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Ghost Canyon

Title - 'The Dooleys' / 'The Chosen Few'
Artist - The Dooleys

I don't quite know why I've loved The Dooleys for so long, in truth, but I do know that their music has always made me smile. The Dooleys were a British pop group that was primarily comprised of entirely siblings from said same Dooley family. Indeed, at their chart busting peak The Dooleys actually consisted of no fewer than eight (8) band members, with an extraordinary six (6) of them being from the family!

Successfully running the chart gauntlet between 1977 and 1981, The Dooleys and their fun-filled, toe-tapping, and lyrically pop-easy UK chart hits were running the show. Top 10 hits included the brilliant, and chorus infectious 'Wanted,' 'Love of My Life' and another of-its-day pop classic, 'The Chosen Few.'

Released by Cherry Red Records (UK), we now have a wonderful double feature of The Dooleys music with The Dooleys / The Chosen Few being an impressive 31 track double CD that features the first two albums from the family pop outfit.

First up and we get their debut self-titled album, The Dooleys. Originally released on GTO Records in 1978, it featured: Jim Dooley - vocals; Anne Dooley - vocals; Kathy Dooley - vocals; John Dooley - Guitar and vocals; Frank Dooley - Guitar and vocals; and non-siblings Bob Walsh - Bass guitar and Alan Bogan - Drums.

We begin this Dooleys trip down memory lane with with one of their Top 20 hits, 'Love of My Life,' before heading into the Doctor-prescribed 'Absolutely Wild Over You' and the pop fun of 'Don't Let Me Be The Last To Know.' Next is 'A Rose Has To Die,' which actually has its very own back story, because despite three hit singles coming off this debut it still failed to chart. So, after its release, another single was taken from it, the aforementioned 'A Rose Has To Die,' which then became a Top 20 success of its own, peaking at #11.

The truly ABBAesque ballad 'Better Off Without You' is next, and is backed by both 'Hands Across the Sea' and another Top 20 hit single, 'Think I'm Gonna Fall in Love with You.' 'Stone Walls' then gives way to the gentle flow of harmonies of 'What's Gonna Happen To Our Love' and then the finger snapping, hip swaying fun of 'You Make My Heart Beat Faster.' The original album is then brought to a close with the delicate 'Forever' and them, finally, 'Don't Take It Lyin' Down.'

The three bonus tracks on here are a pure delight for a fan like me that has never heard of them before. Sure, they might have made the rounds back then, or subsequently on some foreign compilation, but tracks such as the mid-tempo trio of 'Goodbye Hallelujah Island,' 'Only You Can Get Me By,' and the male-led 'Hungry For Love' are still just a joy to listen to today.

Indeed, soon after the release of the album, the group's younger sister, Helen Dooley joined the line-up, after having contributed to the writing of one of this album's tracks, 'Forever.'

Next up is excellent album, The Chosen Few. Originally released on GTO Records in 1979, it featured: Jim Dooley - vocals; Anne Dooley - vocals; Kathy Dooley - vocals; John Dooley - Guitar and vocals; Frank Dooley - Guitar and vocals; Helen Dooley - Keyboards and vocals; and non-siblings Bob Walsh - Bass guitar and Alan Bogan - Drums.

The album, which was actually released AFTER their "hits" compilation, The Best of The Dooleys, was now their third release. Funnily enough, that "hits" album - which included their five top 30 singles up to that point - went on to become The Dooleys' biggest-selling album, peaking at #6 in the UK.

Moving on, and The Chosen Few showed that The Dooleys could definitely continue onwards and up(wards) the UK charts, as it brought us hit singles such as the title track and the mega addictive dance floor smash, 'Wanted.' Both were Top 10 hits and from what I can recall at the time should have been chart toppers. The album begins with the title track, 'The Chosen Few,' which went on to reach #7 in the UK Singles Chart, making this (unknowingly at the time, of course) the peak of the group's career.

The, quite literally, finger-snapping 'Whispers' is next, and is backed by both 'One Kiss Away' and the laid back harmonies of 'Don't Turn the Feeling Down.' Led by Jim Dooley, 'If I Didn't Know You Better' is a sweet, albeit bitter love song, with the Anne Dooley-led 'Love' along thereafter. The full on Dooleys express gets into full dance floor effect on 'Growing Pains,' which is backed by the spacey romantic vibe of 'You Bring Out the Best In Me.' The original album is then rounded out by piano-fused 'Let's Make Believe,' the brilliant (but why buried so far in the track listing) hit single, 'Wanted,' and then, finally, the rare guitar-led 'Now That the Party Is Over.'

The pop bounce of 'A Million To One's is the first of the four bonus tracks, and another delightful gem of a find. Why it wasn't included on the original album is beyond me as it is a top class track, for sure. 'Honey I'm Lost' is another great cut, and that is backed by Ann Dooley's delicate, oh so beautiful vocals on the ballad 'I Dedicate My Life,' with the album coming to a final close on Jim Dooley's gentle rag time throwback vocals on 'Movie Stars (& Comic Book Heroes).'

Sadly, and weirdly to me still today - given the success of this band at the time - The Chosen Few only managed to reach #56 on the UK Albums Chart of that year. That said, it was still a major improvement on the group's previous studio album, their debut, which didn't even bother to chart the previous year, of course! In 1980 they released Full House, which charted at its peak at #54, but subsequent albums such as both Secrets (1981) and In Car Stereo (1983) - both released now by R 'n' R Records - failed to chart either.

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