England's Proper label issued this 100-track attempt to sum up the state of black harmony groups between 1940 and 1952. Though there's a lot of incredible music from the era, this four-disc set overly concentrates on slow ballads instead of up-tempo numbers. The first disc, "Digging the Roots," begins right where it should, with tracks by the forefathers of doo wop: the Mills Brothers and the Ink Spots. Unfortunately, instead of a swinging track like "Tiger Rag" or even "The Glow Worm," The Dawn of Doo-Wop programs the Mills Brothers' "Paper Doll" and "You Always Hurt the One You Love" and the Ink Spots' "When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano." Following hot on their heels are a variety of groups influenced by either (or both) of the above, including the Four Vagabonds, the Toppers, the Syncopaters, the Deep River Boys, and, best of all, the Ravens. Most of these are ballads too, with only a pair of good-time, up-tempo songs: "Shorty's Got to Go" by Bill Johnson & His Musical Notes and "Boogie Woogie on a Saturday Night" by Steve Gibson & the Red Caps. The second disc, "Birdland," has 25 tracks, all by "bird" groups (the Orioles, the Larks, the Swallows, the Ravens, the Robins, etc.), while the third, "Doo-Wop Dreamin'," slows the tempo even more. Finally, the set gets moving a bit on the final disc ("Doo-Wop Dancin'"), with swinging novelties from the Swallows ("It Ain't the Meat"), the Royales ("Too Much of a Little Bit"), the Dominoes ("Sixty Minute Man"), the Treniers ("Go Go Go"), and the Clovers ("Fool Fool Fool"). Fans of doo wop will undoubtedly discover many new groups on this set, but wading through all the down-tempo material is quite a chore.