One of my secret pleasures (no more!) is my love of Doo-wop music.
I don't consider it a 'guilty pleasure', as I have nothing to feel guilty about - I mean, it's not as if I'm admitting to an adoration of Manhattan Transfer or the like - but my passion is secret because it is something I have always enjoyed in solitude - I've yet to meet someone who shares my passion.
Real shame in fact, as I think Doo-wop - the real lost genre, in so many respects - is thrilling, wonderfully executed, and most of all: fun.
And we could all do with a bit more of that, right!
There are many intesting similarities, historically and culturally, between the Doo-wop genre and the beginnings of Hip-hop culture in the nineteen-seventies.
Artists of both genres originally performed on the streets; they both tended to be inhabited by those who came from poorer ethnic groups: Black Americans, Jewish and Latino kids; mainstream media wouldn't initially touch either genre with a barge pole (not until those nice mediated versions of each came along: rock n roll in the case of Doo-wop and Rap in the case of original Hip-hop); vocalization was at the heart of each genre; and in both cases a capella was the adopted means of expression - well, instruments were expensive: vocal harmonization and beatboxing costs nothing.
(Many Doo-wop outfits only married their harmonised vocals with accompanying music when they were eventually allowed, or enticed, into studios - and even then, there's something evident in early recordings that suggest the house band probably spent all of ten minutes rehearsing before they recorded, as most of the accompaniments are merely subtly stretched chords and textures to underpin the voices - which is kind of what you want when it comes to vocal groups really.)
One of the most important labels in the promotion of Doo-wop music was the Harlem based (another association with Hip-hop) Red Robin Record label, owned and run by Bobby Robinson and younger brother Danny; and despite the company's brevity (1951-55) they released what I think are some of the greatest Doo-wop records ever to have been recorded.
Everything here is pre-54, , so does effectively pre-date rock n roll; but it doesn't take long for the discerning listener to recognise that Doo-wop is rock n roll.
Remember, 'rock n roll' was originally an euphemism for sex; and Doo-wop, if it's about anything at all, it's about sex.
And like the majority of things associated with sex, extremely pleasurable.
Various Artists - Golden Era of Doo-Wops, Red Robin, Part 1 (1994)
Darling I'm Yours - Scarlets
Love You - Vocaleers
I've Got a Feeling - Topps
I Cried - Velvets
Can't Do Sixty No More - Du-Droppers
How Soon - Vocaleers
Dear One - Scarlets
She's Gotta Grin - Velvets
Where Are You (Now That I Need You) - Mello-Moods
Angel Face - Vocaleers
True Love - Scarlets
Everything - Rainbows
Lucky Star - Charles and Carl
Lovin' Baby - Vocaleers
Chain Me Baby (Blues of Desire) - Du-Droppers
Cry Baby - Scarlets
Tell Her - Velvets
Don't Fall In Live - Sequins
Tippin' - Topps
Be True - Vocaleers
And You Just Can't Go Through Life Alone - Mello-Moods
Mary Lee - Rainbows
One More Chance - Charles and Carl
I - Velvets
CD rip to mp3s
Good digitized copies considering their age.
Go bop-bop-sha-doobie-doobie here