Vocal groups hold a unique place in the history of soul and ensembles like The Miracles, The Temptations, The Impressions, The Dells and The Drifters are rightly revered by serious soul collectors. Though some may argue, it’s generally accepted that the mid sixties was the high water mark for soul vocal groups. Then, the aforementioned groups (and countless others) were flying high and scaling the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. A wonderful, new 3 CD, 90 track collection from Fantastic Voyage Records look at the roots of that magical period as it highlights vocal groups in the years 1961/1962 – just as the doo-wop sounds of the late fifties were morphing into the melodies of sweet soul.

‘DOO-WOP REVIVAL; R&B VOCAL GROUP SOUND 1961- 1962’ is out now and features a litany of big, big soul names – amongst them The Drifters, The Coasters, The Platters, The Miracles, The Temptations, The Valentinos, Gladys Knight and the Pips, The Isley Brothers and The Impressions who are represented by their still haunting ‘Gypsy Woman. Hear all these classic groups working to perfect their soon-to-be signature sounds.

There are plenty of gems too from lesser known names, all striving and hoping to emulate the heroes they watched at venues like the Apollo, The Fox and the Twenty Grand. Enjoy stuff like ‘What Will I Tell My Heart’ from the Harptones, ‘To Be Loved’ from the Pentagons and ‘Hold Back The Tears’ from the Delacardos.

Serious soul collectors will find lots to love here. Amongst the real highlights are ‘I’ll Try Something New’ (one of Smokey’s sweetest ever ballads); Blue Moon’ from the Marcels (odd, of course, but impossible not to love) and ‘That’s What Girls Are Made For’ from the Spinners (a song and arrangement sitting right on the cusp of soul and doo-wop; it perfectly captures the mood of the collection).