Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
For Doo-Wop lovers
Uncle Steven | Pikesville, Maryland USA | 10/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Other than the Spaniels, I think the Heartbeats was one of the greatest doo-wop groups. This CD is a collectors item for sure. I love "You Way", "Crazy for you" and of course "A Thousand Miles Away". They later became Shep & The Limelights, but in my opinion, the earlier songs were better. This CD is a "must have". Doo-wop lovers will be satisfied for sure."
Two Superb Groups
J. Wallin | New Egypt, NJ, USA | 07/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Heartbeats and Shep and the Limelites were two groups with the same great lead singer, James "Shep" Sheppard. Both groups have great vocal harmonies and produced several chart hits, the most famous of which are "A Thousand Miles Away" and the answering "Daddy's Home". However, Doo Wop lovers will not be disappointed with any of the songs on this CD. Each cut is terrific, and at 12 bucks, this CD is a fantastic bargain. Listen to the samples of "Crazy for You", "Darling How Long", "Down on My Knees" and "People are Talking" to hear Shep and his partners at their best. If you love Doo Wop and glorious singing, you can't go wrong with this disk."
Includes One Of THE Best R&B Ballads Of All Time
Ben Figueroa | 08/07/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Had James "Shep" Sheppard not been brutally murdered while being robbed on January 24, 1970 at age 34 I am certain he would have again resurrected his carrer, either as a solo artist or as lead with another fine group. His first, which included Vernon Sievers [baritone], Albert Crump [first tenor], Robbie Tatum [second tenor], and Wally Roker [bass], started out as The Hearts before changing to The Heartbeats in 1955 when an all-girl group also calling themselves The Hearts beat them to the punch by scoring a R&B hit with Lonely Nights in 1955.
That same year they hooked up with Russell Jacquet, brother of the famed bandleader Illinois Jacquet, and his fledgling Network Records, whose first release combined two of Sheppard's compositions - Tormented b/w After Everybody's Gone - under the billing Russell Jacquet & His Orchestra with The Heart Beats Quintet. With distribution handled by Philadelphia's Gotham Records, it went nowhere.
They then found their way to the small Hull Records, headquartered in the now famous Brill Building on Broadway, and, using a crude, low- ceilinged Brooklyn basement recording studio, they cut Crazy For You, with Sheppard doing the lead honours, and Rockin-N-Rollin-N-Rhythm-N-Blues on which Crump was featured.
Hull's first release in September 1955, it did well enough locally but could not break into the national charts [other sides cut at this time were Be Mine, Be Mine and Hydromatic Drive]. It did, however, get them precious live bookings in the NY area, including The Dr. Jive Show at the Apollo and Allen Freed's Rock'N Roll Holiday Jubilee late that year where they shared the spotlight with such luminaries as Bo Diddley, The Flamingos, Etta James, The Harptones, LaVern Baker, The Cadillacs, Boyd Bennett & The Rockets and, not least, The Count Basie Orchestra.
In February 1956 Hurry Home Baby b/w Darling How Long became their second Hull release, followed by Your Way b/w People Are Talking in May. While the A-sides again did well on a local basis, none made the national charts. Then came the breakthrough late in 1956 when A Thousand Miles Away, penned by Sheppard and telling the tale of his girlfriend who had moved to Texas, and with the backing of Al Browne's orchestra, climbed to # 5 R&B and # 53 Billboard Top 100. This came after distribution was picked up by George Goldner's Rama label [the flipside, Oh Baby Don't, is unfortunately left out of this Rhino compilation].
In my opinion, the hit ranks right up there with In The Still Of The Night by the Five Satins as one of THE greatest R&B ballads of all time. Certainly no serious compendium of golden oldies would be complete without it, and there is no doubt in my mind that it would have been a major pop entry had it been in the hands of an industry giant such as RCA Victor or Columbia, or even a larger middle-of-the-road operation like Atlantic, Chess/Checker, Vee-Jay, or Imperial. It is that good.
Unfortunately, virtually nothing after that could repeat the success, with 1957's I Won't Be The Fool Anymore b/w Wedding Bells flopping, and the May release of Everybody's Somebody's Fool [not the same song as the one recorded by Connie Francis] reaching a lowly # 78 Hot 100 in July b/w I Want To Know [which IS here]. Early that fall, with Rama being closed down, their next single - When I Found You b/w Hands Off My Baby - was released on the Gee label, as was After New Year's Eve b/w 500 Miles To Go [a sequel to A Thousand Miles Away], none of which could get them back on the charts [a late 1960 re-release of their big hit again made the Billboard Hot 100 at # 96].
In 1961, Sheppard linked up with tenors Clarence Bassett and Charles Baskerville to form Shep and the Limelites and, now back with Hull, recorded Daddy's Home, yet another sequel to A Thousand Miles Away, only this time it hit # 2 Hot 100/# 4 R&B that spring. This was followed in 1961 by two Hot 100-only entries - Ready For Your Love (# 42) and Three Steps From The Altar (# 58) - and in 1962 by Our Anniversary (# 7 R&B/# 59 Hot 100) and What Did Daddy Do? (# 94 Hot 100).
They then closed out their chart success in 1963 with Remember Baby (# 91 Hot 100), the only one of the hit singles for both groups not included here. Even so, this is a fine effort by Rhino covering two of the best male vocal groups of that era, complete with excellent sound reproduction and informative liner notes."