Street Corner Symphonies: The Complete Story of Doo Wop, Vol. 5 (1953)

The fifth volume of Bear Family's doo wop history Street Corner Symphonies covers 1953, which very well may be the year the doo wop revolution truly began. Rock & roll was still a few years away but the hottest sides here -- including "Money Honey," Clyde McPhatter's debut with the Drifters that opens up this 32-track volume, but also the "5" Royales' "Too Much Lovin' (Much Too Much)" and the Checkers' swinging "White Cliffs of Dover" -- are certainly part of that Zeitgeist, rocking and rolling with gusto, the rhythms hitting hard and guitar adding grit. This new wave of vocal groups begins to dominate Vol. 5 -- their influence can even be heard on quieter sides, like the Prisonaires' gospel "Just Walkin' in the Rain" -- but there's still a preponderance of softer, sweeter tunes here. Yet even among these cuts a heavier gospel and R&B influence can be heard -- witness the slow, easy shuffle on the concluding cut, the Spiders' "You're the One" -- all pointing toward the revolution that is just on the horizon. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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