Sunday, 3 October 2010

“Don’t It Sound Good – The Great Atlantic Vocal Groups” by VARIOUS ARTISTS. A Review Of The Rhino/Collectors' Choice Music 2CD Set From 1995.

"…Shouldn’t You Be…Here Close To Me…"

Both this and its 2CD partner “All Night Boogie – The Great Atlantic Vocal Groups Vol. Two” are now deleted and have over the years become expensive rarities in themselves. But for vocal group collectors and lovers of the magical Atlantic label, they contain tracks you simply can’t get anywhere else. Here are the details…

“Don’t It Sound Good – The Great Atlantic Vocal Groups” on Rhino/Collectors' Choice Music R2 7160 (a 1995 2CD set) breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 (72:32 minutes):
1. Don’t It Sound Good – BILLY MASHBURN (October 1963, Atlantic 2208)
2. Skylark – THE CLOVERS (March 1951, Atlantic 934, B-side)
3. Don’t You Know I Love You – THE CLOVERS (March 1951, Atlantic 934, A-side)
4. Shouldn’t I Know – THE CARDINALS (May 1951, Atlantic 938)
5. Needless – THE CLOVERS (August 1951, Atlantic 944, B-side)
6. Fool, Fool, Fool – THE CLOVERS (August 1951, Atlantic 944, A-side)
7. Wheel Of Fortune – THE CARDINALS (January 1952, Atlantic 958)
8. One Mint Julep – THE CLOVERS (March 1952, Atlantic 963)
9. I Played The Fool – THE CLOVERS (October 1952, Atlantic 977)
10. A Beggar For Your Kisses – THE DIAMONDS (December 1952, Atlantic 981, A-side)
11. Call Baby Call – THE DIAMONDS (December 1952, Atlantic 981, B-side)
12. Lovey Darling – THE CARDINALS (May 1953, Atlantic 995)
13. Money Honey – CLYDE McPHATTER And THE DRIFTERS (September 1953, Atlantic 1006)
14. Lucille - CLYDE McPHATTER And THE DRIFTERS (January 1954, Atlantic 1019)
15. Romance In The Dark – THE DIAMONDS (December 1953, Atlantic 1017)
16. Such A Night - CLYDE McPHATTER And THE DRIFTERS (January 1954, Atlantic 1019)
17. Don’t Dog Me [Alternate Take, Previously Unreleased] – CLYDE McPHATTER & THE DRIFTERS
(The original 7” single version was issued December 1959 on Atlantic 2049)
18. Little Mama – THE CLOVERS (February 1954, Atlantic 1022)
19. Under A Blanket Of Blue – THE CARDINALS (April 1954, Atlantic 1025)
20. Money Love - CLYDE McPHATTER And THE DRIFTERS (May 1954, Atlantic 1029)
21. Sh-Boom – THE CHORDS (June 1954, Cat 104)
22. Your Cash Ain’t Nothin’ But Trash – THE CLOVERS
[An Alternate Take that first appeared on 1971’s “Their Greatest Recordings” – the original single version was released June 1954 on Atlantic 1035)
23. Tell Me – THE PLAYBOYS (August 1954, Cat 108, see PPS below)
24. Love, Oh Love – THE CHORDS [Previously Unreleased, Recorded February 1955]
25. Bip Bam - CLYDE McPHATTER And THE DRIFTERS (October 1954, Atlantic 1043)

Disc 2 (65:17 minutes):
1. Blue Velvet – THE CLOVERS (December 1954, Atlantic 1052)
2. My Buddie Stole My Chippie – THE PLAYBOYS [Previously Unreleased, Recorded December 1954, see PPS below]
3. The Door Is Still Open – THE CARDINALS (March 1955, Atlantic 1054)
4. Ooh I – CARMEN TAYLOR & BOLEROS (September 1954, Atlantic 1041, B-side of “Freddie” which is on Vol.2. See PPS below)
5. What’cha Gonna Do – CLYDE McPHATTER And THE DRIFTERS (February 1955, Atlantic 1055)
6. Got The Water Boiling – THE REGALS (April 1955, Atlantic 1062)
7. Come Back My Love – THE CARDINALS (June 1955, Atlantic 1067)
8. Shadows Of Love – THE PEARLS (October 1955, Atco 6057)
9. You Tickle My Heart – THE ROYAL JOKERS (September 1955, Atco 6052)
10. Adorable – THE DRIFTERS (October 1955, Atlantic 1078)
[Features Clyde McPhatter on Vocals]
11. Smokey Joe’s Café – THE ROBINS (October 1955, Atco 6059)
12. Yes Sir, That’s My Baby – THE SENSATIONS (December 1955, Atco 6056)
13. Hey Doll Baby – THE CLOVERS (January 1956, Atlantic 1083, B-side)
14. Devil Or Angel – THE CLOVERS (January 1956, Atlantic 1083, A-side)
15. Bells Of Love – THE PEARLS (April 1956, Atco 6066)
16. Ruby Baby – THE DRIFTERS (March 1956, Atlantic 1089)
17. Please Mr. Disc Jockey – THE SENSATIONS (March 1956, Atco 6067)
18. Happy And Gay – THE CASTELLES (May 1956, Atco 6069)
19. She’s Mine, All Mine – THE ROYAL JOKERS (September 1956, Atco 6077)
20. On Bended Knee – THE FLYERS (March 1957, Atco 6088)
21. Pledge Of Love – THE PENGUINS (March 1957, Atlantic 1132)
22. The Girl I Love – THE GLOWTONES (September 1957, Atlantic 1156, DJ Copies only - Re-released on East West 101 in December 1957)
23. Zing! Went The Strings – THE COASTERS (April 1958, Atco 6116)
[Newly Remixed & First Time in STEREO]
24. The Dream – THE BOBBETTES (July 1958, Atlantic 1194)
25. Castle Of Love – THE RAIDERS (September 1958, Atco 6125)

The 12-page booklet has detailed and informative liner-notes by PETER GRENDYSA on each of the acts with a few pages of musician credits (where known). Grendysa did the superlative liner notes for the 1994 “Chess Rhythm & Roll” 4CD Box Set and the Louis Jordan “Let The Good Times Roll” 8CD Box Set on Bear Family (see separate reviews).

BOB HYDE compiled it (has a short introduction in the booklet) with Tape research and digital remastering by WALTER DeVENNE (along with Bill Inglot, he has handled large swaths of the Atlantic catalogue for Rhino). The sound quality varies wildly – superlative one moment (“Shouldn’t I Know” by The Cardinals – lyrics above), hissy and crackly the next (“Needless” by The Clovers). But overall, most tracks are very, very good given the vintage and limited sources.
The only other place I’ve heard them sound 'better' is on the award-winning Bear Family “Blowing The Fuse” Series of CD compilations from 1945 to 1960 (I’ve reviewed all 16 - for tracks relevant to this set - see 1951 through to 1958).

Four previously unreleased songs out of 50 is hardly a major haul, but long-time Atlantic fans will know that with talk of a fire destroying many precious original tapes back in the murky mists of time, any new material on this label is little short of a miracle. It turns out that they were Acetates found in the Atlantic vaults in Manhattan – then digitally transferred as best as possible - and appear here for the first time. “Don’t Dog Me” by Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters is an Alternate Take and will be a genuine blast for lovers of this extraordinary vocalist. Even better frankly is “Love, Oh Love” by The Chords – a truly brill bit of Atlantic Rhythm & Blues.

There’s great R’n’B dancers on here too - “Got The Water Boiling” by The Regals, “Come Back My Love” by The Cardinals and “You Tickle Me Baby” by The Royal Jokers. And the rare Doo Wop groups are a revelation too – The Pearls (with the stunning McPhatter type vocals of Howard Guyton on lead), The Sensations and a rare Atlantic outing for The Penguins. Mostly it’s just a thrill to hear these songs and artists in the one place, because you simply don’t see them surface on any other compilation.

To sum up – yes it’s expensive for sure, but if you’re a vocal group fan or a junkie for the truly extraordinary Atlantic label – then “Don’t It Sound Good” is a must own – as is its equally brill companion set.

Recommended big time.

PS: see also a separate review for Volume 2 – “All Night Boogie”

PPS: fans of Atlantic’s ‘uncredited’ backing vocal group THE CUES should note that they are featured on Disc 1, Track 23 and Disc 2, Tracks 2 and 4. They are also on Vol.2

No comments:

Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

INDEX - Artists, Albums, Record Labels, CD Remaster Engineers, Liner Notes Authors, Links etc