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Monday, 8 May 2017

The Flamingos - The Chess Sessions

Side 1:
01. I'll Be Home
02. I Really Don't Want To Know
03. Dream Of a Lifetime
04. Ko Ko Mo
05. Whispering Stars
06. On My Merry Way
07. The Vow
08. Would I Be Crying

Side 2:
01. A Kiss From Your Lips
02. Shilly Dilly
03. Stolen Love
04. Chickie Um Bah
05. Nobody's Love
06. Chicka Boom (That's My Baby)
07. If I Could Love You
08. I Found A New Baby

Download from here:

On with the doo-wop! Chicago group The Flamingos were one of the big names of the genre with several hits on the R&B charts from 1953 onwards and even a couple of entries in the pop charts in 1959-60, their biggest hit being "I Only Have Eyes For You" which reached number 11 pop in June 1959. Other R&B chart sellers were "I'll Be Home" and "Lovers Never Say Goodbye." Sadly for The Flamingos their classic "I'll Be Home" lost out to a version by Pat Boone when it came to pop chart action with Boone's disc reaching number 4 in the pop chart in February 1956.

The Flamingos first recordings were on the Chance label with 6 discs being issued between March 1953 and October 1954. By the time of their last issue on Chance ("Blues In A Letter" / "Jump Children") they had already moved to the Parrot label which issued 3 Flamingos singles between August 1954 and January 1955. In March 1955 The Flamingos started recording for Chess subsidiary Checker and recorded their last session for that company in August 1956. Between April 1957 and May 1958 they recorded for Decca which did little to promote their material.

The group's next move to George Goldner's End label proved to be more successful, both from an artistic and a commercial viewpoint. with a more pop leaning sound generating good sales, especially on "I Only Have Eyes For You."

This collection consists of tracks recorded for Parrot (the masters were purchased by Chess) and Checker. Posts in the near future will feature some of their Chance recordings.

Original release details -

01. I'll Be Home - Checker 830, January 1956
02. I Really Don't Want To Know - Parrot 811, December 1954
03. Dream Of a Lifetime - Checker 915, January 1959
04. Ko Ko Mo - Parrot 812, January 1955
05. Whispering Stars - Checker 915, January 1959
06. On My Merry Way - Parrot 808, August 1954
07. The Vow - Checker 846, August 1956
08. Would I Be Crying - Checker 853, November 1956
09. A Kiss From Your Lips - Checker 837, April 1956
10. Shilly Dilly - Checker 846, August 1956
11. Stolen Love - Checker LP 1433, February 1959
12. Chickie Um Bah - Checker LP 1433, February 1959
13. Nobody's Love - Checker LP 1433, February 1959
14. Chicka Boom (That's My Baby) - Checker 815, April 1955
15. If I Could Love You - unreleased Parrot master, July 1954
16. I Found A New Baby - unreleased Parrot master, November 1954

Two different versions of "Dream Of A Lifetime" were recorded by The Flamingos. The first was released on Parrot 808 in August 1954. The version on this LP was released on Checker 915 in January 1959.

Checker LP 1433, "The Flamingos" was released in February 1959. It was re-released with the same cover in 1967 as Checker LP 3005, with an electronically recreated stereo version released as Checker LPS 3005:

Scan from Joan k

For the full Flamingos story click on the Marv Goldberg link:

The sleevenotes by Clive Richardson on "The Flamingos - The Chess Sessions" are also very informative.


Anonymous said...

Thanks BoogieWoody for the legendary Flamingos. Greatest Group. George-

Chi-Town said...

Thanks much BoogieWoody. Awesome hometown group.

Tony aka Pismotality said...

Great to see this! It's a very well sequenced album, and it's also worth mentioning that the Parrot tracks here are in better sound quality than on the two Golden Era of Doo Wops CDs dedicated to Parrot Records - the likelihood is that Chess acquired at least some of the Parrot masters, as I think Marv Goldberg mentions on his page. The two versions of Dream of a Lifetime you mention allow an opportunity to compare Sollie McElroy with the smoother Nate Nelson; I prefer McElroy's less smooth, more convincingly "acted", performance. BTW Chicago doo wop expert Robert Pruter is not enamoured of their version of the country song I Really Don't Want To Know, saying it "drags"; I will dare to say he's wrong on this rare occasion.

I got a copy of this album in the late 80s, I think, but had already heard I Found a New Baby in glorious acapella in the Mitchell Theatre, of all places, when the young New Jersey group 14 Karat Soul had a one week residency there, not long after it opened, circa 1983. Wish I'd surreptitiously recorded them, because none of their studio work matched the raw excitement of their live performances.

boogiewoody said...

Thanks for your informative comment Tony. There are some great doowop articles on your Pismotality blog. Great to see you namechecking Marv Goldberg and a splendid chap whom I met in Glasgow a few years back - Matt The Cat! And the Mitchell Theatre - don't hear so much of it nowadays. Is it still going?

The two versions of Dream Of A Lifetime can be compared on YouTube folks.


Tony aka Pismotality said...

The Mitchell Theatre is still going - in fact I see there is a "Jersey Boys"-type show in April so you could argue that it's still presenting doo wop ... of a sort, anyway. Since that earlier comment I have written a series about the Flamingos' Parrot and Chance recordings - the post about Dream of a Lifetime can be found here:

boogiewoody said...

Thanks for keeping us up to date with your marvellous in depth posts about The Flamingos, Tony. I am a frequent reader of your Pismotality blog and I recommend to all readers of this blog that they take a look at the myriad treasures therein! Just leave a few hours / days aside, for a "quick look" soon turns into a prolonged session.