The Five Du-Tones

Shake a Tail Feather: The Complete One-Derful Recordings

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Though the Five Du-Tones did some subsequent recordings for other labels, their key output is contained in the sides they cut from the One-Derful label between 1963 and 1966. All of that material is contained on this 22-track compilation, including not only all of the sides from their singles for the company, but also four songs that didn't surface until they showed up on an obscure Japanese LP more than a decade after they were cut. Their only hit, "Shake a Tail Feather," is here, of course, and there's no getting around the conclusion that it's by far their best record. Still, the rest of the CD does contain its share of fun, wiggly dance tunes that helped bridge the gap between doo wop and soul music, with the occasional more serious romantic number thrown in. Most comparable to the Contours of "Do You Love Me" fame (and, as Clive Richardson's liner notes rightly point out, the Rivingtons and the early Isley Brothers, though more distantly), the Five Du-Tones had a roughly similar knack for putting wacky, at times almost slapabout humor into their uptempo dance discs. The fairly uproarious "Chicken Astronaut" -- about a spaceman who's too scared to go to the Moon, yelping to be let out of his rocket so he can go back to Earth and party instead -- is certainly the highlight, aside from "Shake a Tail Feather" itself. Much of the rest of it veers to the novelty side, without songs of the same strength. The group's zany playing-the-fool humor is unflaggingly spirited, though, and a few numbers (like the jazzy "Nobody But My Baby" and the smoochy ballad "Mountain of Love") show they could be skilled straight soul singers when the mood took them.

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