Various Artists

The Golden Era of Doo-Wops: Fury Records

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Now this is a collection with staying power, and not just for doo wop enthusiasts. Bobby Robinson, who cut Elmore James and a lot of other top veteran blues and R&B talent for his Fury Records label, also tried his hand at doo wop music. In fact, it was R&B vocal acts like Lewis Lymon & the Teenchords that occupied his time far more than bluesmen such as James and Lightnin' Hopkins, even though the latter two -- thanks to recent reissue boxes -- are now more closely associated with Robinson and Fury. Located on 125th Street in Harlem, right in the heart of an ocean of musical talent, Fury Records ended up with an extraordinary roster. The acts represented here, including the Brooklyn-based Du Mauriers ("All Night Long," "Baby I Love You"), the Newark-based Kodaks ("Runaround Baby"), Lewis Lymon & the Teenchords, Jackie & the Starlites ("Valerie"), the Federals ("While Our Hearts Are Young"), and the Scarlets ("Truly Yours"), not to mention the early hit sides of Gladys Knight & the Pips ("Every Beat of My Heart"), all have a degree of professionalism in their presentation and production that stands them ahead of most of the rival doo wop outfits of the era. Indeed, listening to the material on this collection, one appreciates that Fury was one of the biggest and best rivals to George Goldner's legendary End and Gone labels, with its nationally known acts like the Teenagers and the Flamingos.

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