Friday, 19 November 2010

“Rocking & Crying – The Complete Singles 1951 – 1954 Plus” by THE FIVE KEYS. A Review Of The 2CD Jasmine Compilation (2010).

“…Got The Most Coast To Coast…She The Most…”

Offering up a huge 58-tracks, this 2CD set covers the 78” and 45” output for the American vocal group The Five Keys on the Aladdin, Groove and Capitol labels between 1951 and 1954 (not all of it as the title suggest, but close enough).

Released May 2010, here’s a breakdown of Jasmine JASCD 555…

Disc: 1
1. With A Broken Heart
2. Too Late
3. Hucklebuck With Jimmy
4. Glory Of Love, The
5. It's Christmas Time
6. Do I Need You
7. Old Macdonald (Had A Farm)
8. Yes Sir That's My Baby
9. Goin' Downtown
10. Darlin'
11. Red Sails In The Sunset
12. Be Anything But Be Mine
13. How Long
14. Mistakes
15. Hold Me
16. I Hadn't Anyone 'Til You
17. I Cried For You
18. Serve Another Round
19. Can't Keep From Crying
20. Come Go My Bail Louise
21. There Ought To Be A Law
22. Mama (Your Daughter Told A Lie On Me)
23. I'll Always Be In Love With You
24. Rocking And Crying Blues
25. These Foolish Things (Remind Me Of You)
26. Lonesome Old Story
27. Teardrops In Your Eyes
28. I'm So High

Disc: 2
1. My Saddest Hour
2. Oh Babe
3. Someday Sweetheart
4. Love My Loving
5. Deep In My Heart
6. How Do You Expect Me To Get It
7. Why Oh Why
8. My Love
9. Story Of Love
10. When Will My Troubles End
11. I'll Follow You
12. Lawdy Miss Mary
13. Ling Ting Tong
14. Close Your Eyes
15. Verdict, The
16. I Wish I'd Never Learned To Read
17. She's The Most
18. I Dreamt I Dwelt In Harlem
19. My Pigeons Gone
20. Out Of Sight Out Of Mind
21. Wisdom Of A Fool
22. Let There Be You
23. It's A Cryin' Shame
24. Emily Please
25. Handy Andy
26. One Great Love
27. From The Bottom Of My Heart
28. Gypsy, The
29. Who Do You Know In Heaven (That Made You The Angel You Are)
30. To Each His Own

Disc 1 (78:33 minutes):
1 and 2 are Aladdin 3085 (April 1951)
3 and 4 are Aladdin 3099 (July 1951)
5 and 6 are Aladdin 3113 (December 1951)
7 and 8 are Aladdin 3118 (January 1952)
9 and 10 are Aladdin 3119 (Unissued)
11 and 12 are Aladdin 3127 (April 1952)
13 and 14 are Aladdin 3131 (May 1952)
15 and 16 are Aladdin 3136 (July 1952)
17 and 18 are Aladdin 3158 (October 1952)
19 and 20 are Aladdin 3167 (January 1953)
21 and 22 are Aladdin 3175 (March 1953)
23 and 24 are Aladdin 3182 (Unissued)
25 and 26 are Aladdin 3190 (May 1953)
27 and 28 are Aladdin 3204 (September 1953)

Disc 2 (77:33 minutes):
1 and 2 are Aladdin 3214 (December 1953)
3 and 4 are Aladdin 3228 (February 1954)
5 and 6 are Aladdin 3245 (May 1954)
7 and 8 are Aladdin 3263 (May 1955)
9 is the A-side of Aladdin 3312 (January 1956)
10 is an un-issued track on RCA/Groove Records recorded July 1954
11 and 12 are RCA/Groove 0031 (August 1954)
13 is Capitol 2945 [A] (October 1954)
14 is Capitol 3032 [A] (January 1955)
15 is Capitol 3127 [A] (May 1955)
16 is Capitol 3185 [A] (July 1955)
17 and 18 are Capitol 3392 (April 1956)
19 is Capitol 3455 [A] (June 1956)
20 is Capitol 3502 [A] (August 1956)
21 is Capitol 3597 [A] (November 1956)
22 is Capitol 3660 [A] (February 1957)
23 is Capitol 3830 [A] (November 1957)
24 and 25 are Capitol 4009 (July 1958)
26 is Capitol 4092 [A] (November 1958)
27 is Capitol 4828 [A] (August 1962) (see also below for 27)
27, 28, 29 and 30 are from the 1957 LP “The Five Keys On Stage” on Capitol T 828

The compilation and annotation have been put together by BOB FISHER (small liner notes in the fold-out inlay) with the CD Mastering done by TALL ORDER of the UK.

Hailing from Virginia, The Five Keys have long been considered by collectors as a class act and often compared to the big boys of Doo Wop and Rhythm ‘n’ Blues – The Flamingos, The Orioles and The Moonglows (with a little bit of the rocking Clovers thrown in for good measure). Their most famous lead vocalist was Rudy West and yet up until now, their material has only sporadically turned up on CD.

Given the vintage, the sound varies from good (the Aladdin Years) to superb (the later Capitol releases). Being a major label with decent equipment for the time, their Capitol sides were beautifully recorded - hence the excellent sound quality on Disc 2. Also, as you can see from the list above, the flip-sides to the Capitol releases are not here (despite the word “Complete” being in the title). However, if you want more of that period, some are on the excellent “Collector Series” CD put out by Capitol in 1989 – a disc I’ve treasured for two decades now.

The Aladdin material tended to be all pleading ballads, while the Capitol stuff rocked it up a bit (the years had moved on). Highlights for me include their fantastic Murray Berlin bopper “She’s The Most” (lyrics above) and the sheer smooth-as-silk class of “Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind” written by Ivory Joe Hunter and Clyde Otis (a beautiful vocal by Rudy West).

Lot of tracks, very good sound and it’s cheap too. Until Bear Family does a more comprehensive box set one day covering the later stuff and solo releases – this is a rather lovely release to be getting on with. Recommended.

PS: Jasmine have also done "The Flamingos" in a similar 2CD set (see separate review)

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