This review was originally posted on the first Toorak Times web site which was abandoned for its current site in March 2017. The old site will be permanently closed in 2020 and these reviews are being re-published in order to preserve them on the current Toorak Times/Tagg site.
This is number eighteen in the series of albums I’m featuring as part of an on-going retrospective of vinyl albums in my personal collection.
The series is called, “Cream of The Crate“, and they represent vinyl albums that I believe are of significant musical value, either because of their rarity, because they represent the best of a style or styles of music or because their is something unique about the group or the music.
Album #18 is quite different to all the albums I have previously featured, in two ways. The first is, that this is a compilation album where it doesn’t featuring one group or artist but rather, it features three groups all of whom were at the top of their game when the music was recorded. The second element is, that this is (relatively speaking) a recent release although the music dates back to the mid 1950’s.
All the tracks are the original recordings by the groups as they existed at that time. This album, titled “Jump Children” was only released in 1983 on Charley Records (London): CRB-1060.
I have been unable to locate any earlier released albums with these three groups and with the music on “Jump Children” so it is possible that this is in fact the original release. What is not in dispute is that all the music was originally recorded on Vee Jay records, and later licensed to Charley Records.
If you are interested in the rise and fall of Vee Jay records, just click on VEE JAY!
“Jump Children” features three of the best R&B groups of the 1950’s. The style of music was in fact colloquially known as ‘Jump Music’ although it is more popularly known as ‘Doo-Wop’! In fact ‘Jump” or ‘Jump Blues’ had its genesis in the Big Band era, as exemplified by groups Lucky Millinder and Lionel Hampton.
The three featured groups were among the most popular black vocal groups in the 1950’s.
The Orioles can be considered as the first real R&B group. In an article on the ‘Black Cat Rockabilly‘ web site, the author wrote, “. . . they pioneered rhythm & blues group harmony and were a major influence on much of what followed during the 1950’s and the early 1960’s.” The ‘Vocal Group Hall of Fame’ has this to say. “Along with The Ravens, Sonny Til and the Orioles were the founding fathers of rhythm and blues.” Certainly they inspired many groups that were to follow including The Moonglows and Flamingos
The Oriols – Live It Up
One of the critical elements of success of the Orioles was their singer, Sonny Til (born Earlington Tighman), whose voice blends beautifully with the balladeer style of the rest of the Orioles. The group had a number of personnel changes over the years and by the time they recorded with Vee Jay, their line up consisted of:
Sonny Til, Albert ‘Diz’ Russell, Billy Adams, Jerry Rodriguez and Aaron ‘Tex’ Cornelius. Unfortunately there appears to only be one photo of this line up, and I have lifted it from the album.
The next group to consider, is definitely my favourite – The Flamingos.
Best known for the track, “I only have eyes for you“, the track being discussed is completely the antithesis in style, tempo and energy. Their style really was elegant and flawless and are credited with directly affecting the styles of the Supremes, the Miracles and the Jackson 5 (not a bad line up!).
In fact, energetic and infectious is the best way to describe the group and it is totally vindicated with the first track on the album, being the title of the album. Jump Childen (Voit Voit) is a classic example of why the music became known as ‘Jump‘ music.
You can’t help it, you want to get up and Jump, you want to get up and sing! before you go clicking on Google to look up the meaning of ‘Voit Voit’, don’t bother. There isn’t a definition, and there doesn’t need to be.
It has multi-layed harmonies, and remember folks there was NO multi-tracking, and there is even a suggestion of scat singing. Brilliant harmonies!
I don’t usually provide a video clip and the audio track to the same song, but I have on this occasion because the video clip is a rare one and the version on the album is different, so you get the chance to experience both.
The Flamingos – Jump Children (Voit Voit)
The line up when these tracks were recorded was: (Founders and cousins) Jake and Zeke Carey, (distant cousins) Johnny Carter and Paul Wilson, and finally Solly McElroy (lead vocals). The group underwent three changes of line up, between the original recording of “Jump Children” and when it was used, and they appeared, on the movie “Go Johnny Go”.
Finally there are The Moonglows. Like The Flamingos, The Moonglows are probably best known for tracks that aren’t on this album – being ‘Sincerely‘ and ‘Ten Commandments of Love’.
Again these two tracks are radically different in style and pulse to the two that really stand out on ‘Jump Children’. These two tracks show definite tendencies toward R ‘n R, only the back beat is missing. But as we all appreciate Rock and Roll was born out of a melting pot of styles. R ‘n R had many ingredients of which ‘Jump’ music was one element.
The two stand out tracks on the album under discussion are, ‘Real Gone Mama‘, and ‘Ohh Rockin’ Daddy‘ (both released on the Chance label).
One of the things I find interesting about the track ‘Ooh Rockin’ Daddy‘ is the development of what later became known as the ‘hook’, the phrase that when you can’t remember any of the words of a song, you will still remember the ‘hook’.
Taken for utter granted as rock and pop developed, it was only the early to mid fifties, and this ‘hook’ was just starting to form the basis of the compositions of the day.
The Moonglows – Ooh Rockin’ Daddy
Originally known as ‘The Crazy Sounds‘, they were renamed The Moonglows by legendary DJ, Alan ‘Moondog’ Freed.
The line up was, Harvey Fuqua (lead vocal), Alexander Graves and Prentiss Barnes. later they would be joined by Bobby Lester and guitarist, Billy Johnson.
Probably more interestingly, at one point Fuqua recruited the young Marvin Gaye into The Moonglows and had an immediate hit with, “The Ten Commandments of Love“.
||The Flamingos –||Jump Children (Vooit Vooit)|
|A2||The Moonglows –||Real Gone Mama|
|A3||The Orioles –||Live It Up|
|A4||The Flamingos –||Cross The Bridge|
|A5||The Moonglows –||Baby Please|
|A6||The Orioles –||Fools Will Be Fools|
|A7||The Flamingos –
|A8||The Moonglows –||Ooh Rockin’ Daddy|
|B1||The Orioles –
||I Just Got Lucky|
|B2||The Moonglows –||My Gal|
|B3||The Flamingos –
|B4||The Orioles –
||Happy ‘Till The Letter|
|B5||The Moonglows –||219 Train|
|B6||The Flamingos –
|B7||The Orioles –||Never Leave Baby|
|B8||The Moonglows –||Whistle My Love|
So, in conclusion there many excellent albums featuring the “Jump” style of music.
This is a favourite of mine because the three groups that appear on it are in fact three of the very best, and the selection of music is simply sublime. Whether you are looking at supplementing your collection or, are interested in listening to more of this style, I can’t recommend this album highly enough.
It is currently still able if you shop around (check out Ebay), and you should be able to get a second hand copy for around $15.00 to $20.00.
Probably not unexpectedly, there are few known film clips of these groups.
The Flamingos – Jump Children
The Moonglows – I Knew from the Start (From the movie Rock Rock Rock)
The Orioles – Life Could Be A Dream (A short clip within a larger clip on the group)
Previous Cream of The Crate Albums:
Click to open: