Otis Williams & the Charms

It's a Treat: The King/De Luxe Recordings 1959-63

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Otis Williams & the Charms are mostly known for their recordings in the mid-'50s, when they had hits with "Hearts of Stone," "Ivory Tower," and "Two Hearts (Two Kisses, Makes One Love)." It's not so well known that Williams continued to record for King into the early '60s. This 24-track anthology wraps up his surprisingly extensive King discography between 1959 and 1963, a time during which -- although the records were billed to Otis Williams & His Charms -- Williams was mostly backed by session singers. No chart hits emerged from this period, not so much due to Williams' vocals (which remained in good form) as a lack of outstanding material and his ability to keep pace with changing trends. Much of this CD is average doo wop, and so mostly of interest to completist collectors of that style. Sometimes he'd try out rock & roll ("You Know How Much I Care," co-written by Hank Ballard, and "Wait a Minute Baby") and earthy R&B ("Watch Dog"), and there was even an unlikely stab at a cover of a hit (the Safaris' "Image of a Girl"), doomed to failure in light of the original version's head start. Others had traces of early soul, with "When We Get Together," for instance, showing the influence of Sam Cooke. He even tried "Unchain My Heart," though his rather jolly version is markedly inferior to the anguished Ray Charles hit treatment of the same tune. Nothing clicked, leaving this clutch of average 45s to languish largely undiscovered, though Ace as usual packages them with excellent liner notes and illustrations.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:37
2 2:29
3 3:01
4 2:51
5 2:30
6 2:27
7 2:04
8 2:39
9 3:05
10 2:17
11 2:43
12 2:33
13 2:22
14 2:36
15 2:37
16 2:38
17 2:20
18 2:42
19 2:44
20 2:55
21 2:15
22 2:18
23 2:44
24 2:59
blue highlight denotes track pick