The "5" Royales were a relatively unheralded, but significant, link between early R&B and early soul in their combination of doo wop, jump blues, and gospel styles. Their commercial success was relatively modest – they had seven Top Ten R&B hits in the 1950s, most recorded in the span of little over a year between late 1952 and late 1953. A few of their singles would prove extremely popular in cover versions by other artists, though – James Brown and Aretha Franklin tore it up with "Think," Ray Charles covered "Tell the Truth," and the Shirelles (and later the Mamas & the Papas) had pop success with "Dedicated to the One I Love." .
As the original guitarist of Stax Records house band Booker T. & The M.G.'s., Steve Cropper has had a storied career. Voted #36 on Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time, Cropper has worked with blues legends such as Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, and the Blues Brothers Band. His debut album on 429 Records is a tribute to R&B and doo wop act, The 5 Royales. The collection features reworked versions of the groups most enduring songs, and includes duets with Lucinda Williams, Bettye LaVette, John Popper, Sharon Jones, and others.
Celebrating sixty years since the launch of one of the most successful independent record labels in US Popular music. Received wisdom would have us believe that before Motown, no black-owned record company had made a significant impact on the US mainstream. However, the actuality is something else entirely. Way back in the early 50s, long before Berry Gordy had written his first song, VEE-JAY RECORDS - a black, family owned and run, Chicago-based label - was establishing itself via a steady stream of Blues, R&B, DooWop and Gospel hits.