Song: Congratulations To Someone (b-side) (a-side is Alone [Why Must I Be Alone])
Label: Lance T-125
Songwriters: Frisch - Alfred
Today's post is another in my line of themed offerings. It will include two songs by groups of sisters. And you thought this was going to be about the Whoopi Goldberg movie! Well, it's not.
The Shepherd Sisters, Martha, Gayle, Judy and Mary Lou were indeed sisters and were from Middletown, Ohio. Initially they performed as a trio with Martha, Gayle, and Mary Lou. Later they added sister Judy to their lineup. All are still alive and well except Martha, who passed away in 1998.
One of their first recordings, Gone With The Wind, got them a call from Dick Clark and subsequently they made many appearances on his American Bandstand show. They also appeared on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts in the late 1950's. In New York, Morty Craft had a song he wanted them to record, Alone (Why Must I Be Alone), which they did and it was released on Craft's own Lance label. In 1957, Alone would become their biggest hit and their signature song. In the U.S. it reached No.18 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart; in the UK it made No.14. It may have climbed higher had it not been up against several rival cover versions on both sides of the Atlantic.
Morty also introduced them to the DJ Alan Freed, the man who first coined the term "rock and roll." The Shepherd Sisters played the Brooklyn and Manhattan Paramount Theaters and toured with Alan Freed's "America's Greatest Teenage Recording Stars"- The Everly Brothers, Paul Anka, Buddy Holly and the Crickets, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, Danny and the Juniors, Lee Andrews and the Hearts, The Twin Tones, Little Joe Dubs, Thurston Harris, Terry Nolan, and Jo Ann Campbell. Besides rock and roll, the Shepherd Sisters were also a stage and cabaret act. They performed at big hotels, nightclubs, NYC's Apollo Theater and casinos in Reno and Las Vegas. They also sang in the Philippines, Canada, South America and parts of Europe. Later on, they were often on the road performing in venues from Cincinatti to Buenos Aires, instead of focusing on their recording career.
Some of the many songs they recorded are the aforementioned Gone With The Wind, Love's Not A Dream, I'll Be There, Rock 'N Roll Cha Cha Cha (!), Remember That Crazy Rock 'N Roll Tune, I Walked Beside The Sea, Gettin' Ready For Freddy, Eatin' Pizza, Is It A Crime, I Think It's Time, How Softly A Heart Breaks, Schoen-a Schoen-a, Hapsburg Serenade, Lolita Ya-Ya, What Makes Little Girls Cry, Heart And Soul, Finders Keepers, I've Got A Secret, Our Town - recorded in 1976. From looking through some of these song titles, it seems like rather than compete with the new Rock and Roll music, they embraced it.
Today's song, Congratulations To Someone, was the flipside to their monster smash hit Alone, Why Must I Be Alone. I'd be willing to bet that not many people remember turning over their record if they had it all those years ago and playing the b-side. Fortunately, you don't have that problem because it's here today for your listening pleasure. It features their impeccable harmonies and sounds like they were reaching for the young Rock and Roll market in their arrangement. It has nice little combo of guitar, stand-up bass, drums and piano and let's the sister's voices shine through in front of the backing. So, relive the great Shepherd Sister's era of music while they sing Congratulations To Someone. You won't be alone in admiring their smooth voices and grand harmonies!