The Dells

The Best of the Vee-Jay Years

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The Dells recorded for Vee-Jay during a relatively brief portion of their incredibly lengthy career, doing their main hitch with the label in the mid- to late '50s before briefly returning to the company in the mid-'60s. This 17-track compilation puts material from both eras onto one disc, concentrating as expected on their doo wop output from 1955-1959. Of the 17 songs on the disc, 14 come from those years, resulting in just one song, "Oh What a Nite" (which is here of course), that's familiar to most rock fans. That number still outshines its surroundings, but the other cuts from the '50s show the group to be a capable and versatile doo wop group that could not only handle ballads like "Oh What a Nite," but also venture into uptempo tunes and (less satisfyingly) pop standards like "Jeepers Creepers." The three tracks from 1965 include an orchestrated mainstream pop song (Neal Hefti's "Lil' Darlin'") and, more interestingly, a cover of Tom Jones' "It's Not Unusual" and their original small R&B hit version of "Stay in My Corner," which they'd remake for a Top Ten pop single three years later.

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