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Fontane Sisters

 Fontane Sisters

Female Vocal Jazz Trio from United States.

The line-up of this close-harmony 50s US vocal group, whose initial success was achieved by making cover versions of black R&B records, comprised Marge Rosse (New Milford, New Jersey, USA; lead), Bea Rosse (b. New Milford, New Jersey, USA; low harmony) and Geri Rosse (b. New Milford, New Jersey, USA; harmony). Their mother was a choral director and organist. After leaving high school they joined an all-girl troupe and went on an eight-month tour. Later, they were joined by their brother Frank on guitar, and appeared on radio and in theatres and clubs. After Frank was killed in World War II, the girls re-formed in 1944 as a trio and worked for several years on Perry Como's radio and television shows; they also backed him on several records, including the US number 1 hits 'You're Adorable' and 'Hoop-Dee-Doo'. Signed to RCA - Victor Records in 1949, they had several minor hits in the early 50s, including 'Tennessee Waltz', 'Let Me In' (with Texas Jim Robertson) and 'Cold, Cold Heart'.

In 1954 the group switched to Dot Records, a label that specialized in making cover versions of established hits, and came under the influence of Dot's musical director, Billy Vaughn, who, with his orchestra, provided the backing for most of their successful records. Early that year, they made the US charts with 'Happy Days And Lonely Nights', a 1929 song by Fred Fisher and Billy Rose, and in December 1954 they went to number 1 with 'Hearts Of Stone'. The original version was the debut disc of the R&B Cincinnati group Otis Williams And The Charms. Other successful cover versions of black artists' records included 'Rock Love', 'Rollin' Stone' (original by the Marigolds) and 'Eddie My Love' (originally by the Teen Queens). Other 'white' cover versions included Boyd Bennett And His Rockets' 'Seventeen', which the Fontanes took to number 3 in the US chart, and 'Daddy-O', a song said to have been inspired by a character in the 1955 movie Blackboard Jungle, and which was originally a US Top 20 hit for Bonnie Lou. The Fontanes' 1957 version of 'Banana Boat Song' also made the Top 20, but was prevented from rising higher by a version by the Tarriers; another version, by Steve Lawrence, was his first chart entry. By the late 50s, with more and more black artists reaching the charts themselves, the Fontanes faded from their position as one of the top girl groups of the 50s. Their last two hits, 'Chanson D'Amour' and 'Jealous Heart', came in 1958.


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Fontane Sisters : Till Then

Review: It was the mid-1950s, the early days of Rock and Roll, Bill Haley & the Comets, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis were exploding on the charts. The Fontane Sisters, backed by a skilled combo of rock musicians led by Billy Vaughn, was one of the few acts to transition successfully into the new energy-charged medium. First singing backup with Perry Como on a number of popular hits, were offered their own contract with RCA based on that success. In the early 50s they recorded some novelty songs like "If I knew you were comin' I'd've Baked A Cake," and country songs like "The Tennessee Waltz," "Walkin' The Floor Over You," "Cold, Cold Heart" and "Handsome Stranger" with the Sons of the Pioneers. "Till Then" in 1954 was their last recording for RCA, and they really hit their stride on Dot Records, with a cover of The Charms' "Hearts of Stone," which was #1 on the charts for 3 weeks. A succession of major hit records, many of them covers from the rhythm and blues charts dominated the airwaves and jukeboxes throughout the remainder of the 50s, the Sisters fading from view in the new decade. Some more favorites are "Mexican Joe," "Mississippi Mud," "Makin' Like a Train," "the Popcorn Song" (featuring Howdy Doody), "Alabama Jubilee," "The Cinderella Work Song," "The Fortune Teller Song," "The Bumpity Bus," "Down Home Rag," "The Turtle Song" "I Get the Blues When It Rains," and "Rhumba Boogie," but we could go on. There are 60, all band-accompanied songs on this 2 CD set, silly, schmaltzy, country, rock, pop, blues-it all adds up to tremendous fun stuff from the crazy 1950s! Extensive, interesting liner notes with pix and history.

Songlist: Till Then, The Baion, Cold, Cold, Heart, Handsome Stranger, Grasshopper Heart, Can't We Talk It Over, Three Little Rings, Down Home Rag, The Turtle Song, I'm A Little Cuckoo, Moon - June - Spoon, If You Would Only Be Mine, Rhumba Boogie, Silver Bells, Jing - A - Ling Jing - A - Ling, I Guess I'll Have To Dream The Rest, The Fifth Wheel On The Wagon, The Fortune Teller Song, There's Doubt I My Mind, Winter's Here Again, That Lonesome Road, I Didn't Know What Time It Was, Kissing Bridge, Makin' Like A Train, What Did I Do, Bouncy Bouncy Bally, Hurry Home To Me, Walkin' The Floor Over You, Grand Central Station, I Grabbed For The Engine, and more

7476c | 2 CDs | $19.98 | Accompanied Female Vintage CDs

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