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Collector's Gold Series

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Album Review

Collectors Gold Series is a tweaked reissue of the 1992 Harptones anthology Sunday Kind of Love, which was originally released on Relic Records. The liner notes are identical and the material is drawn from the same source, namely the Harptones' Bruce, Tip Top, and Andrea label recordings from 1954-1956. The Harptones' group harmony rendition of the pop standard "Sunday Kind of Love" was their only substantial chart hit, and reached the pop Top 30 in 1954 — a significant feat for an African American group at that time. Collectors Gold Series features the song in two versions: the rendition from the original 78 release is a new addition that did not appear on the Relic anthology. Aside from that bonus, Collectors Gold Series omits three 1955 live recordings from the Relic disc, and upgrades the sound quality with new remastering by Walter DeVenne. The Harptones were one of the finest doo wop groups of their era, and usually paired their ballads with an up-tempo song for single release; so for every "Sunday Kind of Love," there is an energetic and/or novelty-oriented cut like "Mambo Boogie" or "Oobidee...Oobidee...Oo." The liner notes state that Collectors Gold Series compiles the Harptones' complete recordings, but it is complete only with regard to the above-mentioned labels, since the Harptones went on to record for a number of other labels through the mid-'60s. The Bruce recordings collected here, however, constitute the Harptones' most important and enduring work.

Biography

Formed: 1953 in New York, NY

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Despite their failure to achieve the commercial success of rivals like the Drifters, the Flamingos, or the Clovers, the Harptones demand consideration in any serious discussion of the truly immortal acts of the doo wop era. Although none of their singles cracked the Top 40, efforts like "A Sunday Kind of Love," "Life Is But a Dream," and "Memories of You" remain classics of the genre, distinguished by their rich harmonies and sophisticated, jazz-inspired arrangements. The Harptones' origins date...
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Collector's Gold Series, The Harptones
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