This Love Was Real-LA Vocal Groups 1959-1964.

Label: Ace Records.

Format: CD.

During the forties and fifties, doo wop groups were formed in towns and cities across America. From Baltimore to Chicago and Detroit to New York new groups were founded. This was also the case in Los Angeles during the golden age of doo wop. It provided the soundtrack to the lives of many young Americans. For them, doo wop always brought back memories of their youth. 

However, by 1959 doo wop was no longer as popular as it had been during the golden era.  Between 1959 and 1964 rock ’n’ roll and pop usurped doo wop in the popularity stakes. Music was changing.

Despite that, some doo wop groups still enjoyed hit singles. Many others failed to chart and didn’t find the audience they deserved. Musical tastes were changing. However, even thought many doo wop singles flopped these groups were the lucky ones.

Many groups dreaming of fame and fortune entered the studio, to record a session. They believed a single would follow. Sadly, that wasn’t always the case and these tracks have lain unreleased since then. For these groups the dream was over and it was a case of returning to the mundane 9 to 5 grind.

Meanwhile, record companies realised that the times they were a changing and started releasing different genres of music. For many in A&R doo wop was part of music’s past. Music changed and continued to evolve over the years and decades to come. However,, some sixty years later and doo wop is still popular. 

Recently, Ace Records released a new compilation This Love Was Real-LA Vocal Groups 1959-1964. It features twenty-four tracks that are a mixture of singles and unreleased tracks. These tracks were recorded at the studios of Gary S. Paxton, George Motola and Kent Harris, while others were recorded for Lew Bedell’s Doré label. Many of the tracks are now much-prized rarities and extremely expensive that are beyond the budget of most people. For many people, the only way to hear these late period doo wop tracks is on This Love Was Real-LA Vocal Groups 1959-1964.

This recently released compilation opens with The Letter by Adolph Jacobs of The Coasters. It was recorded for Class Records in Philly in 1959. It’s thought that the recording was made while The Coasters were touring. Sadly, the track was never released and this long lost hidden doo wop gem makes a welcome debut on This Love Was Real-LA Vocal Groups 1959-1964.

By 1962, The Heartbreakers were signed to George Matola’s Markay Records. He also produced their single Since You’ve Been Gone which was penned by Robert Tisby and Eddie La Jay. The single features a vocal full of hurt and heartache while the harmonies seem to sympathise at this outpouring of pain.

Don Thomas wrote Please Don’t Cry, which was recorded by The Wonders, and was a produced by ACM Productions. The single was released on the Bomboo label in 1962 and features a  heartfelt vocal full of emotion as it pleads “Please Don’t Cry.”

LA-based The Dandevilles released just two singles that were produced by George Motola. The first was Nasty Breaks in 1959. Later that year, they followed this up with Psychology on the Forte label.  Sadly, this was the last single the group released. 

Way before he founded Sly and The Family Stone and released groundbreaking albums like There’s A Riot Goin’ On he was still a member of The Viscaynes. However, George Motola and his business partner Vic Lucas quickly realised that the future Sly Stone was a hugely talented singer and musician. They encouraged him to sing on several demos. This led to A Long Time Alone being recorded by Danny (Sly) Stewart as he was billed, and released as a single on the Luke label in 1961. This doo wop ballad is a tantalising taste of what was to come from a man who would go on to become  a musical great.

Before Carlton Beck and recorded The Girl I Left Behind he was a member of The Uptones. Having embarked upon a solo career he signed to the Penney label who released this George Motola production in 1962. It finds Carlton Beck living the lyrics as if he’s experienced the hurt and sadness he’s singing about.

Gary S. Paxton arranged and produced Eternal Love for The Cordials. They were from Boston area and this was their only single. This heartfelt ballad was released in April 1962 but failed to chart. It’s one of the hidden gems on the compilation.

Another ballad is Hold Me by Dorothy Berry and The Swans. It’s another Gary S. Paxton production and was released on the Vernon label in 1961. It features a needy vocal full of longing and is one of the compilation’s highlights.

The Jades recorded When They Ask About You for Lew Bedell’s Doré label. This heartfelt ballad was arranged by Jerry Long and released in 1963. Sadly, the single failed commercially but makes a welcome return on This Love Was Real-LA Vocal Groups 1959-1964.

Having formed The Tabs at LA Trade Tech in 1959, the group signed to the Noble label and released Never Forget later that year. The group were a familiar face at Hunter Hancock’s record hops. However, it wasn’t until a year later,  in September 1960 the single charted on KFXM radio. That was as good as it got for The Tabs who never released another single.

Morris Chesnut recorded I Need Somebody as James Washington Lee for L&M in 1959. He was backed on the single by members of The Vows. They provide the backdrop for an emotive vocal that’s full of longing.

 Monrise by Rene Harris and The Terrans closes This Love Was Real-LA Vocal Groups 1959-1964. It was penned by Robert Harris and produced by Hank Graham. The single was released on the Graham label in 1963 but failed to trouble the charts. However, it’s a welcome addition to this loving curated completion and is the perfect way to bring it to a close.

For anyone with a passing interest in doo wop This Love Was Real-LA Vocal Groups 1959-1964 is well worth adding to their collection. Especially as so many of the tracks are rarities and now beyond the budget of most people. They were released after the golden era of doo wop and feature many hidden gems. Beautiful balls rub shoulders with R&B-influenced tracks. It’s a captivating collection that will also be of interest to anyone whose yet to discover the delights of doo wop. This Love Was Real-LA Vocal Groups 1959-1964 is the perfect opportunity to do so. 

This Love Was Real-LA Vocal Groups 1959-1964.

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