Very Best of Billy Ward & Dominoes
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Future superstars Clyde McPhatter and Jackie Wilson, all of the Dominoes' Federal and King hits on one CD-what more could you ask for? Includes their R&B Top 10s Sixty-Minute Man; Have Mercy Baby; Rags to Riches; The Bells; Pedal Pushin' Papa; Do Something for Me; I Am with You; I'd Be Satisfied , and more. 25 tracks!
Top customer reviews
Plenty of hits, several "B" sides and some tunes I wasn't familiar with (still good music though!)
The sound quality is excellent.
My only quibble is the lack of decent liner notes.
But the music is great...
Billy Ward was born Robert L. Williams on September 19, 1921 in Savannah, Georgia. His first group was actually called the Ques, which was later changed to the Dominoes (1950 – 1952), with Clyde McPhatter as lead vocalist. There was a name change in 1952 to Billy Ward & His Dominoes. McPhatter left in 1953 to form his own group the Drifters. He was replaced by another future superstar Jackie Wilson. He was fired by Billy Ward in 1957 and later became a R&B superstar himself. From 1957 to 1960, the lead vocalists were shared by Eugene Mumford, Milton Merle and Milton Grayson. In 1958, Milton Grayson had left, replaced by Robbie Robertson. Eugene Mumford left that year, replaced by Monroe Powell, which would later replace Sonny Turner as the lead singer for the Platters in 1970. Although there are only 12 charted singles on the Billboard R&B chart, I have painstakingly compiled a Complete Singles Discography, and, to my amazement, they have actually 50 singles from 1951 to 1966 (but only 94 songs because 2 belonged to Little Esther on b-sides and 4 were repeated). Their labels included Federal/King (1951 – 1955), Jubilee (1955), Decca (1955 – 1957), Liberty (1957 – 1959), ABC-Paramount (1960), Ro-Zan (1962) and back to King until 1966.
This CD, released by Collectables in 2008, contains 25 songs.
1 This is a decent greatest hits compilation covering the major hits.
2 The sound is average, nothing spectacular.
1 Out of 94 songs in their complete discography, only 25 songs are represented. Grossly inadequate.
2 There is a pitiful 6 page booklet, with no label & number, no chart position, and no name of lead vocalist for each song.
The Dominoes have a special place in R&B history: if they had done nothing else, they would be remembered for the wonderful music they produced. Additionally, they gave the world Clyde McPhatter and Jackie Wilson, as well as using the amazing talents of Eugene Mumford. Led by Billy Ward, they were one of the most important vocal groups of the ‘50s, taking the genre from its gospel roots through doowop and classic R&B before seeking fame in the pure pop music.
I bought this CD when I was starting to collect songs to complete my Singles Discography on the Dominoes. I also bought Sixty Minute Man (Charly), 21 Hits Volume 4 (King) and Stardust (The Final Years)(Jasmine). If you are really interested, I would highly recommend The Dominoes Collection, a 3-CD set by Acrobat label from UK, containing 88 songs. That set has the most complete and comprehensive coverage of all the singles, a and b-sdies, charted and uncharted, arranged chronologically, with great sound. (my review elsewhere). Good luck.
Where they falter, in my estimation anyway, is in presenting just four of the B-sides, while including 10 tracks [6, 15, 18 to 25] that were failed singles. Among those, however, I was happy to see the seasonal tune, Christmas In Heaven, as well as the follow-up to the smash Sixty Minute Man, Can't Do Sixty No More. Hard to figure why that one didn't chart.
When they started out the group was known simply as The Dominoes and consisted of Clyde McPhatter, Joe Lamont, Bill Brown, and Charlie White doing vocals, along with pianist Billy Ward, and early in 1951 they hit what then passed for the R&B charts with Do Something For Me, a # 6 b/w Chicken Blues.
Not a bad start, but when their next cut hit the airwaves and stores they became established as a force in the field. Sixty Minute Man, with bass Bill Brown on lead vocal, shot to # 1 R&B, stayed there for 14 solid weeks, and spent a total of 30 weeks on the charts, also reaching # 17 on the Billboard Pop charts, b/w I Can't Escape From You [one of the missing B-sides here]. By the end of that year they had their third hit with I Am With You, # 8 b/w Weeping Willow Blues.
Early in 1952, the year White and Brown were replaced by David McNeil and James Van Loan, That's What You're Doing To Me rose to # 7 b/w When The Swallows Come Back To Capistrano, followed by another huge one, Have Mercy Baby, which also made it to # 1 that summer, stayed there for 10 weeks, and spent 20 on the charts. The flipside was Deep Sea Blues, also omitted here. On all these hits, except Sixty Minute Man, Clyde McPhatter was the lead vocal.
By late 1952 the billing had changed to Billy Ward And His Dominoes, with the first hit under that title being I'd Be Satisfied, a # 8 b/w No Room [omitted]. Their first double-sided hit then came in early 1953 when The Bells, with McPhatter crying his heart out, made it to # 3, while the flipside, Pedal Pushin' Papa, had bass David McNeil doing the honours, taking it to # 4. McPhatter's last lead then came on These Foolish Things Remind Me Of You, a # 5 in June 1953 b/w Don't Leave Me This Way [omitted] before moving over to front The Drifters.
On their final two hits of 1953 the lead was taken over by the eventual R&B legend, Jackie Wilson, the first being You Can't Keep A Good Man Down [# 8 in September] b/w Where Now, Little Heart [omitted], followed by a cover of the Tony Bennett hit, Rags To Riches, which reached # 2 in December b/w Don't Thank Me [not included] on the King label [all others had been on Federal].
Three years and another label change [to Decca] would then pass before their next hit, St. Therese Of The Roses, reached # 13 Billboard Pop T100 in September 1956, still with Jackie Wilson on lead, b/w Home Is Where You Hang Your Heart, and done with Jack Pleis & His Orchestra. That ranks among the hardest of the hard-to-find hits of that era.
A year later, by which time Wilson had gone solo, they moved over to Liberty Records and took the old standard, Star Dust, to # 5 R&B [their last R&B charter] and # 12 Top 100 that summer b/w Lucinda. That was followed by another oldie, Deep Purple, which peaked at # 20 Top 100 in the fall b/w Do It Again. On both hits the lead was Eugene Mumford and the backing orchestra that of Vic Schoen, long-time collaborator with The Andrews Sisters.
Their final hit came almost one year later when Jennie Lee stalled at # 55 Top 100 in June 1958 b/w Music, Maestro, Please. All the Liberty hits and their B-sides can be found on the Varese Sarabande CD The Best Of The 50s Masters.
All in all, a very nice package from Collectables with superb sound and informative notes. Just too many B-sides omitted to make it a 5-star release.