The Doo-Wop Box – “It All Started With Doo-Wop” (9 CDs + one DVD) Time-Life/Rhino Custom Products/Direct Holdings America 2007

by | Feb 18, 2008 | Pop/Rock/World CD Reviews | 0 comments

Doo-Wop Box – “It All Started With Doo-Wop” (9 CDs + one DVD)  Time-Life/Rhino – Custom Products/Direct Holdings America 2007 – Time: 146 Songs worth ****:

In the early to mid-1950s, a whole new bunch of youngsters ushered in their take on the genre of vocal music.  It was based on the concept of a group persona with group harmony as opposed to the earlier “crooner with backup” standard.  These guys were often broke teens who realized that they could make it with the cheapest musical instrument of all – their voices – as long as they practiced hard enough at it.  Fortunately, the streets were much safer then. Street corners, malt shops, gyms and playgrounds offered them the chance to perfect their art. They had realized that singing was what drove the chicks wild and they wanted the opportunity to participate.  The combination of attracting the ladies and getting on the radio was simply too great to ignore.  When the ability to create their own thing and stuff it into the face of the older generation (James Dean rebellion-driven attitude) become possible – they went for it.  And so did the labels and producers when they realized the trend.  Bring these kids in, come up with a group name, have ’em practice in a formal atmosphere, come up with rudimentary arrangements and record ’em.  Put the results on the AM radio of the times and watch it build.  Doo Wop started in the urban setting and spread out like wildfire, enormously assisted by Dick Clark’s American Bandstand show which was the reigning dance tv program of the day.  What had originally began with slightly older, more black oriented acts spread to racially mixed groups, whites, Italians or whoever felt the need to harmonize.  The harmony vocals ranged from non- sensical stuff in support to emphasizing the lyric – but done in a manner that made the new term doo-wop sound entirely appropriate.

This impressively exhaustive Time-Life set is assuredly the best way to appreciate the Doo-Wop style.  It certainly runs the gamut, from early efforts right up through using a few early Motown tunes to document the impact Doo-Woppers had the the forthcoming Detriot juggernault.  The package also includes some Four Seasons and Jay & The Americans to show the connection with somewhat later Top 40 pop acts.  As a matter of fact, Berry Gordy, Smokey Robinson  Dozier/ Holland/ Dozier, Gamble and Huff, Tom Bell and a multitude of other later soul music mavens must have been positively salivating at the sales prospects that their brand of sophisticated arrangements and top flight musician stables could bring using the group harmony as a building stone.

Yeah, this doo-wop period was a fascinating time for any music historian.  The Del-Vikings, The Dells. Five Satins, Frankie Lyman & The Teenagers, Dion and the Belmonts, Duprees, Drifters, The Shirells, The Cadillacs, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Lee Andrews and the Hearts, The Platters, The Five Keys, The Skyliners, The Crests, The Dreamlovers.  They’re all here, one hit wonders proudly beside those with more staying power.  One has to be impressed by the Dells’ ability to re-emerge in the soul scene years later with new songs and reworkings of the Doo-Wop classics “Stay In My Corner” and “Oh What A Night”.  Same for the Platters who years later hit again with “With This Ring” and “I Love You 1000 Times”. 

The packaging is superb with five individually titled jewel boxes and enclosed DVD all coming in a nifty sturdy box.  The sonics are as good as can be squeezed out of the existing tapes.  The song selection is truly inclusive to give a full representation of the genre and its later impact on Motown, Stax and Philly soul. The liner notes are lovingly and expertly written by Billy Vera. The whole thing is exceedingly well-researched and comes with glossy individual booklets with group photos and chart positions.  Mr. Vera provides some very interesting insight and rememberances of the artists involved.  The bonus DVD is one of those PBS “Doo Wop Legends Live” performances where they trot out what’s left of the groups or age-challenged singers to do one or two numbers.  I’ve always been ambivalent about these affairs, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to havethe 78 minute DVD of it.

In summary. this box is the audio and packaging equivalent to what one might expect to find in a museum or world class library.  By necessity, it comes somewhat “warts and all” sonic quality-wise.  Perhaps a little on the expensive side, but a formidable document and a true treasure.

Tracks – Hey man, there’s 146 of them! 

TrackLists:

Goin’ Out Of My Head
Little Anthony and the Imperials

Stormy Weather
The Spaniels

Since I Don’t Have You
The Skyliners

Heart and Soul
The Cleftones

Ruby Baby
The Drifters

The ABC’s of Love
Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers

Once in Awhile
The Chimes

Mr. Lee
The Bobbettes

I’m on the Outside (Looking In)
Little Anthony and the Imperials

Every Day of the Week
The Students

Life Is But A Dream
The Harptones

Church Bells May Ring
Willows

Gloria
The Cadillacs

Tonite, Tonite
Mello-Kings

Looking for an Echo
Kenny Vance and the Planotones

Long Lonely Nights
Lee Andrews and the Hearts

Looking For An Echo

Up on the Roof
The Drifters

Gypsy Woman
The Impressions

Sh-Boom
The Chords

Little Girl of Mine
The Cleftones

Treasure of Love
Clyde McPhatter

Tears on My Pillow
Little Anthony and the Imperials

I Promise to Remember
Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers

Till Then
The Classics

A Sunday Kind of Love
The Harptones

Trickle, Trickle
The Videos

I Sold My Heart to the Junkman
The Blue-Belles

Tear Drops
Lee Andrews and the Hearts

This I Swear
The Skyliners

Two People in the World
Little Anthony and the Imperials

Unchained Melody
Vito & the Saluatations

Diamonds and Pearls
The Paradons

Stand By Me
Ben E. King

Will You Love Me Tomorrow
The Shirelles

Rag Doll
The 4 Seasons

Barbara-Ann
The Regents

A Thousand Miles Away
The Heartbeats

Lonely Teardrops
Jackie Wilson

I Count the Tears
The Drifters

Over the Mountain; Across the Sea
Johnnie & Joe

Deserie
The Charts

A Million to One
Jimmy Charles

Gee
The Crows

I’m Not A Juvenile Delinquent
Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers

Could This Be Magic
The Dubs

When We Get Married
The Dreamlovers

Solider Boy
The Shirelles

Bad Girl
The Miracles

The Closer You Are
The Channels

Big Girls Don’t Cry
The 4 Seasons

Come Softly to Me
The Fleetwoods

A Lover’s Question
Clyde McPhatter

I Only Have Eyes for You
The Flamingos

Where Did Our Love Go
The Supremes

This Magic Moment
The Drifters

For Your Precious Love
Jerry Butler and the Impressions

Pretty Little Angel Eyes
Curtis Lee

Oh, What a Night
The Dells

Dedicated to the One I Love
The Shirelles

Crying in the Chapel
The Orioles

Speedoo
The Cadillacs

Don’t Ask Me (To Be Lonely)
The Dubs

At My Front Door
The El Dorados

That’s My Desire
The Channels

Maybe
The Chantels

Every Beat of My Heart
Gladys Knight & the Pips

Yakey Yak
The Coasters

Whispering Bells
The Dell-Vikings featuring Kripp Johnson

I Want You to Be My Girl
Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers

Stay in My Corner
The Dells

Devil or Angel
The Clovers

There Goes My Baby
The Drifters

Lovers Never Say Goodbye
The Flamingos

Buzz-Buzz-Buzz
Hollywood Flames

Florence
The Paragons

Searchin’
The Coasters

Sister Sookey
The Turbans

Story Untold
The Nutmegs

Blue Velvet
The Clovers

Come Back My Love
The Wrens

Sixty-Minute Man
The Dominoes

The Wind
The Jesters

On Broadway
The Drifters

Blue Moon
The Marcels

16 Candles
The Crests
You Belong To Me
The Duprees

Book Of Love
The Monotones

Why Do Fools Fall In Love
Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers

So Fine
The Fiestas

Daddy’s Home
Shep and the Limelites

I Do
The Marvelows

Let Me In
The Sensations

There’s A Moon Out Tonight
The Capris

What’s Your Name
Don and Juan

Get A Job
The Silhouettes

Ten Commandments Of Love

Have You Heard
The Duprees

Come Go With Me
The Dell-Vikings

Little Darlin’
The Diamonds

Denise
Randy and the Rainbows

Sincerely
The Moonglows

I Wonder Why

In The Still Of The Nite
The Five Satins

Little Star
The Elegants

Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine)
The Penguins

Stay
Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs

One Summer Night
The Danleers

Remember Then
The Earls

Try The Impossible
Lee Andrews and the Hearts

Sorry (I Ran All the Way Home)
Impalas

Island Of Love
The Sheppards

Goodnite, Sweetheart, Goodnite

— Birney Brown

 

 

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