The Monotones

Who Wrote the Book of Love?

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Although universally known as one-hit wonders, ("Book of Love") the Monotones reveal on this recording that their talent extended well beyond that classic doo wop number. Writing the bulk of their own material, the New Jersey sextet specialized in up-tempo novelty-type tunes, in addition to the requisite number of love ballads. One of the most notable fast numbers is "Zombi," featuring a vocal line with the singer sounding like a loon in heat. The pick-to-click cut is "What Would You Do If There Wasn't Any Rock & Roll?" Sounding like an anthem, and extremely catchy, this prime cut was unfortunately left unreleased at the time, but sounds as it could have returned the Monotones to the upper ends of the charts. If you like a little history or literature with your rock & roll, check out "Ride of Paul Revere" and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." Of course, no late-'50s album would be complete without a few slow numbers, and the Monotones oblige with strong harmony singing on the ballads. One of the strongest is "Soft Shadows." A romantic plea for love and understanding, it ends with a three-part harmony wail that is awesome in its execution, and drives home the point that the Monotones could execute exceedingly well on slow as well as fast songs. All in all, the group showed themselves to be gifted well beyond their lone hit, and deserve a listen from serious fans of doo wop or high-caliber '50s rock & roll.

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