Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Come Go With Me: Best of (Dot / ABC Recordings)
Genres: Pop, R&B
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A Group That Was In A Constant State Of Flux
(3 out of 5 stars)
"A relative bought this one for me as a present, knowing my predilection for Fifties music, and while I was suitably grateful I was also quick to notice (although I said nothing to the relative) that on a compilation called "The Best Of" they didn't even include Cool Shake - one of exactly three hits they had.
In fact, you will be hard pressed to find the original of Cool Shake on ANY of their compilations - or be certain that it IS the original if you do find it - considering the rapid turnover within the group.
Their main claim to fame is that they were among the first - if not THE first - integrated vocal groups. Originating at a Pittsburgh USAF base, the originals included lead Norman Wright, Clarence Quick, Corinthian "Kripp" Johnson, Dave Lerchey (the only white member at the time), and Don Jackson. Perhaps because they were a mixture of black and white, at first they could only secure a contract with the small Fee Bee label in 1956. There they cut two records, Come Go With Me with Wright at lead and, after Jackson left, and with the addition of tenor Gus Backus (also white), Whispering Bells, with Kripp Johnson lead. Both generated enough interest within the limited circulation capacity of Fee Bee to attract interest from the much larger Dot label, home of Pat Boone and Billy Vaughn, among others.
That label re-released them in short order in 1957, and the first, credited to The Dell-Vikings, hit # 2 R&B and # 4 Billboard Top 100, peaking around April and staying on the charts for an impressive 39 collective weeks. The flipside was How Can I Find True Love? A few months later Whispering Bells was released under the billing The Dell-Vikings featuring Kripp Johnson and it went to # 5 R&B and # 9 Top 100 b/w Don't Be A Fool.
This is where some confusion set in because, in the middle of this leasing arrangement by Fee Bee, the group splintered and those that signed with Mercury, taking the name The Del Vikings featuring Gus Backus, turned out Cool Shake at virtually the same time as Whispering Bells. Even so, it finished at a respectable # 9 R&B and # 12 Top 100 b/w Jitterbug Mary.
After that it was virtual oblivion - except for Chuck Jackson who went on to have a very good career as a single artist with 23 R&B hits, 19 of which crossed over into the Billboard Pop Hot 100 from 1961 to 1980, primarily for the Wand label (he also had two each with Motown and ABC, and one each with All Platinum and EMI America). His best was Any Day Now (My Wild Beautiful Bird) which hit # 2 R&B and # 23 Hot 100 in the summer of 1962 for Wand.
Meanwhile, in 1973, a new version of Come Go With Me by The Dell-Vikings reached # 32 Adult Contemporary and # 112 Billboard Hot 100 "bubble under" for the Scepter label, and quite often you'll see this in a compilation rather than the original.
This release isn't a bad collection, but as it concentrates only on the Dot material it loses one-third of its value as a "best of.""