Vanilla Doo Wop

Various Artists

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Vanilla Doo Wop Review

by John Bush

Compiling a musical anthology by race doesn't seem a smart move, since it forces assumptions on listeners and challenges them to seek out the differences that separate the music of one race from that of another, whether those differences exist or not. Yes, the Collectables compilation Vanilla Doo Wop is a very unified set, thematically and musically, since it spotlights a very specific brand of white doo wop that flourished during the late '50s and early '60s. These groups were influenced by the dreamy balladry of the Penguins and Flamingos instead of the rollicking good times of the Coasters and Dominoes, and they usually recorded similar material, shimmering songs that treated love as a faraway destination they hoped one day to visit. Such is the vision of teen fascination and ennui on the Safaris' "Image of a Girl," the Classics' "Till Then," and the Capris' "There's a Moon Out Tonight," three of the better lesser-known doo wop ballads of the era. None of them are rare; they've made the rounds of doo wop compilations for decades, so if you need them, grab them, here or elsewhere. Ironically, the highlight comes from a non-doo wop group -- the delightfully ramshackle "I've Had It" by the Bell Notes.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
The Aquatones 01:59 Amazon
2 A Bellnotes 02:40 Amazon
The Excellents 02:12 Amazon
4 The Fireflies 01:57 Amazon
5 The Mello-Kings 02:34 Amazon
6 The Chevrons 02:24 Amazon
7 The Knockouts 02:18 Amazon
8 The Chimes 02:29 Amazon
9 The Safaris 02:39 Amazon
10 The Roomates 02:07 Amazon
Imaginations 01:59 Amazon
12 Three Friends 02:57 Amazon
13 The Tokens 01:46 Amazon
14 The Videls 02:38 Amazon
The Bob Knight Four 02:14 Amazon
16 The Neons 02:56 Amazon
17 The Castells 02:44 Amazon
18 The Chimes 02:28 Amazon
19 The Classics 02:17 Amazon
The Roomates 02:29 Amazon
The Royalteens 02:31 Amazon
22 The Capris 02:14 Amazon
23 The Excellents 02:30 Amazon
24 The Fireflies 02:09 Amazon
25 The Classics 02:09 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick