Cover image for Encyclopedia of rhythm & blues and doo wop vocal groups
Encyclopedia of rhythm & blues and doo wop vocal groups
Rosalsky, Mitch, 1943-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Lanham, MD : Scarecrow Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
xv, 703 pages ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library ML102.P66 R67 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Grosvenor Room-Reference-Music

On Order



A guide to rhythm and blues vocal groups, collecting information on individual groups, including their city of origin and the members of the group at the time of the group's inception. It presents trivia about individual members as well as discographies for the groups, and many rare photographs. Over 800 groups are listed alphabetically with cross-referencing which allows readers to see when individuals have performed with multiple groups.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

More than 1,000 vocal groups are documented here, from the Academics to the Zodiacs. Entries provide names of group members, a brief history, and a discography. An appendix lists performers and their groups.

Library Journal Review

After defining his parameters for inclusion in a five-page introduction, devotee Rosalsky (long a member of United in Group Harmony Association) gets down to business in this big, bountiful book--an obvious paean to the subject matter. He notes that his goal "was to gather historical data addressing rhythm and blues and doo-wop vocal groups from every resource available." Proceeding alphabetically, Rosalsky covers not only the groups but also individual members' stints with other groups. He also cites each group's geographical roots, provides brief background information, and lists available discographical information (in chronological order of output). Since R&B and doo wop have played such a pivotal role in the development of American rock and pop music, the research here goes a long way toward establishing the "genealogy" of the genres. No group is too obscure for inclusion, with well-knowns like the Five Satins and the Crests competing for space with the Altairs and the Goldentones. There's likely more information than the average "oldies"-radio listener will want, although disk jockeys and collectors of such music will find this painstaking research extremely worthwhile. This is not essential for most public libraries, but academic libraries should weigh its purchase seriously, and music libraries whose scope includes popular music should consider it essential.--David M. Turkalo, Suffolk Univ. Law Sch., Lib., Boston (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Rosalsky is a longtime collector of the genre of popular music labeled "doo-wop" (a term he shuns). The oddly placed first foreword by Dennis Ostrom perfunctorily dismisses doo-wop as "fun singing" by white Italian-American males stealing from the "serious art form" of black rhythm and blues. The author's introduction looks more seriously at the complex origin of doo-wop and explains his criteria for selection. Not intending to write a treatise on doo-wop as a musical style, he finds a certain amount of explanation necessary to clarify who is included in order "to provide the names of vocal group artists and all the groups they ever sang with." The book's lack of academic pretensions, from elementary school style to lack of documentation, indicates the intended audience: fellow collectors and enthusiasts. Although a wealth of documentation is unlikely concerning some doo-wop groups, it would have helped had Rosalsky been clear about his authorities; repeated reference to record liner notes casts doubt on the depth of his research. Nevertheless, he presents a wealth of information. Entries, alphabetical by group name, list the original personnel, their city, a brief discography in chronological order, and any other information Rosalsky could find. He emphasizes the groups themselves and supplies little discussion of important labels (e.g., Dootone), or important producers and others involved in production and promotion of the style. A bibliography and an index to song titles would have been welcome. To the extent the information can be trusted, this book belongs in any library dealing with popular music. J. Farrington; Eastman School of Music

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