Column

Easy Ed's Broadside

Exploring music without a map.

Since 2009, Ed has shared his thoughts on ND about music that touches him, and rambled hither and yon about what else is on his mind.

Easy Ed's Broadside

Exploring music without a map.

Since 2009, Ed has shared his thoughts on ND about music that touches him, and rambled hither and yon about what else is on his mind.

Americana Lost and Found: Doo-Wop Music

There's some great music there Ed...I always loved vocal harmony...but you are right...It ended up being a footnote...Dion ended up reimagining himself as a folk singer, and then later as a pop singer that still had some vocal harmonies going on...He had a record on Warner Bros. called "Streetheart" about 1975 that was quite good...Frankie Lymon, the Orioles, The Del-Vikings, the Platters, The Drifters...all made some really nice music, and did have an enduring impact on the history of pop music...I had a lot of those 45's as a little kid...and still have a few of them today...it's a dated era I suppose, but enjoyable music that is pure entertainment...

funny, when I stumble on one of those Pledge drive shows I always end up watching a little...

I think the impact is greater and more long lasting than we might think. Vocal group harmony had an impact on any number of bands from The Beatles to The Beach Boys to CSN. Especially for those of a certain age, it’s in our musical DNA. I’ve also become interested in doo-wop from Jamaica. Most of it mimics the American style, but then you have the transition to early reggae. Interesting stuff for armchair ethnomusicologists. By the way, The Doo Wop Box from Rhino is a motherlode of treasures and streamable on some services  

 

I like that song...Brian Wilson always alluded to the Four Freshmen and that sort of thing as his biggest influence but DooWop was clearly in there too...any band that seeks to have vocals with several parts harmony as their trademark owes something there, Eagles in addition to the ones you mentioned...

I remember back in 1977 or 76, Jann Wenner gave a shout out to two groups in his Rolling Stone editorial, wasn't a formal review. They were Silly Sisters (Maddy Prior and June Tabor) and The Persuasions, a doo wop group, which don't seem to have much profile in the collective memory any more. They were wonderful, and both recommendations much influenced my subsequent listening. 

The Persusasions' version of Looking For An Echo is really great, and name-checks the Doo Wop pioneers. It's on the streaming services, including on YouTube at https://youtu.be/nmqqFBMsKR4.