Saturday, 29 July 2017
Listen to My Plea was one of the last sides the Flamingos recorded for Chance. An earlier attempt at the song during their Christmas Eve session in 1953 must have been deemed unsatisfactory as they remade it the following year. The website devoted to the label states:
Thursday, 27 July 2017
It's hard to single out a version which might have served as a particular inspiration for the group. The Ravens' 1948 attempt might seem a likely suspect, given that Robert Pruter has accused them of imitating the Ravens on another occasion, but Sollie McElroy brings more passion to the lyrics than Maithe Marshall's rather dreamy caressing of them, beautiful as that is.
Wednesday, 19 July 2017
Sunday, 16 July 2017
Hurry Home Baby is the only song from the Flamingos' first session yet to be discussed in this series, although Robert Pruter's succinct dismissal has already been quoted:
... an imitation Ravens number that made nobody forget about the Ravens.I'm guessing Mr Pruter is referring not only to Jake Carey's bass lead but also that "doo-doo dooh- doo, doo-doo dooh-doo" backing refrain, characteristic of such Ravens records as Summertime and Careless Love. Rather corny to today's ears - mine, anyway - I assume this was employed by the group partly as a means of being quickly identified.
Guitarist Lefty Bates can be heard to good effect on You Ain't Ready, another side from the same August 1953 session as Plan For Love. He may not get a solo, but after the whole band have set up the song he can be heard momentarily on his own before Sollie McElroy's vocal, and later his playing under Red Holloway's exuberant saxophone solo gives it even more bounce and interest; small wonder, according to his own testimony, that everyone wanted him on their sessions.
The whole band, in fact, is really firing on all cylinders throughout. I know that, in the UK at least, many doo wop fans have a strong attachment to Jump Children (aka Vooit Vooit), which has been released on many compilations, but for my money the playing here is more fluid, less brash, perhaps aided by the fact that the band is, I think, slightly smaller.
Saturday, 15 July 2017
Plan For Love is an interesting performance in the context of the Flamingos' other work at this time, although it's not hard to see why this bluesy number wasn't a success when released.
Recorded around August 1953 it is, unusually, a Johnny Carter lead. It's also distinctive because two falsettos are heard during much of the song. Sollie McElroy's is the main one, I believe, with Carter joining him as other duties permit. It's an interesting and unusual effect, although the combination of the two voices is less pleasing, to my ears, than Carter's solo decoration on so many other sides.