The Avons

Golden Classics

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Whether singing up-tempo tunes, ballads, or humorous songs, the Avons glistened like diamonds. These finely tuned tracks are spit-polished to a high sheen; no garage or storefront doo wop here. Spearheaded by a gifted lead tenor (Ervin Watson), the Avons' vocal abilities maintain their sophisticated aura even when a blistering tenor sax -- featured on their up-tempo numbers -- honks, squeals, and squawks like it's trying to exorcise demons. Their roots aren't strictly doo wop; like the Moonglows (and the Four Tops), they show a strong affection for modern harmony and groups like the Mills Brothers, which is most obvious on their ballads. The New Jersey natives were every bit as talented as their labelmates, the Heartbeats, but never had a big record. Salting the wound, Uncle Sam drafted at least four Avons during their short tenure for military duty, causing the remaining members to spend far too much time recruiting new Avons. They originally called themselves the Robins (a more appropriate name, as they sang like birds), but became the Avons after discovering that a Los Angeles group had already claimed the moniker.

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