The ninth volume of Bear Family's doo wop history Street Corner Symphonies documents 1957, by some measures the genre's high-water mark. Here, the dreamy ballads almost all have some earthiness to them (witness the "5" Royales' "Dedicated to the One I Love") and they're all overshadowed by exuberant celebrations of swing and nonsense, best heard in the joyous sounds of the Monotones' "Book of Love," the Silhouettes' "Get a Job," and the Hollywood Flames' "Buzz-Buzz-Buzz." The Coasters reach their stride with "Searchin'," the Chantels deliver the heartbreaking "Maybe," the Bobbettes tear it up with "Mr. Lee," and the Tune Weavers' "Happy Happy Birthday Baby" is sweet and pure. There are novelties as effervescent as Little Joe & the Thrillers' "Peanuts" and as strangely seductive as the Cellos' "Rang Tang Ding Dong (I Am the Japanese Sandman)," and a lot of great singles that never went to such extremes. It's a great testament to the richness of doo wop, and it's just plenty of fun to hear.
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