The Ravens were a pioneering R&B vocal group who prefigured the doo wop craze by nearly a decade, and thanks to the amazingly sonorous bass vocals of Jimmy Ricks and the high-flying vocal tenor of Maithe Marshall, they developed into a remarkably versatile configuration who managed to mix bits of jazz, gospel, and blues into a branded style that appealed to both black and white audiences alike. The recordings collected here, unfortunately, come from late in the group's career, when they were recording for Jubilee Records in the mid-'50s, and although songs like "Green Eyes" (a number one hit for Jimmy Dorsey in 1941 -- but given the patented Jimmy Ricks bass treatment here) and "At the Record Hop" are definitely worth seeking out, these tracks don't represent the Ravens at their late-'40s peak. Jimmy Steward had replaced Marshall as lead tenor at this point, and three of these cuts ("The Unbeliever," "She's Fine," "Same Sweet Wonderful One") were actually recorded by Ricks without the rest of the Ravens for Josie Records (a Jubilee imprint) under the name Jimmy Ricks & the Rickateers. Nothing here is awful or anything, but this isn't the place to start to get an accurate sense of this innovative and interesting vocal group.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett