The Pearls / The Velours

The Pearls vs.The Velours: Collectors Gold Series

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This entry in the Collectors Gold Series collects the complete Onyx recordings of two late-'50s doo wop groups, the Pearls and the Velours. As of the time of its release, the same material with different sequencing was also available on a Hot Productions anthology, The Complete Recordings. The 20 cuts, recorded between 1956-1958, account for all of the two groups' Onyx sides including two minor hits: the Velours' "Can I Come Over Tonight" and "Remember." The Pearls counted among its members that future maestro of "The Happy Organ," Dave "Baby" Cortez, when he still went by the name David Clowney, and showed a predilection for novelties. Nonsense syllables and hep "teen talk" are heard throughout fun-filled, energetic songs like "Yuz a Ma Tuz" and "Zippity Zippity Zoom." A doo wop rendition of Hank Williams' "Your Cheatin' Heart" is an interesting experiment, but the draggy ballad "Tree in the Meadow" falls flat. The Velours are much more ballad-oriented (half of their recordings are slow songs), but can rock it up when needed, as on "Where There's a Will," a scorching number with a sock beat and a rock & roll guitar solo. It's either a marketing mishap or a testament to collectors' enduring interest in doo wop ephemera that these obscure recordings are available simultaneously on two different domestic labels.

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