Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Cleftones For Collectors Only
Genres: Pop, R&B
A Good Addition To Any Early Sixties Collection
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Heart And Soul" was the only song by the Cleftones I was familiar with when I ordered this two CD set. I'm glad I took a chance with this. There are several other good songs here. Many are in true stereo and sound as though they could have come from master tapes. Their version of "Earth Angel" is better than the released version made popular by another group. So, if you like this kind of stuff, you won't be disappointed. The following tracks are in true stereo. Disk one: tracks 4, 8, 10, 11, 13, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20. Disk two: tracks 1, 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 14, 15, 16. Only disk two, track 19 is an exception to good sound quality, it sounds as though it was recorded off an LP."
ALWAYS SOMETHING MISSING
Michael S. Kader | Maryland | 09/06/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Cleftones were not accorded the level of recognition and
appreciation they really deserved. It's a shame that they
charted only five titles on the pop charts and only two on the
R&B charts. They were clearly better than that. This is a
great set of their recordings but leave it to Collectables
to leave something out --- it seems they always do. The
last song the Cleftones charted ("Lover Come Back To Me")
is not included here. Shame on Collectables! However, it's
still well worth adding to your collection!
A Doo-Wop/R&B Oddity
Michael S. Kader | 09/10/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In the heady days of the birth of R&R a lot of Doo-Wop groups came and went in a virtual flash, scoring one or two big hits that made both the R&B and pop charts, and then fading away into oblivion. Some that come to mind in this category include The Turbans, Penguins, Silhouettes, and Monotones. Here today with some of the biggest hits of era [When You Dance, Earth Angel, Get A Job, and Book Of Love] and then - poof - gone with the wind.
The Cleftones were notable exceptions for three reasons: they had five singles make the pop charts, but only two of them made the R&B charts; then, after "disappearing in 1956, they made a comeback in 1961; and they did it with the same label. Offhand, the only other Doo-Wop group with a similar history would be The G-Clefs, who did much the same thing, albeit with fewer charted singles and for two different labels.
Charlie James [first tenor], Warren Corbin [bass], William McClain [baritone], Berman Patterson [second tenor], and lead singer Herbie Cox burst out of New York's Jamaica High School in 1956 as The Silvertones, but changed their name to The Cleftones before the release of the snappy, up-tempo You Baby You. Penned by Patterson, and backed by the Jimmy Wright orchestra, this made it to # 78 Billboard Pop Top 100 that February b/w I Was Dreaming [track 5 on disc 1] and, although a minor hit with no impact at all on the R&B charts, it was sufficient for the small Gee label to try again.
Another bouncy tune, this time written by Cox, called Little Girl Of Mine [a-liddle liddle liddle liddle lit - yeeaah] made it to # 57 Top 100 in May 1956, but much higher on the R&B charts, soaring to # 8, again backed by Wright. On the slower flipside, You're Driving Me Mad [track 15 on disc 1], you can better hear the soulful rasp of Cox's voice. But then, as with the groups mentioned above [among others] suddenly nothing else worked.
In 1961, however, guided by Henry Glover, and with new members Pat Span and Gene Pearson, they reached back into musical history in the fashion of Connie Francis and came up with their best hit, Heart And Soul. A hit for Larry Clinton & His Orchestra in 1938, and backed with an uptempo cut along the lines of Little Girl Of Mine called How Do You Feel [track 19 on disc 1], it reached # 18 Billboard Pop Hot 100 and # 10 R&B in early summer.
Maintaining that formula for success they tried again later in the year with another oldie, For Sentimental Reasons, which had been a # 1 for Nat "King" Cole in 1946. But lightning didn't strike twice. Reaching only # 60 Hot 100 in September, it was shut out of the R&B charts. The flipside, 'Deed I Do, has been omitted from this collection.
The same held true for their next (and last) hit single, another from the vaults which Paul Whiteman had taken to # 3 in 1929. Only this time, the best they could get out of Lover Come Back To Me was the # 95 Hot 100 slot in December 1961. Why THAT isn't included here can be attributed to Collectables signature modus operandi, i.e., always leave out something significant, especially when the artist being covered only HAD a handful of hits. And just to under-score that policy, and further frustrte collectors, they include the uncharted flipside, There She Goes [track 1 of disc 2].
Despite further records for Rama, Roulette and Ware, The Cleftones would never again have a hit single, so on the surface a 40-selection compilation seems a bit much. Even so, if nothing else it's a classic example of how a mid-1950s Doo-Wop group attempted to change styles in the early 1960s in an effort to swim against the rising tide of slick, manufactured teen idols performing the songs coming out of factories like New York's Brill Building.