VA – This Love Was Real: L.A. Vocal Groups 1959-1964 (2021)

Posted by Green on April 23, 2022
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Ace Records compilation This Love Was Real: L.A. Vocal Groups 1959-1964 features 24 tracks that are a mixture of singles and unreleased tracks. These tracks were recorded at the studios of Gary S. Paxton, George Motola and Kent Harris, while others were recorded for Lew Bedell’s Doré label.
This recently released compilation opens with ‘The Letter’ by Adolph Jacobs of The Coasters. It was recorded for Class Records in Philly in 1959. It’s thought that the recording was made while The Coasters were touring. Sadly, the track was never released and this long lost hidden doo wop gem makes a welcome debut on This Love Was Real: L.A. Vocal Groups 1959-1964.
By 1962, The Heartbreakers were signed to George Matola’s Markay Records. He also produced their single ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’ which was penned by Robert Tisby and Eddie La Jay. The single features a vocal full of hurt and heartache while the harmonies seem to sympathise at this outpouring of pain.

Don Thomas wrote Please Don’t Cry, which was recorded by The Wonders, and was a produced by ACM Productions. The single was released on the Bomboo label in 1962 and features a heartfelt vocal full of emotion as it pleads “Please Don’t Cry.”

LA-based The Dandevilles released just two singles that were produced by George Motola. The first was Nasty Breaks in 1959. Later that year, they followed this up with Psychology on the Forte label. Sadly, this was the last single the group released.

Way before he founded Sly and The Family Stone and released groundbreaking albums like There’s A Riot Goin’ On he was still a member of The Viscaynes. However, George Motola and his business partner Vic Lucas quickly realised that the future Sly Stone was a hugely talented singer and musician. They encouraged him to sing on several demos. This led to A Long Time Alone being recorded by Danny (Sly) Stewart as he was billed, and released as a single on the Luke label in 1961. This doo wop ballad is a tantalising taste of what was to come from a man who would go on to become a musical great.

Before Carlton Beck and recorded The Girl I Left Behind he was a member of The Uptones. Having embarked upon a solo career he signed to the Penney label who released this George Motola production in 1962. It finds Carlton Beck living the lyrics as if he’s experienced the hurt and sadness he’s singing about.

Gary S. Paxton arranged and produced Eternal Love for The Cordials. They were from Boston area and this was their only single. This heartfelt ballad was released in April 1962 but failed to chart. It’s one of the hidden gems on the compilation.

Another ballad is Hold Me by Dorothy Berry and The Swans. It’s another Gary S. Paxton production and was released on the Vernon label in 1961. It features a needy vocal full of longing and is one of the compilation’s highlights.

The Jades recorded When They Ask About You for Lew Bedell’s Doré label. This heartfelt ballad was arranged by Jerry Long and released in 1963. Sadly, the single failed commercially but makes a welcome return on This Love Was Real: L.A. Vocal Groups 1959-1964.

Having formed The Tabs at LA Trade Tech in 1959, the group signed to the Noble label and released Never Forget later that year. The group were a familiar face at Hunter Hancock’s record hops. However, it wasn’t until a year later, in September 1960 the single charted on KFXM radio. That was as good as it got for The Tabs who never released another single.

Morris Chesnut recorded I Need Somebody as James Washington Lee for L&M in 1959. He was backed on the single by members of The Vows. They provide the backdrop for an emotive vocal that’s full of longing.

Monrise by Rene Harris and The Terrans closes This Love Was Real: L.A. Vocal Groups 1959-1964. It was penned by Robert Harris and produced by Hank Graham. The single was released on the Graham label in 1963 but failed to trouble the charts. However, it’s a welcome addition to this loving curated completion and is the perfect way to bring it to a close.

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