Over three separate CDs, Kent Records of the U.K. (Ace Records subsidiary) has provided 67 tracks for the Memphis, Tennessee group formed by Louis Williams Jr. (February 24, 1941 - October 13, 2002) and Nathan "Pedro" Lewis (both formerly with a group called The Del-Rios) along with Elvin Lee Jones. Just be aware that the 2009 20-track release which pulls together two of their albums - the 1972 "Hooked On A Feeling" (Sounds Of Memphis 7001/MGM MGS-2930/MGS 2931) and the 1973 "Having A Party" (MGM SE-4945) repeats 10 of the tracks contained in the 2008 21-track release titled "One In A Million."
Sometime in 1964, at the height of the British Invasion which was making it extremely hard for any but the very best North American artists to find room on the Billboard singles charts, the trio was referred to the Memphis-based Goldwax Records, just launched by Rudolph D. "Doc" Russell and Quinton Claunch, where they released Pretty Little Angel/Won't You Call? on Goldwax 110. It failed to chart, not helped by the fact Billboard had decided to suspend the R&B listings in late 1963, a situation that would continue through all of 1964.
But with its resumption at the start of 1965, they enjoyed success with It's Wonderful To Be In Love billed as The Ovations featuring Louis Williams (who patterned himself after his idol Sam Cooke), reaching # 22 R&B/# 61 Hot 100 in May on Goldwax 113 b/w Dance Party. Two more sides cut at the time, Me And My Imagination/They Say, were assigned Goldwax 114 but the disc was not released. Later that year they did release I'm Living Good/Recipe For Love on Goldwax 117, and in 1966 (the year Jones left and was replaced by Billy Young, formerly with The Avantis) released two more singles - I Need A Lot Of Loving/Don't Cry (Goldwax 300) and I Believe I'll Go Back Home/Qualifications (Goldwax 306), all of which went nowhere.
Early in 1967 the label decided to release Me And My Imagination/They Say as Goldwax 314, and in late February the A-side made it to # 40 R&B. After that, both I've Gotta Go/Ride My Troubles And Blues Away (Goldwax 322 in 1967) and Happiness/Rocking Chair (Goldwax 341 in 1969) flopped. The latter, in fact, was the third-last record released by the label which folded due to an internal squabble over royalties. At this point the group disbanded. All the sides just mentioned are in the 2005 Kent volume Goldwax Recordings.
Two years later, in 1971, Williams put together a new Ovations with Bill Davis, Rochester Neal and Quincy Billops, Jr., all former members of Ollie & The Nightingales, and in 1972 arranged a recording deal with the MGM subsidiary Sounds Of Memphis Records. Now a quartet, they scored in July 1972 with the # 19 R&B Touching Me, which stalled at # 104 Hot 100 Bubble Under on Sound Of Memphis 708 b/w Don't Break Your Promise. The two subsequent 1972 releases - Hooked On A Feeling/Take It From One Who Knows (A Loser) on Sounds Of Memphis 712, and One In A Million/So Nice To Be Loved By You on Sounds Of Memphis 717, failed to dent any charts.
All the Sounds Of Memphis sides just mentioned are in the 2008 volume One In A Million, along with what turned out to be the biggest hit attributed to The Ovations, a revamped version of the Sam Cooke hit Having A Party which, in offering up a medley of top Soul hits, hit # 7 R&B and # 56 Hot 100 in September-October 1963 on MGM 14623. Here, though, it was Louis Williams backed by Dan Greer and George Jackson. The B-side, Just Too Good To Be True, is not in any of the three Kent releases.
The sound quality for each volume is, as usual with an Ace/Kent product, excellent, and each comes with the detailed and informative insert that is an Ace/Kent hallmark.