A straight $1000. That's what the latest edition of Jeff Kreiter's Group Collector's Record Price Guide (indispensable for all real doo wop fans) reckons it would take to amass the 45s featured on DOOTONE DOO WOP VOLUME 3. But even that wouldn't get you the seven unreleased songs and one of the later LP tracks that are also featured on this CD, the third helping of great vocal group sounds from Dootsie Williams' Dootone label.
This compilation contrasts several of Dootsie's later group recordings of the early 60s against the mainstream doo wop sounds from 1955-58. Featured from the early years are the label's stalwarts, the Penguins and the Medallions, along with tracks from the Fascinators and Eli & the Manhattans. The rarest tracks on the compilation, by the way, are the Dootones'Teller of Fortune and the Pipes, who are represented by Be Fair and I Love The Life I Live, both of which are $200 45s if you could but get you hands on them. The early 60s groups are represented by Charles McCullough and the Silks, the Creators and the Crusaders.
Strongly featured on this collection are the Cuff Links, (the Guided Missiles' team whose major hit is to be found on Vol 1), a group that's special in at least a couple of ways. First of all, as Jim Dawson relates in his notes to the CD, the group suffered the indignity of seeing another group with a differently spelled, but similar, name (the Kuf-linx on the Challenge label) have a hit with the song So Tough, itself a cover of the song first done by the Original Casuals on Backbeat. Dootsie Williams then released his own version of the song with the group's name spelled as the Cufflinx, but no success to match that of the Guided Missiles was to come his way. They're also special because they probably hold the record for the largest number of variations of a group name - theirs is spelled slightly differently on almost every release on the Dootone label!
Amongst the previously unreleased tunes on this compilation are some by the Dootones and the Fabulous Pearls, but my favourite is a version of The Cause Of A Bad Romance by the Debonaires. We'll be featuring their released version of this song in the up-coming Best of Combo Doo Wop Groups series and anyone who might have Combo pictures and/or memorabilia that could be used in the series is requested to get in touch (we would be grateful if you wouldn't send anything in on spec). There should be something for every vocal group fan on this CD, including one well-known UK reviewer's favourite Dootone record - Willie Headen & the Birds Back Home Again, a track which he simply couldn't understand why we hadn't put it on either of the two previous volumes in this series (Ace CDCHD 579 and 588). Next time out for groups from the Dootone label may well be a gospel collection, if we can but only track down some of the missing gems!
by Peter Gibbon