The Five Americans

Western Union/Sound of Love

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The Five Americans were five guys from Texas who were equally adept at playing tough rock tunes, folk-rock-influenced ballads, and sweet pop confections; their biggest hit, "Western Union," a number five charter from 1967, even edges toward bubblegum. Their second album, Western Union/Sound of Love, features a batch of fine songs like the sparkling rocker "Big Cities," the almost funky "Sound of Love," the sticky sweet "If I Could," and of course the excellent title track that show off their rich vocal harmonies, spirited playing, and sure-handed melodies. Producer Dale Hawkins (of "Suzie Q" fame) could have kept things a bit looser, as the sound is sometimes a touch too slick and they had absolutely no business covering Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put a Spell on You," but otherwise this is a fine example of solid craftsmanship from a band that gets overlooked far too often when the really good bands of the '60s are mentioned.

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