Vocal Group Madness by Various Artists.
Available from Stag-O-Lee - Stag-O-Lee (stagoleeshop.com)
Released 2023 Reviewed April 2023 by Jailhouse John Alexander
Whether you call this doo wop or “Vocal Group Madness” (the phrase preferred by the record company) this 180 grammes vinyl only album is a collection of mostly obscure tracks from the 50s and 60s that is clearly aimed at collectors as it is a limited pressing of only 500 copies.
Review A1 Dave C. And The Sharptones - Diane. Dave C is singer Dave Cox, an African-American who was backed by the white rock-n-roll combo the Sharptones. This mid paced number dates from 1964 when it was released in the States on the Whirl label. A2 Little Anthony And The Imperials - Shimmy Shimmy Ko Ko Bop. This group who are best known for their classic balled “Tears On My Pillow” in 1959 also managed a top 20 hit in the American R&B charts with this tune in the same year. Classic doo wop with a slight “stranded in the jungle” vibe. A3 The Neons - Fat Girls. From the American Challenge label in 1961 and written by Dave Burgess who was a member of the Champs who were best known for their instrumentals such as “Tequila”. I am sure this would not be deemed “politically correct” these days, but it’s a good record that could be good to do the Stroll to. A4 The Ideals – Teens. Really nice vocal harmonies on this. The overall sound is reminiscent of the Coasters this 1961 recording features Major Lance as the lead vocalist. A5 The Eventuals - Charlie Chan. A touch of the orient about this track that was recorded in 1961 for the Okeh label. Another good stroller. A6 The Dells - Q-Bop She-Bop New. This group was formed in the early 50’s and are possibly best known for their doo wop ballad “Oh What A Night” from 1956 on Vee Jay. This more up-tempo track was issued the following year on the same label. A7 The Four Casts - Stormy Weather. Recorded in 1964 for Atlantic Records this a novel recording of a song that dates back to 1933 and has been recorded by scores of artists over the years but I cannot think there is another version quite like this one. A fine track to end side one of the LP. B1 The Fabulous Four - Oop-Shoobie-Doop Bam A Lam. A lively start to side 2! From the Melic label in the USA this up-tempo track also features some fine sax playing. B2 The Blisters - Shortnin Bread. Another good up-tempo track. This version of “Shortnin Bread”, a song that dates back to the 19th century, was issued in the US on the Liberty label in 1963. A great example of the doo wop genre even though it did not achieve chart success. B3 Nu-Trends – Spooksville. First issued on the Lawn label in 1963 and then reissued on the same label in 1989 this is an obvious choice for any Halloween play lists. B4 The Nightmares - Horrors Of The Black Museum. Another one the Halloween playlist, this is a good rocker that reminds me of the Coasters. It was first issued in 1959 on American International Records. B5 The Holidays - Deacon Brown vs. The Devil. Echoes of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins at the start of this rocking track which dates back to 1963 when it was released on the Galaxy label in the States. The Holidays are a doo wop group from Oakland California. B6 Thor Ables - Batman And Robin. This also reminds me of the Coasters. The sound is ok, but clearly remastered from vinyl, possibly an original Titanic 45. The group came from the West Coast and took their name from an American expendable launch system and sounding rocket used for a series of re-entry vehicle tests and satellite launches between 1958 and 1960. B7 The Furys - Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart. The Furys are best known for this version of the classic song that they had issued on the Mack IV label in 1962. It is a mid-paced version that has a soulful sound.
Summary This is an interesting compilation of relatively little known tracks that deserve to be made available to a wider audience. Sound quality is generally good despite the obvious limitations of mastering from vinyl originals. If doo wop is your thing, or even if you are just curious to hear some new to you recordings then this LP is worth buying. Dave C. and the Sharptones - Diane (taken from the album Vocal Group Madness!) - Bing video Jailhouse John Alexander
Track List Side 1 1 Dave C. And The Sharptones - Diane 2 Little Anthony And The Imperials - Shimmy Shimmy Ko Ko Bop 3 The Neons - Fat Girls 4 The Ideals - Teens 5 The Eventuals - Charlie Chan 6 The Dells - Q-Bop She-Bop New 7 The Four Casts - Stormy Weather
1 The Fabulous Four - Oop-Shoobie-Doop Bam A Lam 2 The Blisters - Shortnin Bread 3 Nu-Trends - Spooksville 4 The Nightmares - Horrors Of The Black Museum 5 The Holidays - Deacon Brown vs. The Devil 6 Thor Ables - Batman And Robin 7 The Furys - Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart