Friday, May 14, 2010
Sweet & Greasy
Patchy LP on the Liberty label from 1970 . Compiled by Bob Hite of Canned Heat fame.
My favourites here are by the Pelicans who sound a bit like The Coasters. Other doo-wop type groups included are The Robins, Jewels, Crystals and the Avalons.
"In the beginning and during its heyday, this type of music did not have a specific name; the term "doo-wop" was not used.
In the 1950s, this type of harmonized group sound was referred to (broadly) as "rock and roll," but more narrowly as "R&B." However, R&B was still too general a term, since R&B included single artists, instrumentalists, and jump blues bands, as well as vocal groups. At the time, the best and most accurate term used was probably "vocal group harmony," but the style still did not have an official name, despite the fact that it dominated the charts in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The term "doo-wop" first appeared in print in 1961, notably in the Chicago Defender, when fans of the music coined the term during the height of a vocal harmony resurgence.
There is confusion regarding which recording was the "first" to contain the phrase "doo-wop." There is general acknowledgement that the first hit record to use the syllables "doo-wop" in the refrain was the 1955 hit, "When You Dance" by The Turbans (Herald Records H-458), in which the chant "doo-wop" can clearly be heard. As for the very first instance ever, there are several candidates: "doo-wop" can be heard in the chorus of the 1954 song "Never" by a Los Angeles group called Carlyle Dundee & The Dundees (Space Records 201); the 1955 song "Mary Lee" by The Rainbows on Red Robin Records contains the background "do wop de wadda" and was a Washington DC regional hit on Pilgrim 703; the 1956 song "In the Still of the Night" by The Five Satins, featured the famous plaintive "doo-wop, doo-wah" refrain in the bridge; and finally, the little-known "I Belong To You" by the Fi-Tones in 1956 on the Atlas label (release #1055).
It has been erroneously reported that the phrase was coined by radio disc jockey Gus Gossert in the early 1970s. However, Gossert himself said that "doo-wop(p) was already being used [before me] to categorize the music in California." After some time,the term "doo-wop" finally caught on as a description and category for R&B vocal group harmony. Many collections that were exclusively composed of original recordings of this music were sold, all under the name of "doo wop," which became the accepted term that still is used today."
Shades - Dear Lori
Shades - One Touch Of Heaven
Pelicans - Miss Lucy
Pelicans - Down In Mexico
Sha-Weeze - You Made Me Love You
Savoys - Hopin' For Your Return