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The "Keen Records" Sessions

The Turks

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Album Review

The title is surprisingly accurate. The Turks, a smooth vocal quartet little remembered outside of hardcore doo wop collectors' circles but much beloved by those in the know, recorded only four sides for Bob Keene's Keen Records label, and those were from 1958, long after the group's initial splash in the Los Angeles vocal scene alongside the Platters, the Penguins and the Flamingos. However, this reconstituted lineup of the Turks included the legendary Jesse Belvin, one of L.A. doo wop's most legendary figures, and the four songs — "Okay," "It's You," "Father Time" and "My Baby" (this last one was never completed) — are all hugely enjoyable examples of the form featuring Belvin's interplay with the Turks' lead singer Gaynel Hodge. The rest of this 49-minute disc, however, is filled out with rehearsal takes and studio chatter that's of interest only to die-hard fans.

Biography

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '50s, '60s

Los Angeles R&B group the Turks traced its origins to the 1952 formation of the Flamingos. According to Marv Goldberg's profile in the June 1977 issue of Yesterday's Memories, that short-lived but historically significant group comprised lead tenor Cornelius Gunter, first tenor Gaynel Hodge, baritone Curtis Williams, and bass Richard Berry. Almost immediately after signing to Federal, the quartet splintered: while Hodge and Williams split off to join the Hollywood Flames, and Gunter and Berry...
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The "Keen Records" Sessions, The Turks
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