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Album Review

For decades, doo wop obsessives have been singing the praises of the Jive Five (and in particular, their lead vocalist, the extraordinary Eugene Pitt) on the basis of their early sides for Beltone Records, including "My True Story" and "What Time Is It." But the Jive Five had a much longer, active life than the average doo wop act (they also got started a bit later; "My True Story" broke them nationwide in 1961, close to the end of the classic doo wop era), and this collection of the group's sides for United Artists Records (recorded between 1964 to 1966) documents Pitt and company as they evolved from a '50s-style harmony group into a soul vocal combo in the manner of the Temptations or the Four Tops. While the first couple of cuts (such as "United") sound like traditional doo wop, later tunes such as "Please Baby Please (Come Back to Me)" and "Falling Tears" combine brassy, horn-fueled arrangements with rhythmic group harmonies. At the disc's end, "You" and "You Promised Me Great Things" find the backing vocalists moving into a more unified approach, as Pitt's passionate lead vocals become the focal point of the group. If the material sometimes seems to be walking a fine line between two musical worlds, Pitt and the Jive Five never sound less than splendid, and these recordings prove this was one of the few vocal groups of the era who were able to grow and change without losing their personality (and their gifts) in the shuffle. Not just for doo wop fanatics.

Biography

Formed: 1959 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s

Best known for the number one R&B hit "My True Story," the Jive Five were one of the few vocal groups to survive the transition from the '50s to the '60s. In the process, they helped move the music...
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The United Artists Recordings, The Jive Five
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