Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Dion & the Belmonts|
The Complete Dion & the Belmonts
Genres: Pop, R&B, Rock
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Too much of a good thing
Harley P. Payette | Phillipsburg, New Jersey United States | 03/25/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"While its true that Dion and the Belmonts were the first, most influential and probably the best white doo wop group (I don't count the Four Seasons as a strict doo wop group) their catalogue of great songs is actually quite small. And this well-intentioned and informative 2 CD set digs a little deeper into the great group's catalogue than most fans will want to go.Two factors conspire against a great 2 CD set exclusively focused on Dion's work with the Belmonts. The first is that the group recorded a comparatively small number of songs together. (BTW, while this set is complete in that it contains everything Dion and the Belmonts recorded in their original incarnation, it omits the 1966 and 1972 Reunion albums.) During their original four years together the group only put out two albums and some scattered singles. The other factor that hurts a set like this is the fact that the group's record label was constantly trying to push the group to record material that was outside of their collective strengths. Too many Dion and the Belmonts' records are either uninspired renditions of pop standards or teen treacle. Still even in these areas the group would pull through from time to time. "Where or When", "In the Still of the Night" and a few others are masterful interpretations of standards. And thanks to the group's smooth harmonies, Dion's country twinged lead and Doc Pomus' subtly philosophical lyric "A Teenager in Love" showed just how much talent can do with teen treacle. Even on a song like "Every Little Thing I Do" where Dion's lead is nasal and poor the group picks him up with thrilling harmonies (arranged by Freddie Milano) and a stunning falsetto by Angelo D'Aleo.All in all there are maybe a dozen stone cold classics on this album. The best of course is "I Wonder Why" with the group trading and trailing amazingly intricate harmonies. Whenever somebody says 50s music is simple I bring up this track. Sadly there are few other tunes like that on the set. Still tracks like "(I Can't go on) Rosalie","That's My Desire", "Teenager in Love" all show a unique and potent approach to harmony. "I Got the Blues" is also a standout, a swaggering portent of Dion's great solo work. Many of the alternates are also terrific showing the group feeling their way to their final interpretations. "I Wonder Why" is especially exciting since Carlo Mastrangelo tries all sorts of different approaches to his scatting bass and Dion muffs the lyric. Yet the quality is the exception here. Many of the tracks do not even rise to the level of competence: Flat out terrible. The Dion and the Tamerlanes tracks are good examples, so is "September Song" where the 20-year old Dion clearly has no understanding of the lyric. And these guys just were not meant to record "When You Wish Upon a Star". The second disc is almost exclusively standards. The real audience for this set is the collector, hardcore fan (like myself) and the historian who will appreciate the illustration that even the poor tracks provide. It's a great package. The late Bob Hyde's liner notes are honest, passionate and informative. The sound is superb with many tracks in stereo for the first time. Though, honestly I prefer "I Wonder Why" in mono. The increased prominence of the piano detracts from the harmonies. There are some other buts about the packaging as well. There could have been more photos in the booklet (and a larger picture of Presenting Dion and the Belmonts should have been in here instead of a tiny one). The alternates except "I Wonder Why" have all been previously released. As mentioned before the two reunion albums are not included. And the last four songs including "We Belong Together" are the Belmonts without Dion. This is not specified on the backcover. These songs are great but they are not Dion and the Belmonts.For casual fans, I would recommend picking up a single disc compilation or better the first classic album "Presenting Dion and the Belmonts" if you can find it. It's nearly top to bottom excellent and contains all of the group's top 25 singles and "That's My Desire". It's a pricy import and buying this will give you more music at about the same price but that album's a bettering listening experience. The consumer must make his or her own choice."
Great Mastering By Collectors Choice Music
terryoregon | Beaverton, OR USA | 09/13/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Not all songs on this 2 CD compilation are keepers. None the less, Collectors Choice Music did an excellent job of using the highest level master/session tapes available. There are some interesting alternate takes and studio chatter. The alternate stereo take of "Teenager In Love" is more like a practice session with studio chatter. The released version of "Teenager In Love" is the cleanest stereo copy of this song I've ever heard. It could have been recorded yesterday. Especially noteworthy are some of the early stereo recordings. "Tag Along" was recorded in July, 1957 and appears in stereo for the first time on this CD. If you know much about early stereo, you know this is very rare. This is the only other 1957 pop stereo song I've heard other than a few Elvis songs that are currently available on a CD called "Stereo 57". Also appearing in stereo for the first time is "I Wonder Why", copied from the original session tapes. YES, we care that someone took the time to master this from the best available tapes/sources. This is NOT the usual "Best Of" compilation where they took the nearest 10th generation mono tapes and slapped together a bunch of songs.The CD pamphlet is about 14 pages. It includes two full pages about the sound quality and information on the master/session tapes used for the compilation. Very interesting. YES, we are interested in this kind of info. Thanks for including it. The CD pamphlet doesn't say who wrote the info on sound quality but you guys at Collectors Choice should give him a raise.True stereo tracks are as follows:Disk 1 - tracks 4,6,7,10,11,17,18,19,20,21,23Disk 2 - tracks 1,2,3,4,5,7,8,10,11,14,16,19,21,22"
Doo Wop At Its Best!
Martin 13 | Slovenia | 07/12/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Dion and The Belmonts were the most influenital white doo wop group. And probably the best too.
Here you can follow the career of Dion and The Belmonts from the very start, before they were formed. The Chosen Few and Out in Colorado are Dion's solo project before that, just like Santa Margerita and Teenage Clementine are the Blemonts without Dion.
Then it happened,...We Went Away is a composition of Dion DiMucci and Carlo Mastrangelo (another Belmont). And it is a nice doo wop ballad. I Wonder Why is a nice fast doo wop and the first single that was a hit. Probably the best Dion And The Belmonts song ever. On this compilation you can find all the hits (like Pomus-Shuman composition A Teenager In Love, another doo wop famous composer Ernie Maresca's No One Knows, Where Or When,...) and songs from the album Wish Upon A Star where they covered standards (like Cole Porter's In The Still Of The Night - not The Five Satins song, Bing Crosby's Swinging On A Star, Fly Me To The Moon,...)
In 1960 when Dion went solo, The Belmonts continued. Such A Long Way, We Belong Together and My Foolish Heart are from that period."