Bear Family Records shine the spotlight on underrated artist Clyde McPhatter with this collection of his ballads. Does The Ballads of Clyde McPhatter stand up to his well-deserved reputation as one of the fathers of doo-wop?
From the first track, the gospel influences are evident, but they work perfectly alongside the more blues-flavoured elements. The mood here is velvety. The irresistible bluesy beat really draws you into many tracks, followed by McPhatter’s tantalizing voice. Many numbers have that epic vibe that is so synonymous with the doo-wop sound, the way they build to the conclusion so satisfyingly and leave you almost breathless at the close.
It is easy to see why McPhatter is considered a father of Doo-Wop, but in saying that, his influence can be felt much further afield than this, if this CD is anything to judge by.
His vocal style and the musical accompaniment are so smooth. Everything gels together with perfect balance, and yet nothing gets lost. The individual elements are obvious, without anything taking more of the spotlight than it should.
The clarity of sound is pleasing; any slight age-related issues allow the fullness of the production to stand out without encroaching on the aural experience.
A Little Something Extra…
As we have come to expect from Bear Family, this product includes an extensive 34-page booklet. It is full of a comprehensive biography with accompanying photos and session information. It makes a welcome addition to the compilation of music, enhancing the listening experience as it draws you further into McPhatter’s world than merely hearing the tracks.
- Treasure Of Love
- The Drifters feat. Clyde McPhatter – Warm Your Heart
- The Bells
- The Glory of Love
- The Clock
- The Best Man Cried
- Honest I Do
- I’m Not Worthy Of You
- Everyone’s Laughing
- Just To Hold My Hand
- Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters – The Bells Of St Mary’s
- Raining In My Heart
- Seven Days
- Rock And Cry
- I Never Knew
- When The Right Time Comes Along
- Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters – I Gotta Have You
- Without Love (There Is Nothing)
- What Am I Living For
- You’ll Be There
- I Told Myself A Lie
- C.C. Rider
- When You’re Sincere
- Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters – Love Has Joined Us Together
- (I’m Afraid) The Masquerade Is Over
- Blues Stay Away From Me
- I Make Believe
This collection of songs is a powerful representation of the legacy of a talent who was largely forgotten in his own lifetime. Yet every one of the tracks included here feels like it epitomises a genre at a moment in time.
Anyone who enjoys well-produced, impeccably performed Rhythm and Blues, Doo-Wop and smooth jazz ballads could do much worse than to pick up The Ballads of Clyde McPhatter. This is a very compelling compilation of tracks. McPhatter did indeed deserve his high reputation, and this album does his talent justice. Please do take a chance if you are undecided: fans of many genres could not help but be moved by the smooth, velvety vocal and musicianship contained within.