Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Ames Brothers

I’m not so much into vocal quartets. Well I like the Four Tops, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about those annoying MOR groups that were so popular in the 50s, like the Four Aces, and The Four Coins, and The Four Preps, The Four Lads, The Four Dorks.

But I like The Ames Brothers. They were actually brothers (Ed, Gene, Joe, & Vic) and they not only sang really nice harmonies (the kind that I think only siblings can pull off, cf The Everley Brothers, Kate & Anna McGarrigle), but they sang it like they meant it. That’s not easy to do in 4 part harmony.

They had 20 top 100 singles between 1955 and 1960, and I have this double album, called All Their Greatest Hits, but only 4 of the 20 songs are on it. To be fair, many of the tracks here were hits prior to 1955, but my book starts in 1955, so that’s the best I can do.

Now I’m fairly certain that I picked this up at Pyramid Records; I’m not sure, but I don’t remember getting anywhere else, and Pyramid is the default. I think I spent more hours there, and picked up more stuff, than in all the other places combined. It would have been in their 4th location, and that was on the south side of Portage Avenue between Edmonton and Kennedy, and I would say that they were there from 1988 or 89 until 93. It was the perfect spot for me because it was exactly where I changed buses on the way home from work.

Ok, there was no such group as The Four Dorks.

The Ames Brothers:

Rag Mop – This was a biggie and it was from 1950. They sing R-A-G-G M-O-P-P but the song the song title is just rag mop. I guess the correct spelling wouldn’t have fit the rhythm so well…
Did You Ever Get The Roses – Well the Ames Brothers had a fight with their girlfriend, and so they sent roses next day, but I don’t think it helped, because they never heard from her again. This song makes me sad.
Heartaches – A standard written by Hoffman / Clenner in 1931. There were tons of versions of this, and The Marcels put this on the chart, a follow-up to “Blue Moon” in the early 60s.
The Naughty Lady Of Shady Lane – a “novelty” song. Love those novelty songs. The lady was a baby. Now you know the punch line.
Harbor Lights – There are tons of version of this one too. And it was a hit by The Platters.
Heart And Soul – Yet another standard, this one by Hoagy Carmichael and Frank Loesser. There was a doo-wop hit version by The Cleftones, and Jan &
Dean put a similar arrangement into the top 100 also.
Por Favor
The Man With The Banjo – Music about music.
I’ll Never Smile Again
A Fine Romance – I have another version of the by Ella Fitzgerald
Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby – by Louis Jordan, I’m not sure that is the best material for The Ames Brothers
Stella By Starlight – Yet another one with hundreds of recordings, the one I know best is by Ray Charles
Seventeen – We’ve heard this by The Fontane Sisters, and we will hear it again by Boyd Bennett & His Rockets
Count Every Star
Pussy Cat – from the fall of ‘58
The Game Of Love – Not The Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders song
Loch Lomond – The Ames Brothers were decidedly not Scottish
My Bonnie Lassie – Ditto, but they sure sing this beautifully
To Each His Own – We have heard this by The Ink Spots, and we will hear it again by The Platters
Melodie d’Amour – Not to be confused with “Melody Of Love” or “Chanson d’Amour,” this was a top ten hit in the autumn of 1957.
No One But You In My Heart
It Only Hurts For A Little While
Around The World – A hit for Bing Crosby, for Mantovani, and for Victor Young
Can Anyone Explain
Sentimental Me – Me too.
Two Sleepy People – This is sweet.
Hit The Road To Dreamsville
You, You, You – An early hit for the group
Moments To Remember – A big one for The Four Lads in 1956

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