The Ames Brothers

You, You, You (& You)

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Born of Russian Jewish parentage in Malden, MA, Joe, Gene, Vic, and Ed Urick anglicized their surname into the All-American-sounding "Ames," inadvertently forever aligning themselves with a city on the banks of the Skunk River in central Iowa. Resoundingly emblematic of wholesome U.S. pop culture during the 1950s, the Ames Brothers are roundly commemorated by the Living Era label in this high-fructose anthology of hit records cut for the Coral and Victor labels between January 1949 and October 1956. The Ames Brothers spearheaded the popularity of "Rag Mop," a lickety-split novelty based so closely upon trumpeter Henry "Red" Allen's "Get the Mop" that Allen won a lawsuit against Johnnie Lee Wills and Deacon Anderson, who made enormous sums of money off of his lick. "Music! Music! Music!" was a number 14 hit for the Ames Brothers but is still most closely identified with Teresa Brewer, whose knockout rendition was recorded 11 months later. In and among a selection of sugary studies in sentimentality, the Ames Brothers pounce upon grand old tunes like "Dry Bones," "Wang Wang Blues," Louis Prima's "Oh, Babe!" Charlie Shavers' "Undecided," Duke Ellington's "Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me," a magnificent "Sentimental Journey" backed by Les Brown & His Band of Renown, and a funny take on "Hawaiian War Chant" featuring Roy Smeck doing slippery tricks on the steel guitar à la Alvino Rey. The Ames Brothers helped establish and maintain a standard of idealized aesthetics so artificially removed from reality as to seem at times almost surreal. "Man, Man Is for the Woman Made," for example, seems like a cousin to Frankie Laine's "How Lovely Cooks the Meat." The recordings they made with Hugo Winterhalter's orchestra and chorus have a thalidomide charm that characterizes the entire decade with a prophylactic, soporific vengeance.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:51
2 2:41
3 2:15
4 2:39
5 3:16
6 2:38
7 2:54
8 3:08
9 2:48
10 3:11
11 2:38
12 2:34
13 3:21
14 2:58
15 2:08
17 2:45
18 2:40
19 3:06
20 2:59
21 3:10
22 3:06
23 2:54
24 2:30
25 2:51
26 2:43
27 2:28
28 2:42
blue highlight denotes track pick