Top 100 Doo Wop Records Of All Time - Part Two ©JCMarion
Ship Of Love - Nutmegs (Herald) - Leroy Griffin is in top form on this achingly beautiful tune of lost (apparently) love. When he sings "I spend my nights; on the lonely sea; wondering are you thinking; are you thinking of me ?" you feel his pain. The 'waterfront by night' opening is just too perfect.
Why Don't You Write Me - Jacks (RPM) - Aaron Collins and the Jacks (also recorded as the Cadets) get thoroughly sentimental on this great ballad. The live recorded version is just as good with a big band backup.
My Dear My Darling - Counts (Dot) - True R & B effort on Randy Woods label mostly known for pale cover versions. A good effort that was a modest success at the time, but has largely been forgotten over the years. This effort is too great to deserve that fate.
United - Love Notes (Holiday) - Good hard core New York side from 1956 with unique framing of the 'united we stand divided etc.' Bluesy guitar fill adds to the performance. The ending with a spoken recitation over harmony and bass fill is priceless !
My Love For You Will Never Die - Channels (Whirlin Disc) - Earl Lewis takes the lead vocals singularly on this great effort. The backup is totally in synch which lends a nice touch to the tune. Great windup too !
You Took My Love - Cellos (Apollo) - Because of "Japanese Sandman" and "Juicy Crocodile" , most have never heard the Cellos do a ballad. That is a loss if you have never heard this performance. A great tune, single and dual harmony, and fine vocal work throughout are the highlights here. Don't miss it-turn the Japanese Sandman over. Do it now !
Your Cheating Heart - Pearls (Onyx) - Unique vocal style by the group on one of the "magic" labels. They take the Hank Williams C & W tune and turn it inside out. As always on Onyx records the instrumental work and arranging is great, done by Sammy Lowe.
My Love Come Back - Velours (Onyx) - One of the more interesting lead voices belongs to Jerome Ramos, aka Romeo. Here he does a turn on a strong tune with great harmony behind him, along with the music of Sammy Lowe.
Can I Come Over Tonight - Velours (Onyx) - Jerome Ramos strikes again with a super performance on lead vocal. And how about that overactive bass ? Add to that a tricky bit of tempo change and you have an all time classic from Onyx.
Vengeance - Matadors (Sue) - The great 'get back at' tune from 1956. Nice job on the song by another one shot mystery group. A couple of flat notes by the baritone at the end can be excused.
We Two - Belvederes (Baton) - Nice dramatic performance by the male-female dual leads on this song by a group that is seldom remembered today. (They also had a moderate hit with Dear Angels Above). This record will remind you a bit of Gene and Eunice "This Is My Story"
Moonlight - Young Lads (Neil) - Dimly remembered tune that was one of the best by the young high tenor groups that followed in the wake of the success of Frankie Lymon. Plus it is on Neil, one of the 'magic labels' of the 1950s.
Up On The Mountain - Magnificents (Vee Jay) - Up tempo workout by the group named for famed Chi. DJ the 'Magnificent' Montague. A definite rocker of the first order.
At My Front Door - El Dorados (Vee Jay) - An overpowering rocker that still today is a staple of oldies radio station programming. Tremendous ending that suitably frames the performance.
Without A Friend - Strangers (King) - Bluesy performance by a little known group on King. I have always had a good feeling about this group because they answered my letter all those years ago with a fully autographed 8x11 glossy ! Dramatic vocals on an atmospheric tune.
The Wallflower - Etta James & The Peaches (Modern) - Landmark recording by the queen of Rhythm & Blues and the Peaches + Richard Berry. One of the handful of releases that can be classified as the greatest ever. Rock and roll for the ages! There is nothing more to say (for additional insight read Etta James bio published recently).
Moments Like This - Baltineers (Teenage) - Classic tune that is timeless. Interesting treatment by the group from Baltimore (hence the name) with a tenor lead that will remind you of the Cardinals. Ending of the tune is unique. Good guitar work is also a plus.
My Girl Awaits Me - Castelles (Grand) - A great early Philadelphia combo which features lead vocals by George Grant. Seldom, if ever, played except on those shows for collectors of the obscure and unfamiliar.
Night Owl - Tony Allen & The Champs (Specialty) - One of the most unique recordings ever. Great piano intro with owl 'hoots' set the mood for Tony Allen's lead featuring some of the most extended syllable bending since Johnny Ray (the all time champ). Listen to what he does with 'all' as in all over - fantastic !
Yes It's You - Clovers (Atlantic) - This all time great early Atlantic group with staying power could also do a good turn with ballads as in this performance. Buddy Bailey leads, and as usual gives a smooth effort on this nice tune.
Nadine - Coronets (Chance) - Early Chicago effort on this ballad championed by Alan Freed. Tuneful harmony comes together with a unique styling
Chop Chop Boom - Danderleers (States) - Not to be confused with the Danleers (One Summer Night), this is one strange but memorable tune. The saga of one Cat Ace, the epitome of fifties cool (with a capitol C ) and a strange reoccuring sound is a real grabber from early 1955.
Your Promise To Be Mine - Drifters (Atlantic) - Tremendous soulful lead by Rudy Moore. This performance shows the gospel influence of the Thrasher Wonders, the foundation of this group. The live version from 1956 loses absolutely nothing in its presentation.
True Love Gone - Enchanters (Coral) - A smooth rendition that sounds almost as if it were an acapella recording. That it was a mid fifties release on a major label is also surprising.
Magic Mirror - Empires (Harlem) - Superior version of an interesting tune (also done by the Whirlers) by a mostly forgotten group. What I remember most about them besides this record is they had the wildest shoes I have ever seen !
I Just Can't Help Myself - Kool Gents (Vee Jay) - Memorable recording by this group known for (1) - being named for Chicago DJ Hal (the Cool Gent) Kent, and (2) having among its personnel one Delectus "Dee" Clark who would go on to great fame as a solo performer.
I Couldn't Sleep A Wink Last Night - Mellomoods (Red Robin) - Fabulous early song by a group that shoulda-woulda-coulda, etc. Lead singer Ray Wooten shows the way on this super side. Group was hampered by some obscure labels such as a super rare single on jazz specific Prestige.
Bad Girl - Miracles (Chess) - Early Smokey from the pre-Tamla period. Great song that certainly should have had a wider audience especially after their later success.
Newly Wed - Orchids (Parrot) - An offbeat tempo and an irresistable bass hook show off this dimly remembered tune from 1955. I know it got good airplay at the time because every budding bass singer had his rendition of that opening hook.
Baby - Avons (Hull) - So there ! After "Our love Will Never End" and "I'm Sending S.O.S." , the group shows it can master the ballad form. They do it in wonderful fashion in front of Hull-master Al Browne and his music.
Picture Of Love - Continentals (Whirlin Disc) - From the very first Whirlin Disc session comes a great bouncy up tempo winner. Simply solid with a bass voice with vibrato yet !
Come Go With Me - Del Vikings (Fee Bee) - Often called the perfect uptempo tune by a vocal group, this side does indeed have it all. Beginning with an irreproachable hook on the intro, great lead by Clarence Quick, perfect recording balance, near perfect sax break, and a 'picture of the fifties' fadeout, what else is there to say ?
Priscilla - Eddie Cooley & The Dimples (Royal Roost) - Nice uptempo pop-like tune from an unusual label (mostly devoted to beebop), that tried to get into the new sound with this tune and the Four Pals. Hard edge girl-group backup augments Cooley's bouncy vocal. Somehow this tune has made the playlists of FM oldie stations.
Wonderful Girl - Five Satins (Ember) - Great tune captures the true sound of this group and the fine quality of Fred Parris lead vocal better than other more successful recordings by this group.
The Fires Burn No More - Chesters (Apollo) - Anthony Gourdine shines on this early effort with a fine dramatic tune in lyric and vocal content. Anthony really gets up for the finish.
My Reverie - Larks (Apollo) - Early bird group shows its stuff as competition for the Orioles in their version of the pop music standard.
You're Mine - Queens (Flair) - Great bouncy female group tune led by Shirley Gunter. Great last wordless chorus complete with false ending (I can still hear Alan Freed yell 'one more time Shirley baby !')
A Thousand Stars - Rivileers (Baton) - With this tune and 'Sentimental Reasons' the Rivileers were equals with the Penguins for group honors during the early days of the Moondog Era. Eugene Pearson delivers smoothness personified on lead vocal and all involved make for an enduring classic.
Please Say You Want Me - Schoolboys (Okeh) - Hook laden song earnestly delivered by the young guys. Everybody wanted to follow in their footsteps at the time.
Mexico - Rocketones (Melba) - Remembered for its dubbed in intro of the pasadobles call of the bull ring. From there into the bass led hard rockin' vocal performance. Silly lyrics (Mexico is my home town !) do not detract from this super tune.
You Cheated - Shields (Tender) - Superior version (over the Slades) of this dramatic tune. Listen to the powerful background vocal pattern and the wandering tenor over the lead vocal. Impressive indeed !
Trickle Trickle - Videos (Casino) - All time uptempo classic that has enough hooks contained to keep rerunning in your mind forever. Nice evocation of the fifties in the lyrics (references to one button roll jackets, and calling a car a 'short' ) make this a sentimental favorite.
Give Me A Chance - Montclaires (Premium) - Great tune by a one shot group featuring a memorable bass lead-in on this ballad. Group has sound similar to the label's group the Wheels.
Foolish Dreams - Fi Tones (Atlas) - One of the high points of 1955 is this ballad with a great framing intro. Some dual harmony lead singing is also a feature of this recording. One in a series of tunes by Gene Redd & co. for Atlas before moving on to Rama.
Sweet Sixteen - Sounds (Modern) - An Alan Freed written tune (that's what it says on the label) is a real sentimental tribute to teenhood girldom and the hope for the future. How long would this tune last today ?
Beside You - Swallows (King) - Great tune by Junior Denby and one of the original bird groups. They followed in the wake of the Orioles but blazed their own trail with many recordings for King.
I Talk To My Echo - Beltones (Hull) - Interesting concept of the echo effect that made this side a memorable one. Everybody tried their hand at duplicating the vocal style used here.
Dear Ruth - Buccaneers (Southern) - Early vocal group effort backed up by the mighty Wurlitzer was recorded in a movie theater in Philadelphia, of all places. Transition section between choruses is a gem.
Stardust/Deep Purple - Dominos (Liberty) - These successive releases are listed as one entry because of their complete similarity. They stand as a tour-de-force by lead singer Eugene Mumphord. The group backing is much more evident on 'Purple' where they sound more than just filling dead air. The intros in both are in a class by themselves. Mumphord does the complete table setting on Stardust, the greatest American pop song of them all. Hoagy must have been proud. On Deep Purple, listen to the dramatic opening with the strings-this launches Mumphord on one of the all time great vocal performances.
Another Soldier Gone - Violinaires (Drummond) - Gospel tinged tune by an early group on an obscure label that makes collectors foam at the mouth.
Heaven And Paradise - Meadowlarks (Dootone) - In the wake of the Penguins and the Medallions, comes another find by Dootsie Williams for his LA based label. This great tune is the right blend of R & B and pop music of the time to make for a crossover hit which this was at the time.
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