Various Artists (Dootone)

Dootsie Williams had a fine geneology in black music: he'd played in Roy Milton's Solid Senders, talent-scouted for MGM (recording the likes of Ivory Joe Hunter and Joe Turner), recorded rude records by Billy Mitchell and Hattie Noel, then jazzmen like Carl Perkins and Dexter Gordon for his own labels (first Blue Records, then from 1951 Dootone) and finally cut a white group called The Whipporwills with Kiss A Fool Goodbye. It was Earth Angel by The Penguins though, and subsequent recordings by fine black music vocal groups that defined one of the key components of the Dootone style. The Medallions, led by 16 year old Vernon Green (later to record with The Phantoms and still active around L.A. today), hit with a series of discs including Speedin' and Buick 59. Don Julian and The Meadowlarks, the smoothest of Dootone's vocal groups (and one of the first racially integrated), hit with songs like Heaven And Paradise, though here they show, on their uptempo B-sides I Got Tore Up and Boogie Woogie Teenage, that they could rock out too. The Calvanes, The Crescendoes, The Pipes, The Romancers, The Cufflinx, Charles McCullough & The Silks are all here, their names as magical as the music they made. Along with the jump blues of Dootsie's former boss Roy Milton and the tough honkin' sax of Chuck Higgins, they offer a soul map to the West Coast black music scene of the mid- to late-1950s.

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