. The Hollywood Flames continued to record for several more years, with a fluctuating line-up, the only constant being David Ford. The last version of the group split up around 1967. Earl Nelson also known as Jackie Lee died on July 12, 2008. The song, "Buzz Buzz Buzz", was featured in the 2001 film "Blow".
Views: 116741 MANNY MORA
DAVID RUFFIN -"CAN WE MAKE LOVE ONE MORE TIME?" (1980)
 
04:33
As the lead singer of the Temptations, Ruffin was one of the most urbane and charismatic singers around. His work as a solo act was spotty at best. Writers and producers at Motown had Ruffin screaming at the top of his lungs over everything from run over dogs to Dear John letters. A 1970 set with his brother Jimmy Ruffin and a trio of albums with producer Van McCoy in the late 70's were the only respite from a steep artistic decline. Ruffin left Motown in 1977. This 1980 album presents him as more of a love man and is the follow up to 1979's Soon We Change, also produced by Don Davis. The most striking thing about this effort is Ruffin's voice. Unlike other singers of the raspy/loud type, his voice actually improved and he didn't have to resort to howls to make up for a lost midrange. Producer Don Davis plugged Ruffin into a polished, contemporary R&B setting that featured, among others, Leon Ware and Ronnie McNeir on backing vocals. "I Got a Thing for You has Ruffin coming on smooth and confident as he sings, "Felt the feeling, without a touch." He even has to laugh. The dramatic "Can We Make Love One More Time" shows Ruffin didn't lose his cool while begging. Even the borderline unctuous "Don't You Go Home works even though his "love call" should have made his object of desire head for the exits. Gentleman Ruffin is Ruffin's last album as a solo act. Although there are a few weak spots, no comprehensive Rufiin collection should be without it
Views: 228328 MANNY MORA
THE MIRACLES - "BAD GIRL''  (1959)
 
02:45
"Bad Girl" is a 1959 Doo-Wop single by The Miracles. Issued locally on the Motown Records label, it was licensed to and issued nationally by Chess Records because the fledgling Motown Record Corporation did not, at that time, have national distribution. It was the first single released (and the only one released by this group) on the Motown label - all previous singles from the company (and all following ones from the group) were released on Motown's Tamla label. Although The Miracles had charted regionally and on the R&B charts with several earlier songs, including "Got A Job", "I Cry", "I Need A Change", and "(You Can) Depend On Me", "Bad Girl" was their first national chart hit, reaching #93 on the Billboard Hot 100. Written by Miracles lead singer Smokey Robinson and Motown Records' President and Founder Berry Gordy, "Bad Girl" is a sad, remorseful ballad about a young woman, whom Robinson, as the narrator, says "was so good at the start", but who later in the song "is breaking my heart". It is in the popular Doo-wop style, as several of The Miracles' songs were during the late 1950s. The record's success, coupled with the distributor's failure to pay Gordy and The Miracles properly for its sales, prompted Robinson to urge Gordy to "go national" with it, meaning that Motown should do its own national distribution of its songs, and eliminate the middleman, to ensure that all money from sales of its records would go directly to the label. On the Motown/Universal DVD Smokey Robinson and The Miracles: The Definitive Performances 1963-1987, Robinson and fellow Miracles Bobby Rogers and Pete Moore comment that the song's success allowed the group to tour nationally for the first time, and to play New York's legendary Apollo Theatre during the Ray Charles Show. The group was not ready for the appearance: it lacked performance experience and failed to produce professional big band arrangements to the satisfaction of theatre manager Honi Coles. Ray Charles intervened, took the group under his wing, and, with his band, created arrangements for their songs. Charles was one of the first to help them on their climb to eventual success. "Bad Girl" has since become a Doo-wop classic and was named one of the 100 Greatest Doo-Wop Songs of All Time by Doo Wop Nation.[1] It appears on several Miracles' compilations, including Greatest Hits from the Beginning. The song was also performed by the group on their final live album, 1957--1972. It has been covered by the Dazz Band and by Motown artist Mary Wells, whose version was called "Bad Boy" and appeared on her debut album, Bye Bye Baby I Don't Want to Take a Chance.
Views: 76043 MANNY MORA
DAVID RUFFIN -"JUST LET ME HOLD YOU FOR A NIGHT" (1977)
 
04:04
In My Stride is the final Van McCoy/David Ruffin collaboration. McCoy surrounded Ruffin's harsh, expressive tenor with strings, horns, New York studio musicians, and Faith, Hope & Charity's slick backing vocals. So much to choose from... "You're My Peace of Mind" is a deceptive groover, accented by an electric harmonica; "Questions" is an unsung gem, Ruffin at his pleading, inquisitive best. On the ballad side, "Just Let Me Hold You For a Night" is a majestic production and one of David's best leads, a gripper from the first note. But there's more: "Hey Woman" and "Rode By the Place (Where We Used to Stay)" are mature, introspective heartache sagas. It's about time Motown did us a favor and compiled all the Ruffin/McCoy sides on one CD package.
Views: 113227 MANNY MORA
DAVID RUFFIN -"I'M SO GLAD I FELL FOR YOU" (1969)
 
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Less than six months after the release of his triumphant solo debut My Whole World Ended (1969), Motown issued former Temptations' frontman David Ruffin's dozen-song follow-up Feelin' Good (1969). One factor in such a rapid turnaround was the availability of several leftovers from Ruffin's former project and another was undoubtedly to strike again while the iron was still hot -- as My Whole World Ended had topped the R&B charts for two weeks and spawned a pair of pop crossover hits to boot. Keen-eared listeners can discern the earlier recordings as Ruffin's voice hasn't developed the noticeably grittier quality that is reflected in the opening upbeat soul stirrer "Loving You (Is Hurting Me)." His timeless falsetto has a weariness that simply can't be simulated. Of the two non-Motown covers on this collection, the incendiary update of Dave Mason's "Feelin' Alright" wins hands down over the comparatively uninspired, but charming take of Jackie DeShannon's anthemic "Put a Little Love in Your Heart." None other than Motown founding father Berry Gordy himself is credited with the production on the gospel-flavored ballad "I'm So Glad I Fell for You." The raw emotion in Ruffin's fervent delivery and the spirited support of the Hal Davis Singers were enough to take the tune into the Top 20 R&B charts. Although the specific references may have changed, "I Could Never Be President" is as much a politically charged statement as it is an exuberant love song. It projects a more positive future than the present set of circumstances that most of Ruffin's core audience would have been concurrently experiencing. The exceptionally funky rocker "I Pray Everyday You Won't Regret Loving Me" -- which was co-penned by Gladys Knight and her brother (not to mention a Pip) Merald "Bubba" Knight -- is one of the better remnants from the My Whole World Ended sessions, standing among the album's better deep cuts. The lightness of Ashford & Simpson's "What You Gave to Me" pays an homage to Sagittarius' psychedelic sleeper "My World Fell Down" by essentially stealing the opening lyric "Just like a breath of spring/you came my way" and condensing it to "Like a breath of spring you came...." Ruffin's perfect falsetto helps turn in another excellent leftover, which is also the source for the sublime mid-tempo "I Let Love Slip Away." Before Ruffin was assigned the selection, a backing track was created for fellow Motown artist Marvin Gaye. As Gaye never got around to it, Ruffin was thankfully given a chance to see where he could take it. The austerity of Ruffin's instrument indicates more about his personal state of affairs than perhaps he had intended to reveal. Yet he is able to conjure up the same beguiling temperament that had contributed to masterpieces such as "I Wish It Would Rain" and "My Girl." Hip-O Select's Great David Ruffin: The Motown Solo Albums, Vol. 1 (2005) double-disc anthology includes Feelin' Good and its predecessor My Whole World Ended (1969), as well as David Ruffin (1973), and Me 'N Rock 'N Roll Are Here to Stay (1974) -- all of which have been digitally remastered for optimal fidelity.
Views: 105089 MANNY MORA
THE MARCELS - ''HEARTACHES'' (1961)
 
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This Pittsburgh ensemble deserved a much better fate than being known primarily for a novelty-tinged cover of "Blue Moon." Baritone vocalist Richard F. Knauss teamed with Fred Johnson, Gene J. Bricker, Ron Mundy, and lead vocalist Cornelius Harp to form an integrated ensemble. They named themselves after Harp's hairstyle, the marcel. The group did a string of covers as demo tapes that were sent to Colpix. The label's A&R director had them cut several oldies at RCA's New York studios in 1961, one of them being "Blue Moon." They used the bass intro arrangement from the Cadillacs' "Zoom" and the result was a huge hit. It eventually topped both the pop and R&B charts, and also was an international smash. The group eventually appeared in the film Twist Around the Clock with Dion and Chubby Checker, and recorded an 18-cut LP for Colpix. Alan Johnson and Walt Maddox later replaced Knauss and Gene Bricker, making the Marcels an all-black unit. The group did score another Top Ten pop single with "Heartaches," another cover of a pre-rock single. This peaked at number seven pop and number 19 R&B in 1961. They continued recording on Kyra, Queen Bee, St. Clair, Rocky, and Monogram with varying lineups, but never again equaled their past success.
Views: 132374 MANNY MORA
THE ROB ROYS - "TELL ME WHY"  (1957)
 
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The group formed in New York in 1956, and were one of the few interracial groups recording at this time. The group takes its name from the Rob Roy cocktail. The members of the group were Norman Fox (lead), Bob Trotman (first tenor), Andre Lilly (second tenor), Robert Thierer (baritone), and Marshall "Buzzy" Helfand (bass). The group signed to the Backbeat label, a subsidiary of Duke/Peacock in 1957, and recorded three singles, generally upbeat doo-wop tracks: "Tell Me Why", "Lover Doll", and "Dance Girl Dance". The group then signed to Capitol Records in 1958. Helfand left the group at this time, and was replaced by new bass Paul Schneller. One single was recorded, "Pizza Pie", but it was not released as the group was still under contract to Backbeat. After they released enough singles to fulfill their contract, Capitol declined to release it. After recording two unissued singles for Time Records, the group split in 1963. The group reunited for a show in 1971, with Fox, Trotman, Lilly, and Thierer. After another gap, the group returned in 1986 with Fox, Thierer, Stuart Morgan (first tenor; he'd toured with a Drifters group and performed with The Channels in the late 1990s-early 2000s), Alex Augustine (second tenor; former member of The Charts), and Leon McClain (bass, of The Quinns). In the early 90s, the group recorded several a cappella tracks for multiple Starlight Records compilation albums. Some featured Norman's daughter Kim on lead vocals. By this time, Morgan and McClain had been replaced by Nelson "Tino" Alvarez and Les Levine. Later, the group was Fox, Thierer, Augustine, Alvarez, and Jay McKnight, a previous member of The Dubs. Levine is a current member of The Del Vikings. As of 2004, the group was Fox, Thierer, Alvarez, the returning Leon McClain, and Warren Tesoro (second tenor; joined 2003).
Views: 130410 MANNY MORA
THE MOONGLOWS - "SINCERELY"  (1954)
 
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This R&B vocal group was formed in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, in 1952. If there were any group that best signalled the birth of rock 'n' roll - by which R&B emerged out of its black subculture into mainstream teen culture - it was the Moonglows. The group's career paralleled that of their mentor, legendary disc jockey Alan Freed, who during his rise in rock 'n' roll made the Moonglows the mainstays of his radio programmes, motion pictures and stage shows. He was also responsible for naming the group, who originally performed as the Crazy Sounds. Their membership originally comprised lead singer Bobby Lester (13 January 1930, Louisville, Kentucky, USA, d. 15 October 1980), Harvey Fuqua (b. 27 July 1929, Louisville, Kentucky, USA; his uncle was Charlie Fuqua of the Ink Spots), Alexander 'Pete' Graves (b. 17 April 1930, Cleveland, Ohio, USA, d. 15 October 2006, New York City, New York, USA), and Prentiss Barnes (b. 12 April 1925, Magnolia, Mississippi, USA, d. 30 September 2006, Magnolia, Mississippi, USA). After recording for Freed's Champagne label in 1953, the group signed with Chicago-based Chance Records, where they managed to secure a few regional hits, most notably a cover version of Doris Day's 'Secret Love' in 1954. Freed used his connections to sign the Moonglows to a stronger Chicago label, the fast-rising Chess Records, and the group enjoyed a major hit with 'Sincerely' (number 1 R&B/number 20 pop, 1954). Joining the group at this time was guitarist Billy Johnson (b. 1924, Hartford, Connecticut, USA, d. 1987). Using a novel technique they called 'blow harmony', other great hits followed: 'Most Of All' (number 5 R&B, 1955), 'We Go Together' (number 9 R&B, 1956), 'See Saw' (number 6 R&B/number 25 pop, 1956), all of which featured Lester on lead; and a remake of Percy Mayfield's 'Please Send Me Someone To Love' (number 5 R&B/number 73 pop, 1957). The original Moonglows disbanded in 1958, and Fuqua put together a new group called Harvey And The Moonglows that included a young Marvin Gaye. Featuring Fuqua on lead, 'Ten Commandments Of Love' (number 9 R&B/number 22 pop, 1958) was the last of the group's major hits. In 1960 Fuqua disbanded this group and he and Gaye went to Detroit to work in the city's burgeoning music industry. Fuqua worked with Berry Gordy's sister, Gwen Gordy, on the Anna label and Gaye joined Berry Gordy's Motown Records operation. Fuqua carved out a very successful career as a producer and record executive, working with Motown artists in the 60s and a stable of Louisville artists in the 70s on the RCA Records label. Fuqua, Lester and Graves reunited in 1972, with new members Doc Williams and Chuck Lewis.
Views: 126553 MANNY MORA
THE VOGUES - ''MAGIC TOWN''  (1966)
 
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The Vogues are an American vocal group from Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh. The original group consisted of Bill Burkette (lead baritone), Don Miller (baritone), Hugh Geyer (first tenor) and Chuck Blasko (second tenor). The Vogues are a singing quartet from Turtle Creek, Pa with members Bill Burkette (lead baritone), Don Miller (baritone), Hugh Geyer (first tenor) and Chuck Blasko. They are best known for their chart toping singles “Five O’Clock World”, “Magic Town”, and “Turn Around, Look at Me”. In addition to touring the world, the group appeared "American Bandstand," "The Tonight Show," and "The Ed Sullivan Show". They were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2001. The group originally named the Val-Aires formed in 1958 at Turtle Creek High School. They signed with Pittsbugh manager Elmer Willet, who produced their first recording release "Which One Will It Be / Laurie My Love". DJ Porky Chedwick became a supporter booking the group for his rock and roll shows and record hops. Porky put them on bills with the Drifters, the Platters, and the Dells. Clark Race of KDKA radio promoted the group on his KDKA TV dance show. Having strong regional sales it was picked up for national distribution by Coral Records. After high school, several members of the group joined the several Army and some went to college. A few years later with their enlistments completed and degrees in hand, they decided to record again. They pitched in $100 a piece to record a demo tape. They hired Nick Cenci, who had broken Lou Christie, to produce the recording. In 1965 Nick Cenci produced recording sessions for the Val-Aires at Gateway Studios in Pittsburgh. The band recorded vocals for a cover of the Petula Clark song "You're The One." It was released the bands own Blue Star label. Nick Cenci persuaded John Rook, program director of KQV to play the single. With local airplay and sales Nick signed them to the Co & Ce label as the “Vogues”. He had the single distributed nationally . The song became a national hit reaching number four on the Billboard charts. Later in 1965 Cenci produced another Vogues recording session giving the world the no. 4 Billboard hit "Five O'Clock World". In 1966 Co & Ce Records released the single "Magic Town which reached no. 21 in February and the no. 29 “The Land of Milk and Honey”. The singles "Summer Afternoon" and "Lovers Of The World Unite" were released on Co & Ce in 1967. Co & Ce leased the Vogues to Reprise Records (distributed by Warner Bros.) where they scored a no. 7 hit with the song “Turn Around, Look at Me” (#7). They continued to hit the charts with cover versions of "My Special Angel" peak); "Till" ,"No, Not Much", "Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine)", "Moments To Remember," and Green Fields”. From 2004 until 2006, original member Hugh Geyer toured with Blasko's group in the 14 Western Pennsylvania counties that Blasko's group was permitted to tour in. This limitation on Blasko's group was awarded to him by a Pennsylvania court. After creative differences with Blasko, Geyer left that group at the end of 2006. In March of 2007, Geyer joined the national touring group of The Vogues of "trademark" owner Stan Elich. Geyer continued to perform with this group until his retirement in December 2012. In May of 2008, original lead vocalist Bill Burkette joined Geyer in touring the USA with the "trademark" Vogues. The member of this group included Burkette, Geyer, group owner Stan Elich, Troy Elich and Jim Campagna. Stan Elich died in December 2010. His son Troy now owns the trademark "The Vogues". The Vogues current lineup as of January 2013 are, Bill Burkette, Troy Elich and Royce Taylor. Taylor had previously been a member of The Vogues from 1991-1997. Armand DeMille, who was a member of The Vogues from 1988-1991, also does some shows with the current lineup. Current band members are, Tom Lamb (guitar and musical director), Artie Deleonardis (drums), Dean Mastrangelo (keyboards), and Rich Gooch (bass). The original group made many TV appearances in the 1960s, including The Tonight Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, Shindig, The Red Skelton Show, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, American Bandstand, Hullabaloo and several appearances on The Mike Douglas Show. The original group was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2001.
Views: 29046 MANNY MORA
THE FALCONS - ''YOU'RE SO FINE''  (1959)
 
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The Falcons were an American rhythm and blues vocal group, some of whose members went on to be influential in soul music. The Falcons formed in 1955 in Detroit, Michigan on the Mercury Records imprint. After personnel changes in 1956, The Falcons had hits for the Lupine Records label with the million selling "You're So Fine" (1959), and "I Found A Love" (1962). The group were recording under the production wing of Robert West, who gave the group a gospel music sound and recorded the singers on his own Flick label. Joe Stubbs was lead singer on the hits "Just For Your Love" (1959) and "The Teacher" (1960) before Wilson Pickett replaced him in 1960. After 1963, the Fabulous Playboys took over the Falcons name. The later group comprised Carlis 'Sonny' Monroe, James Gibson, Johnny Alvin, and Alton Hollowell. This group made the R&B chart in 1966, with "Standing On Guard."
Views: 129073 MANNY MORA
THE CHANNELS - "THE CLOSER YOU ARE" (1956)
 
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The Channels were an American doo wop group from New York City. The Channels formed in 1955 around the singers Larry Hampden, Billy Morris, and Edward Doulphin; they started as a quintet with two additional part-time members, but soon after they permanently added Earl Michael Lewis and Clifton Wright, formerly of The Lotharios. Lewis was the group's main songwriter, writing (among others) their regional hit "The Closer You Are" (1956). The Channels recorded for record labels Gone, Fury, Port, Hit, Enjoy, and Groove. The lineup changed several times over the course of the band's lifetime. They enjoyed significant regional success on the East Coast but never charted a major nationwide hit. Frank Zappa covered "The Closer You Are" on his album Them or Us (1984).
Views: 279534 MANNY MORA
THE FIVE KEYS -"LING TING TONG" (1955)
 
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This US R&B vocal group helped shape the rhythm and blues revolution of the early 50s. The ensemble was formed as the Sentimental Four in Newport News, Virginia, USA, in 1945, and originally comprised two sets of brothers - Rudy West (25 July 1932, Newport News, Virginia, USA, d. 14 May 1998, USA; first tenor) and Bernie West (b. 4 February 1930, Newport News, Virginia, USA; bass), and Ripley Ingram (b. 1929, d. 23 March 1995, Newport News, Virginia, USA; octave tenor) and Raphael Ingram (second tenor). After Raphael Ingram left and Edwin Hall (baritone) and James 'Dickie' Smith (b. 1933, USA; second tenor) became members in 1949, the name of the group was changed to Five Keys. At the start of the following year the newly married Hall departed and was replaced by Maryland Pierce, and guitarist Joe Jones was also added to the touring line-up. With Pierce, Smith and Rudy West sharing lead, and Ripley Ingram providing the then unique 'floating tenor' element, the Five Keys joined Los Angeles-based Aladdin Records in 1951. With pianist Joe Jones (no relation to the previous guitarist) now providing accompaniment, the group enjoyed a hit the same year with a remake of the old standard 'The Glory Of Love', which became a US R&B number 1. Despite recording an appealing combination of old standards and R&B originals, further chart success on Aladdin eluded the Five Keys. In 1952 Rudy West went into the army, and was replaced by Ulysses K. Hicks, and in 1954 Dickie Smith left and was replaced by Ramon Loper. This new line-up of Five Keys was signed to Capitol Records, which brought the group to stardom, albeit with some modification in their style from a deep rhythm and blues sound to a more pop vein with greater instrumentation in support. The group's first hit for Capitol was the novelty pop jump 'Ling, Ting, Tong' (US R&B number 5 and pop Top 30 in 1955). Following the first Capitol recording session, Rudy West rejoined the Five Keys in October 1954, working alongside the ailing Hicks, who died of a heart attack a few months later. Further hits on Capitol included some spectacular R&B ballads: the Chuck Willis -composed 'Close Your Eyes' (R&B number 5, 1955), 'The Verdict' (R&B number 13, 1955) and 'Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind' (R&B number 12 and pop Top 30 in 1956). The Capitol material also featured old standards, such as a marvellous remake of the Ink Spots' 'The Gypsy' (1957). Rudy West and Ramon Loper retired in 1958 and were replaced by Thomas 'Dickie' Threatt (b. 7 February 1938, USA, d. 9 October 2007, Norfolk, Virginia, USA; tenor) and Charles 'Bobby' Crawley (second tenor). An unsuccessful period at King Records from 1958-61 produced more personnel changes and no hits, and few songs that could compete with the new rock 'n' roll sounds. Periodic sessions were recorded by various reunion groups in subsequent years, but the basic legacy of the Five Keys rests in their Aladdin, Capitol and King sessions.
Views: 82478 MANNY MORA
BOBBY LEWIS - ''TOSSIN' & TURNIN'''  (1961)
 
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"Tossin' and Turnin'" is a song written by Ritchie Adams and Malou Rene, and originally recorded by Bobby Lewis. The record reached number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 on July 10, 1961, and R&B chart, and has since become a standard on oldies compilations. It was named Billboard's number-one single for 1961, after spending seven consecutive weeks at the top. It was featured on the soundtrack for the 1978 film Animal House. On the original hit single version, the track begins with Lewis singing "I couldn't sleep at all last night," and it appears this way on most oldies compilations. However, on some releases the song has a prelude, where Lewis sings "Baby...Baby...you did something to me," followed by a musical cue into the first verse. Lewis usually includes this prelude when he performs the song live.the Personnel on the original hit recording included Ritchie Adams and Eric Gale on guitar, Bob Bushnell on bass, King Curtis on a tenor sax mouthpiece, Frank Haywood Henry on baritone sax, Paul Griffin on Piano and Sticks Evans on drums In 2008, Billboard magazine ranked the song as the 27th biggest song of all time that charted on the Billboard Hot 100, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the chart. It is one of only six songs from the 1960s to spend at least seven weeks in the number one position on the Billboard Hot 100.
Views: 154584 MANNY MORA
THE SCHOOLBOYS - "PLEASE SAY YOU WANT ME"  (1957)
 
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An R&B vocal group from Harlem, New York City, New York, USA. With a remarkable series of pleading ballads in 1957, the Schoolboys typified the east coast pre-teen soprano sound, but like most such groups their career was short-lived. The group members were Leslie Martin (lead), Roger Hayes (tenor), James McKay (baritone) and Renaldo Gamble (bass), and their entry into the recording business was facilitated by famed New York disc jockey Tommy 'Dr. Jive' Smalls, who was introduced to the group at the behest of their manager. Smalls then arranged for the group to be signed to OKeh Records. The Schoolboys' first success was a double-sided hit, 'Please Say You Want Me' (number 13 R&B)/'Shirley' (number 15 R&B), in early 1957. The group broke up soon afterwards, but 'Carol' made a strong impression later in the year on the east coast, even though it failed to make the national charts. The Schoolboys' last record on OKeh, 'Pearl', featured Martin in the lead, who was supported by some members of the Cadillacs. Gamble had gone to join the Kodaks (another pre-teen group) and Hayes joined the Collegians of 'Zoom Zoom Zoom' fame. The Schoolboys made one more record, for Juanita, 'Angel Of Love', in 1958, before ending their career.
Views: 71429 MANNY MORA
THE ELEGANTS - "LITTLE STAR"  (1958)
 
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The Elegants is an American doo-wop vocal group, that was started in 1958 by Vito Picone, Arthur Venosa, Frank Tardogno, Carmen Romano and James Mochella in South Beach, Staten Island, New York. Before their nursery rhyme inspired song, "Little Star", became a number one hit, the band usually performed informally under the boardwalk by their homes. "Little Star" was the only million seller for the group, and was written by Venosa and Picone. It spent 19 weeks in the Billboard Hot 100, earning gold disc status. The song reached number 25 in the UK Singles Chart in September 1958. After "Little Star" dominated the radio, the band, still in their teens, toured with artists such as Buddy Holly, Dion and the Belmonts, Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis. However, none of their subsequent singles reached the charts at all making them a prime example of one-hit wonders. In early 1970s, lead singer Picone returned to the group replacing Tardogno as the lead singer. That group comprising Vito Picone, Freddie Redmond, Nino Amato and Bruce Copp have been together ever since and to this date, have not stopped touring. They can be seen annually performing at the San Gennaro Festival, in Little Italy, Manhattan, New York. According to the Elegants website, Freddie Redmond died of emphysema in 2006, and was replaced by original member, James Moschella. As of 2012, the Elegants are still performing at concerts and events throughout the United States, under the name "Vito Picone & The Elegants". They still perform "Little Star", as well as their interpretations of many golden oldies. The Elegants band consists of Mike Catalano on bass guitar, Joe Lucenti on lead guitar, Mark Garni on keyboards and Sal Albanese on drums. Moschella performed with The Charts in the 1980s.
Views: 66293 MANNY MORA
THE BLUE JAYS - ''LOVER'S ISLAND''  (1961)
 
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The Blue Jays were a short-lived American doo wop ensemble from Venice, California. The Blue Jays formed in 1961, and after performing at an amateur's night at the Fox Theatre, they were asked by Werly Fairburn to sign to his Milestone Records. Their debut single was "Lover's Island", written by group members Leon Peels and Alex Manigeault, which became a hit in the U.S., reaching #31 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1961. Later singles included "Tears are Falling" (1961) and "The Right to Love" (1962), but the group saw no further success and broke up in 1962. Leon Peels briefly launched a solo career later in the 1960's.
Views: 38331 MANNY MORA