Monday, February 2, 2015

Federal Singles – Royals


The Royals were discovered at a talent show in 1952 by Johnny Otis, who brought them to Federal Records, and even wrote the group's first single, "Every Beat of My Heart," which was released by Federal that same year. "Every Beat of My Heart" would later be a big hit for Gladys Knight & the Pips in 1961 (in an upbeat version), but The Royals' rendition failed to generate much attention, even though it had a chiming backing track and vocal harmonies that glowed with an endearing sweetness. "Heart" leads off this collection of the complete Royals singles, and is clearly one of the highlights. The group at this point featured the lead vocals of Charles Sutton, with most of this early material written by the group's guitarist and arranger Alonzo Tucker. As much doo wop as R&B, these earliest tracks, like Tucker's "Fifth Street Blues," are innocent, relaxed affairs. Everything changed, however, when original member Lawson Smith entered the U.S. Army in 1953 and was replaced by a young singer named Hank Ballard. Ballard, although still only 16-years-old, brought a rougher R&B edginess to the table, and his songs had a decided raunchy tone that changed the temper of the group. Ballard's "Get It" had some success out of the box in 1953, but it was his even more suggestive "Work with Me Annie" a year later that really put The Royals on the musical map. Well, sort of. As the single climbed the charts, The Royals changed their name to the Midnighters, and by the time "Annie" hit number one on the R&B list, that was the name on the label, making it, in essence, the final single by The Royals and the debut single by the Midnighters all rolled into one. Federal Singles collects the 45s issued by The Royals up to this transition, including "Annie" (plus an alternate take of the song), and illustrates the path the group took from sweet doo wop to double entendre-laden (and successful) R&B. (allmusic)

01  Every Beat Of My Heart
02  All Night Long
03  I Know I Love You So
04  Starting From Tonight 
05  Fifth Street Blues 
06  Moonrise-alt  take 
07  A Love In My Heart 
08  I'll Never Let Her Go 
09  What Did I Do
10  Are You Forgetting 
11  The Shrine Of St Cecilia
12  I Feel So Blue
13  Get It 
14  No It Ain't
15  I Feel That-A-Way
16  Hello Miss Fine 
17  Someone Like You
18  That's It 
19  Work With Me Annie 
20  Until I Die
21  Give It Up
22  That Woman
23  The Shrine Of St Cecilia-alt take
24  Work With Me Annie-alt take