The Complete Releases 1956-62
Maurice Williams with The Gladiolas and The Zodiacs
Styles: Doo Wop, R&B
Catalogue Number: ADDCD3124
The late ’50s saw the translation into mainstream pop of styles and sub-genres of popular music that had previously been the preserve of the specialist charts, and doowop was one of those phenomena. The vocal groups which emerged from the gospel scene and the barbershop quartets found a market in the popularisation of R&B, as radio, TV and mass media provided wider promotional platform in the wake of rock ‘n’ roll. This collection tells a small part of that story in encapsulating the early career of Maurice Williams as leader of the two groups of which he was a key member and songwriter, namely The Gladiolas and The Zodiacs. The Gladiolas scored a big R&B hit with their first single for Excello in 1956 with “Little Darlin’” but suffered the fate of many similar R&B artists when it was covered for the mainstream market by The Diamonds, and released several more records for Excello and other labels without success. With his group renamed The Zodiacs, Williams got a deal with Herald and their first single for the label “Stay” became one of the landmark hits of the era, as well as being, at the time, the shortest recorded to be a US No. 1. They made an album and several more singles for Herald, and this 2-CD set comprises the entirety of the two groups’ releases through that key era. It’s a snapshot of a brief, but important chart career, and an entertaining collection of quality doowop.