The Dixie Hummingbirds

20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of the Dixie Hummingbirds

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This discount-priced compilation is an excellent brief introduction to the Dixie Hummingbirds' Peacock Records recordings. It covers a period of 22 years, from 1953's "Let's Go Out to the Programs," on which the Hummingbirds offer their impressions of several other gospel groups, to a 1975 version of "Two Little Fishes (And Five Loaves of Bread)" from the album Thanks to Thee. Two other 1970s recordings demonstrate the group's versatility: Stevie Wonder's "Jesus Children of America," an up-tempo boogie performance, and the group's own take on "Loves Me Like a Rock," the hit on which they accompanied Paul Simon. Much of the material derives from leader Ira Tucker, who wrote or arranged seven of the 12 tracks. One can hear the group's influence on blues singers like Bobby "Blue" Bland, as well as secular R&B vocal groups like the Temptations on these tracks, which are often fiercely performed.

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