For Collectors Only
A 40-song overview of the Crests, one of R&B's first integrated groups (lead vocalist Johnny Maestro is white). Though racially mixed, listeners were never conscious of that when listening to their music because Maestro's feel for doo wop was genuine. His leads were as extraordinary as any in the business. Not an original member, Maestro joined when they debuted on Joyce Records in 1957 as a quintet with Patricia Vandross (Luther Vandross' older sister); Vandross left before the Coed recordings, reducing the Crests to quartet. Prior to the Crests, Maestro sang with Tony Orlando in another integrated group. The 40 tracks are almost a complete discography of their glory years on Coed Records from 1958 to 1961, and the tunes aren't in chronological order. Their most noted singles -- "16 Candles," "Six Nights a Week," and "The Angels Listened In" -- are here, along with stimulating remakes like "Earth Angel" and "I Remember (In the Still of the Night)." Their final Coed recording is missing, which makes the "for collectors only" tag dubious. (Nothing before the Joyce sides or after Coed made this collection either.) Maestro left after Coed, but some members regrouped and recorded on Selma and Trans Atlantic Records. Maestro failed as a solo artist and as Johnny Maestro & the Crests on Parkway Records with the Tymes backing him, before happier times with Brooklyn Bridge.