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The Clio Express: Talking Music - The Spaniels

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This vocal ensemble was formed in 1952 in Gary, Indiana, USA. Universally recognized as one of the great R&B vocal harmony groups of the 50s, the Spaniels’ magnificent body of work was not truly reflected in their moderate chart success. The group originally comprised Roosevelt High students James ‘Pookie’ Hudson (Thornton James Hudson, 11 June 1934, Des Moines, Iowa, USA, d. 16 January 2007, Capitol Heights, Maryland, USA; lead), Ernest Warren (first tenor), Opal Courtney (baritone), Willis C. Jackson (baritone) and Gerald Gregory (b. 1934, Gary, Indiana, USA, d. 12 February 1999, Gary, Indiana, USA; bass). In 1953 the quintet enjoyed an R&B Top 10 hit with ‘Baby, It’s You’, but the following year achieved their biggest success when ‘Goodnight Sweetheart, Goodnight’ reached the US pop Top 30 despite competition from an opportunistic pop-style version by the McGuire Sisters. The Spaniels’ delicate doo-wop harmonies turned this ballad into one of the era’s best-loved performances, with the song’s emotional pull outweighing its intrinsic simplicity.  It's gonna be a great conversation.

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