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The Ravens: The Greatest Group of Them All

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Album Review

The Greatest Group of Them All isn't the best title for the Ravens' entry in Savoy's Roots of Rock and Roll series. The group was certainly worthy of the claim, but this ballads-heavy collection isn't the best to prove it, and most of the songs aren't even the best of their down-tempo material. Basically for Ravens fans only, this works more as a compilation of the group's later National sides (roughly 1950-51) plus a few unattributed odds-and-ends, focused on songs rarely compiled elsewhere. As a result, "Ol' Man River" and "Be I Bumble Bee or Not" are missing, but there are solid runthroughs of the standards "Until the Real Thing Comes Along," "September Song," "Deep Purple," "Lilacs in the Rain," "It's the Talk of the Town," "Who's Sorry Now," and "I've Got the World on a String." It's an interesting collection, but one that has a little trouble coming through on the title's high promises.


Formed: 1946

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '40s, '50s

The Ravens were among the pioneering post-World War II R&B groups, and also among the earliest R&B groups named for birds. In both their musicality and their nomenclature, they influenced two generations of performers that followed, as well as sold lots of records in the process. The Ravens originated with Jimmy Ricks (born 1924, Jackson, FL; died 1974, New York, NY), who started singing at an early age. In 1945, he was employed as a waiter at the Four Hundred Tavern and later at an establishment...
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