I have been doing a series of commentaries elsewhere on another site on my coming of political age in the early 1960s, but now when I am writing about musical influences I am just speaking of my coming of age, period, which was not necessarily the same thing. No question those of us who came of age biologically in the1950s are truly children of rock and roll. We were there, whether we appreciated it or not at the time, when the first, sputtering, moves away from ballady show tunes, rhymey Tin Pan Alley tunes and, most importantly, any and all music that your parents might have approved of, even liked, or at least left you alone to play in peace up in your room hit post World War II America like, well, like an atomic bomb.
Now strictly speaking "Doo Wop" is not really rock and roll, but rather a second cousin to it coming out of the black-dominated rhythm and blues tradition. The fantastic harmonics, precise rhythmic patterns and smooth lyrics reflect that tradition more than the over-heated, guitar-driven, solo-singer rock performances that drove most of us to the dance floor back in the day. The kind of rock and roll that most of us children of the genre listened to, went wild over and spent that precious disposable income on was the rockabilly, hillbilly, black country blues variation that Sam Phillips and Sun Records first produced in the early 1950s and that Elvis, Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry, and Jerry Lee Lewis came to be exemplars of. But some of us when we had a little extra cash definitely bopped "doo wop" as part of our coming of age, especially if some dreamy girl (or guy for shes) was falling all over herself to listen to. Remember to be young was to be ready.
So what still sounds good on this CD compilation to a current AARPer and some of his fellows who comprise the demographic that such 1950s compilations "speak" to. No one came out of the1950s without having at least listened to "So Fine" by the Fiestas, or maybe less possible their "Our Anniversary. And with Ruth McFadden on "School Boy" Or the very edgy fine "Life Is But A Dream" by the Harptones. Or The Chimes Classic, "My Broken Heart". Now this sub-genre is a very acquired taste, to be sure, but if you need a `doo wop" primer here is a place to start.