Selected Bibliography -   Page -1

(updated June 11, 2009)

Vocal groups - doowop groups - rhythm & blues groups - soul groups - rock and roll artists - deejays - labels - record collecting - history - discographies - and more! The purpose of this page is to give a selection from the wide array of publications available about the music (and those behind it) mainly covering the 40s, 50s & 60s. We are well aware that there are many more publications that are not listed here! We are listing some of those that we recommend, are familiar with, read, and/or use for reference! This section is divided into 8 categories:

(1) General Group Discographies (2) Books on the Artists & the Music (may include individual group discography) (3) Gospel Publications (4) Song Title Discographies (5) Record Label Discographies (6) Record Price Guides (7) Current Magazines (8) Out-of-print Magazines



The Ultimate Vocal Group Harmony Reference Guide - Dennis Holran - ISBN # 978-1-4196-9047-1.  This discography is presented in a professionally printed 2 volume format  with over 1,100 pages. Over 11,000 artists are included, including core R&B / Doo-Wop groups, girl groups, early soul crossover, pioneer pop groups, and single artist with group backing. You will also find some contemporay groups with CDs listed. It is primarily a discography but also provides a relative pricing guide, and includes information on boots/reissues with a handy matrix showing different color wax pressings. The format is easy to use. Under a group you'll typically find the year of release, both sides of the 45 and the label. Label variations are noted for multiple pressings. LP cuts, and  previously unreleased tracks now on CD are also shown. Many groups include member listings and geographic location. The 2 book set is available from for $59.95. It can also be ordered directly from the author. For more information, see the author's website or e-mail Dennis Holran at

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A Discography of Rhythm & Blues And Rock'N'Roll Vocal Groups 1945 to 1965 - Robert D. Ferlingere, P.O. Box 1558, Jackson, California 95642 Fifth Edition now available. Over 1,300 pages of listings, alphabetical by name. Over 3,500 groups (cross-referenced where possible) are listed (including many group records issued as by single artists). Group members (and parts sung) are listed where known. About 50,000+ titles are arranged chronologically by matrix number, with lead singer and release date(s) (where known), and some musician personnel (from various recording sessions). Singles, eps, lps, unreleased titles, label variations, and extensive reproduction (bootleg) information is included ($125.00 each). 151 page Group Member to Group(s) Index ($25.00 each), including all members listed in the discography, also available.

*** Special pre-printing offer is available until November 30, 2008.


The Encyclopedia of Rhythm & Blues and Doowop Vocal Groups - Mitch Rosalsky; Scarecrow Press ISBN#0810836637; 1-800-462-6420; 700 pages covering 1,000 groups starting with the early 1900's up to 1965; includes an index which contains 8,000 names of performers in vocal groups alphabetically and all the groups they sang with. (I am sad to report that Mitch Rosalsky passed away on December 29, 2008.)

Soul Harmony Singles 1960 - 1990 - A discography of 45 rpm recordings with the Black Vocal Group Sound - Jeff Beckman, Jim Hunt, Tom Kline; published by: Three-On-Three-Publishing, P.O. Box 9190, Bayway Station, Elizabeth, NJ 07202; listing of artist, group composition or style, label and number of known releases, miscellaneous information (e.g. group personnel, singing parts, instruments played, other group affiliations of members, facts such as date of death, or relationship to other artists)

Girl Groups -- Fabulous Females That Rocked The World - John Clemente - Krause Publications, 700 E. State Street, Iola, WI 54990-0001; Phone: 715-445-2214

This book is the result of a series of interviews conducted with group members from just about every popular female group from the 50s and 60s, with some great 70s and 80s groups added for good measure. Over 100 artists were interviewed to give the reader the most accurate information possible. The book is 269 pages with 150 photos. There is a comprehensive index of girl groups and their related labels as well as an introduction from the Queen of Pop herself, Ellie Greenwich. E-mail:

Connecticut Rocks! The History of Connecticut Rock 'N' Roll by Paul Edward Bezanker: The Encyclopedia of Rock 'N' Roll, Rhythm & Blues, Rockabilly, Doo-Wops, Blues, Gospel, Punk, New Wave, and Soul Records by Connecticut Artists and on Connecticut Record Labels, covers 1946-1990. Books are still available from the author. For more info, e-mail to:

Single Artist Groups and R&B Duets by Michael J. Sweeney; lists by artist records that were issued as by a single artist but which have vocal group backup, although not listed on the label. Another section lists duet single records by RnB artists. (This book is now out-of-print)

BOOKS ABOUT THE ARTISTS AND THE MUSIC (some include group & label discographies)


When Rock 'N Roll Rocked Maine - Rock 'N Roll Comes to Maine: 1955 - 1960 - by Will Anderson

"When Rock ‘N Roll Rocked Maine” by Will Anderson makes a nice read for those who enjoy the history of the heady days of early Rock & Roll in the mid 50’s to early 60’s. The well-researched book delves into how this formative time played out in Maine. It highlights local musical acts (single artists, bands and vocal groups), the clubs and other places that featured R&R, the dee-jays that played it, and the places you could go to buy the records, and even Maine’s own EVENT record label. The author nicely connects the dots between the local and national scene, and also profiles nationally know artists who appeared at Maine venues. The book is generously illustrated with vintage photos and news clippings, and includes commentary from several of the local artists who are discussed. For more information, contact the author, Will Anderson at 207-442-7459

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Acapella Street Corner Vocal Groups - A Brief History And Discography of 1960's Singing Groups - Abraham J. Santiago & Steven J. Dunham - Mellow Sound Press - 2006.

By the early 1960's, music from the 1950's was already being looked at as oldies. It was during this time that a teenage musical sub-culture evolved, focused on the R&B vocal group harmony sounds of the previous decade. In those days, we didn't refer to it as doo-wop. Many of these teenagers became record collectors. Some formed their own vocal groups to emulate the sounds they had become enamored with. And others with an entrepreneurial bent, found themselves on the production/distribution side of the music business at a tender age. As the emphasis was on vocal harmonies, it was almost inevitable that when acappella recordings of revered groups like the Nutmegs and Five Satins began to surface, that they would be well received. As a by-product, it created a demand for more of these recordings "sans instruments". This book examines some of the players who helped fuel the fire, and documents many of the mostly unheralded vocal groups groups of the early 60's who were "looking for an echo".  For more information, e-mail : 

A new DVD will be coming out as a sequel /supplement to the book.

We'll let you know when it's available.

Here's  the video trailer previewing "Street Corner Harmony"

Group Harmony - The Black Urban Roots Of Rhythm & Blues - Stuart L. Goosman -Univ. PA Press -2005

The book focuses on, and draws most of it's information from members of vocal groups from the Baltimore and Washington D.C. areas. The author is an ethnomusicologist, and much of the book (especially in the first half) reads like an academic doctoral dissertation. But for the serious student of vocal group harmony, there is some fine primary source material, with contributions from members of the Swallows, Cardinals, Clovers, Five Blue Notes, Four Bars Of Rhythm and more. Besides the vocal groups, many area DJs of the era are also covered. For more information on this book: Click here.

The Last of the Good Rocking Men - Todd R. Baptista; TRB Enterprises, P.O. Box 50962, New Bedford, Ma. 02745-0033; Ellison White's Journey Through The Worlds of Gospel and Rhythm & Blues - Wingmen Quartet, Four Jacks, Bombers, Exciting Voices, Four Nuggets. Email

Group Harmony: Behind the Rhythm and the Blues - Todd R. Baptista; TRB Enterprises, P.O. Box 50962, New Bedford, Ma 02745-0033; featuring detailed biographies of selected rhythm and blues & vocal harmony groups including interviews with the original artists, complete discographies, and rare photographs profiling Spaniels, Dubs, Silhouettes, El Dorados, Teenchords, G-Clefs, Solitaires, Willows, Bop Chords, Harptones; 220 pages; email:

Group Harmony: Echoes of the Rhythm and Blues Era - Todd R. Baptista; TRB Enterprises, P.O. Box 50962, New Bedford, Ma 02745-0033; featuring detailed biographies of selected rhythm and blues & vocal harmony groups including interviews with the original artists, complete discographies, and rare photographs profiling: Cardinals, Chuck Carbo & Spiders, Earl Lewis & Channels, Flairs, Jacks and Cadets, Lillian Leach & Mellows, Halos, Larks, Selah Jubilee Singers; 264 pages - 55 photos; Email:

Doowop the Chicago Scene - Robert Pruter - University of Illinois Press; An examination of Chance, Parrot, Chess, United, & VeeJay labels and the groups who recorded on them, deejays, theaters, and the advent of rock n roll; contains discography of Chicago Vocal Group CD Reissues; email:

Chicago Soul - Robert Pruter - University of Illinois Press; Chicago at the Dawn of the Soul Era, Vee Jay , Pam Productions/Constellation , OKeh , Chess , One-derful , Brunswick , Mercury , & Curtom Records, The ABC-Paramount Chicago Connection, The Small Entrepreneurs of the 1960's & '70s; soft & hard soul; Chicago Black Dance, Chi-Sound and Demise of the Chicago Soul Industry; email:

The Billboard Book of American Singing Groups - A History 1940-1990 - Jay Warner; Billboard Books; listing & bios of groups by decade (1940s thru 1980s) listing group personnel & recordings; covers Pop and Gospel groups as well as R&B; most of book is devoted to 50's and 60's.

Rhythm & Blues in New Orleans - John Broven - Pelican Publishing Company -1101 Monroe Street, Gretna, Louisiana, 70053; A fascinating look at the New Orleans musical community, and the widespread impact it had on American R&B and R&R, an influence which spanned from coast to coast. Email:

More Than Words Can Say - The Ink Spots and Their Music - Marv Goldberg - Scarecrow Press, Inc.; an in depth history & discography of the Ink Spots, including their many members/group personnel & their recordings; includes some great, never-before-seen photos! Documents the history of the group from their origins through the mid 50's. Includes complete discography of Decca recordings from 1935 through 1954. Email:

Hear Today, Here To Stay - a Personal History of Rhythm and Blues - James A. McGowan; Akashic Press, Inc., 107 Lincoln Drive West, Ambler, Pa. 19002-3801; the Four Fellows complete history & discography first hand by 4 Fellows group member, Jim McGowan. It provides an interesting "insider" perspective on the music. (Sad to report that Jim McGowan passed away in October, 2008.)

Just Walking in the Rain - The Prisonaires - Jay Warner - Renaissance Books, 5858 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, Ca. 90036; the true story of a convict quintet, a liberal governor, and how they changed southern history through rhythm and blues.

My Name is Caleb N. Ginyard, Jr - A Father & Son Autobiography of A Spiritual Music Genius - Caleb Ginyard III - A look at the life of Caleb Ginyard II, aka J. C. Ginyard (Junior Caleb), legendary gospel/ rhythm & blues singer with such groups as the Golden Gate Quartet, Du Droppers, Jubalaires, and Dixiaires. Publisher: Jim McGowan (Sad to report that Jim McGowen passed away in October 2008).

They All Sang On the Corner - Philip Groia - Phillie Dee Enterprises, Inc, 515-12 High Street, Port Jefferson, N.Y. 11777; focuses on New York City Rhythm and Blues Vocal Groups of the 1950's.

The Birth of the Detroit Sound 1940 - 1964 - Marilyn Bond and S.R. Boland; Arcadia Publishing, 3047 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL 60657; phone (843)-853-2070; an interesting cross section of one-of-a-kind photos of the artists, recording studios, theaters, concerts from that era; includes also some vintage posters and record labels. (Sad to report that, Marilyn Bond passed away late summer, 2008)

Big Beat Heat - Alan Freed and the Early Years of Rock & Roll - John A. Jackson; Schirmer Books, MacMillan Publishing Company; an in depth look at the life and history of legendary deejay Alan Freed.

The Complete Book of Doo-Wop - Anthony J. Gribin & Matthew M. Schiff - Krause Publications, 700 East State St., Iola, WI 54990; extensive history of doo-wop music from the 1940s throught the early 1970s, and prices for the "top 1,000"doo-wop songs of all time. Email:

Showtime At the Apollo - Ted Fox - Da Capo Press, 233 Spring Street, New York, N.Y. 10013 - a look at the history of that legendary theatre at 125th Street and a fascinating insider's view of the Harlem music scene from the '30s through the '60s.

Heart & Soul - A Celebration of Black Music Style in America 1930 - 1975 - Bob Merlis & Davin Seay; Stewart, Tabori & Chang, a division of U.S. Media Holdings, Inc., 115 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011; beautiful rare photos of the artists (many from rare EP & LP record covers as well as original sheet music), covering roots, RnB & gospel groups, teen types, soul men, red-hot mamas, and more.

First Pressings - The History of Rhythm & Blues - Volumes 1 thru 9; compiled and edited by Galen Gart - Big Nickel Publications; P.O. Box 3651, Florence Villa Station, Winter Haven, Florida 33885, USA; Each volume by year (1950 to 1959) provides a month-by-month survey of the key articles, news stories, feature columns and record releases in a given year during Rhythm and Blues' most vital and musically significant era. Hundreds of authentic illustrations include graphic reproductions of vintage record company advertisements and artist publicity photographs. A comprehensive index enables readers to locate specific mentions of record artists, disc jockeys and talent managers in the Rhythm and Blues field, as well as music companies, nightclubs, theatres, and radio stations who helped promote this historically important music form into the American cultural mainstream; an invaluable aid to the serious researcher looking for primary source information. (These books are now out-of-print)

Rhythm & Blue in Cleveland - 1955 Edition - compiled and edited by Galen Gart - Big Nickel Publications; P.O. Box 3651, Florence Villa Station, Winter Haven, Florida 33885, USA. Experience the Rhythm & Blues world of Cleveland, Ohio - its nightclubs, theatres and bars - in month-by-month "First Pressings" format for the entire year 1955. (This book is now out-of-print).

L.A. R&B Vocal Groups - 1945 - 1965 - Steve Propes & Galen Gart - Big Nickel Pubications, P.O. Box 3651, Florence Villa Station, Winter Haven, Florida 33885, USA. Nicely laid out alphabetically by artist, discography & listings of California groups, including group personnel & their recordings & label affiliations. (This book is now out-of-print).

GOSPEL PUBLICATIONS -  (includes Gospel Discographies)


The Gospel Discography 1943 - 1970 - Cedric J. Hayes & Robert Laughton; Eyeball Productions, Inc.,; appx. 660 pages of gospel artists, listing artist/groups, personnel (where known), accompaniment, session locations & dates, master numbers, control numbers & takes, song titles & label/issue number details. mail to:

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Blues and Gospel Records 1890 - 1943 - Robert M. W. Dixon, John Godrich, & Howard W. Rye; Clarendon Press, Oxford, England; over 1200 pages listing by artist, including every (known) recording made up to the end of 1943 in a distinctively African-American musical style (except for jazz); it includes all sound documents within the musical field covered including commercial records, race labels, cylinders and all 78 rpm discs - arranged by artist, session credit, accompaniment details, dates, matrix numbers, take numbers, Library of Congress Archive of Folk Song Accession numbers, label names and issue numbers.

The Gospel Sound - Good News and Bad Times - Tony Heilbut; Simon and Schuster, N.Y. (out of print); includes The Gospel Moment - Building the Gospel Highway, The Gospel Pioneers, the Holiness Church, & the Gospel Life - describes some of the artists from the early 1900s to the 1960s, their lives, and their contributions to gospel music

From the Church to The Apollo Theater- Thermon T. Ruth with Linda Saylor-Marchant; T. Ruth Publications c/o Blessed Hope, C.O.G.I.C., P.O. Box 199, Brooklyn, NY 11208; the history and story of Thermon Ruth - groups he sang & recorded with, labels he recorded on, radio stations he DJ'd at; lots of one of a kind rare photos including Thermon with many of his friends & associates. (Sad to report that Thermon Ruth passed away, summer 2008)

Happy in the Service of the Lord - African-American Sacred Vocal Harmony Quartets in Memphis - Kip Lornell; The University of Tennessee Press/Knoxville, Tn.; provides an in depth look at the development of the African American gospel quartet; focuses on Memphis groups including the Spirit of Memphis.

Woke Me Up This Morning - Black Gospel Singers and the Gospel Life; Alan Young - University Press of Mississippi; singers and songmakers from the gospel world of Tennessee and Mississippi speak passionately of the power gospel music exerts in their society and in their lives.

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