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The Solitaires


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From Harlem, New York, USA, the Solitaires, like no other vocal group of the 50s, sang lushly harmonized doo-wop with a dreamy romantic feeling, and rank as one of the great groups of the 50s. Formed in 1953, the group originally comprised veterans of the doo-wop scene and consisted of lead Herman Curtis (ex-Vocaleers), tenor Buzzy Willis and bass Pat Gaston (both ex-Crows), tenor/guitarist Monte Owens and baritone Bobby Baylor (both of whom had recorded with the Mellomoods), and pianist Bobby Williams. They signed with Hy Weiss’ Old Town label in 1954, and with Curtis’ haunting falsetto on ‘Wonder Why’, ‘Blue Valentine’, ‘Please Remember My Heart’ and ‘I Don’t Stand A Ghost Of A Chance’, the group quickly established themselves locally, if not nationally. Their deep, yet crisp and clean, R&B sound set a standard for other groups. Curtis left in 1955 and, with the wonderfully flavourful tenor of new recruit Milton Love, the group entered their most commercially successful period. With such great records as ‘The Wedding’ (1955), ‘The Angels Sang’ (1956), ‘You’ve Sin’ (1956) and ‘Walking Along’ (1957), the latter covered by the Diamonds, they became a rock ‘n’ roll phenomenon. By the time the Solitaires left Old Town in 1960, however, they had metamorphosed into a Coasters -sounding group, and by the time of their last recording in 1964 personnel changes had left little that was recognizable from the classic group.




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