The Valentines

Lily Maebelle

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New York's Valentines didn't release much music during their time together, never had a national hit, and the group's membership seemed to be in constant flux, but behind the writing and singing of Richard Barrett, the group maintained an impressive level of quality on songs like "Lily Maebelle," released in 1955 (and an East Coast doo wop favorite ever since), "The Woo Woo Train" (featuring some impressive sax work by Jimmy Wright), the lovely "Falling for You," and the fully realized "Don't Say Goodnight," which approaches a kind of proto-soul. All of these are included in this brief collection of sides recorded for George Goldner's Rama Records label between 1955 and 1957. By 1958 the group had disbanded, with Barrett going on to a legendary career as an A&R man, while another member, David Clowney, after changing his stage name to Dave "Baby" Cortez, had a massive hit in 1959 with an insanely infectious instrumental called "The Happy Organ."

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