Various Artists

Hunky Dory: King Vocal Groups, Vol. 3

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Founded in Cincinnati in 1943 by one Syd Nathan, King Records originated as a vehicle for country music, but in the years following World War II the label moved into R&B -- classic hits like Wynonie Harris' "Good Rockin' Tonight," Billy Ward & the Dominoes' "Sixty-Minute Man," and Little Willie John's "Fever" not only established King among the dominant R&B labels in the nation, but were also pivotal in the evolution of rock & roll. When James Brown signed to the Federal subsidiary in 1956, the company's towering position in American pop music history was assured, but the hits and the hall of famers tell only part of the King story -- during the late '50s and early '60s, the label was also a hotbed of doo wop and soul harmony groups, and although none of their seemingly countless singles enjoyed an impact comparable to King's most legendary releases, their consistency and quality are typically topnotch. This third volume in Ace's superb King Vocal Groups series compiles still more of these singles, which run the gamut from angelic doo-wop to gyrating soul -- not only is the sound quality excellent and the liner notes extensive and well-written, but several of these sides are seeing the light of day for the first time ever. Highlights include the Guytones' "Hunky Dory," the Dikes' "Don't Leave Poor Me," and the Lamplighters' "Tell It to Me."

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