Black Vocal Groups Recordings

Combining the early R&B sound with gospel and jazz, some of the pioneering Black vocal groups got their start as early as the Depression era. No matter how long ago they started, they still have a message and a song that can inspire singers today. If you're a fan of vocal harmony, are inspired by R&B, or love the origins of modern gospel, you can't go wrong here. This is some of the most inspiring and enchanting music of the first half of the 20th century!

Basin Street Boys: Satchelmouth Baby

Satchelmouth Baby
Jumpin' At The Jubilee
Nothing Ever Happens To Me
I'm Gonna Write A Letter To My Baby
Exactly Like You
I Need A Knife, A Fork, And A Spoon
I Sold My Heart To The Junkman
Voot Nay On The Vot Nay
Near To You
I'll Get Along Somehow
I Want To Love And Be Loved
For You
Ain't Got No Loot
Summertime Gal
You're Mine Forever
This Is The End Of A Dream

This 1940's quartet is best known for their huge post World War II hit, "I Sold My Heart To The Junkman." They broke up in 1951, but they were a fine example of the developing R & B style, similar to the Mills Bros., while suggesting the crooning of Bing. This accompanied recording contains their best cuts, and is a fine backdrop for their tight, finger-snapping swing. "Jumpin' At The Jubilee" has a half spoken, half sung middle break, a vocal jazz rap, as it were. If sumptuous ballads are your thing, listen to "Nothing Ever Happens To Me," "Summertime Gal" and "I'll Get Along Somehow," which caress the ear with a deft touch. "Ain't Got No Loot" is as hip now as it was then, the epitome of cool, it's melodic hook offset by a jive confessional.

Listen to Satchelmouth Baby in Real Audio

2048 CD $14.98

Cats and Fiddle: We Cats Swing For You

The Cats and the Fiddle was one of the pre-eminent pioneering R&B vocal groups of the 1930s. "The Fiddle" in the group's name is not purely whimsical: it alludes to the stand-up bass they used, while in jazz parlance each member of the group was a "hep cat," as in track 17 of this compilation, "Hep Cat's Holiday." And what a compilation it isÑ27 swinging, jiving mono recordings from 1939 to 1946. All songs are lightly accompanied by the infamous "fiddle" and guitar, but whatever it was that made whole generations go nuts over R&B music, these "Cats" have got a boatload of it! Listen to the title tune, a too-hip-for-words "Killin' Jive," "Gang Busters," "Thursday Evening Swing," "Nuts To You," "Mr. Rhythm Man," "When I Grow Too Old to Dream," "Public Jitterbug Number One," "That's On, Jack, That's On," "One Is Never Too Old to Swing," "Stomp, Stomp," "Life's Too Short" - these guys are simply cookin' on every one of these cuts. Over 77 minutes of the finest jive and swing you never got a chance to hear - an unbelievable bargain!

Listen to We Cats Will Swing for You in Real Audio

4554 CD $11.98

Charioteers: Best Of

Led by the awesomely talented tenor Billy Williams, the Charioteers were the most gospel-sounding of the great black pop vocal groups of the Õ40s, a sound that did not translate into the record sales that Columbia record execsÑeager for an answer to DeccaÕs Ink SpotsÑwere hoping for. But to ears educated by the doo wop and soul groups to come, this groupÕs stuff is mighty fine, definitely vocal pop but hinting of the left turn towards R&B that vocal music was soon to take in the Õ50s. We are proud to present the *first-ever* compilation on CD of their work, with notes setting the scene for these 24 great sides.

Listen to Ride, Red, Ride in Real Audio

4558 CD $15.98

Deep River Boys - Let's Go

Carmena Waltz Song
Who'll Jine De Union
I Am Seeking for a City
I Am Bound for Sweet Canaan Land
I Got a Home in Dat Rock
In Dat Great Getting' Up Morning
You Talk Too Much
A Zoot Suit
Castle on the River Nile
Cousin Jedidiah
A Little Jive is Good For You
Get on Board Little Children
We Are Walking in the Light
Swing Low Sweet Chariot
Oh Freedom
I'm Trampin'
What Did He Say
Get up Them Stairs Mademoiselle
That's What You Need to Suceed
Wrapped up in a Dream
Ain't Misbehavin'
By the Light of the Silvery Moon
Two Blocks Down Turn to the Left
Charge it to Daddy
Tuxedo Junction
My Guys Come Back
Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child

The Deep River Boys were an American vocal group active from the mid 1930s to the mid 1950s, singing spirituals, gospel, and R&B. The group consisted of Harry Douglas (baritone), Vernon Gardner (first tenor), George Lawson (second tenor), Jimmy Lundy and Edward Ware (bass). The group began at Hampton Institute now known as Hampton University - Hampton, VA. Their 1948 song Recess in Heaven became their first hit. They appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, held command performances before the Queen of England (in the 1960's), and US President Dwight D Eisenhower. They also performed with Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, Count Basie, Fats Waller, Charlie Christian and Thelma Carpenter.

2476 CD $14.95

Delta Rhythm Boys - I Dreamt I Dwelt in Harlem

Little Lize (I Love You)
Keep On To Galilee
Wait Till I Put On My Crown
The Railroad Song
Ezekiel Saw De Wheel
Bugle Woogie
Do You Care
Conversation At Midnight
It Was Wonderful Then
La Cucaracha
Dry Bones
Certainly Lord
Mighty Day
Scandalize My Name
Watermelon On the Vine
Gimme Some Skin
It's So Peaceful in the Country
Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives To Me
Georgia On My Mind
I Dreamt I Dwelt in Harlem

The rise of groups like the Golden Gate Quartet took gospel music out of the conservative confines of the Black church, and opened the door for other groups who wanted to sing spirituals in a different way. One of the groups to achieve success in the more liberated climate was the Hampton Institute Quartet, who changed their name to the Delta Rhythm Boys, and were equally at home delivering a pop song as a gospel item. They teamed up with Ella Fitzgerald during the 1940s recording ban in America, when her career might have been put on hold. However much the gospel group might have been threatened with eternal damnation to even think about "La Cucaracha," their fearlessness, both musically and politically, is what made them one of the greats. 20 winners, and we can't decide which we like the best, pop tunes like "Little Lize," the sweet "It Was Wonderful Then," a swinging "La Cucaracha," the silly minstrel-show tune "Watermelon On The Vine," the hip "Gimme Some Skin" and "Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gave To Me," or gospel hits like "Wait Till I Put On My Crown," a rocking "Ezekiel Saw De Wheel," "Certainly Lord," "Mighty Day," and "Scandalize My Name" (which is actually more of a commentary on religious bigotry). There's a particularly fine, laid-back early version of "Georgia On My Mind," and the swinging title tune, the final cut, is a joy. All songs at least piano accompanied, recorded in NY in 1941.

Listen to Little Lize (I Love You) in Real Audio.

4542 CD $14.98

Delta Rhythm Boys: Masters Of Hip Harmony

The Delta Rhythm Boys were not only one of the top black acts of their time, but also played a big role in breaking down color barriers in the entertainment field even while lending a helping hand to the Armed Forces Radio Service from which much of this material hails. We'd put their harmonies right up there with the Ink Spots, Mills Brothers and Charioteers. Includes five tracks cut with Mildred Bailey on the RockinÕ Chair Rhythm show.

Listen to Trav'lin' Light in Real Audio.

4557 CD $15.98

Delta Rhythm Boys: Delta Rhythm Boys

"Boys" is the reissue of a 1957 LP of the same name, from the end of the five-man Jazz quintet's long and illustrious career, beginning in 1934 at an Oklahoma university. The "Boys," in these all-accompanied, upbeat collection of 13 cuts, bring us a tasty mix of jazz/swing covers (the Gershwins' "'S Wonderful" and "It Ain't Necessarily So," Irving Berlin's "Blue Skies," Rogers and Hart's "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" and Cole Porter's "It's All Right With Me." With wonderful humor and poise, the guys will begin a standard, then feel free to riff it into a joyous, upbeat, funny romp. "Poor Boy" and "Saturday Night Fish Fry" follow the basic rockabilly theme of "How'd I Get Into this Ridiculous Mess?" "There'll Be Some Changes Made," "The Riddle Song" and "Side By Side" are bright, upbeat foot-tappers, while "Young Man with a Horn" and "Something I Dreamed Last Night" are creamy-smooth slow-dance tunes. A varied repertoire with one thing in common—it's all wonderful stuff from the legendary, pioneering DRB.

Listen to Bewitched, Bothered And Bewildered in Real Audio.

4652 CD $12.98

Delta Rhythm Boys: Radio, Give Me Some Jive

Twenty nine track compilation contains radio & movie soundtrack performances from 1941-45 from the legendary & innovative Delta Rhythm Boys, who were one of the first vocal groups to wear matching color uniforms (most prior groups wore only black tuxedos) & one of the first groups to choreograph their moves on stage. This features the songs "A-Sittin' & A-Rockin'," "East Of The Sun," "Star Dust," "Darktown Strutters' Ball," "How High The Moon" & others.

7479 CD $17.98

Dixie Hummingbirds: 20th Century Masters - Best Of Dixie Hummingbirds

Love Me Like a Rock
Ezekiel Saw the Wheel
Jesus Children of America
Two Little Fishes (And Five Loaves of Bread)
Going On
Nobody Knows the Trouble I See
You Don't Have Nothing
Bedside of a Neighbor
Thank You for One More Day
The Final Edition
Let's Go Out to the Programs
Christian's Automobile

The unique, highly-defined harmonies that was called the "Jubilee" style of the Dixie Hummingbirds, made them pioneers of a Gospel quartet sound that became widely influential to many genres of music, including R&B, blues, Gospel, Pop and the Motown sound. Lead singer Ira Tucker, young baritone prodigy Willie Bobo, and a move to Philadelphia in the 1940s led to the growing popularity and legend of the "Birds," who continue performing, in various incarnations, to the present day, recording with Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder and earning Ebony Magazine's title of "Greatest Gospel Group," and a Grammy in 1973 for Best Soul Gospel Performance. The selections heard on this recording span three decades of the group work for the Peacock label, and a range of traditional, pre-war gospel numbers transformed into the group's highly original style, to contemporary songs written by the most famous 'Bird of them all Ira Tucker.

3023 CD $9.98

Du Droppers: Boot 'Em Up

The Du Droppers were formed in 1952 from members of various Gospel groups, and the talented, veteran quartet are an important link between Gospel groups, Harmony groups and the rise of Doo Wop and Rock 'n Roll. 23 wonderfully rich (all accompanied) tunes, from the funny "Can't Do Sixty No More" (an answer to the Dominoes' hit "Sixty Minute Man" to the title tune, this CD is a get-down, adult-themed, boogying treat that makes us imagine just how powerful (and dangerous) this music must have sounded to people used to listening to Perry Como and Pat Boone. "Chain Me Baby," "Go Back," "I Wanna Know," "Get Lost," the racy "Little Girl, Little Girl (You Better Stop Talking in Your Sleep)" "Bambalam" and "I Found Out," "Ten Past Midnight," "Honey Bunch," "I Only Had A Little," "Drink Up," "Speed King" "Dead Broke" and "Let Nature Take Its Course." Surprisingly, as good as these songs are, this is the first time we've heard most of them. Great rockin' Doo Wop boogie from the early 1950s by a pioneering group that obviously should be much better-known!

7478 CD $10.98

Fisk Jubilee Singers: In Bright Mansions

Fisk University, originally the Fisk Free Colored School, was founded in Nashville, TN right after the Civil War, by northern missionaries. The school treasurer, a Gettysburg veteran named George White, loved music, and was moved by the slave hymns he would sometimes overhear in the refugee camps, but it was difficult to get his young students to sing them, as they were associated with slavery and things best forgotten. George began collecting and arranging these "secret songs," with the help of his secretary, Ella Sheppard, who brought him "O Freedom" and "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," lullabies her mother had taught her. In time, White and Sheppard collected over a hundred songs. In 1871, Fisk was on the brink of financial collapse, and George White took a group of young singers on the route of the Underground Railroad, hoping to "sing into the hearts" of the people and raise money to save the school. At first enduring racism and indifference, the group finally found some success in Ohio, and then made it to New York, where Henry Ward Beecher, in his Plymouth Church in Brooklyn, was so moved by their singing he commanded his wealthy parishioners to give generously to the Jubilee's cause. Suddenly the churches of metropolitan New York opened their doors to them, and people rushed to hear "the genuine soul music of the slave cabins, before the Lord led his people out of the house of bondage." This began a series of successful tours, to Britain, Europe and all over the United States that finally exhausted the young singers, yet raised enough to erase Fisk's debt and build beautiful new campus buildings. 18 authentic songs, some of our favorites: "Down By The Riverside," "De Gospel Train," "Were You There," "Rockin' Jerusalem," "Nobody Knows the Trouble I See," "He's Got the Whole World In His Hands," "I'm Got A Home In-A Dat Rock," and the title tune. The CD cover and liner notes are actually a small book, with great old photos and the amazing story of the Fisk Singers. And, this is an "Enhanced" CD--if you load it into your computer's CD player, you can see a nicely-done visual presentation of the group's history with many photos, as well as photos and info from the recording session--very cool. Recommended.

Listen to "I'm Gonna Sing Till the Spirit Moves" and "Down By the Riverside" in Real Audio.

2808 CD $16.98

Five Red Caps: It's So Good! 1943 - 1951

Forty three lilting, rockin' and proto-doowoppin' harmony cuts from Steve Gibson and The Redcaps one of the most popular jump and jive vocal groups of the 1940's. The Five Red Caps began in 1940 Los Angeles, moving to New York in search of fame and fortune. After meeting record label owner Joe Davis (Beacon) in 1943, the multi-talented group, who also played their own instruments, recorded 26 singles for Davis from 1943-46. From rhythm-oriented jive boogie, velvety Ink Spots-style ballads, and the earnest gospel sound, a lá groups of the 1930's such as the Golden Gate Quartet, the Five Red Caps did it all. The Redcaps enjoyed many hit records and appeared in movies, on radio and the emerging TV medium. Like many other groups of the period their roots can be traced back to the unprecedented influence of The Mills Brothers.

4661 2CDs $15.98

Flamingos: Best of

The Flamingos are in the elite of vocal harmony groups, considered by some to be one of the best; they emerged from the 1940's jazz idiom, and though they were certainly influenced by their precursors the Five Keys, Orioles etc., they were intent upon forging their own unique sound. From the Chicago neighborhood to the local black Jewish 'Church of God and Saints,' where they lived, worshipped and hung out, the young conglomeration practiced and performed (changing lead singers on the way) and subsequently were able to secure a deal with Chance Records. This was the first of many labels, including Parrot, Checker, Decca and End, for whom the group recorded, and certainly the Flamingos suffered through as much ignominy as any group could: non-payment of royalties, original compositions attributed to other writers, litigation, and the 'cover' phenomena, whereby a white artist would record a hit by a black group, and make off with the sales. (Pat Boone was a notorious raider.) Nonetheless, history was kinder, and the Flamingos have since been recognized as the innovators they are.

Listen to Ko Ko Mo in Real Audio

8286 CD $11.98

Four Blazes: Mary Jo

The Blazes were journeymen musicians, who had played in and around the Chicago club scene since 1940, though they didn't score a national hit until 1952, with "Mary Jo." Written by bassist/singer Tommy Braden, who didn't actually join the Blazes until 1950, it epitomized their blues-influenced jazz sound: walking bass, clean guitar tone, honking sax over blues progressions. However, it was a sound rooted in an earlier era, and was swept away by the tides of rock 'n roll, in spite of the superior musicianship of professionals such as the Blazes. Still, these 24 songs show why the idioms of blues and jazz are universal, and any of them could be performed today. Highlight: an original arrangement of "Mood Indigo," a summer breeze wafting by on a sultry July evening.

6261 CD $14.98

Four Knights: Oh Baby

Sentimental Fool
Walkin' And Whistlin' Blues
Got Her Off My Mind
I Go Crazy
In The Chapel In The Moonlight
I Wanna Say Hello
It's No Sin
The Glory Of Love
I Wish I Had A Girl
The Way I Feel
Easy Street
Oh Happy Days
A Milion Tears
Tennessee Train
Baby Doll
Walkin' In The Sunshine
I Get So Lonely (When I Think About You)
Anniversary Song
I Couldn't Stay Away From You

First ever legitimate CD release for this smooth pop orientated vocal group who scored numerous US hits in the early to mid-fifties. The vocal group of choice for label mates Nat King Cole who used them at every opportunity on his Capitol sessions. They scored a huge UK hit with "I Get So Lonely (When I Dream About You)" which reached number 5 in the summer of 1954. It's included here along with 25 other prime recordings on CD which was sourced from original EMI master tapes and compiled at Abbey Road Studios in London.

7477 CD $14.98

Four Vagabonds: Complete Works 1941 - 1951

The Four Vagabonds were radio stars of the 1940s – they were considered by many to be the grandfathers of R&B harmony! Their commercial recordings make it clear that their real stock-in-trade was haunting romantic harmony ballads; the best of these can be truly described as classics of American folk and popular music.

4639 CD $15.98

Golden Gate Quartet: Good Book

When the four young black men first began harmonizing together in Norfolk, VA in 1934, they could hardly have imagined being invited four years later to New York to perform in the now legendary "From Spirituals to Swing" concerts at Carnegie Hall. About that time they cut their first recorded sides, laying down an amazing 14 tracks in 2 hours. Nearly 70 years later, the group is still spreading the Gospel and delighting audiences with their upbeat, rhythmic hits. "Good Book" is essentially a "best of" studio CD, containing 18 tunes. "I Soon Will Be Done With The Troubles Of This World," "Ezekiel Saw The Wheel," "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," "Rock My Soul," "Gospel Train"Ñwe've heard them before, but they're new and fresh here. "Oh Happy Day," "Down By The Riverside," "Swing Down Chariot"Ñthe GGQ invites us aboard the Gospel train, and it's a great ride!

Listen to Ezekiel Saw the Wheel and Down By the Riverside Real Audio.

2829 CD $14.98

Golden Gate Quartet: Rock My Soul

When the GGQ burst onto the gospel music scene in the 1930's out of the Tidewater region of Virginia, black churches were quite musically conservative and not given to rhythmic experimentation or nods toward popular music. Thus there was a fair amount of head-shaking when the GGQ emerged as the leader of a very fine pack of Gospel groups during a very difficult and trying time in American history. Appearing on a North Carolina radio station led to a move north, then to a Bluebird recording contract. The strong beat and counterpoint in those first recordings are looked upon as a turning point in Gospel music, a rebirth of the spiritual. "Rock My Soul" has 20 marvelous tunes, recorded from 1937 to 1943, all of them upbeat, rhythmic, harmonic hits. Listen to "Golden Gate Gospel Train," "Jonah In The Whale," "Go Where I Send Thee" and the vocal "horns" on "Massa's In The Cold Cold Ground," the title tuneÑthis is amazing stuff. Humorous songs like "Preacher and the Bear" and "Jonah In the Whale" have as much novelty pop in them as Gospel. "Stalin Wasn't Stallin" (about the defeat of Hitler by the Russians) and "Comin' In On A Wing and a Prayer" feed nicely on the "God is on our side" sentiment of WWII. Not at all maudlin or dire like some Gospel groups, the GGQ are cheerful, joyous and celebratory in their music, and we think they are one of the best, and most interesting, of all time!

Listen to "Gospel Train in Real Audio.

2831 CD $14.98

Harps Of Melody: Sing And Make Melody Unto The Lord

The Harps of Melody were formed in Memphis, Tennessee, in the 1930s (though this recording was made in the 1980s). Invoking the poignant history from which these African-American spirituals originated, the Harps performed extensively in the South, in churches and on radio, throughout their career. This CD is a rare opportunity to discover their sound, as exemplified by the songs 'Two Little Fishes and Five Loaves of Bread', and 'Roll Jordan Roll,' where they demonstrate, through their use of phrasing, trills and 'blue notes,' their command of the style. Their unique version of 'Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen' is distinctive and original. A must for any devotee.

Listen to I'm A Soldier in Real Audio

3357 CD $14.98

Ink Spots: We Four- The Best of The Ink Spots

We Three (My Echo, My Shadow And Me)
If I Didn't Care
When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano
I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire
Address Unkown
Do I Worry?
So Sorry
Prisoner of Love
I'd Climb the Highest Mountain
Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall
The Gipsy
My Prayer
Puttin' and Takin'
Whispering Grass
Ev'ry Night About This Time
To Each His Own
Don't Get Around Much Anymore
I'm Beginning to See the Light
Someone's Rocking My Dreamboat
Until the Real Thing Comes Along
When the Sun Goes Down
Bless You

Formed in 1934, the original three Ink Spots were soon heard regularly on the air and had a few recording sessions, but were on the verge of giving up when in 1939 they finally had a hit record with the song "If I Didn't Care." The magic ingredients, the soaring falsetto voice of Bill Kenny and the sonorous tones of "Hoppy" Jones in a laid-back, talking chorus, together with the distinctive guitar intro, introduced a languid and sentimental style and became the hallmark for many hit records. 24 of those hits (we just love the sheer quantity of music and value of these remastered, re-issued "best-of" collections by classic vocal groups) are featured on "The Best Of." "We Three (My Echo, My Shadow and Me)," Maybe," "When The Swallows Come Back to Capistrano," "I Don't Want To Set The World," "Do I Worry," "Prisoner of Love," "The Gypsy," "Puttin' and Takin'," "Whispering Grass," "Ev'ry Night About This Time," "Someone's Rocking My Dreamboat," "When The Sun Goes Down"… these are all very similar in their style, their light guitar and piano accompaniment, sweet, affected vocals, bluesy sentimentality and total coolness!

Listen to So Sorry in Real Audio

4617 CD $14.98

Ink Spots: More Memories

This CD is basically "The Best of The Ink Spots," part 2. The four Ink Spots recorded for the American Decca label from 1936 to 1951, and during that time made it to the Top 30 Hit Parade Charts with no fewer than 46 titles. Of these, 20 reached the Top 10, 6 of them making it to the number 1 slot, a phenomenal record! Here are 24 more of those hits and lesser-known but interesting titles, three of which, "I Wish I Could Say the Same," "Why Didn't You Tell Me" and "Don't Break A Promise," are re-issued here for the first time. The Spots' distinctive guitar intro, soaring falsetto of Bill Kenny, and "Hoppy" Jones' talking chorus are present on some of these songs, absent on others. "I Cover the Waterfront," "Java Jive," "Stop Pretending," "Slap That Bass," "It Isn't A Dream Anymore," "Please Take A Letter, Miss Brown," "I'll Get By," "You Were Only Fooling"… these are romantic, sentimental, the-definition-of-cool, rarely-heard tunes by one of the most influential vocal groups of the 30s, 40s and 50s, and lots of them!

Listen to Slap That Bass in Real Audio

4618 CD $14.98

Mills Brothers: 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection

We wish all history sounded this good! The Mills Bros. started singing together in 1925, combining barbershop harmony with the jaunty rythms of the swing era. It was a sweet combination that led to a 70 year career! From 1942's "Paper Doll" to their 1968 rendition of "Cab Driver", these harmonious gentlemen had a string of top-40 hits and enjoyed enormous popularity. Warning for purists: all the songs are accompinied to some degree, usually lighty. But don't miss this CD because of that -these guys are under the directory under "debonair". Every song is a treat "Lazy River", "You Always Hurt the One You Love", "'Till Then,"I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm", "Someday", their marvelous hit "Glow Worm", "Standing on the Corner", and "Be My Life's Companion." Classic!

Listen to Someday in Real Audio

4437 CD $14.98

Ink Spots: Greatest Hits 1939-46

Along with the Mills Bros, the Ink Spots were the most popular black vocal group of the 1930's and 40's, though their careers spanned such duration, that groups are still performing under the Ink Spots name! Their trademark style, with a buttery tenor vibrato over spoken interludes by the bass vocalist, and elegant yet understated accompaniment, generated a spate of hits, including their first big chart appearance with "If I Didn't Care" in 1939. Having found their niche, a series of similarly-produced songs, including "I'll Never Smile Again," "Java Jive," "I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire" and "I'll Get By," capitalized on the record-buying public's attention. Though there were many subsequent personnel changes, the group sustained both artistic quality and popular success, and no music collection is complete without the Ink Spots.

Listen to I'm Beginning To See The Light (With Ella Fitzgerald) in Real Audio

6248 CD $11.98

Mills Brothers: Close Harmony

The Jones Boy
I Can't Give You Anything But Love
Till Then
Some Of These Days
Truck Stop
I Guess I'll Get The Paper And Go Home
You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You
He Gives Me Love
Cab Driver
You'll Never Miss The Water Till The Well Runs Dry
I Don't Mind Being All Alone
I Can't Stop Loving You

This recording presents the fabulous Mills Brothers late in the trio's lengthy career, but their rhythmic sensibilities haven't aged, and a fresh buoyancy characterizes these 12 selections. Many of the songs are standards in the Mills's canon. "Some of These Days" feature Donald's vocal cornet simulation, a skill the brothers used with less frequency as the years went by. "Till Then," with its doo-wop overtones, features the languid soul the brothers so aptly displayed in their ballads. Of the later songs, "Cab Driver" and "Truck Stop" are distinctive C&W subjects; the guitar and drums are appropriately spare. This same guitar-and-drums accompaniment appears in other, less countrified songs, like the wistful "I Guess I'll Get the Papers and Go Home" and the spiritual "He Gives Me Love." The brothers unison crooning imbues these songs with heartfelt reality.

7631 CD $9.95

Mills Brothers: Paper Doll

The four Mills Brothers had a style that combined the best elements of vaudeville, Negro minstrelsy and the barbershop quartet with elements of the new jazz sound. Their habit of cupping their hands over their mouths to create an orchestral sound (similar to effects created by Europe's Comedy Harmonists), was a sensational factor in their success story, and appearances on popular radio programs like "Rudy Vallee's Fleishmann's Yeast Hour" led to their first million-selling record, "Tiger Rag/Nobody's Sweetheart" in 1931. The Brothers endeared themselves to movie audiences the world over with appearances on such hits as "Big Broadcast of 1932" with Bing Crosby, Kate Smith, Cab Calloway and the Boswell Sisters. Included here are 23 lightly accompanied songs, some of our favorites: "You Rascal, You," "Dinah" and "Shine" with Bing Crosby, "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny" and "In The Shade of the Old Apple Tree" with Louis Armstrong, "How'm I Doin', Hey, Hey?," "Lazy River" and the title tune. This is classic, understated, tongue-in-cheek-funny stuff, the quintessence of jazzy, bluesy flapper/speakeasy cool. Too much good stuff! Highly recommended.

Listen to Paper Doll in Real Audio

4527 CD $14.98

Moonglows: 20th Century Masters

They just don't make 'em like this anymore. The emotion wrung from every note, the grit and rawness. The Moonglows were a seminal vocal group in the development of the sound between the vocal jazz and jubilee groups to the then ermerging doo wop sound. Smooth harmonies on this enjoyable recording.

Listen to Most of All in Real Audio.

8291 CD $9.98

Orioles: Sing Their Greatest Hits

With lead Singer Sonny Till, The Orioles were the first African-American vocal group to target a young African-American audience. You'll hear elements of Gospel, Pop as well as Doo Wop sprinkled into the smooth harmonies in their many R&B hits such as "Tell Me" and "It's Too Soon To Know" and of course "Crying In The Chapel". The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.

Listen to Shrimp Boats in Real Audio.

8288 CD $11.98

The Platters: All-Time Greatest Hits

onlyYou (And You Alone)
The Great Pretender
(You've Got) The Magic Touch
My Prayer
Heaven On Earth
You'll Never Never Know
It Isn't Right
On My Word Of Honor
One In A Million
I'm Sorry
He's Mine
My Dream
Twilight Time
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
Harbor Lights
I Love You 1000 Times With This Ring

The Platters, 4-man, 1-woman followed of black vocal harmony groups like the Ink Spots and the Mills Brothers, ushering in a new age of contemporary pop and R&B. The group grew up in the thriving music scene of Los Angeles in the early 1950s, first signing with Federal records, and then joining fellow Federal artists the Penguins (who had a national hit with "Earth Angel"), signed by Chicago-based Mercury Records. Their first recording, "Only You," didn't get a lot of attention until a Seattle DJ played it, eventually turning it into a national hit. "The Great Pretender" was a #1 smash, "The Magic Touch" was a top five it, but their next recording, of British songwriter Jimmy Kennedy's "My Prayer" became the group's biggest hit. Rock 'n' Roll-styled "Out of My Mind" and one other song were scheduled for the Platters to perform on Dick Clark's Saturday night TV show, who heard "Twilight Time" over the phone and said, "That's the hit!" It was the first record of the rock 'n' roll era to feature strings. "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes," "Harbor Lights," "With This Ring"–18 all-accompanied winners by one of the most exciting and popular vocal groups of all time! Beautiful liner notes with history and pictures of the group.

Listen to My Prayer in Real Audio

7604 CD $13.95

Pilgrim Travellers: Best of Pilgrim Travellers

Famous as the group from which soul singer Lou Rawls launched his solo career, the Pilgrim Travellers were one of the most hard-working and touring gospel groups of the 1950's. This value priced double CD set captures their intensity and fervor, and the sheer force of their conviction. Their intonation and the sound quality of the recording are well above average. Songs such as 'Jesus, I'm Thankful,' 'The Old Rugged Cross' and 'I Want My Crown' are personal and heartfelt testimonials to the power of salvation. Their most popular song, 'Jesus Met The Woman At The Well,' a Southern Spiritual, is an American art form.

Listen to " Jesus Hits like the Atom Bomb" in Real Audio.

2081 CD $15.98

Pilgrim Travellers: Better Than That

The "Better Than That" collection follows the CD compilation of the two "Best of the Pilgrim Travelers" and the first release by the PT in the Legends of Gospel series, "Walking Rhythm;" and it focuses the early to mid-Fifties heyday of this talented all-male quintet. At that time, they were a top draw on the Gospel circuit, booked all over the country. Art Rupe of Specialty Records issued more PT singles over their 10-year relationship than any other group, gospel or pop. "Better" is a generous, comprehensive CD of 28 cuts, including 13 never-before-released cuts. Beginning with their a cappella roots, the group gradually became more accompanied, by organ, piano, guitar, bass, saxophone and drums. Our favorites, of course, are the a cappella numbers: "Please Watch Over Me," "Long Ago (Wooden Church)," "I Never Knew Joy Before," "Leaning On The Everlasting Arm," "I’m Going Through," "How About You?," "I'll Be There (In That Number)," "All The Way (I'm Willing To Run)" and "Your Mother Is Your Friend." This is a great collection by one of the most popular Gospel groups of all time, in their prime!

Listen to " Leaning on the Everlasting Arm " in Real Audio.

2082 CD $15.98

Pilgrim Travellers: Walking Rhythm

Founded in the early 1930s in Houston during the early 1930s by Joe Johnson and the Davis brothers, the Pilgrims had moved to Los Angeles by 1942, adding two cousins, Kylo Turner and Keith Barber. Between 1947 and 1956, they recorded over a hundred sides for Specialty Records and developed a choreographed, dynamic road show that blew away the competition. There are 29 a cappella spirituals here, from "What Are They Doing (My Lord)," "Good News," the Gospel Boogie "Everybody's Gonna Have A Wonderful Time Up There" and "Nothing Can Change Me (Since I Found The Lord)" to "My Eternal Home," "Footprints of Jesus," "Welcome Home" and "Angels Tell Mother." It's all wonderful, feel good Gospel, some of the best and most authentic we've heard. At the end is a touching plug for Gospel radio station WDIA. "Walking" is a joy! Highly Recommended.

Listen to " Call Him By His Name" in Real Audio.

2083 CD $15.98

Ravens: Birds Of A Feather

In the development of Doo-Wop in the years following WWII, the most influential singer, on a level with Elvis in Rockabilly, was The Ravens' Jimmy Ricks, whose booming bass would set the standard for a generation of aspiring bass vocalists. "Birds" is a generous 2-CD set with 50 soulful, authentic (all accompanied) cuts, recorded from 1946 to 1952 by one of greatest R&B quartets of all time! Smooth and romantic on hits like "Lullaby," "Until The Real Thing Comes Along," "Deep Purple," "It's Too Soon to Know," Gershwin's "Summertime," and "I'm So Crazy For Love" and "You Foolish Thing;" hip, swingin' and funny on "Be I Bumble Bee or Not," "Marie," "Leave My Gal Alone," "Oh Babe," "Don't Look Now," "My Baby's Gone," "Midnight Blues," "Gotta Find My Baby," "I Get My Lovin' on a Saturday Night," a jazzy "Begin the Beguine" and a Ravens original, "Rock Me All Night Long." Wonderful extensive liner notes with photos and vintage posters. Every cut is a winner and these guys deserve to be a lot more famous! Outstanding.

Listen to Summertime in Real Audio

4549 CD $14.95

Souls Stirrers - The Soul Stirrers With Sam Cooke

Sam Cooke was one of the most influential singers and songwriters of the latter half of the twentieth century. Between l957 and 1965 he had 29 top 40 hits on the pop charts and 34 on the R&B charts. This recording is about his real roots as a gospel singer. As a boy he sang with two brothers and two sisters in a gospel group called the Singing Children. At age 15 he became the lead singer of the Highway Q.C.'s (yes, they became famous) which were tutored by members of the nationally renown Soul Stirrers. In return, the Highway Q.C.'s became almost like a farm club of future singers. Sam was recruited to take the place of the great R.H. Harris when he retired at the end of 1950. He proceeded to put his own stamp on the group, not only because of his voice, but the fact that he was the most prolific writer in the group. His songs include classics such as 'Nearer To Thee,' 'Be With Me Jesus,' 'Touch The Hem Of His Garment' and 'That's Heaven To Me.' This recording traces his gospel career, both unaccompanied and accompanied by small bands.

Listen to Peace In The Valley in Real Audio.

3345 CD $14.98

Swallows - The Very Best Of

Well researched and compiled selection of classics tracks by one of the most successful of the early 50's R&B groups. Featuring their years on the King label this recording is a treat for fans of the clear, clean, sweet sound of the early vocal harmony groups. 25 tracks

Listen to Please, Baby, Please in Real Audio.

8299 CD $14.98

Various Artists: Black Vocal Groups (1924-1930)

Sing On - Original Valentine Choral Club Quintette
Give Me That Old Time Religion - Original Valentine Choral Club Quintette
Jerusalem Morn - Sunset Four
Do You Call That Religion? - Sunset Four
Barnum's Steam Calliope - Sunset Four
Didn't He Ramble - Sunset Four
Walk in Jerusalem Just Like John - Sunset Four
You Must Have That True Religion - Sunset Four
Good News Chariots Coming - Sunset Four
Oh Lord What a Mourning - Sunset Four
Hand Me Down the Silver Trumpet, Gabriel - Sunset Four
Wade in the Water - Sunset Four
You Must Come in at the Door - Sunset Four
When I Came Out of the Wilderness - Sunset Four
Plantation Days - Grace Outlaw
I've Got a Home in That Rock - Grace Outlaw
In Some Lonesome Graveyard - Grace Outlaw
Sleep My Mother - Bessemer Melody Boys
Didn't They Crucify My Lord - Bessemer Melody Boys
Motherless Children - Bessemer Melody Boys
In My Father's House - Bessemer Melody Boys
When I Get Home - Bessemer Melody Boys
Sun Didn't Shine - Bessemer Singers

While students of American a cappella history can find many re-issues of gospel groups from the 1930's and beyond, this import is one of the few that captures the music from the roaring '20s. Of the four groups represented here, The Sunset Four were most productive with 13 of the 25 songs on CD They have snippets of future bass imitation on 'Jerusalem Morn' and barbershop - like chord ringing on 'Didn't He Ramble.' But perhaps 'Barnum's Steam Calliope' is most notable, for its unique vocal imitation of the famed circus instrument. The audio quality reflects the fact that old (and sometimes scratched) '78s were used to make the CD, but anyone interested in early 20th Century a cappella will happily overlook those flaws because of the unique performances captured here, all but two are a cappella.

3359 CD $15.98

Various Artists: Hot Harmony Groups (1932-1951) - Vol 1

Somebody Stole Gabriel's Horn - The Three Keys
Za Zu Swing - The Five Jinks
That's the Rhythm - Three Sharps and A Flat
Milk Shake Stand - Three Barons
Satchelmouth Baby - Deek Watson and the Brown Dots
Garbage Man - The Four Aces
Wig Blues - The Melody Masters
Hurry Home - Thelma Carpenter & the Deep River Boys w/ Bud Freeman & his Orchestra
Let's Be Sweethearts Again - Bill John & Musical Notes
(I Wonder) Where Is My Love (The Four Tunes)
Nicholas - Three Flames
Subway Cutie - Melody Masters
Choo Choo - The Four Vagabonds
It Takes A Long Tall Skinned Girl - The Four Blues
Yesterday Rose's - The Bachelors
Wrapped Up In A Dream Again - Four Knights
Cherry in My Lemon and Lime - The Three Riffs
I'd Rather Be Wrong that Blue - The Beavers
I Don't Mind Being All Alone - The Colemans
Yes Sir That's My Baby - The Clovers

"That's The Rhythm" is a delicious collection of 20 examples of Black vocal group harmony from the early 1930s to the early 1950s, all at least lightly accompanied. The watershed moment for these groups was the rise of network radio, which made immediate stars of the Mills Brothers and the Ink Spots. By 1945 there were three routes an aspiring group could take, the "jubilee" gospel style of the Golden Gate Quartet, which enjoyed a crossover appeal, the jump/jive stylings of the Four Vagabonds, which had an almost entirely Black following, or going into the pop crossover stylings of the Ink Spots/Mills Brothers, whose huge success was due to the support of a vast white audience. So many treats: The Three Keys' cartoon-like "Somebody Stole Gabriel's Horn," Three Sharps and a Flat's wonderful title tune, the raunchy, double-entendre "Garbage Man" by the Four Aces, the very funny "Wig Blues" by The Melody Masters, who also star on "Subway Cutie," The Four Vagabonds' swinging "Choo Choo," The Four Blues' boogie-woogie anthem "It Takes A Long Tall Brown Skinned Girl," the Four Knights' sweet "Wrapped Up In A Dream," The Three Riffs' silly "Cherry In My Lemon And Lime," The Beavers' torch song "I'd Rather Be Wrong Than Blue"—these are unknown musical treasures on many levels. Funny, poignant, hip, romantic—it's all here, and some of the sweetest leads and harmonies you could imagine. We love this collection!

4543 CD $11.98

Various Artists: Hot Harmony Groups Vol 2 - Viddle de Vop

Basin Street Blues - The Three Keys
Fit As A Fiddle - The Three Keys
Jitterbug Sadie - The Four Blues
Bronzeville Jump - Three Bit Of Rhythm
The Blues Can Jump - The Four Blues
Bring Enough Clothes - Timmie Rogers & Excelsior Hepcats
For Sentimental Reasons - Deek Watson And The Brown Dots
My Baby - Melody Masters
Hoe Cake, Hominy And Sassafras Tea - The Four Vagabonds
Let's Be Sweethearts Again - Bill Johnson And Musical Notes
Viddle De Vop - Three Flames
Ooh Look A There Ain't She Pretty - The Charioteers
Until You Say You're Mine - The Dixieaires
Everlovin' Slick - The Whispers
Bow Wow Wow - Deek Watson And The Brown Dots
Hereafter - The Bachelors
Five O'Clock Blues - The Striders
Jumping Jack - The Three Riffs
Just In Case You Change Your Mind - The Four Deeptones
I'm Afraid - Billy Bunn And His Buddies

Twenty examples of the many styles of Black vocal group harmony from the early 30's to the early Fifties . Beginning with the jump and jive sounds of the earliest groups to record in the 1930's to those recordings made in the late forties and early 1950's when the sound had truly began it's journey down the road to doo wop.

7483 CD $11.98

Various Artists: Hot Harmony Groups Vol 3

Joe Louis Is A Fighting Man - The Dixieaires
A G.I. Wish - The Four Vagabonds
You Can Depend On Me - The Harmonaires
I'm Just A Fool - The James Quintet
I Cover The Waterfront - The Cats N'Jammer Three
My Bicycle Tillie - The Cats N'Jammer Three
Bell Bottom Trousers - The Four Blues
Chitlins And Pigs Feet - The Four Blues
It Had To Be You - Earl Hines and His Orchestra
Somebody's Rocking My Dreamboat - Four Tones And Eddie Beal Trio
At Least You Could Save Me A Dream - Herb Jefferies
Get Away Mr. Satan Get Away - The Coleman Brothers
Raise A Ruckus Tonight - The Coleman Brothers
I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire - The Charioteers
Rock-A My Soul - The 4 Blue Jackets
Praise The Lord And Pass The Ammunition - The Southern Sons
River Stay Away From My Door - The Syncopators
You're Not The Only Apple O The Apple Tree - The Master Keys
It Had To Be You - The Lunceford Quartet
When The Old Gang's Back On The Corner - The Four Vagabonds

Another 21 examples of the many styles of black vocal group harmony. Volume 3 concentrates exclusively on records cut in the 1940s. These groups are much closer in spirit to the real Doo Wop of the 1950s. Featured too are some examples of vocal groups who operated within big bands. Most tracks are making their CD debut here.

7484 CD $11.98

Various Artists: Black Secular Vocal Groups Vol 1

Aunt Hagar's Children Blues - Black Devil Four
Miss Annabelle Lee - Variety Four
I'm Coming, Virginia - Variety Four
Every Time I Feel The Spirit - Pulman Porters Quartette
Good News Chariot's Coming - Pulman Porters Quartette
Jog-A-Long Boys - Pulman Porters Quartette
Won't Be Worried No More - Starlight Quartette
Oh, You Better Mind - Starlight Quartette
Monkey Man Blues - Starlight Quartette
Gone Jazz Crazy - Starlight Quartette
Doodlin' Back - Triangle Quartette
She Done Quit Me Blues - Triangle Quartette
Queen Street Rag - Triangle Quartette
What's The Matter Now? - Quartette of Norfolk
Just Too Late - Quartette of Norfolk
Pleading Blues - Quartette of Norfolk
Four Or Five Times - Quartette of Norfolk
When I Was A Moaner - Quartette of Norfolk
King Jesus, Stand By Me - Quartette of Norfolk
When Death Shall Shake This Frame - Quartette of Norfolk
Somebody's Wrong - Quartette of Norfolk
Pullman Passenger Train - Quartette of Norfolk
Ain't Got No Mama Now - Quartette of Norfolk
Somebody's Always Talking About Me - Quartette of Norfolk
I Ain't Got Nobody (And Nobody Cares For Me) - Quartette of Norfolk

These are some of the very earliest recordings Black vocal groups and is an outstanding example of the genre including vaudeville, blues and spirituals sung in both the "old style" with its integrated parts blending smoothly as if sung by one person, and the "new" with its foregrounding of wailing, blue notes and syncopation. The most well known groups here come from the incredibly fertile area of Norfolk Virginia, known for its astonishing number of vocal quartets in the 1920's and 30's. In all there is plenty of top-notch material here for lovers of pre-war vocal groups, with some churning quartet blues recordings that are irresistible.

4642CD $15.98

Various Artists: Black Secular Vocal Groups Vol 2

My Little Dixie Home - Red Cap Quartet
They Kicked The Devil Out Of Heaven - Red Cap Quartet
Mammy Lou - Four Southern Singers
Be Ready - Four Southern Singers
Hambone Am Sweet - Four Southern Singers
You're Sweet To Your Mammy/Mudder Knows - Four Southern Singers
Old Man Harlem - Four Southern Singers
Careless Love - Four Southern Singers
Take My Seat And Sit Down - Mississippi Mud Mashers
Bring It On Home To Grandma - Mississippi Mud Mashers
Let's Go To Dinner - Mississippi Mud Mashers
Don't 'Low No Quartet Singin' In Here - Mississippi Mud Mashers
Moonglow - Mississippi Mud Mashers
Tiger Rag - Mississippi Mud Mashers
Cushion Foot - Five Jinks
Za Zu Swing - Five Jinks
I' m Moaning All Day For You - Five Jinks
There Goes My Headache - Five Jinks
Found A Baby Down Dixie Way - Five Jinks
Dirt-Dishing Daisy - Five Jinks
Just Dream Of You - Norfolk Jazz Quartet
Shim Sham Shimmie At The Cricket's Ball - Norfolk Jazz Quartet
Mama Don't Allow It - Norfolk Jazz Quartet
Ol' Man Mose - Norfolk Jazz Quartet

This second volume moves us chronologically into the 1930's, a time when slicker, smoother, more polished and sophisticated vocal groups were gaining ascendancy in pop quarters. The groups included here show some of the barbershop stylings and imitations of instruments made popular at the time by groups such as the Mills Brothers. These groups were capturing the imaginations of popular fans and Harlem hipsters alike with their smooth, sweet and sometimes swinging harmonies.

4643 CD $15.98

Various Artists: Early Vocal Groups (1935-1944)

Oh, Didn't It Rain - Golden Gate Quartet
A Slip Of The Lip - Charioteers
Shoo Shoo Baby - Charioteers with Bing Crosby
No Wonder - Ink Spots
Stairway To The Stars - Ink Spots
Porkchops And Gravy - Ink Spots
Tiger Rag - Ink Spots
Swinging At The Seance - Deep River Boys
Grandfather's Clock - Deep River Boys
Boogie Woogie Billy - Four Blazes
Man That's Groovy - Four Blazes
Straighten Up And Fly Right - Golden Gate Quartet
I'm Beginning To See The Light - Delta Rhythm Boys
Java Jive - Ink Spots
Swinging On The Strings - Ink Spots
Baby Brown - Ink Spots
Tutti-Frutti - Spirits of Rhythm
General Elecrtic FM Advert - Golden Gate Quartet
Darling Nelly Gray - Golden Gate Quartet
Nelly Was A Lady - Golden Gate Quartet
Brother Bill - Golden Gate Quartet

Subtitled "Early Vocal Groups 1935-1944," this CD presents the creme de la creme of talent with a unique twist: these recordings were made specifically for radio broadcast, and delivered on a sixteen inch record format designed to be played only once! Many of these radio programs were distributed to armed forces radio around the world. One particular such program was called "Jubilee" and featured the best-known black vocal harmony groups: Ink Spots, Delta Rhythm Boys, Golden Gate Quartet and Deep River Boys. These were the first "pop" artists and their songs convey the essence of the 1940's as much as anything could, though paradoxically, the sound they crafted (combining big band swing with gospel and blues), is timeless. Listen to the arrangement of the Charioteers' "Slip Of The Lip": it's melodic subject, or hook, is simple, but it's developed so creatively that the song builds from start to finish. Added bonus is the announcer's voiceover introductions.

4188 CD $14.98

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