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(5 out of 5 stars)
"What a gem! Guess what? There was good music before rock and roll and here it is. If you like lush, romantic sounds with a smattering of Italian thrown in,the Gaylords deliver. I wish I could find more of their stuff on cd."
The best musical surprise I've ever discovered. Love it.
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I heard about the Gaylords on NPR and liked the three songs I heard. However, every single song on this CD is good. The Gaylords sound like they should be singing in an Italian restaurant or open air cafe. Their music is laced with lush harmony, unsuspected tempo changes, and much humor. My seven year old loves them and knows many of these songs by heart. The Momma Poppa Polka is particularly entertaining. If you want a pre-rock n' roll CD that is lively and fun, this is it."
Vastly Underrated Trio
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If asked to rate the top white male singing groups of the early 50s, 99 out of 100 who lived through that era would likely start off with The Ames Brothers and Four Aces, then The Four Lads, Crew Cuts, Diamonds, Hilltoppers and, finally, The Gaylords. Some might even rate The Cheers, Lancers, Mariners, and Three Chuckles ahead of them.
That's because every era has its favorite whipping boy and, just as critics loved to dump on Barry Manilow in the 1970s/80s, so too did the know-it-alls frequently trash this Italian-American threesome out of the University of Detroit.
Yes, Ronnie Fredianelli [who took the stage names Vincent and then Gaylord], Burt Bonaldi [stage name Holiday], and Don Rea liked the polka and yes, they did host the Club Polka television show in the Detroit area in the early 50s. "So what?" I ask.
Because, when they started cutting records for Mercury in 1952, there was no denying the quality of their individual voices which, when blended together, was a perfect combination for the Italian love songs that made up the bulk of their ten Top 30 pop hits from 1952 to 1954.
Leading off was Per un Bacio d'amour, which they released as Tell Me You're Mine, a lilting ballad that stayed on the Pop charts for 22 weeks in late 1952/early 1953 and peaked at # 2, with choruses in Italian. Then came Spinning A Web b/w Ramona, a double-sided hit that reached # 12 and 16 respectively in May of 1953, followed by The Strings Of My Heart which made it to # 21 at the end of the year.
The trio was then teamed with George Annis & His Orchestra for the classic From The Vine Came The Grape which went to # 7 early in 1954, beating out The Hilltoppers' version by one position, followed a few months later by Isle Of Capri, a # 14 hit that also edged out the Coral release by Jackie Lee & His Orchestra. The flipside novelty tune Love I You also charted, going as high as # 23 in June.
Mercury then rushed out a cover of their own. With news that Eddie Fisher had cut The Little Shoemaker over at RCA Victor, and that it had been released as by "Hugo Winterhalter's Orchestra and Chorus and a Friend", their version, again with George Annis & His Orchestra, was billed as by "The Gaylords Three Friends and a Stranger." This one won out, going as high as # 2 [Fisher peaked at # 9]. The B-side, Mecque Mecque, also charted at # 28.
Another Italian-flavored hit followed, with Veni Vidi Vici reaching # 30 in October 1954, but by 1955 the arrival of R&R soon began to take its toll on single artists and groups who could not (or would not) conform. Among them were The Gaylords.
That fall their rendition of No Arms Can Ever Hold You, stilled with the Annis orchestra backing, only reached # 67 Billboard Top 100, losing out to the Georgie Shaw [# 23] and Pat Boone [# 26] versions, and until a brief return in 1958, they had no further songs in the Top 100. Late in 1958, after seeing Ma Ma Ma Marie and Flamingo l'Amore top out at # 97 and 98 in the Billboard Hot 100 (the latter an Italian version of Duke Ellington's Flamingo with the backing of the Dick Marx orchestra and a sax solo by Eddie Chamblee), they just sort of faded from the scene.
The final track here (Cuddle Me) is a solo effort by Ronnie Gaylord which, with the backing of David Carroll & His Orchestra, went to # 12 Pop in the spring of 1954. In fact, the ONLY Gaylords hit that you don't get in this great album is the 1976 # 72 Hot 100 Eh! Cumpari by Gaylord & Holiday, released on the Prodigal label. In addition to the hits you also get a couple of flipsides and album cuts along with some failed singles. All this is detailed in the discography contained in the insert which also contains 4 pages of background notes written by Jospeh F. Laredo and one nice photo of Ronnie Gaylord.