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The Dells: Ultimate Collection

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Album Review

With a Motown flair, sweet Chicago harmonies, and sparse string arrangements that prefigured the Philly sound, the Dells reached the pop charts in every decade from the 1950s through the 1990s, a feat only equaled by the great James Brown. Originally a doo wop group, the Dells had hits in the 1950s with "Oh What a Night" and "Stay in My Corner," then placed both songs in the charts again with re-recorded versions (the versions that are included here) on the Chess-owned Cadet label at the end of the 1960s. Undisputed masters of the slow jam ballad, the group exploits the oil and water textures of Marvin Junior's gruff, hard soul voice set against the soaring high tenor of Johnny Carter, and the steady emotional tension this brings to songs like "Stay in My Corner" is textbook Chicago soul. This collection pulls together all their biggest hits, including "A Heart Is a House for Love," the theme song for Robert Townsend's film The Five Heartbeats. The inclusion of the latter song gives this release a slight edge over the single-disc On Their Corner compilation from 1992, but the double-disc Anthology (also on Hip-O) from 1999 is still the most comprehensive look at this elegant vocal group.

Customer Reviews

This is one to have in your collection

Old School...I luv this cd. Real lyrics...earnest emotions.

Ballads Missing

This is a good compilation of Dells' tunes but where is the soundtrack from The Five Heartbeats and "I'm Only A Man"?

This is what R&B was all about...

Listening to the arrangements and the vocals coming off of this album how can today's stuff compare to the raw emotion being poured out on our ears here? Yeah the money is pouring in on today's artist but the talent isn't exactly worth the money if you ask me. Don't get me wrong, they got the talent today, but something is missing, is it the originality or the emotion? I touched a dream is a good example of that feeling a real lead singer can bring to a song without all of the spotlight. Oh and the whole song Stay in My Corner is on another level all of its own.


Formed: 1952 in Chicago, IL

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The Dells were one of the finest and longest-lived R&B vocal groups in history, and what's most amazing is that they did it with nearly all the same members. They were one of the very few doo wop outfits to successfully update their sound, finding their strongest commercial niche in the late '60s and '70s as a polished smooth soul harmony group. While their chart fortunes certainly fluctuated over the years, they remained a viable act right up into the '90s, by which time they had long since achieved...
Full Bio
The Dells: Ultimate Collection, The Dells
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