Various Artists

The Golden Era of Doo-Wops: Whirlin' Disc Records

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Before Bobby Robinson had Fury Records (and its offshoot, Fire), he was the proud co-founder (with Jubilee Records owner Jerry Blaine) of Whirlin' Disc Records, which cut some of the best doo wop music to come out of New York City during the mid-1950s. Beginning with the Channels' "The Closer You Are," which charted locally and ended up getting covered by acts associated with major labels, the company showed a lot of promise. The acts that Robinson signed and produced all demonstrated highly sophisticated, polished sounds, and as late as 1957 the company was competitive in the burgeoning rock & roll field. The Channels were the best act on Whirlin' Disc, but the Continentals and the Whirlers all treated their songs memorably -- only the Empires, who seem somewhat crude and unsophisticated, break this pattern, and they only lasted on the label for one single. Robinson folded Whirlin' Disc in early 1957 over his disillusionment with the accounting practices of his partner, Jerry Blaine, and moved his newest discovery, Lewis Lymon and the Teenchords, from their intended birth at the old label into a new venture, Fury Records, which was to prove the most successful recording venture of Robinson's career in music. This collection of 26 songs (including outtakes -- Whirlin' Disc only issued 20 total sides) is beautifully mastered from what sound like first-generation tapes, and the annotation is all anyone could want on a lot of these acts. And the music is among the finest doo wop material that one can buy.

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