The Golden Age of Rhythm & Blues Vocal Groups : 1953 -1955

©JCMarion 1998

I have always thought of the years 1953 - 1955 as the golden age of the vocal group sounds. This is because it was when the sound of R & B music was done by musical practitioners that were not yet corrupted by forces that seeked to change the music to adapt to their vision of what the country should be listening to. The music then was still the province of the Black community in this country - made by and for that particular listening audience. It was discovered that more and more White record buyers were drawn to these performers during these years, but the visions of untold riches had not yet taken over the very foundation of the business. The independent record label was still the vehicle by which the music was presented, and even though many of these entrepeneurs were not exactly paragons of virtue when dealing with their recording artists (especially in the case of royalties for records produced and expenses paid), they mostly let the musicians make music and kept out of the actual creative process. That is what makes these recordings so vital and important. The R & B vocal group sound was at its height during these three years, and although there were many fine recordings both before and after these three years, they just didn't have the flavor of the time and did not seem to capture the very essence of the style of this music. What follows is a representative listing (certainly not a complete one) of these groundbreaking releases-some were historic, some were huge hits. Also some are fondly remembered by the most diehard fans and collectors, while some are not remembered at all. They have faded into the back pages of this most dynamic and vital period of American musical history.



Blue Bells - Cancel The Call / The Story Of A Fool (Atlantic 987)

5 Crowns - Keep It A Secret / Why Don't You Believe Me (Rainbow 202)

Jets - Drag It Home / The Lovers (Rainbow 201)

Mello Moods - Call On Me / I Tried And I Tried (Prestige 799)


Vocaleers - Be True / Oh Where (Red Robin 113)

DuDroppers - Can't Do Sixty No More / Chain Me Baby (Red Robin 108)

Buccaneers - Dear Ruth / Fine Brown Frame (Southern 101)

Five Bills - Till I Waltz Again With You / Can't Wait For Tomorrow (Brunswick 84002)

Ravens - Don't Mention My Name / I'll Be Back (Mercury 70060)

Five Keys - Can't Keep From Crying / Come Go My Bail Louise (Aladdin 3167)

Orioles - I Miss You So / Till Then (Jubilee 5107)

Orioles - Teardrops On My Pillow / Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss me (Jubilee 5108)

Clovers - Crawlin' / Yes It's You (Atlantic 989)


Five Budds - I Was Such A Fool / Midnight (Rama 1)

Jets - Volcano / Gomen-Nasai (7-11 2102)

Flamingos - Someday, Someway / If I Can't Have You (Chance 1133)

Royals - I Feel So Blue / Shrine of St. Cecilia (Federal 12121)

Swallows - Laugh / Our Love Is Dying (King 4612)


DuDroppers - I Wanna Know / Laughing Blues (RCA 5229)

Crows - No Help Wanted / Seven Lonely Days (Rama 3)

Five Buds - I Guess It's All Over / I Want Her Back (Rama 2)

Marylanders - Good Old 99 / Fried Chicken (Jubilee5114)

Five Notes - Thrill Me Baby / Hey Fine Mama (Specialty 461)

Sha-Weez - No One To Love Me / Early Sunday Morning (Aladdin 3170)

5 Crowns - I Don't Have To Hurt Anymore / Alone Again (Rainbow 206)

Orioles - Dem days / Bad Little Girl (Jubilee 5115)

Ravens - She's Got To Go / Come A Little Bit Closer (Mercury 70119)

Crickets - You're Mine / Milk & Gin (MGM 11428)

5 Royales - Help Me Somebody / Crazy Crazy Crazy (Apollo 446)

Five Bills - Till Dawn And Tomorrow / Wanting, Waiting (Brunswick 84004)

Five Keys - There Ought To Be A Law / Mama Your Daughter Told A Lie On Me (Aladdin 3175)

Vocaleers - Is It A Dream / Hurry Home (Red Robin 114)

Robins - All Night Baby / Oh Why (RCA 20-5271)

Deep River Boys - The Biggest Fool / Oo-Shoo-Be-Doo (RCA 20-5268)


Dominoes - These Foolish Things / Don't Leave Me This Way (Federal 12129)

Chapters - Goodbye My Love / Love You Love You (Republic 7038)

Falcons - It's You I Miss / The Beating Of My Heart (Savoy 893)

Checkers - Ghost Of My baby / I Wanna Know (King 4626)

Blenders - I Don't Miss You Anymore / If That's The way You Want It (MGM 11488)

Cardinals - Lovey Darling / You Are My Only Love (Atlantic 995)

Balladiers - What Will I Tell My Heart / Forget Me Not (Aladdin 3123)

Five Keys - These Foolish Things / Lonesome Old Story (Aladdin 3190)


Crickets - For You I Have Eyes / I'll Cry No More (MGM 11507)

Crows - I Love You So / Gee (Rama 5)

DuDroppers - I Found Out / Little Girl, Little Girl (RCA 20-5321)

Carols - 50 Million Women / I Got A Feeling (Savoy 896)

Swallows - Nobody's Loving Me / Bicycle Tillie (King 4623)

DuDroppers - C'mon And Love Me Baby / Go Back (Red Robin 116)

Serenaders - Will She Know / I Want To Love You (Red Robin 115)

5 Willows - My Dear Dearest Darling / Rock Little Francis (Allen 1000)

Royals - Get It / No It Ain't (Federal 12133)

Embers - Paradise Hill / Sound Of Love (Herald 410)

Orioles - I Cover The Waterfront / One More Time (Jubilee 5120)

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