The G-Clefs

Ka-Ding-Dong

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In September of 1956, the first rock & roll hit record from the city that would launch Aerosmith, Boston, The Cars, and J. Geils Band, hit the Top 30 -- The G Clefs' "Ka-Ding-Dong" on Pilgrim Records. With a career spanning close to 50 years, the hard working Scott brothers created a body of work which deserves recognition. The ambiance of the final track in this collection, "To the Winner Goes the Prize," is a dramatic departure from the novelty sound of the title track -- a taste of how this collection crosses genres from the doo wop of "Love Her in the Mornin'" to the Platters style "Symbol of Love." It's interesting that in the year 2000 Herb Reed of The Platters lives walking distance from Teddy Scott of The G Clefs in Arlington, MA. Although The Platters hit first in 1955, they were based in Los Angeles. Like other now Bostonians, Bobby Hebb and Little Joe Cook, those hit artists moved there after the fact and contribute to the scene mightily, but the G Clefs were an integral part of the foundation of the vibrant music community that spawned Freddy Cannon, The Modern Lovers, and even latter day teeny-boppers New Kids on the Block. Like New Kids masterminds Maurice Starr and Michael Jonzun of The Jonzun Crew, the G Clefs are brothers and friends from Roxbury, and the unity can be heard on songs like "Is This the Way," with its multitude of voices, to their biggest smash, the Top 10 "I Understand Just How You Feel" from 1961. This is a cover of a hit from 1954, incorporating "Auld Lang Syne" and "Bring It on Home to Me," the Sam Cooke/Animals/Eddie Floyd hit, but those artists hit with "Bring It On Home" in 1962, 1965, and 1968, respectively, and the Clefs remake of "I Understand" struck in October of 1961. "I Believe in All I Feel" is an amazing production and song. The Arnold Scott original has complex backing vocals, a bridge that is stunning, and displays the strengths of the G Clefs. Ka-Ding-Dong is a textbook of Boston music that is a delight to listen to decades after the hit song of the same name helped launch the vital area these gentlemen still call home.

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