Ok, so if you enjoyed the clips from Doo Wop at 50, you’ll really want to buy the Doo Wop at 51 DVD. In terms of production, it’s a quantum leap from the previous year. T.J. Lubinsky and PBS learned a lot to do some really fine tuning in this 2000 production. But I’m pretty sure that most of it is a result of PBS having more financial resources to put into this show. The previous concert was such a success, that the viewers must have made some heavy contributions to their local stations.
By far, this DVD is the best in the whole series. The stage layout and lighting were perfect, and the audio quality improved tenfold. Not only that, but Lubinsky continued to have success in getting many of the original artists to perform. It’s a shame to say that I didn’t know many of the groups until I bought these DVDs, but I’m glad to have seen them for the first time in such a grand way. Hank Ballard was one of the singers that I took notice of for the first time. His performance with the Midnighters was absolutely fantastic. I actually repeated his act two or three times before watching the rest of the concert.
Yes, I did think The Lion Sleeps Tonight was a song made for Disney’s The Lion King. At least, until I watched the DVD. Little did I know that The Tokens first recorded this song in the 60’s. It was also nice to see The Dubs sing Could This Be Magic, a song which I first heard on my Happy Days LP.
The most memorable features that this DVD provides, though, are the historic encounters among the original singers of the 50’s and 60’s. You’ll see Bill Pinkey and Charlie Thomas, members of different eras of The Drifters, the four original Diamonds sing Little Darlin’ with Maurice Williams (who wrote the song) for the first time, the Teenagers sing Why Do Fools Fall In Love with Frankie Lymon’s brother, Louis, at the lead, and the best of all (in my opinion), members of the two formations of The Orioles singing the group’s biggest hit, Crying in the Chapel. This last one gives me goosebumps every time I watch it. Specially knowing that one of the formations dates as back as 1948.
Other groups featured on Doo Wop at 51 are: Jerry Butler, The Velvets, The Chiffons, The Coasters, The Crystals, Randy and The Rainbows, The Edsels, The Cadets/Jacks, Shirley Alston Reeves, The Dells, The Tymes, The Clovers, The Chiffons, The Excellents, Don and Juan, The Coasters, Mel Carter, Betty Everett, The Magnificents, The El Dorados, The Five Keys, and The Classics.