MP3 Speedo and the Cadillacs - Mr. Lucky
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11 MP3 Songs
ROCK: 50's Rock, ROCK: Rockabilly
The Cadillacs were one of the premier African American rhythm and blues vocal groups of the 1950s, singing a style of music later known as doo-wop. They were one of the first vocal groups to use elaborate choreography in their stage shows.
Doo-wop was born on the streets of urban America, and the Harlem section of New York is where the Cadillacs got their start in 1953. Originally called the Carnations, the group included lead tenor Earl "Speedo" Carroll and bass Bobby Phillips. Though many other group members would come and go, these two would prove to be the most recognizable and enduring voices in the Cadillacs sound.
At a local talent show they were discovered by fellow singer Lover Patterson who brought them to Esther Navarro, a secretary at the Shaw Booking Agency. Soon they were calling themselves the Cadillacs, the first of many car-name groups. Navarro got them a record deal with the Josie label where they made their most famous recordings: "Gloria" in 1954 and "Speedo" in 1955 - both now rock and roll standards.
But it is the group's collaboration with choreographer Cholly Atkins that would guarantee their spot in rock and roll history. Atkins molded the Cadillacs into one of the great singing and dancing, rhythm & blues acts of the 1950s, a legacy that would live on in Atkins work with Motown acts like the Temptations. The Cadillacs just put on a great show. They wore sensational costumes and every line of their songs was synched with the appropriate dance steps. Led by Earl Carroll with his straw hat and cane, the group always brought down the house their show-stopping, jump-blues number "Speedo."
In 1961 Earl Carroll got an offer to join The Coasters. He accepted and, for the next twenty years, recorded and toured with the legendary Atlantic Records act. Bobby Phillips spent that time occasionally performing with the remaining members of the Cadillacs, and the two would meet up from time to time on the oldies circuit. It was this renewed interest in the music of the 1950s that eventually led Carroll to leave the Coasters and join Phillips to reform the Cadillacs in the early 1980s.
Since that time the group has performed all across the United States and Europe and has garnered many accolades, including the 1996 Rhythm and Blues Foundation Pioneer Award. Most importantly, Speedo and the Cadillacs, now including baritone Gary K. Lewis and musical director John Michael Hersey, still put on a great rock and roll show with the energy, flash and finesse that has become synonymous with their name.
With their latest album, "Mr. Lucky," the Cadillacs show that they can still make a great record as well. The Cadillacs have recorded 11 new original songs in rhythm & blues, rock and roll and doo-wop styles. Their voices, like those of the best mature jazz and blues singers, resonate with soul and experience. Their "vocal choreography," as Cholly Atkins called it, has roots that reach back deep, even beyond the 1950s, into this country's cultural heritage. Hearing this record and seeing this group perform is like witnessing American musical history.
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