Seasons greeting on today’s Spin in Sunday. Tonight’s album is Doo-Wop by Dion & the Belmonts. Now this isn’t an actual studio album. It’s more of those explanation-less compilations that are thrown together in retrospect. The title suggests a rather promising idea of early Dion doo-wop hits, but what’s promised isn’t always delivered.
What little information I could find on this gem was on Eil: 1975 US 9-track LP featuring tracks previously released on ABC/Dunhill back in the mists of time.” Good enough for the kids we roll with, but from my very thin Dion knowledge, that only means one album – 1966’s Together Again (not exactly the height of doo-wop).
Dion & the Belmonts are one of those few vocal groups that are actually tolerable. Not only “tolerable” but actually really great. Doo-Wop doesn’t deliver any well-loved hits from the Bronx boys, but it does give a nice look into a lost moment in time. The Belmonts split with Dion in 1960, but reformed in 1966 for the Together Again album.
Some tracks are really nice and quite worth a listen. “Jump Back Baby” is a boogie tune worth a shake. And for a nice doo-wop feel (because that’s what the title said it was going to be), side A track 2 is “But Not For Me.” But perhaps the personal favourite is “Baby You’ve Been on My Mind,” which has strong flavours of both the vocal group’s strengths and a psychedelic taste. The final track “Loserville” is probably the most fun of the lot.
If anything, the sleeve of the album is worth salivating over. The illustration gives a nice image of early 60’s nostalgia, and it’s a shame that’s not what is printed on those grooves. Still worth the £2 that my boyfriend paid at Rat Records in Camberwell.