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The Duprees: The Heritage Years

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Album Review

A New Jersey quintet that pretty much sounded like a doo wop group singing in front of a classic big-band orchestra, the Duprees were built to inspire nostalgia, and although they had a handful of hits, their sound, even though they stripped it down when rock & roll struck, seemed instantly out of step with the times, effectively painting the group into a corner. The Duprees' initial commercial run came on Coed Records, and they had a string of hits at the label in the early '60s with "You Belong to Me" (a remake of Jo Stafford's 1952 hit), "My Own True Love" (from the film Gone with the Wind), "Why Don't You Believe Me," and "Have You Heard." When Coed closed its doors in 1965, the Duprees eventually signed with Heritage Records, and their complete Heritage output, recorded between 1968 and 1975 and produced by Jerry Ross, is included here. A quartet by this time, the Duprees struggled to update their sound into a kind of blue-eyed soul format, and even remade their four big Coed hits in that context, but the originals (which are not included in this package) are clearly superior.


Formed: 1962 in Jersey City, NJ

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s

One of the final Italian doo wop groups to make a wave in the early '60s, the Duprees were in some senses not a rock & roll act at all. They relied on updates of pre-rock pop standards for most of their material, dressed up in classy big band arrangements. Their New Jersey street-corner roots were still audible in their doo wop harmonies, giving their treatments of moldy oldies enough of a contemporary flavor to compete in the rock and pop marketplace. They were very good at what they did, and in...
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