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Doo Wop 50, Volumes One & Two


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Product Details

  • Actors: Jerry Butler, Vito Balsamo, The Cadillacs, The Capris, Zeke Carey
  • Directors: George Veras
  • Producers: Deborah Acklin, Henry J. DeLuca, T.J. Lubinsky
  • Format: Black & White, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Rhino / Wea
  • DVD Release Date: September 26, 2000
  • Run Time: 170 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004Z36V
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #143,722 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Doo Wop 50, Volumes One & Two" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Previously unavailable interviews with Gene Chandler (Dukays), Johnny Maestro, Norman Wright (Del Vikings), and Nick Santo (The Capris)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Taped during a 1999 tribute in Pittsburgh, this straightforward, live review honors rock 'n' roll's '50s and early '60s legacy of vocal groups. For oldies fans hoping to bask in nostalgia, the caliber of the hits and the inclusion of most of the groups originally associated with the recorded hits make Doo Wop at 50 a satisfying stroll down memory lane. In light of the focal importance of the songs, rather than the singers, for the majority of listeners the program's choice of material will be sufficient reason to watch, as underscored by the success of PBS's broadcast of the complete concert.

Veteran soul stylist Jerry Butler, who hosts the show, is himself a legitimate bridge between the street corner symphonies of the '50s and the more sophisticated urban pop and soul that succeeded them. Butler shepherds a lineup including current editions of the Platters, the Del-Vikings, Jimmy Beaumont and the Skyliners, the Penguins, the Cadillacs, the Moonglows, the Flamingos, and other fondly remembered groups. A competent if not exactly inspired revue band accompanies all the acts, taped performing on a set decorated with oversized portraits of '50s icons like James Dean and Marilyn Monroe, with a few vintage hot rods parked alongside to hammer home the nostalgic thrust of the night.

More impassioned doo-wop fans and rock historians, however, will be a tougher sell. If the groups indeed carry the names associated with the hits, many feature reconstituted lineups with few of the members actually heard on the original singles, a practice that can be traced back to the '60s (as with the Platters). Alternatively, more authentic lineups, like The Marcels (heard performing their galloping version of "Blue Moon" for the first time in decades), reflect their advancing years in rough vocal edges or arrangements transposed to lower keys. Given the show's inspiration (Rhino's exemplary Doo Wop Box anthologies, which unearthed both big hits and forgotten gems and placed the music and performers in a rich historical context), it would have been intriguing to provide some documentary context. --Sam Sutherland

Customer Reviews

Excellent music from the 50's.
William B
The tape transcends these things, though, and the lower points have the ironic effect of making the good stuff seem even better.
Lawrence Curcio
I will buy the 51 concert when it is on DVD.
Clifford A. Hedgepeth

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

92 of 94 people found the following review helpful By Lawrence Curcio on April 21, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
Some background on this tape, made in Pittsburgh, by a resident: It seems that some time back, the local PBS station had a Doo Wop show for its fund drive. The most return anyone had hoped for was on the order of $10,000, but Doo Wop pulled in 11 times that. The producer of the show, a remarkably young fellow named T. J. Lubinsky, must have received the green light to produce more Doo Wop stuff, and to distribute it nationally to PBS stations wishing to broaden their contributing demographic. Lubinsky did an admirable job. Whereas the first attempt had consisted of some (variably engineered) in-studio stuff, and some borrowed video, subsequent shows were staged in a grand theater (The Benedum Center), which was required to house a good portion of Pittsburgh's ample aging, Doo Wop-loving population.
Some of the voices on the tape have, of course, faded. More remarkable are the ones that have not. On this score, Johnny Maestro stands out. He delivers an impressive - nay amazing performance. Jerry Butler also delivered - but mostly as a master of ceremonies. His singing was on-key, but let's face it, he could never keep the beat very well. The Del Vikings sound just like they always did, even though they are not all there anymore. The Cleftones were wonderfully entertaining, and seemed to be having a good deal of fun. The Moonglows were excellent, even though the televised arrangements both had Harvey Fuqua as lead singer. Harvey is great as a songwriter and as a manager, but he is far from the group's strongest voice. Fuqua came through, though, and the group's signature blow harmony was intact.
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41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Todd Clingan on October 4, 2000
Format: DVD
For those of you out there who enjoy the sounds of Doo Wop this DVD is for you and is certainly a keepsake for anyone who remembers that period of time or who just enjoys listening to good music. I found this musical presentation to be very good in it's own way and it seemed to have captured some fine musical moments in here worth watching such as Gene Chandler's vocal on "Duke Of Earl" and Jerry Buttler's soulfull rendering on "Your Precious Love" which were the two exciting highlights for me on this disc. This is one video presentation I think worth buying because it gathers together some of the finest performances ever assembled in one place and that it is truly a concert event that may never happen again in our lifetime. Or in any future lifetime. I found the sound quality of this DVD to be very good and the visual quality not to bad eather. So what are you waiting for? Go out and buy this.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Clifford A. Hedgepeth on December 27, 2000
Format: DVD
As several reviewers have stated, when I saw the PBS program, I had to have the DVD. I grew up with this music. So what if some of the voices have faded. After all they are at least 40 years older than when the recordings were first made.
The camera work was outstanding and all the groups looked as if they were having fun as well as captivating the audience.
Most of my favorite groups were there. The Marcells were great! As were the Cadillacs, Skyliners, and Jive 5. The Platters did a great job. We all know that Herb Reed is the only original, but he does a commendable job of keeping the sound alive.
My 8 year old granddaughter is now a Doo Wop fan.
I will buy the 51 concert when it is on DVD.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 2, 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Watching Doo Wop 50 is like sitting down and eating an old fashioned banana split or hot fudge sundae... You remember what it was like, but you'd forgotten how good it really is!!

Not only is the music still pure and simple, but the class and sophistication used to tell the tales of love lost and found makes hearing it just that much better.

Many of the groups featured on this DVD actually sound more mature and better than when they originally recorded. On the other hand, it brings a tear to your heart to hear Jimmy Beaumont struggle to pour his soul into "Since I Don't Have You."

I'm not a DVD fanatic--far from it, but I bought this one simply to hear and see many of my favorite groups perform one last time. Many of these groups will never be seen again, and it's too bad that they weren't given the forum to perform extended sets. Still, where else will you see (and hear) the Spaniels sing "Stormy Weather", the Jive Five with Earl Pitts sing "What Time Is It?", or the Marcels sing "Blue Moon"?

You don't need the DVD to hear the music--God knows you can drop into any discount store and find a compliation of most of this music; but it's worth the few extra bucks to see the creased pants, the shining shoes, the hand gestures, and the appreciation these groups have for people that love their music.

It's not grunge---it's not hip hop or country rock. It was a period of time that many can only appreciate because they've been there. Sit back and take bite out of that sundae and savor how good it is...one more time.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Jack L. Haney on September 24, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
A nice addition to anyone's musical library, especially fans of the greatest music ever-Doo Wop! Hosted by the great Jerry Butler, many groups sound as wonderful as they did 40+ years ago and many have most of the original group members. Gene Chandler gets an A+ for "Duke of Earl". Others who sounded fantastic include the Cleftones,the Jive Five,the Capris,the Penguins ("Earth Angel")and the Cadillacs performing the classic "Speedo". Johnny Maestro-formerly of the Crests and more recently with Brooklyn Bridge-brought back memories with "Sixteen Candles".The sound of this video is tops!! Warrants my first 5 Star review!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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