The Dells were one of the few groups that rode the transition from doo wop to smooth soul without missing a beat and without falling off the charts. Just as remarkably, the group did so without declining much in quality, as Hip-O's definitive double-disc Anthology proves. Throughout these 36 tracks, the music changes, from street-corner R&B to string-drenched disco-soul, but in all their incarnations, the Dells always sound wonderful. There are a handful of minor hits missing, but all the big singles -- including both the Vee-Jay and Cadet versions of "Oh, What a Nite" and "Stay in My Corner" -- are here, assembled chronologically. As such, it tells an epic story of a group whose history mirrored the story of R&B vocal groups from the '50s through the '70s. The latter-day material may pale somewhat in comparison to the band's early classics, but it holds up well against other '70s soul. The final cut, the group's surprise 1991 hit "A Heart Is a House for Love" -- their contribution to Robert Townsend's The Five Heartbeats, which was a loose tribute to the Dells themselves -- illustrates that the group sounded terrific well into their third decade of performing, which is a true sign of greatness. Anthology is a testament to their greatness, offering solid proof that they were one of the greatest vocal R&B groups of their time.