Various Artists

Great Labels of Doo Wop: Atlas

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Tommy Robinson's Harlem-based Atlas Records didn't produce many national hits during its seven-year run in the '50s, but as an independent black-owned label that functioned as an integral part of the local community, it provided a model for later black-owned labels like Detroit's Motown Records. Robinson started Atlas in 1951 and initially recorded a series of saxophone-dominated R&B sides, but increasingly began featuring vocal groups like the ones presented here, often with solid regional success. By the mid-'50s, Robinson focused more on his Angle Tone Records imprint, and Atlas was no longer an active label by 1958. Nothing on this brief sampler, Great Labels of Doo Wop: Atlas is earth-shattering, but tracks like 4 Haven Knights' "In My Lonely Room" and the Parakeets' bouncing "My Heart Tells Me" have definite appeal. As a quick introduction to a historic label, though, this set is worth investigating.

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