Do Be You: King Vocal Groups Vol 4 Various Artists (King)


Ace Records
Catalogue Id:
CDCHD 1068

Do Be You chirp Otis Williams & The Charms repeatedly as they kick off the latest of our King-Federal vocal group compilations. Otis & his group feature on two tracks   the other one being a previously unreleased verdion of  The First Sign Of Love. Volume 4 follows in the style of the last one in the series, featuring half a dozen or so previously unreleased or alternate versions of vocal group recordings from the King-Federal roster as well as many classic collectors numbers. In all, 13 different artists are featured, and the 24 tracks span the period 1952-62.

The Hurricanes were one of the more profilic groups on the King label with seven releases to their names during the 50s. They've featured before in this series and here are to be heard with two selections   the standard Yours as well as Fallen Angel. One of the most well known and respected vocal groups from the 50s era were the Five Keys. They joined the King label in 1959 after successful stays earlier in the decade, first with Aladdin and then with Capitol Records. By the time they arrived at the label, Thomas "Dickie" Threat had replaced the legendary lead voice of Rudy West. On this compilation they are featured performing two nice ballads   No Says My Heart and Dream On.

The Royals were one of the pioneer R&B vocal groups. From their first recordiing session for the label comes Starting From Tonight with Charles Sutton and Henry Boooth doing tenor duties. The recording was included in its original form on the complete compilation of the Royals King and Federal output  "Featuring Charles Sutton and Hank Ballard" on Ace CDCHD 1054. However, the version included here is a previously unreleased overdub. After a group line-up change, caused by transfers into the army late in 1952, Hank Ballard joined the group and started what turned out to be one of the longest-standing stints as a lead singer in any vocal group. The two other selections by the group here feature Hank with the group that was to be renamed Hank Ballard & The Midnighters in 1955 to avoid confudion with their stablemates the Five Royales.

The city of Canton, Ohio was home to the Mascots whose lead singer was Eddie Levert. The city was some 50-odd miles south of Cleveland wher Eddie O'Jay was an influential R&B deejay. The Mascots came to his attention as a result of their first recordings for King. He adopted them, renaming them eponymously as the O'Jays, and they went on to score over 50 R&B hits in their immensely succesful career. From their first two sessions for King come a song from their first release and two other performances issued on a CD for the first time. A great contemporary shot of the group from the King photo archives is included as the front cover .

Vocal groups were well represented on the King & Federal labels, both under their own names and as backing groups for single artists. Jerry Dorn was such an artist, and a previously unreleased gem, Thank You, is included here with background vocals by an unknown group. Gordon Skadberg and the guys at Early Bird Records, who again are the compilers and annotators of this release, speculate that the uncredited group may well be the Hurricanes.

Rounding out this fourth volume in our trawl through the King vocal group archives are selections from the Swallows, Orchids, Superiors, Federals, Ramblers & The Ascots. Last but not least are the Admirals whom we've heard from earlier in this series, both on their own and backing-up songtress Cathy Ryan. In their own right we have selected two of their 1955 outings. The group's line-up at that time included a 20-year old Gene McDaniels. His individual fame was still six years away at that point before his 100lbs Of Clay became a world-wide hit.

This compilation is another good helping of doo wop from the King-Federal vaults and there's still plenty more where that came from.

Peter Gibbon

September  2005



Track listing


Side 1

  • 01 Preview Do Be You - Otis Williams & The Charms

  • 02 Preview In The Palm Of My Hand - The Swallows

  • 03 Preview Fallen Angel - The Hurricanes

  • 04 Preview That's The Way I Feel - The Mascots

  • 05 Preview Oh Why - The Orchids

  • 06 Preview Starting From Tonight - The Royals

  • 07 Preview Dance Of Love - The Superiors

  • 08 Preview Shame On Me - The Ramblers

  • 09 Preview Left With A Broken Heart - The Admirals

  • 10 Preview The First Sign Of Love - The Charms

  • 11 Preview I Want Love - The Mascots

  • 12 Preview Thank You - Jerry Dorn

  • 13 Preview Someone Like You - The Royals

  • 14 Preview Cold Cash - The Federals

  • 15 Preview No Says My Heart - The Five Keys

  • 16 Preview Yours - The Hurricanes

  • 17 Preview Darling I'll See You Tonight - The Ascots

  • 18 Preview Oh Yes - The Admirals

  • 19 Preview Beginning To Miss You - The Orchids

  • 20 Preview Are You Forgetting - The Royals

  • 21 Preview I Waited So Long - The Mascots

  • 22 Preview The Heaven And Earth - The Ramblers

  • 23 Preview Rock-A-Bye Baby Rock - The Swallows

  • 24 Preview Dream On - The Five Keys

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