Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Greatest Group of Them All
Genres: Jazz, Pop, R&B
Listen to Samples
Wrong Done to "The Greatest Group of Them All"
J. Gaston | Highlands, NC USA | 04/03/2000
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Don't get me wrong, I love the Ravens. I've been a fan since I heard "Green Eyes" as a teenager in a lounge at Ocean Drive Beach (part of the South Carolina "Grand Strand"). The album claims that the Ravens are "The Greatest Group of Them All" and that may be right but you'll never know by listening to this CD. The music is great but the quality of the album is terrible. No attempt was made to clarify the sound when transferring it from its old analog medium to digital format (something that's normally done) and the result is a "muddy sound" that degrades from the quality of the singing. In addition, the album notes are printed in a font so small that only a lawyer would appreciate it. Overall, its a poor presentation of a great group.
Do yourself a favor... buy the Ravens' "Dreams, Pleas, & Blues" instead. Then you'll be able to hear the Greatest Group of Them All sounding the way we heard them in their prime. Jimmy Ricks rocks and Maithe Marshall floats above the clouds. It's a much better outing!"
Pioneer R&B Vocal Group
J. Gaston | 02/25/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The Ravens were one of the first R&B style vocal groups in the late 1940's. These tracks are from 1948-50, their most popular period, when they recorded for National Records. The deep bass of Jimmy Ricks contrasted with the falsetto tenor of Maithe Marshall gave them a unique though often imitated sound. This CD contains over an hour of music for a reasonable price - a bargain. The best tracks are those spotlighting Ricks. Other than "September Song" and "There's Nothing Like ...", the first 12 tracks are excellent. Unfortunately the last half of the CD is mediocre with lifeless renditions of pop standards and some technical faults like tape flutter during Ricks's low notes and background static. This CD omits much of the Ravens best work on National like "Ol' Man River", "Send For Me If You Need Me", "Silent Night", "White Christmas" and "Count Every Star".The liner notes are terrible. They are in a tiny point size at a 45 degree angle and they are for some other double album anyway!"
Yes these are the original National records recordings BUT
Paul Tognetti | Cranston, RI USA | 05/23/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"My fellow reviewers have got it about right. This collection does a huge injustice to "The Greatest Group of Them All". The Ravens are generally regarded as one of the pioneer R&B groups. Any serious collector of American popular music would regard a disc by the Ravens as an essential part of their collection. Unfortunately there are only a handful of Ravens CDs available in the U.S. at this time. And this particular disc has a number of serious flaws.
First of all, I would charactorize the sound quality as at best "fair". It appears that absolutely no effort was made to restore or remaster these tracks at all. I own a similiar collection from an Italian record company containing many of the same tracks and the sound quality is noticably better. Next, I have a big problem with the songs selected for this disc. This collection was originally released as a 2 LP vinyl album in 1978. And due to space limitations 9 tracks were eliminated for this single CD collection. The problem is that they eliminated some of the best tunes and kept some unreleased "filler". No Ravens collection could be considered complete without songs like "Ol' Man River", "Count Every Star" and "Once In A While". Yet none of these tunes appear in this collection. Finally, the liner notes included herein are an absolute joke. Lets just say that for a variety of reasons they are virtually unreadable.
It is unfortunate that students and afficianados of American popular music cannot find a more complete collection of the music of the Ravens with appropriate liner notes. My other Ravens collection, from the Italian record company Dipper, does a much better job of presenting much of the same material.
But in the final analysis if you have never heard the wonderful bass vocals of Jimmy Ricks or the fabulous falsetto tenor lead of Maithe Marshall, then perhaps you should at least consider grabbing a used copy of this CD. Though this particular collection is far from perfect, you will come way with at least have some idea why in the late 1940's and early 1950's the Ravens were dubbed "The Greatest Group Of Them All"."