Various Artists

Ooh Bop Sha Boo: King Vocal Groups, Vol. 1

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King Records had the whole field of rock & roll, R&B, and hillbilly covered in the '50s, including doo wop groups. Here are a couple of dozen doo woppers from 1952-1961 King singles, none of them hits, and few of them by artists who had any success of note, other than the Five Keys and Otis Williams & the Charms. (Note that the group called the Temptations on this disc, represented by both sides of their sole 1958 single, are not the same as the Temptations who recorded for Motown, or indeed, as a third group called the Temptations who had a Top Thirty hit with "Barbara" in 1960. Nor is the male vocal group here called the Crystals any relation to the girl group who had several Phil Spector-produced hits.) There's a good variety of styles within the doo wop genre here -- gushy slow ballads, up-tempo numbers with nonsense syllables galore, and gymnastic vocal harmony arrangements. In the up-tempo approach, the Guytones' "Ooh Bop Sha Boo (Give All Your Love to Me)" is one of the best cuts; the Tenderfoots' "Those Golden Bells" has that mellow, melodramatic sound common in mid-'50s doo wop, just before it got toughened up by the rock & roll explosion; Otis Williams & the Charms' 1961 single "So Can I" has a nice, slightly modernized tinge; and the same group's earlier "Let Some Love in Your Heart" has some really fine harmonizing, leaning more toward an adult pop style than doo wop usually did. But most of this is pretty ordinary doo wop, sometimes stereotypically so, of interest almost exclusively to avid collectors of the genre. And the Federals' cover of "Come Go With Me," released in competition with the huge Del Vikings' hit version of the same song, is depressingly inferior to the one that became a smash.

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