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The Best of Jewel Akens

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Album Review

Much like Sam Cooke's material for RCA, The Very Best of Jewel Akens presents a singer reining in the flourishes of soul for the more measured approach of early-'60s pop — a combination that paid off successfully for Jewel Akens with his one major hit in 1964, "The Birds and the Bees," which made it to number three on the Billboard pop charts. Unlike Cooke, however, Akens relied upon others to write his material and many of the songs and productions here are fairly innocuous, which is a shame because "Tic Tac Toe," co-written by Akens, has the same haunting quality of Cooke's best work. And while the other material here doesn't stand out with the same clarity, Akens is still a commanding vocalist who brings a polished grace to his work, infusing it with song-stylist subtlety rather than church-house flash.

Biography

Born: 12 September 1940 in Houston, TX

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Doo wop veteran Jewel Akens was born September 12, 1940, in Houston, TX. He began singing in church as a child, but was also influenced by the blues joint in his neighborhood. In the late '40s, his family moved to Los Angeles. In his teens, Akens sang with a group called the Four Dots. Introduced to Eddie Cochran's manager Jerry Capehart, the group recorded a single for Freedom Records in 1959. Later Aikens and a friend, Eddie Daniels, recorded as Akens and Daniels for Capehart's Silver and Capehart...
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The Best of Jewel Akens, Jewel Akens
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