February 17, 2012

Billy Williams Quartet - unbeknownst precursors to Doo-Wop.

Probably one of the most influential singing groups of the 1930's and 1940's were The Charioteers, whose tight harmonies and luxurious ballads made them a household name to millions before their eventual demise in 1950.

But all was not lost when The Charioteers went their separate ways. Their lead singer Billy Williams formed a vocal quartet which proved to be as influential to the coming genre of Doo-Wop as they were influential in the realm of Jazz singing since their beginnings in 1930.

Williams as a soloist scored a massive hit in 1957 when he did I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter. The record sold well over a million copies and is still occasionally heard via the numerous reissues that track has appeared on over the years.

Tonight it's a track they recorded during their transitional period when they were signed to Mercury Records in 1952. I Don't Know Why (I just do) is a standard, but in the hands of Billy Williams and his cohorts, the song takes on a new meaning and lays the groundwork for what will become the Doo-Wop genre.

Sadly, this song didn't chart at all and, aside from it's nod to a style not yet set in stone, it gives an indication of just where things were headed.

Well Pop music was fickle back then - come to think of it, it's fickle now too.

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