Various Artists

The Golden Era of Doo-Wops: Holiday Records

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Holiday Records, founded by Danny Robinson, the younger brother of Fire/Fury Records founder Bobby Robinson, existed for only two years, a period in which it cut music by such groups as the Bop Chords ("Castle In the Sky," "When I Wake Up This Morning"), Jimmy Jones and the Pretenders ("Tonight," "I Love You So"), and the Ladders ("Counting the Stars"), the latter two from New York's Harlem, plus lesser-known acts like the Harmonaires ("Lorraine") and the Lower Manhattan-based Love Notes ("United," "Tonight"), fronted by Johnny Hicks and featuring Lucy Cedeno (for 30+ years the wife of Gary "U.S." Bonds). The sounds here are all solid '50s doo wop with an edge -- the Bop Chords rock out really well on "When I Woke Up This Morning," which has an infectious beat and a solid band accompaniment, while Jimmy Jones and the Pretenders have a more romantic ballad style, with soaring harmonies and deeply passionate lead singing. The sound is excellent, and the history of the label (whch only existed from 1956 until 1958) is well detailed.

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