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Ghost Canyon

Title - 5 Doo-Wop Recording CDs from Coed Records
Artist - Various

For those not in the know, five collections by doo-wop groups on the influential Coed Records label will be released this year by Omnivore Recordings.

The titles include: The Rivieras (The Coed Singles), The Duprees (with two separate volumes, The Coed Singles and The Coed Albums: You Belong to Me/Have You Heard), The Crests (The Best of the Crests featuring Johnny Mastro: 16 Fabulous Hits), and Adam Wade (The Coed Albums: And Then Came Adam/Adam and Evening).

All five will be available on CD and Digital and the actual street dates for the Rivieras and the Duprees’ The Coed Singles is July 24th, 2020; street date for the Crests is July 31st; and the Duprees’ The Coed Albums and Adam Wade on August 7th.

Based in New York’s legendary Brill Building — home to pop and Tin Pan Alley songwriters and labels through the 1950s and ’60s — Coed Records was the fledgling venture of ex-big bandleader George Paxton and business partner Marvin Cane.

The two founders were more into Glenn Miller than doo-wop, but they hired a stable of R&B-savvy songwriters. And as the youngsters who dominated the record-buying public stocked up on Paul Anka, Frankie Avalon, and Ricky Nelson platters, Coed nurtured vocal groups who could handle the classic pop standards of a bygone era, yet update those chestnuts enough to appeal to a new generation of listeners.

Among the label’s biggest hits were the Crests’ '16 Candles' and the Duprees’ 'You Belong to Me' and 'Why Don’t You Believe Me,' all included in Omnivore’s reissues.

Coed thrived from its inception in 1958 until 1965 and one of its most famous employees was promotion man Jerry Moss, a future founder of A&M Records with Herb Alpert.

The Rivieras: The Coed Singles
1. 'Count Every Star'
2. 'True Love Is Hard To Find'
3. 'Moonlight Serenade'
4. 'Neither Rain Nor Snow'
5. 'Our Love' (The Rivieras with Orch. under the direction of George Paxton)
6. 'Midnight Flyer' (The Rivieras with Orch. under the direction of George Paxton)
7. 'Since I Made You Cry' (The Rivieras with George Paxton & His Orchestra)
8. '11th Hour Melody' (The Rivieras with George Paxton & His Orchestra)
9. 'Moonlight Cocktails'
10. 'Blessing Of Love'
11. 'My Friend John'
12. 'Great Big Eye'
13. 'Stay In My Heat'
14. 'Easy To Remember'
15. 'El Dorado'
16. 'Refrigerator'
17. 'My Silent Love' [Bonus Track]
18. 'Serenade In Blue' [Bonus Track]

With precise vocal harmonies and meaningful lyrics, The Rivieras grew out of late ’50s, R&B/doo-wop ensembles; they ran through the names Five Bob-O-Links, the Four Arts, and El Rivieras before settling on The Rivieras.

Purveyors of classic New Jersey doo-wop in the ballad style, they made their mark covering tunes that had been made famous by big bandleaders such as Ray Anthony and Glenn Miller.

Omnivore now brings us all of their Coed singles, plus two bonus tracks, amounting to all the released output by the group.

One of the sleeper groups of the doo-wop era, The Rivieras took pure pop songs and turned them into R&B balladry. Which wasn't exactly what Glenn Miller had in mind when he and his first came up with 'Moonlight Serenade' and 'Moonlight Cocktails,' but then Artie Shaw didn't exactly think he was telegraphing R&B when former swing saxophonist Earl Bostic turned his 'Temptation' into an early soul stomper, either!

But The Rivieras were good at locking onto a thematic formula, from the moment their version of 'Moonlight Serenade' got into the top fifty. They were also clever harmony singers, a few cuts beyond the more commercial vocal groups of the time.

They left a legacy as both a group you'd love to hear serenade you and your woman at the local dance - and the guys you want to be part of setting the mood when you hop up to Lover's Lane; if you can find them!

The Rivieras: The Coed Singles CD Official Purchase Link

The Duprees: The Coed Albums: You Belong To Me/Have You Heard

You Belong To Me
1. 'You Belong To Me'
2. 'Ginny'
3. 'Why Don't You Believe Me'
4. 'September In The Rain'
5. 'Take Me As I Am'
6. 'The Things I Love'
7. 'My Own True Love' (Tara’s Theme from Gone With The Wind)
8. 'As Time Goes By'
9. 'Let's Make Love Again'
10. 'These Foolish Things (Remind Me Of You)'
11. 'My Dearest One'
12. 'I Wish I Could Believe You'

Have You Heard (featuring Joey Vann)
1. '(It's No) Sin'
2. 'I'd Rather Be Here In Your Arms'
3. 'Exodus'
4. Yours'
5. 'I Gotta Tell Her Now'
6. 'It Isn't Fair'
7. 'Have You Heard'
8. 'Love Eyes'
9. 'Gone With The Wind'
10. 'So Little Time'
11. 'The Sand And The Sea'
12. 'Where Are You'

Signed to Coed in 1962 from a demo tape, The Duprees — some of them still teenagers upon signing — combined the sounds of big band orchestrations with harmony-heavy vocals.

Their remake of the Jo Stafford hit 'You Belong to Me' was a #7 hit in the summer of 1962 and was also their Coed debut.

They landed their second single, 'My Own True Love' (a song widely known as “Tara’s Theme” from the film Gone With the Wind), at #13.

The chart hits kept coming through the fall of 1964, when lead vocalist Joey Vann departed in an attempt at a solo career (Coed issued his debut single.)

Though the group carried on, signing to Columbia and Heritage, their heyday was at Coed. The Coed Singles features all the Duprees’ A- & B-sides for the label, while their two LPs are collected on The Coed Albums.

These guys had a sound that was similar to other Doo Wop groups but with their own unique harmony and easy to listen to voices. Their harmony is as good as any of the top groups of that era and just a step below Dion and the Belmonts.

Known more for their ballads it was certain that when one of them was played at a sock hop, the floor would be packed with slow dancers.

Every song on this two-album CD is easy to listen too. Those that you'll remember (or if you weren't around in that era, the ones that were their biggest hits) 'You Belong To Me,' 'Have You Heard,' and 'My Own True Love' are here and bring back memories of last dances.

One of my own personal favorites, 'Why Don't You Believe Me,' has the sound of a slow big band era song, but with Doo Wop harmony and performed with excellence.

The Duprees: The Coed Albums: You Belong To Me/Have You Heard CD Official Purchase Link

The Duprees: The Coed Singles

1. 'You Belong To Me' (The Duprees)
2. 'Take Me As I Am' (The Duprees)
3. 'My Own True Love' (Tara's Theme from Gone With The Wind) (The Duprees)
4. 'Ginny' (The Duprees)
5. 'I Wish I Could Believe You' (The Duprees)
6. 'I'd Rather Be Here In Your Arms' (The Duprees)
7. 'Gone With The Wind' (The Duprees)
8. 'Let's Make Love Again' (The Duprees)
9. 'I Gotta Tell Her Now' (The Duprees featuring Joey Vann)
10. 'Why Don't You believe Me' (The Duprees featuring Joey Vann)
11. 'The Things I Love' (The Duprees featuring Joey Vann)
12. 'My Dearest One' (The Duprees featuring Joey Vann)
13. 'Have You Hear' (The Duprees featuring Joey Vann)
14. 'Love Eyes' (The Duprees featuring Joey Vann)
15. '(It's No) Sin' (The Duprees featuring Joey Vann)
16. 'The Sand And The Sea' (The Duprees featuring Joey Vann)
17. 'Where Are You' (The Duprees featuring Joey Vann)
18. 'Please Let Her Know' (The Duprees featuring Joey Vann)
19. 'So Many Have Told Me' (The Duprees featuring Joey Vann)
20. 'Unbelievable' (The Duprees featuring Joey Vann)
21. 'So Little Time' (The Duprees featuring Joey Vann)
22. 'It Isn't Fair' (The Duprees featuring Joey Vann)
23. 'I'm Yours' (The Duprees featuring Joey Vann)
24. 'Wishing Ring' (The Duprees featuring Joey Vann)
25. 'Try To Remember' (Joey Vann with Artie Wayne Singers)
26. 'My Love, My Love' (Joey Vann with Artie Wayne Singers)

The Duprees: The Coed Singles CD Official Purchase Link

The Crests: The Best of the Crests featuring Johnny Mastro: 16 Fabulous Hits
1. '16 Candles'
2. 'A Year Ago'
3. 'Six Nights A Week'
4. 'Angels Listened In'
5. 'Gee (But I'd Give The World)'
6. 'Step By Step'
7. 'I Thank The Moon'
8. 'Pretty Little Angel'
9. 'Journey Of Love'
10. 'Trouble In Paradise'
11. 'Earth Angel'
12. 'Flower Of Love'
13. Always You'
14. 'If My Heart Could Write A Letter'
15. 'Molly Mae'
16. 'Isn't It Amazing'

Though there were other integrated ’50s vocal groups, The Crests demonstrated that musical and racial harmony went hand in hand.

From the liner notes by Bill Dahl: “Several integrated 1950s vocal groups preceded them, notably the Meadowlarks and Del-Vikings, but this young quartet from the lower East Side of Manhattan took the concept to the ultimate."

"Powerhouse lead singer John Mastrangelow (shortened to Mastro and then Maestro), born May 7, 1939 and of Italian-American ancestry, was joined by African American first tenor Talmadge “Tommy” Gough and bass singer J.T. Carter and second tenor Harold “Chico” Torres, who was of Puerto Rican descent. They found heavenly unity by crooning sweet doo-wop.”

One of the best groups of their day, this new collection includes their biggest hit, 'Sixteen Candles' as well as other hits like 'Trouble in Paradise,' 'The Angels Listened In' and one of my all-time Crests favorites, the excellent 'Step By Step.'

Simply put, this is just real music in a time when optimism needs to be both felt and heard and anyone listening to these songs can only ever be left with smiles on both their lips and hearts.

The Crests: The Best of the Crests featuring Johnny Mastro: 16 Fabulous Hits CD Official Purchase Link

Adam Wade: The Coed Albums: And Then Came Adam/Adam and Evening

And Then Came Adam
1. 'Tenderly'
2. 'Teller Her For Me'
3. 'Just In Time'
4. 'First Love'
5. 'Witchcraft'
6. 'So In Love'
7. 'Fascinatin'
8. 'Ruby'
9. 'A Moment Of Madness'
10. 'I Had The Craziest Dream'
11. 'I'm Wise'
12. 'Around The World'

Adam And Evening
1. 'Sleepy Time Gal'
2. 'We Kiss In A Shadow'
3. 'Polka Dots and Moonbeams'
4. 'Gloria's Theme' (from Butterfield 8)
5. 'Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry'
6. 'Canadian Sunset'
7. 'My Reverie'
8. 'I Have Dreamed'
9. 'I Couldn't Sleep A Wink Last Night'
10. 'For You'
11. 'Dreamy'
12. 'The Party's Over'

Not many singers went directly from being on the team of the world’s top polio vaccine researchers to making a string of hit records. In fact, there’s only one: Adam Wade.

Blessed with a fine-tuned set of pipes tailor-made for sustained pop success, Wade scored his first hit for Coed in late 1959 and developed into one of the label’s top stars.

From his debut album, And Then Came Adam, Wade sent two songs up the charts. 'Tell Her for Me' made it to #66, and 'Ruby' fared a little better at #58.

His follow up album, Adam and Evening, saw the song 'Gloria’s Theme' check in at #74. Though his single releases fared far better than album cuts, Wade’s albums were lush affairs with ornate arrangements and harmony-laden choruses courtesy of the Bel-Aire Singers.

Unfortunately for Wade, toward the end of 1961, his most successful year, the principals at Coed dissolved their partnership, necessitating a label switch by the singer.

The interruption blunted any momentum that Coed had been building for him. He moved over to Epic, but only hit the charts once more in 1965.

To my mind, Adam Wade is a singer in the Johnny Mathis mold who enjoyed a string of hits during the first years of the 1960's, and was a flagship artist for the Brill Building-based Coed label.

In the years before he went on to become a high-profile TV presenter and actor, Wade's music career showcases him performing across the pop spectrum, underlining that he was an incredibly versatile, and classy vocalist.

For the record, no pun intended, in 1975 he became the first African-American to host a prime-time game show called Musical Chairs which ran from June to October on CBS, followed in 1976 by a regular stint on The Sonny & Cher variety show, and in 1978 appeared for 6 months in a Las Vegas production of Guys And Dolls with an all-black cast.

Adam Wade: The Coed Albums: And Then Came Adam/Adam and Evening CD Official Purchase Link