Shama Lama Ding Dong – Doo-Wop Music To Make Love By

So… ever since this blog began, my friend Robert has been asking me about Doo-Wop.  When are you going to do Doo Wop, he would ask.  I told him it was one of those genres that I only had a superficial knowledge of, but that I would definitely do it.  The other night he asked me again.  I said I had this great compilation CD I was going to listen to and pick a band from it… You know, find a great old group and go deeper… But I was quickly reminded what a joy this CD is, so why not discuss that… Well, here we go…

Various Artists – Shama Lama Ding Dong: The Sensational Sounds of Doo-Wop

Yes, I realize the first thing that will come to mind for most of us will be Otis Day and the Knights from the first R rated movie I ever saw (with my Dad!) and one of the best comedies of all time… ANIMAL HOUSE!!!  I just learned that  DeWayne Jessie, who played Otis in the movie did NOT do the actual singing… Yup… just learned that RIGHT NOW… Bubble… burst…

According to All Music, the CD was actually titled that as a tribute to Otis Day, so there you go.  The album is an amazing “solid introduction to the halcyon days of doo wop, assembling 15 of the era’s definitive street-corner harmonies.”

This was a Starbucks exclusive, back when the coffee giant was actually doing some great CD projects with Concord Music under the joint label Hear Music… There were music coffee houses… and their actual “record” store on the Third Street Promenade was fantastic… I found so many new bands and artists there.  They had great special events… and then 2008 came and boom… it all went to hell… Hear Music… gone…

Went by my Borders today… gone… This totally sucks!  Seriously.  `

Hear Music is still putting stuff out like the newest Cars, and the latest Paul Simon, so that’s a good thing… Worth supporting and checking out.

Ahhh… Doo-Wop… The beautiful harmonies that were born on street corners… the matching outfits… the matching moves… swinging and swaying… fingers snapping… This music ruled the 1950s and influenced Rock n’ Roll… that is until it was killed by the British invasion.  According to the liner notes: “Doo-Wop was heavily influenced by ’40s vocal groups like the Ink Spots and the Mills Brothers, as well as rhythm and blues, swinging jazz and gospel.”

My highlights are The Platters doing “Only You (And You Alone).”  How can you NOT be romantic and want to slow dance when you hear this one… Mmm, Mmm, Mmm… This would go on that “special” soundtrack for sure…

The Five Satins’ “In the Still of the Night”… such a classic sound… and the Boys II Men cover is pretty good, too!

Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers’ “Why Do Fools Fall In Love”… come on… total classic!!!  He sounds like he’s 12… He was actually 14… This, their first hit, would be their biggest…13 years later, at age 25, Frankie would be dead from a heroin overdose.

Little Anthony & The Imperials’ “Tears on My Pillow”… Okay, yes, they all sound like classics because they are… Duh… and yes, I love the version by  Sha Na Na in Grease… and yes, I actually watched their variety series, too!  Go Bowzer!

The Flamingos’ “I Only Have Eyes For You”… This song is from 1934!  So many amazing covers… Frank… Ella… Billie… Peggy Lee… but I am awfully partial to this one.  Another one that makes you want to grab your honey and pull her in for a long, slow kiss… Ahhh…

Little Anthony & The Imperials’ “Shimmy, Shimmy, Ko-Ko-Bo”… a fun little ditty… and Tom Hanks and Jared Rushton do a nice version in Big!

Maurice Williams & The Zodiacs’ “Stay”… Wait, this was NOT written by Jackson Browne… WTF???

The album closes out with what might be the most famous Doo-Wop song of all-time… maybe…

The Marcels’ “Blue Moon”… Heck, three versions of this song were used in another of my favorite movies… An American Werewolf in London… Bobby Vinton’s slow and soothing version… plays during the opening credits… a soft, bittersweet ballad version… by Sam Cooke during the agonizing wolf transformation and The Marcels’ doo-wop version… over the end credits.”

So stay off the moors, boys… but by all means, have a beer, grab your gal and listen to Doo-Wop!  Actually come to think of it… this whole album can be used as the soundtrack for that “special” evening.  Go for it!



Filed under Life... Plain and Not So Simple, Marc's Mixed Bag - A Little Of Everything, Marc's Playlist - Music That Moves Me, One Thumb - My Movie Reviews

2 responses to “Shama Lama Ding Dong – Doo-Wop Music To Make Love By

  1. Edna Salter

    Hi Marc,
    Loved this review. I saw so many of these artists live at the Regal in Chicago. Here is another group perhaps a little older than the ones you note here, but great just the same: The Spanials.
    They also did a great song called Goodnight Sweetheart as well as others.

  2. Robert Dolan

    Great stuff, dude. All the music listed is beyond awesome.

    DeWayne Jessie (Otis Day) was dubbed by Lloyd Williams, but did a helluva job lip-synching. 🙂 Robert Cray was the bass player in the group on ANIMAL HOUSE.

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