The Excellents

Coney Island Baby

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Bronx doo wop group the Excellents are chiefly remembered for their enduring 1962 hit "Coney Island Baby," and although the original sextet was a superbly gifted singing ensemble, their active recording career really only lasted from 1961 through 1964. This generous 30-track collection covers everything, including the group's up-tempo cover of Al Jolson's "Red Red Robin" from 1961, a rocking version of the Cleftones' "You Baby You," the mandatory "Coney Island Baby," the energetic "Walking Along," and even the single "I Hear a Rhapsody," which was recorded by a group called the Ultimates and released on Blast Records in 1963 under the name the Excellents. Also included are some original 1960s a cappella demos (including one for "Coney Island Baby"), and some additional a cappella demos from a revamped 1990s version of the group (still featuring the lead vocals of original member John Kuse). In all, it's as fair, honest, and complete a portrait of this intriguing vocal group as you're likely to get.

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