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The Belmonts, Daniel Elliott, Fred Milano, Warren Gradus and Angelo D'Aleo, are a Doo-Wop group that goes way back-as we can tell from the Sonny Bono outfits they're sporting on the cover. An unusual mix here-'Annual Animal Christmas Ball' will delight the younger set, a folky, inspirational 'Miracle on the Hill,' and a lilting 'The Child Divine.' 'Our First Christmas as Mr. and Mrs.' is pure streetcorner doo-wop. Then we have the rousing minor-keyed Hanukkah carol, 'The 8 Days of Hanukkah.' 'A Lot Like Santa Claus' spills the beans on the bearded one's true identity. Our favorite cut is the traditional 'Mary Had a Baby.' The cd closes, as will the year, with 'Old 365' a sweet song to the year gone by and the 'new kid on the block.' A unique holiday collection by some talented guys!
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Acappella is the spelling of the classical a cappella when it refers to doo-wop and later to rock 'n roll. It evolved in the late '40s and by the late fifties had emerged into popular culture from the street corners, hallways, alleys and bathrooms where great echoes could be heard. The practitioners usually presented themselves to producers as acappella groups and then were relegated to background singing and stepped on by instrumentation. The Belmonts were named for Belmont Avenue in the Bronx, their hometown. Joining Dion in 1957 to create 'I Wonder Why' which went to #22, they continued as Dion And The Belmonts until 1960 when Dion went solo. In that collaborative period they had two #5 hits, 'Where Or When' and the cloying 'Teenager In Love.' After Dion's departure they had a couple of minor hits in the early '60s but had to wait to create this legacy to doo-wop music until 1972. It is, indubitably, a masterpiece.
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