The Orioles, The Orioles 1947-1955

Michaelangelo Matos

By Michaelangelo Matos

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Doo-wop begins here

The greatest vocal group of the era that straddled the end of the big band years and the beginning of rock & roll, the Orioles of Baltimore, led by tenor Sonny Til, revolutionized group-harmony singing by sounding utterly agonized. They were unabashed romantics, heavy on melisma and their harmonic swoops were like butter smearing in a frying pan. Their three chart-toppers ("It's Too Soon to Know" is sadly unavailable in this version of 1947-1955) are all ballads that soar and drag, so enticingly and bewitchingly that alongside their skeletal instrumentation the songs can seem outright spooky. Doo-wop begins here.