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A Lovely Way To Spend An Evening: Ace Collects The Innocents’ “Reprise, Decca, Warner Bros. and A&M Recordings”

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The Innocents - Ace

Ace Records has recently given a classic vocal group its due with the release of The Innocents’ Classic Innocents: The Reprise, Decca, Warner Bros. and A&M Recordings…Plus More.  Drawing from the vaults of all of those labels, the new 28-track collection premieres 12 previously unissued tracks from the California doo-wop trio best-known for “Honest I Do,” “Gee Whiz,” and “A Thousand Stars,” the latter with Kathy Young.  The non-chronologically-sequenced new anthology is a belated follow-up to Ace’s 1992 The Complete Indigo Recordings, which compiled the group’s earliest material.

The Innocents formed in Sun Valley, California out of the remains of junior high school vocal group The Emeralds.  Darron Stankey had sung in The Emeralds with Frank Zworkin, Wayne Edwards and Larry Tamblyn (brother of actor Russ), his fellow members of car club The Innocents.   When The Emeralds drifted apart, Stankey joined with two of his other car club pals, Al Candelaria and Larry New, to form The Echoes.  Soon, Jim West was singing with the group, too, and they were working with Herb Alpert and Lou Adler at Keen Records.  The Echoes’ single “Time” b/w “Dee-Dee-Di-Oh” was released on the Andex label to little fanfare, and the group moved on sans Larry New.

The streamlined trio of lead vocalist West (first tenor), Stankey (second tenor) and Candelaria (baritone) soon crossed paths with “Hollywood Maverick” Gary Paxton and the one and only Kim Fowley.  Paxton and Fowley were riding high from their No. 1 hit “Alley-Oop,” credited to The Hollywood Argyles but actually sung by Paxton and a motley crew of friends.  Fowley took a liking to West, Stankey and Candelaria’s “Honest I Do,” which the trio had written.  Paxton and Fowley arranged for the master – with Stankey on guitar, Marshall Leib of The Teddy Bears on bass and Dean “Spider” Webb on drums – to be sold to the small Indigo Records.  The record paid off for the group now christened The Innocents after their car club.  It became a regional chart-topper in L.A. and a Top 30 hit on the Billboard 200 in 1960, and it opens Ace’s new anthology.

After the jump, we have full details on the new package plus order links and the complete track listing! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 4, 2013 at 14:32