(2002/Universal-UK) 18 Tracks, 1959-1971! Wenige Exemplare!
It is no exaggeration to say that Clyde McPhatter was one of the most influential and innovative vocalists of the 20th Century - a fact often confirmed by such artists as Elvis Presley, Jackie Wilson and Smokey Robinson.
Clyde was born the son-of-a-preacher-man on 15 November 1932 in Durham, North Carolina. At the age of 14 he joined gospel group the Mount Lebanon Singers and in 1950 fronted Billy Ward's Dominoes, whose victory on the popular Arthur Godfrey 'Talent Scouts' radio show led to a record deal with King.
The Dominoes' single 'Sixty Minute Man', often referred to as the earliest rock'n'roil hit, was the first major R&B/Pop crossover success of the 1950's. The song's blatant lyrics caused a furore at radio. Many US stations also refused to play the group's R&B Top 10 hit 'The Bells', a funereal opus which is now regarded as a classic of the 'death disc' genre.
McPhatter's distinctive and dramatic tenor was unique and his gospel driven delivery influenced and inspired hundreds of performers who followed in his wake. The teenage Elvis Presley loved The Dominoes - and made a point of seeing them every time they played Memphis. He later told the press how much he admired McPhatter and wished his voice had been more like Clyde's.
In 1953, McPhatter left The Dominoes to form The Drifters. Their first two releases on Atlantic, 'Money Honey' and 'Such A Night' (both covered by Elvis) also broke new ground. Unlike other love songs, the former made it clear that as far as Clyde was concerned "money can buy you love", while the lafter shocked millions with its bluntness - it was clear that Clyde did more than dance all night. Even Johnnie Ray's tamed down, chart topping cover of 'Such A Night' ran into trouble at radio stations. However, teenagers loved the Drifters' double-entendre discs that their parents considered to be "the devil's music'.
Clyde was drafted into the Army in 1954 and when he was demobbed in 1956 rejoined Atlantic as a solo artist and amassed several more best sellers including the original version of 'Without Love' a song later revived by Tom Jones. In 1959 he signed a lucrative $60,000 one year deal with MGM and this set includes four singles from that time including 'Let's Try Again', which took him back into the Top 20.
During the late 1950s he toured the US with all the major Rock'n'Roll headliners including Bill Haley,
Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Everly Brothers, Fats Domino and even Cliff Richard. Clyde first visited the
UK in 1960 to promote 'Think Me A Kiss'. He opened a package show which also featured Bobby Darin
and Duane Eddy and that single only narrowly missed the chart. McPhatter then joined Mercury and
with the help of top A&R man Clyde Otis had a long string of US best sellers including 'I Never Knew',
`Little Bitty Pretty One' and the million sellers °la Ta' and 'Lover Please' - the latter successfully
covered in the UK by the Vernons Girls.
In 1968, Clyde briefly re-located to the UK and recorded several standout sides, the best being 'Only
A Fool' on Deram. Sadly, Clyde died from a heart attack in 1972 at the age of 39, his
last recordings having re-united him with Clyde Otis at US Decca: the cream of those being the soulful
`Book Of Memories'.
This unique chronological collection features the original recordings of his MGM, Mercury,
Deram and Decca tracks alongside noteworthy re-recordings of earlier Dominoes and Drifters hits.
It is a fitting tribute to one of the most outstanding and original vocalists of the last fifty years.
(DAVE MCALEER - GUINNESS BOOK OF BRITISH HIT SINGLES)