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The Very Best of the Ravens

The Ravens

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Album Review

Innumerable vocal groups followed on the heels of the Mills Brothers in the late '30s and '40s, but none of them possessed what the Ravens did — the mellifluous, nearly narcoleptic bass of lead Jimmy Ricks. Near the beginning of their career, between 1947 and 1950, the Ravens recorded several dozen sides for the National label, 14 of which are included on this Savoy Jazz compilation. The appropriate starting point is "Ol' Man River," one of their biggest hits, with subsequent Hit Parade entries — "Send for Me if You Need Me," "Rickey's Blues," "I Don't Have to Ride No More" — taking up the rear. However, 40 minutes and 14 tracks are very slim for a CD collection, and this one leaves out several highlights that the Indigo collection Be I Bumble Bee or Not covers well (including the title track).

Biography

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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The Very Best of the Ravens, The Ravens
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