Various Artists

Do Be You: King Vocal Groups, Vol. 4

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King Records was founded in Cincinnati, OH, by Syd Nathan in 1943, and was one of several umbrella imprints that Nathan ran, including Federal and the New Jersey-based DeLuxe (which Nathan purchased in 1952). The aggregate labels released an impressive array of singles, most of them firmly in the straight R&B camp, but also tracked several harmony vocal groups working in what has come to be known as the doo wop style. Unfortunately, none of the King camp's doo wop releases generated much -- if any -- national attention, and are primarily remembered today only by collectors and historians of the genre. Do Be You is the fourth in a series from Ace Records to document this side of King/Federal/DeLuxe's roster, and while nothing here creatively reinvents anything, the quality is uniformly solid. Highlights include two impressive and energetic sides from 1960, "That's the Way I Feel" and "I Want Love," by the Mascots, who went on to later, greater fame as the O'Jays, the title track, "Do Be You," a previously unreleased 1955 gem from Otis Williams & the Charms, and the culturally tragic and sad "Fallen Angel" by the Hurricanes from 1957, a cut that demonstrates the harsh morality by which women were judged in the era. "Cold Cash," a calypso-themed number from the Federals (who had previously -- and would subsequently -- record as the Wheels), is another highlight here. Ultimately, this collection -- like its three predecessors -- will appeal mostly to collectors of the vocal group genre, since nothing here came even close to being a hit, but given a chance, it'll grow on you, particularly the Mascots/O'Jays cuts.

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