Here are a couple of dozen tracks, almost wholly instrumental, by the band that gave Legrand Records, and particularly Gary U.S. Bonds and Jimmy Soul, its house sound in the early '60s. The Church Street Five, however, were more valuable as the bedrock of a sound than as a band playing on their own. They play happy, even merry, gritty sax-driven rockers that stick to predictable early-'60s chord changes and melodies. That makes this another in an army of single-artist instrumental rock comps that get boring for non-fanatics of the genre. Although the CD is billed to the Church Street Five, only two tracks (their two-part debut single "A Night with Daddy "G"") were actually released as simply by the Church Street Five. The others were usually credited to Daddy "G" & the Church Street Five, Daddy "G" being tenor saxophonist Gene Barge. There are also songs credited to King Coney & the Hot Dogs, "Baby" Earl & the Trini-Dads, Earl Swanson Plus Six, and the South Street Six, although the liner notes do not explain who was in those groups. Presumably, these were all or part of the Church Street Five playing under different names; certainly "Baby" Earl is probably tenor saxophonist Earl Swanson, who played in the Church Street Five. At any rate, the sound is pretty consistent throughout, although the "Baby" Earl tracks have an unusual (for 1964) ska influence, and there's actually a vocal on "Sing a Song Children." Certainly the most historically valuable item is "A Night with Daddy "G"," as its structure was expanded and changed, with the addition of lyrics, into Gary U.S. Bonds' "Quarter to Three." A few of these tracks were previously unreleased, and a few others didn't make their appearance on disc until the 1980s and 1990s, although all were recorded in the 1960s.
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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger
feat: Earl Swanson Plus Six
feat: South Street Six