The Moroccos

Bang Goes My Heart

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The doo wop era of the '50s wasn't the beginning of secular male African-American vocal groups; in the '30s, the Mills Brothers and the Ink Spots brought the gospel energy of the black church to secular lyrics. But as big as those groups were in the '30s and '40s, it was during the doo wop era that non-gospel black vocal groups became truly ubiquitous. United Records wasn't a major-league player in '50s doo wop, but the small independent label did fairly well with the Moroccos' 1955 version of Harold Arlen's "Over the Rainbow." United's doo wop output (including "Over the Rainbow") is the focus of Bang Goes My Heart, which Delmark released under the Moroccos' name but is actually a various-artists compilation that focuses on five different vocal groups -- not only the Moroccos but also the Sheppards, the Answers, the Pastels (not to be confused with either the East Coast group that gave listeners "So Far Away" or the Scottish alterna-rockers who emerged in the '80s), and an unknown mystery group. None of these groups were as big as the Platters, the Five Satins, or the Flamingos, but the material (which spans 1954-1957) is generally likable -- and that includes songs that United actually released in the '50s as well as recordings that went unreleased until Delmark (which owns the United catalog) assembled this compilation in 2002. In fact, about half of the tracks didn't see the light of day before the release of Bang Goes My Heart. Those who have a casual interest in doo wop would probably be better off starting out with an all-star compilation that contains smashes like the Five Satins' "In the Still of the Night" and the Penguins' "Earth Angel," although serious doo wop collectors will find this 67-minute CD to be interesting and enjoyable.

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