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The Very Best Of

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Album Review

A rather small compilation — especially when compared to The Complete Congress Recordings — The Very Best of Shirley Ellis gathers the biggest hits Ellis recorded for Congress, including her nearly impossible-to-get-out-of-your-head hit "The Name Game." The like-minded follow-ups "The Clapping Song (Clap Pat Clap Slap)" and "The Puzzle Song (A Puzzle in Song)," as well as "The Nitty Gritty" and "(That's) What the Nitty Gritty Is," skew this collection toward Ellis' novelty and pop singles, though "Shy One" and "Told You So" reflect some of the more sedate, romantic material she also recorded at the time. Overall, this collection is fine for anyone interested in Ellis' quirky side, but those looking to dig deeper should investigate The Complete Congress Recordings.


Born: 1941 in The Bronx, NY

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '60s

New York vocalist and composer Shirley Ellis was in the Metronomes before earning fame as co-composer and performer of some enjoyable soul novelty tunes in the mid-'60s. These included the Top Ten R&B hits "The Nitty Gritty" and "The Name Game." "The Name Game" was co-written with her manager and husband Lincoln Chase, and peaked at number four R&B and number three pop in 1965. She and Chase also collaborated on the follow-up, "The Clapping Song (Clap Pat Clap Slap)," which reached number 16 R&B,...
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The Very Best Of, Shirley Ellis
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