From Barbershop To Doo Wop - Part One: 1901-1934!

Artist Song
The Hayden Quartet  Bring Back My Bonnie To Me (1901) 
The Hayden Quartet  The Breeze Of The Night (1904) 
The Peerless Quartet  Come Where My Love Lies Dreaming (1908) 
The Peerless Quartet  Sweetness (1910) 
The Hayden Quartet  Winter (c.1910) 
The American Quartet  Billy (She Always Dreams Of Bill) (1911) 
The Peerless Quartet  Somebody Knows (1915) 
The Peerless Quartet  The Lights Of My Home Town (1918) 
The Premier Quartet  The Dixie Volunteers (1918) 
The Premier Quartet  Blue Jeans (1921) 
The Brox Sisters  Nobody Loves You Like I Do (1924) 
The Brox Sisters  Red Hot Mama (1924) 
The Revellers  Breezin' Along (1926) 
The Shannon Quartet  The Sidewalks Of New York (1926) 
The National Cavaliers Quartet  Dear On A Night Like This (1927) 
The Rhythm Boys  From Monday On (1928) 
The Rhythm Boys  That's My Weakness Now (1928) 
The Four Rajahs  Too Busy (1928) 
The Mills Brothers  Nobody's Sweetheart (1931) 
The Rhythm Boys  Three little Words (1931) 
The Boswell Sisters  Sleep Come Take Me (1932) 
The Mills Brothers  Rocking Chair (1932) 
The Three Keys  Oh! By Jingo (1933) 
The Boswell Sisters  Forty-Second Street (1933) 
The Mills Brothers  Old Fashioned Love (1934) 
The Mills Brothers  Sleepy-head (1934) 


Some people enjoy extreme sports (sky-diving, bungee jumping, para-gliding, etc,) but personally I prefer 'extreme mixing' - having a relatively simple idea for a CD and taking it to such a ludicrous extreme that it pushes your musical knowledge to the limits, challenges your powers of patience and leads you on journeys from which you feel as though you might never return! This is one of the most 'extreme' collections I ever embarked on ...not THE most extreme - I'm saving that for a rainy day! This mix was an ambitious attempt at doing a 'prequel' to a "History of Doo Wop 1944-54" compilation - which I'd done for my brother a year or two earlier. At the time 1944 seemed a pretty daring year to start a compilation about a Fifties phenomon but the more early recordings I listened to I felt the need to go back further - and trace the origins of Doo Wop right back to the earliest examples of recorded sound! It may be apparent by this point that I love the whole history of the 'vocal group sound' but it was only when I started researching this CD that I realised how many of the vital elements of the Doo Wop style (from the wordless bass parts to the soaring harmonies) were evident even in barbershop quartet recordings dating back to the very early 1900's. For me, putting together a CD like this was a learning experience as much as anything since it involved listening hour after hour to recordings I'd never given much thought to previously (I knew hardly any of these songs a couple of years ago)... and trying to find appropriate examples which I actually LIKED (since I'll be the first to admit that the quality of some vintage recordings is not excellent!) Sometimes the need to find songs of a particular style from a particular period of time can lead you to discover artists you never even knew existed - for instance, my quest to find additional vocal group material from the mid-1920's forced me to investigate the recordings of The Brox Sisters - consequently extending my girl-group collection back further than I had ever thought possible! With the songs I chose for this first volume, I tried wherever possible to select the vocal group recordings which resembled the later Doo Wop styles most closely, and by the early 1930's with the arrival of The Mills Brothers I think the sound is fairly recognisable. Some people write explanatory notes to accompany their CDs - I seem to write write letters of apology... and I promise part two of this will be far less obscure! One day maybe I'll work out how to put together a CD of random songs I like.


Sean Lally
Date: 7/16/2005
Yay! More history from the master rock n roll historian. Great to see the Boswells and Mills here.
Date: 7/16/2005
Agree with Mr. Lally!
Date: 7/16/2005
Nice work. By an interesting coincidence, I also once used the Boswell Sisters and the American Quartet together in the same mix.

As always, I appreciate the informative musical history.
Date: 7/16/2005
Oh man, this is just awesome on so many levels!
Dead Man
Date: 7/17/2005
Well, all I can say is that I'm impressed.
Date: 7/17/2005
Very nicely done!
Date: 7/19/2005
I don't know any of this, but I love seeing mixes like this on the site! Mixes with Coldplay and U2 are a dime a dozen, though the Four Rajahs seem to appear on every other mix posted on AOTM.
The Misfit
Date: 7/19/2005
Looks fascinating. (And I love this line: "Some people write explanatory notes to accompany their CDs - I seem to write write letters of apology.")
Date: 8/14/2007
I am extremely impressed with the amount of research you have done, you've really put some good work in there! I'm trying to compile myself a similarly definitive guide to early rhythm and blues. My weak spot is the pre war vocal groups. Can you suggest whether there is anything that is actually very bluesy in your list before about 1940 that I should try and dig out? I haven't got anything so far from the Mills Brothers or the Ink Spots because I haven't heard anything that I could justify for inclusion. Can anyone help?