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(1952-54 'United') (65:45/24) In jenen Jahren überaus erfolgreiche Gesangs- und Instrumentalcombo aus Chicago mit dem Gitarristen Floyd McDaniel. Unglaublich gute Soundqualität. Klingt fast wie eine 'Blue Note'-Aufnahme. Und fantastische Musik. Auch für jene zu empfehlen, die ansonsten nichts mit 50er Jahre R&B am Hut haben / successful and popular vocal/instrumental combo featuring Floyd McDaniel (see his Delmark and CrossCut releases). Beautiful recordings. The sound quality is almost unbelievable, perfect. Sounds like a Blue Note recording. Even if you are not so much into '50s r&b: check it out!
Not Any More Tears
My Great Love Affair
All Night Long
Snag The Britches
Please Send Her Back To Me
Stop Boogie Woogie
My Hat's On The Side Of My Head
Do The Do
She Needs To Be Loved
Did You Ever See A Monkey Play A Fiddle
Done Got Over
Don't Lose Your Cool
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But here's your chance to make amends and get into heaven for your good deeds because "Mary Jo" is an excellent collection that could reverse those shameful trends of neglect if only more people would take the chance to discover it. The title track (a #1 R&B hit from '52) is what keeps their name from being completely whitewashed from the history books, a smooth uptempo ditty about a girl who left the lead singer, albeit with good memories. It has enough in common with what would eventually become known as "doo wop" to remain at least a footnote in that musical subgenre's story and completist collectors of that style will surely want to have this CD for that song alone. But to stop there would be a crime because this was a very polished and well-honed group with some superb recordings covering a wider array of styles than most vocal harmony outfits of the time.
One of the reasons for this was their experience - by 1952 when they broke onto the charts they'd already been around in one form or another for over a decade and the particular assemblage that cut these tracks had been together since 1948. In that time they saw jump blues and jazz vocal groups come and go in popularity and they retained enough of those qualities along with the more modern and youthful vocal harmony style to be a truly cohesive unit. In addition they played their own instruments (and in Floyd McDaniels had a terrific guitarist), wrote their own songs (lead singer and bass player Tommy Braden being the biggest contributor) and were a truly professional group who could always be counted on by promoters to deliver a solid performance and so they stayed in steady employ even as the music scene changed around them.
Two more minor chart entires followed "Mary Jo", "Please Send Her Back To Me" and "Perfect Woman", the latter being somewhat similar in style to their biggest hit, though with comical lyrics, but it is the rest of the disc that really shows off their wares. Highlights abound from the incredible group singing on "Mood Indigo" (that sustained four part note they hold in the middle truly does seem to go on forever and will leave you breathless as it surely must've left them), to the clever and energetic addition of lyrics to the famed instrumental hit of the day "Night Train" and especially the oh-so-cool posturing of two cuts, "Did You Ever See A Monkey Play The Fiddle" and "My Hat's On The Side Of My Head", which are as hip as anything you've heard from any era.
With eight previously unreleased tracks from the vaults, including the great "Raggedy Ride", decent liner notes from the respected Peter Grendysa detailing their complete story, and the nicely done disc itself, a reproduction of the 78 RPM label of their biggest hit, this is a very solid collection of a group that bridges two distinct musical worlds, the cool, jazzy 40's and the hot, rockin' 50's. As such it falls somewhere in the middle but would definitely appeal to fans of both. It might not be as instantly overwhelming as some of their flashier rivals of the day, but it is consistantly classy and has a lure that may be hard to pinpoint but is very evident nonetheless.
If you have any interest in the fertile roots of rock 'n' roll, a field virtually plowed under since the mid-50's when the mainstream crossover of that style became most historians starting point, give in to your curiosity and grab this collection. Unearthing something relatively obscure but eminently wonderful is one of the true joys of being a music fan. For those people this ain't a bad place to start - or to end up.
Any fan of The early Mills Brothers, Cats And a Fiddle , Nat Cole Trio etc. will want this for their collection. For some reason it appears titled incorrectly as Four Blazers and is tricky to locate unless you know what you're after or come across it by chance.
These recordings are from the United/States labels of the early fifties and thanks to Bob Koester of Delmark Records purchase of their masters we are able to enjoy them. I have a handful of this labels reissues from Delmark and all so far are excellent