The Dells: Marvin Junior, Johnny Carter, Mickey McGill, Verne Allison, Chuck Barksdale (vocals).
Producers includes: Bob Miller, Charles Stepney, Chuck Barksdale, Don Davis, The Harris Machine.
Compilation producers: Harry Weinger.
Recorded betweem 1968 & 1991. Includes liner notes by H.W.
With a Motown flair, sweet Chicago harmonies, and sparse string arrangements that prefigured the Philly sound, the Dells reached the pop charts in every decade from the 1950s through the 1990s, a feat only equaled by the great James Brown. Originally a doo wop group, the Dells had hits in the 1950s with "Oh What a Night" and "Stay in My Corner," then placed both songs in the charts again with re-recorded versions (the versions that are included here) on the Chess-owned Cadet label at the end of the 1960s. Undisputed masters of the slow jam ballad, the group exploits the oil and water textures of Marvin Junior's gruff, hard soul voice set against the soaring high tenor of Johnny Carter, and the steady emotional tension this brings to songs like "Stay in My Corner" is textbook Chicago soul. This collection pulls together all their biggest hits, including "A Heart Is a House for Love," the theme song for Robert Townsend's film The Five Heartbeats. The inclusion of the latter song gives this release a slight edge over the single-disc On Their Corner compilation from 1992, but the double-disc Anthology (also on Hip-O) from 1999 is still the most comprehensive look at this elegant vocal group. ~ Steve Leggett
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