Tuesday, February 15, 2022

The Spaniels - Selftitled (Vee-Jay R&B US 1960)

Size: 120 MB
Bit-rate: 320
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Artwork Included
Source: Japan 24-Bit Remaster

The story of how the Spaniels came to prominence begins in late 1952, when lead singer Hudson was convinced by four of his Roosevelt High classmates -- Ernest Warren (first tenor), Opal Courtney, Jr. (baritone), Willie Jackson (second tenor), and Gerald Gregory (bass) to join them for a school talent show. 

They had debuted as Pookie Hudson and the Hudsonaires for the Christmas show and fared so well they decided to continue. Not wanting to join the bird group club (Orioles, Ravens, etc.), they decided on the name Spaniels.

In the spring, the group visited the local record shop owned by James and Vivian Bracken, who had begun developing a record label called Vee-Jay Records. They soon moved their operation to Chicago, in a garage off 47th Street (later they would relocate to offices at 1449 South Michigan Avenue). The Spaniels were one of the first two artists signed to the label (the other was blues guitarist Jimmy Reed). On May 5, 1953, the Spaniels recorded "Baby It's You," released in July. On September 5, "Baby" hit number ten on the national R&B best-seller charts.

The Spaniels' next session produced additional singles, including "Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight," which took off in March 1954, but it took about six months for the record to break nationally, charting at number five on the R&B charts. Its success prompted the McGuire Sisters to cover it for the "white" market, stealing a lot of the Spaniels' thunder when their version landed in the Top Ten (number seven).

The Spaniels' next single, "Let's Make Up," earned more for songwriter Hudson as someone else's B-side when it appeared on the flip of the Top 20 hit "The Ballad of Davy Crockett" (number 14, 1955). On June 11, 1954, the Spaniels made the first of numerous appearances at the Apollo Theatre and began touring the greater Midwest. Another single, "You Painted Pictures," reached number 13 R&B in October.

After Opal Courtney, Jr. was drafted, Vee-Jay A&R man and Spaniels producer Calvin Carter was pressed into service during their road trips for a few months until James "Dimples" Cochran took over permanently. 

Shortly thereafter, Ernest Warren was drafted and the group continued recording as a quartet. Two subsequent Spaniels singles failed to connect. Disappointed, Pookie Hudson and Willie Jackson both decided to leave the group. 

The Spaniels bravely continued on, with Carl Rainge (lead), Gerald Gregory (bass), James Cochran (baritone), and Don Porter (second tenor). This contingent lasted for only one single until Pookie rejoined.

In April 1957, Vee-Jay released the first full-length album, Goodnight, It's Time to Go. By mid-summer, the group was back to turning out terrific singles. Incidentally, around this same time Hank Ballard (of Hank Ballard & the Midnighters) had just re-written the Drifters' 1955 number two pop hit "What'cha Gonna Do" -- already a revision of an old gospel tune, "What're You Going to Do" -- and offered his rewrite, called "The Twist," to the Spaniels, but they passed on it. 

It later became a number one hit for Ernest Evans, who recorded it under the name Chubby Checker.

By 1960, the Spaniels were Hudson, Ernest Warren, Gerald Gregory, Bill Carey, and Andy McGruder (former lead of the Five Blue Notes). They recorded the group's last Vee-Jay single "I Know" in 1960; it reached number 23 R&B that summer. Meanwhile, Vee-Jay Records issued a second full-length album.

01. I Know  02:15
02. Bus Fare Home  02:39
03. One-Hundred Years From Today  02:27
04. Crazy Baby  02:11
05. Heart And Soul  02:38
06. Stormy Weather  02:30
07. Everyone's Laughing  02:52
08. Little Joe  02:33
09. The Posse  02:19
10. So Deep Within  02:48
11. Baby Sweets  02:14
12. I Lost You  02:40

Bonus Tracks
13. Goodnight, It's Time To Go (Goodnight Sweetheart, Goodnight)  02:42
14. Bounce  02:06
15. Baby It's You  02:33
16. Jesse Mae  02:28
17. Hey Sister Lizzie  02:10
18. You Painted Pictures  02:25