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Best of the Dreamlovers

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Album Review

Listening to this lively, seductive, gorgeous collection, one has to ask at some point, was doo wop music ever really as pretty as this CD makes it out to be? There are about a million ways one could spend 30 minutes that wouldn't be as pleasant, enlightening, or fun as listening to the dozen songs featured here. The collection opens with its most uncharacteristic track, the majestic, rhythm guitar driven "You Gave Me Somebody to Love," which possesses a grandeur not in evidence elsewhere until "Doin' Things Together with You," which sounds about a decade ahead of its time as a modern soul ballad of the kind that the Delfonics might've cut around 1969. Most of the rest fits into a more conventional early-'60s East Coast R&B vocal groove. "I'm Thru with You" and "Anna Belle Lee" are beautiful rockers, the former a slow doo wop style ballad and the latter an infectious uptempo dance number — "Amazons and Coyotees" is even more compelling, a quick-tempo piece, while the finish is jaw-dropping in its passionate music-making. "For the First Time" isn't far behind, a gorgeously sung account of a first love that manages to be romantic but not treacly — the guitar player strumming beneath the singing and behind the drummer deserves some sort of award. The sound is decent, though a remastering will probably be in order at some point, and there are no liner notes, release dates, composer credits, or other information.


Formed: 1956 in Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Traditional Pop

Years Active: '50s, '60s

The Dreamlovers were an early-'60s Philadelphia-based R&B quintet formed in 1956. The group -- Don Hogan (lead), James Dunn (bass), his brother Clifton Dunn (baritone), and tenors Tommy Ricks and Cleveland Hammock -- were originally known by several other names, including the Romancers (for a demo tape sent to the Cameo/Parkway label) and the Midnighters (for a 1958 jump tune called "The Twist," backing a new personality named Ernest Evans, later renamed Chubby Checker). In addition, they recorded...
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