GOING BACK features tracks originally released on Galaxy, Fantasy, 4-J, Riverside, Vault and Specialty.
Personnel: Cal Valentine (vocals, guitar); Eddie Kendricks, Jesse Jones, Jr., Frankie Lymon, George Kerr, Ernest Hamilton, Johnny Perkins, Johnny Martin, James Spencer, Joel Moore, Larry Davis, Lonnie Russ, Sidney Barnes, Tim Wilson, Charles Wright (vocals); William Hamilton, Robert Lorenzo Jones, Stanley Harris, Eugene Maye (tenor); Ronnie Lewis (tenor saxophone); Frank Samuels (drums); Gaynel Hodge (background vocals).
Audio Remasterer: Joe Tarantino.
Recording information: Wenzel's Music Town, Downey, CA (1960-1970).
Arrangers: Ray Shanklin; Rene Hall; Bert Keyes.
What unites these 26 tracks? They're all black vocal group sides from 1960-1970, originally released on the Galaxy, Fantasy, 4-J, Riverside, and Specialty labels. That might be a fragile thread to tie a compilation around, but basically it's a way for Fantasy, which now distributes Specialty, to round up a bunch of doo wop, R&B, and soul rarities that it has license to. It's an agreeable though not great listen, illustrating in a modest way the transitional links between doo wop and soul music. It mixes some late-period doo wop sounds -- some as late as 1964, as with the Showcases' "(This Love) Was Real" -- with other '60s records that went into soul and a bit of girl group music, the harmonies retaining links to the doo wop era. Only one of these, the Sevilles' rollicking 1960 single "Charlena," made the national charts (and only at number 84, for that matter), so for both doo wop and soul fans, this is bound to include some damned hard to find sides. As for cuts that make the leap from okay to noteworthy, the Serenaders' 1963 single "Adios, My Love" is a superbly arranged, energetic cut that (according to the liner notes) included original Temptations Eddie Kendricks and Eldridge Bryant; the Playgirls' "Donnie" is rare and slightly raw girl group soul; and Lonnie Russ' "Something Old, Something New" has the kind of orchestration that you might associate with a group like the Skyliners. As for a big name, there's a pre-Motown single by the Four Tops, 1962's "Pennies From Heaven" (on Riverside). As for a big price tag, there's Eugene Knox's "Miss You"/"Carmelita," pairing a smoocher with a Latin-influenced up-tempo tune, originally issued by Galaxy in 1962, and so rare that it reportedly is worth up to four figures on the collector's market. ~ Richie Unterberger