Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Sixty Minute Men: The Best Of Billy Ward & His Dominoes
Genres: Pop, R&B, Rock
The Best Voice In Rock 'n' Roll History
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Early 50's R&B is often not given a place at the table when discussing music history. Because few whites listened to it at the time it isn't given the credit it earned in the then-burgeoning rock 'n' roll field, despite it being what led directly to it. Yet because of that close stylistic affiliation with rock it is not paired with any other genre of its time either, it's not blues, country, jazz or pop, and so it gets lost in a black hole of obscurity. This is worsened when those ridiculous "History Of Rock" documentaries either trace rock directly from the blues (related, but only distantly) or worse still, go straight from Patti Page pop-land to Little Richard belting out "Tutti Frutti" without showing where rock 'n' roll really grew from.THIS is where! The Dominoes, along with the more bluesy vocal group the Clovers, were the most popular and successful R&B group of the early 50's. Their gospel roots are evident throughout these songs in their arrangements and vocal hystrionics, yet their material was always secular and in fact decidedly racy and exciting. This music was definitely geared towards a younger generation who would sow the seeds that white teenagers would later fertilize and grow, labeling the fruits "rock 'n' roll".In Clyde McPhatter the Dominoes had the single most dynamic voice in rock 'n' roll history and while he is more known today for what he accomplished with his next group, the original incarnation of the Drifters, and even as a somewhat watered down soloist in the late 50's, it was with the Dominoes where he was at his most powerful as well as having the best mix of material to work with. Most importantly he was not following any preconceived notion as to what constituted young R&B/rock 'n' roll singing and so he was free to create his own style and that's just what he does - rising, falling, sobbing and soaring like an uncaged bird. He absolutely destroys and reconstructs pop standards like "When The Swallows Come Back To Capistrano" and "Harbor Lights", his voice trilling like no other would dare. With original material, all written by group leader/pianist Billy Ward, such as "Have Mercy Baby" or "That's What You're Doing To Me" Clyde gives every subsequent rocker a blueprint to follow, though few had the chops to do so.The most familiar song here, "Sixty Minute Man", with bassist Bill Brown's wink and a nod lead vocals, is backed by Clyde's soaring wordless tenor and the result was incredible. Surely the most explicit song to make the staid white pop charts prior to rock 'n' roll's 1955 breakthrough (and frankly post-rock 'n' roll for at least 15 years to come had little that could compare to it). Even naughtier might be the wild duet between Little Esther and the Dominoes on "The Deacon Moves In" which even today would be banned and protested by churches everywhere for its content that aurally simulates sex between a horny deacon and a young naive member of the congregation repleat with raunchy saxaphone blasts and scintillating guitar licks that leave nothing to the imagination (hear her screams in the background during the break). He finally gets her way with her after pouring gin down her throat and knocking out the lights and even she is pleased with the results of "finding true religion". Mainstream rock in the 50's or 60's never had songs this obscene or exciting.When McPhatter left in '53 he'd been tutoring his replacement Jackie Wilson for months and left the group in good hands, though they began venturing away from the hardcore R&B and into more pop styles that ironically coincided with rock moving into the mainstream, partly as a result of the Dominoes inroads. Jackie gets two leads on this disc, including a great rendition of "Rags To Riches", before ex-Lark lead singer Eugene Mumford closes it out at the helm with a cut from mid-decade. But mostly this is all Clyde, plus some hot tenor sax and group vocals.Do not pass this collection up if you are unfamiliar with either the group or the early 50's R&B era in general. This is pure rock 'n' roll in all but name and recognition, and some of the best ever recorded to boot. Uptempo scorchers, aching ballads, humorous double-entendres and magical reworkings of standards are all what went into the formula of rock 'n' roll music. This disc, with good notes, discography and a few pics, could serve as the unearthed recipe. In fact it wouldn't be a stretch to say rock 'n' roll's been going downhill ever since."
Very Best of a Great Early 50's Group
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This CD contains Dominoes' singles released between 1950 and 1957 with most from 1952 and before. It includes all 12 of their R&B charted songs plus 8 others. The most amazing thing about the Dominoes is how they effortlessly switched back and forth between outstanding R&B uptempo tunes like "Sixty Minute Man" and "Have Mercy Baby", and top notch doo-wop ballads like "Harbor Lights" and "Rags to Riches". The group was graced by 3 excellent lead singers over its life: Clyde McPhatter, Jackie Wilson and Eugene Mumford, the best of whom was McPhatter who is featured on the majority of these tracks. If you are going to buy only one CD by the Dominoes, this is the one to get."
Classic stuff, this is a real sleeper
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This CD is for those who long for old days , music that is MUSIC! The vocals are clean and pure which shows the talent of this group. this is an excellent CD."