Here, on the third volume of Bear Family's monumental doo wop history series Street Corner Symphonies, the music that we know as doo wop begins to truly flower. Older, smoother harmonies fade from the spotlight throughout 1951 and what comes into play are the sexy sounds of the Dominoes and Clyde McPhatter, the bluesy swing of the Clovers, and the gospel stylings of the Royals. All three elements are essential to doo wop, eventually fusing together a few years down the line, but here they can be heard individually on these 32 sides, along with the smoother sounds of the Orioles. The Dominoes had their biggest hit with the raw, carnal "Sixty Minute Man" -- not sung by McPhatter -- and that marks a significant shift toward bringing the earthier themes of the blues into vocal harmony groups (also heard on the Sultans' "Lemon Squeezing Daddy"), while the other groups brought some of the sound and feel of gospel to harmony groups. Many of the great songs here still focus on the sweeter side of harmony -- the Five Keys' "The Glory of Love," the Larks' "My Reverie" -- but there's no mistaking the shifting of the tides here.
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