This is the first volume in our comprehensive review of vocal group recordings from the Modern stable. Focusing on 1950-54, covering various flavours of doo wop. In addition to the Modern label itself, the Los-Angeles based Bihari brothers released vocal group sides on the Crown, Flair and RPM marques. Volume 1 covers all of these, as will future releases in the series.
Well-known doo wop experts Gordon Skadberg and George Povall of Early Bird Records in Long Island, New York, have chosen the tracks. It features a mixture of original releases, alternative versions and previously unreleased sides from groups whose members often included artists destined for later solo careers. The Flairs alone, represented on this CD by I Had A Love and Tell Me You Love Me-.-included Richard Berry (of Louie Louie fame), Cornell Gunter (later with the Coasters) and Young Jessie in their line-up. Similarly, Marvin Phillips, spotlighted here as lead singer of the Barons on Forever, became half of the Marvin & Johnny duo responsible for the classic Cherry Pie-.-and Arthur Lee Maye, featured in recordings by the Five Hearts and the Crowns, was also a successful major league baseball player.
Fans of the female lead are not forgotten, with Mickey Champion on the Nic Nacs song Found Me A Sugar Daddy. The Nic Nacs comprised Mickey, backed up by the Robins, who at that time were under contract to the Savoy label. The Robins appear under their own name (which varies on the records from Robins to Robbins and back again!), with the distinctive bass vocal of Bobby Nunn, on three of their numbers including Double Crossing Baby.
By Peter Gibbon