The Jive Five

The Best of the Jive Five

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Latter-day doo wop legends the Jive Five were a quintet who added some polish to the basic street corner harmony formula without robbing the sound of its passion and charm, and their lead singer, tenor Eugene Pitt, was simply one of the finest voices the genre would ever produce. While the Jive Five's recording career spanned four decades, Collectables' The Best of the Jive Five focuses exclusively on material they recorded for Beltone in the early '60s, ignoring their fine sides for United Artists and Ambient Sound, and somehow overlooking the group's biggest hit, "My True Story" (which was recorded during their tenure at Beltone). But for casual doo wop enthusiasts, this is an OK introduction to a great group; the Beltone-era material found the group in superb voice, the material is strong (especially the romantic "What Time Is It" and "The Girl With the Wind in Her Hair" and the comic "When I Was Single"), and the production and arrangements are vibrant and imaginative, with jumping rhythm sections and creative use of string charts on some selections. The Jive Five are a group who certainly deserve a truly comprehensive career-spanning compilation, but as an overview of their most popular period, this disc is well worth a listen (though liner notes or track information would have been appreciated).

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