Billy Ward & The Dominoes The Best of the '50s Masters (1957-1959)
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- by Billy Ward & The Dominoes ~ Very Best of Billy Ward & The Dominoes (Featuring Clyde McPhatter & Jackie Wilson) ~ $12.98 (Save 24%)
- Released: March 21, 2000
- Originally Released: 2000
- Label: Varese Sarabande
- 2.If You Please
- 4.Moonlight and Shadows
- 5.Deep Purple
- 6.My Proudest Possession
- 7.Alone in a Crowd - (previously unreleased)
- 8.Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
- 10.These Foolish Things - (previously unreleased)
- 11.Yours Forever
- 12.Sweeter as the Years Go by (You Grow)
- 13.There Is No Greater Love - (previously unreleased)
- 14.Do It Again
- 15.I'm Always Chasing Rainbows - (previously unreleased)
- 16.Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
- 17.Music Maestro, Please
- 18.Jennie Lee
- 19.Stardust - (previously unreleased, Early Vocal Take, alternate take)
Billy Ward & His Dominoes includes: Billy Ward, Eugene Mumford, Eddie Herring, Prentice Moreland, Milton Merle, Milt Grayson.
Producer: Billy Ward.
Compilation producers: Cary E. Mansfield, Marty Wekser.
Recorded in 1957-1959. Includes liner notes by Bill Dahl.
Digitally remastered by Jim Phillips (MCA Music Media, North Hollywood, California).
Personnel: Billy Ward (vocals); Milt Grayson, Prentice Moreland (vocals).
Liner Note Author: Bill Dahl.
This 19-song anthology covers Ward & the Dominoes' stint with Liberty. Although this was the period that saw them land two of their biggest hits -- both "Star Dust" and "Deep Purple" made the Top 20 -- it's not remembered or written about nearly as much as are their recordings during the first half of the 1950s. That's because their late-'50s material was far less R&B-oriented than their discs for Federal and King, and also because the Dominoes' two best lead singers, Clyde McPhatter and Jackie Wilson, had departed the lineup. Indeed, by this time the group was walking pretty close to the middle of the road, covering numerous pre-rock popular standards and using lots of orchestration. There are still some doo wop and R&B elements involved, but it's far closer to pop than it is to rock & roll. Half a dozen different singers are on lead vocals, though most often taking lead is Eugene Mumford, the voice on "Star Dust" and "Deep Purple." It's not bad as far as harmonized pop vocals go, but often it's rather a throwback to the Ink Spots and the Mills Brothers, and certainly not as innovative as the group's earlier efforts. At times, there's a resemblance to the Platters (they even do "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes"), and for just one moment they turn into a straight R&B/rock group on an unexpected cover of the Jan & Arnie hit "Jennie Lee" that made the middle of the pop charts. Incidentally, five of the tracks (including an earlier vocal take of "Star Dust") were previously unreleased; on one of them, "These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You)," they totally lose the beat going into the second bridge. ~ Richie Unterberger
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