Various Artists

Sweetest Harmony: 25 Vintage Harmony Groups

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AllMusic Review by

The crucial British early-jazz/vocal label ASV/Living Era compiled this collection of classic harmony groups from the '20s to the '40s, and it makes for an excellent primer of two-dozen classic tracks. Beginning with a side by one of the best early (recorded) units, "Breezin' Along With the Breeze" by the Revelers, Sweetest Harmony cycles through every touchstone artist -- the Mills Brothers, the Boswell Sisters, the Ink Spots, the Comedian Harmonists, the Merry Macs, the Three Keys -- with a good selection of tracks, pleasantly surprising to have-it-all collectors yet excellent for newcomers to harmony vocals. The compilation also comes through with some seriously obscurist names, from the Four Rajahs to the Viennese Seven Singing Sisters to the Rhythm Boys (the latter was a Paul Whiteman Orchestra unit including a pre-solo Bing Crosby). It also strikes a good balance between European/barbershop forms and the swing focus of later jazz units. Once you've worn out your compilations of early Mills Brothers/Boswell Sisters sides, Sweetest Harmony is a great place to find more in the same vein.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:42
2 2:59
3 2:48
4 3:08
5 3:00
6 2:55
7
3:15
8 2:22
9 2:47
10 2:36
11 2:47
12
2:24
13 3:07
14 3:00
15 2:55
16 2:43
17 2:36
18 2:30
19 2:39
20 2:55
21 3:09
22 3:26
23 3:06
24 2:32
25 3:28
blue highlight denotes track pick