The Vagabonds

The Original RKO & Unique Masters

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This, their lone album, originally issued on RKO's Unique subsidiary in the early 1950s, comes to compact disc with 10 tracks that closely replicate their successful nightclub act minus the visuals. With a blaring, brassy big band largely obscuring the inherent rhythm of the quartet, they provide unison glee club singing on most numbers ("Vagabonds Theme," "Pony Ride," "Salt"), sounding for all the world like a low-budget Broadway production number. Their takes on "I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate" and "Lazy River" feature bass player Pete Peterson doing scat vocals highly reminiscent of Louis Prima. Smooth group harmonies appear on "Wrong" and the atypical ballad "I Wonder, I Wonder, I Wonder," while the set closer -- a rousing "minstrel" medley consisting of "Back In Your Own Back Yard" "I Want To Say Hello," "Rockabye Your Baby" and "Waitin' For The Robert E. Lee" -- shows the group off to good comic effect.

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