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Vocal Groups!
Topic Started: Sep 20 2008, 06:36 PM (8,167 Views)
mort bakaprevski
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Balcony Gang, Foist Class
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Vocal Groups!

Love ‘em!! Loved the ones from the 30’s: The Rhythm Boys, The Mills Bros. The Comedian Harmonists, The Sing Band … the ones from the 40’s: The Merry Macs, X (anywhere from 3 to 6) Hits & a Miss, Andrews Sisters, Mel-Tones… the ones from the 50’s: The Four Freshmen, The Hi-Lo’s, Lambert Hendricks & Ross… plus many of the r&b (or doo-wop, if you prefer) groups of the same era (The Penguins are conspicuous by their absence).

My preference probably goes to those groups who sing in a more homophonic manner (everyone sings the words at the same time). Although I’ve got a lot of affection for the doo-wop groups, they were pretty much oriented to a lead singer doing the lyrics with oooo’s & ahhh’s from the others in the background.

There has been a great resurgence in vocal groups during the last twenty years… especially at the college level. Many people are aware of Take Six, the excellent gospel group that utilizes Gene Puerling type harmonies. However, a lot of people (including myself) think the best current vocal group (by far) is The Real Group, a quintet from Sweden. Here they are doing a great rendition of “It Don’t Mean a Thing.” Unfortunately, the soprano soloist has retired from the group, but I am told her replacement is equally impressive:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jGhBvlxvFo
"Nov Shmoz Ka Pop."
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Greypilgrim
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Good sound...Thanks for sharing! :D ;)
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Chandu
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Nice! I didn't know anybody still cared.
Not plane, nor bird, nor even frog. It's just little ol' me...
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mort bakaprevski
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Here's a bit of silliness from Universal circa 1940 featuring the Six Hits & a Miss. This group was very influential on future groups in terms of the chords they used (check out the one at 1:33--1:35) and their general musical approach.

Interestingly, the featured vocalist (Martha Tilton) was the original "Miss" back when it was 3 Hits & a Miss (you can see them in the 1937 film TOPPER). Mouseketeer Dodd also makes an appearance.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwla4mQt9ws
"Nov Shmoz Ka Pop."
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mort bakaprevski
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Hokay, let's start at the beginning (at least the beginning for me). When I was a kid, my best friend's mother had a bunch of old 78 records made in the late 20's & early 30's. We loved 'em... especially Paul Whiteman's vocal group, The Rhythm Boys which was made up of Bing Crosby, Harry Barris ("Mississippi Mud") & Al Rinker (Mildred Bailey's brother). Here they are in a terribly faded 2-strip technicolor bit from the film KING OF JAZZ. When they stop singing, stay tuned for The Sisters G. Absolutely unique "singing"... and "dancing" (good legs, though)!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ccPi0B4hC0&feature=related

And here's an example of the aforementioned best friend's mother singing harmony on the purported first recording of a Cole Porter song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGaHalL7AXY

"Nov Shmoz Ka Pop."
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Greypilgrim
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Is that her with the fan??? :o

WOWZER!!! :lol: ;)

Very good!!
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JazzGuyy
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The chorus in Yiddish on "Happy Feet" was the ultimate!
TANSTAAFL!
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mort bakaprevski
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greypilgrim
Sep 29 2008, 10:32 AM
Is that her with the fan??? :o

How should I know??? She's wearing a mask!!! :P
"Nov Shmoz Ka Pop."
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mort bakaprevski
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Moving right along... here's one of the most successful vocal groups of all time: The Mills Bros. They managed to be popular through three decades: 30's, 40's & 50's. This version is my favorite. John Mills, the guitarist & bass, unfortunately, died of pnumonia in 1937. Although their greatest popularity was ahead of them, I don't think they were ever as creative without him.

Harry, the one standing next to John was Dean Martin's favorite singer and certainly one of mine as well!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTyKPP2-B5k

Now for the distaff side. Contemporaries of the Mills Bros. were the Boswell Sisters. From the standpoint of ensemble singing (balance, blend, attacks & releases, etc.), the Andrews Sisters were superior. But as good as Patty was (& she was plenty good), she wasn't Connee Boswell. Connee had soul that few others had.

Here they are in a Fleischer Sing-a-long. Special bonus is Eddie Lang on guitar:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYRVvfBghZs

Enjoy!!!!
"Nov Shmoz Ka Pop."
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panzer the great & terrible
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Thanks for the wonderful thread Mort! You're the greatest for sharing all this cool stuff. I hadn't heard of The Real Group, but they swing like demons. Imagine -- swingin' Swedes!
Life is just a bowl of cherries, it's too mysterious, don't take it serious...
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mort bakaprevski
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Monday night, I escorted a lovely, red-headed, soprano to Sixth Wave’s CD release party. This is their third album, but the first with their new personnel. The group is made up of three males (tenor, bari, bass) & three females (soprano, soprano, alto) and they’re all professional studio singers. Their musicianship is just awesome. They do their own arrangements and almost every member has contributed to their repertoire.

At the party (held at a Hollywood bar/restaurant), they sang every song in the album. What has characterized the group (aside from their superb musical abilities) is their sense of humor & eclectic musical tastes. The new album doesn’t disappoint on either score!!

Here’s their MySpace site:

http://www.myspace.com/sixthwave

Only two of the songs there are from the new album: “Westpoint” & “Kindred Souls.” However, all of the selections are worth listening to!!
"Nov Shmoz Ka Pop."
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mort bakaprevski
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Well, it’s almost a little late, but here’s a youtube holiday phenomenon (of sorts). I’ll let you read about Straight No Chaser here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3qcAVE1dRk

Unfortunately, the original youtube presentation that garnered over 9 million hits has been removed. You’ll see that the commenter’s all seem to feel the original was highly superior to what’s out there now… but, it seems, that’s all we have:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3qcAVE1dRk
"Nov Shmoz Ka Pop."
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mort bakaprevski
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Hey, here's a very nice a cappella version of the Leroy Shield theme for "Our Gang"/"Little Rascals."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JA-F2yV0tRs
"Nov Shmoz Ka Pop."
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mort bakaprevski
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Sheeeeesh, I originally planned to make this sorta historical. That is, start with my recollections of some of the earliest recorded vocal groups & proceed from those roots forward.

At any rate, here's a group I planned to put out here ages ago: The Comedian Harmonists from Germany. They ain't exactly my cup o' tea, but they were highly influential on future groups (The King's Singers, for one).

They also sang during a very dangerous era in German history. Unfortunately, 1/2 of the group was Jewish & one of the other members was married to a Jew. Needless to say, the group broke up sometime in the early thirties. Pity!!

There are better examples of the group's singing on Youtube, BUT this number is the only one I found which actually contains film of them singing the song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIWErodI2jo
"Nov Shmoz Ka Pop."
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mort bakaprevski
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Good lord, I keep forgetting this thread.

Well, time to update it with a lady who definitely had one VERY interesting career, Kay Thompson. From 1943 thru 1947 she was THE vocal arranger at MGM. She gave Andy Williams (& his brothers) their start & invented a fictional little girl (Eloise) who sold minny books.

The thing that makes her stand out, however, was her vocal arranging skills. This Youtube site presents her with a large vocal group doing two numbers. The interesting thing is how she uses different combinations of voices during the songs. Similar to the manner band arrangers would use different sections (reeds, brass, etc.) to color their arrangements. The last part is an early TV production number. Supposedly, she invented the approach. I never cared much for these kind of numbers myself, but....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgrCCc12sFc

The clip is from the 1937 Republic production of MANHATTAN MERRY-GO-ROUND. I'd love to see this film someday. Good grief, it's got Cab Calloway, Joe DiMaggio, Louis Prima, Gene Autry and... Stanley Blystone!!
"Nov Shmoz Ka Pop."
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