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The Mills Brothers

Read The Mills Brothers' biography



The Mills Brothers: The Mills Brothers' Great Hits (1958)

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ITEM# SR-DLP25157
Ratings: C=NM; LP=VG

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Artist:

The Mills Brothers

Title:

The Mills Brothers' Great Hits

Released: 1958
Label: Dot
Catalog: DLP 25157
Genre: Jazz / Pop / Vocal
Note: Stereo Pressing
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Paper Doll
02 Glow Worm
03 Basin Street Blues
04 Nevertheless
05 Till Then
06 Cielito Lindo
07 Lazy River
08 You Always Hurt The One You Love
09 Across The Alley From The Alamo
10 I'll Be Around
11 Rockin' Chair
12 Be My Life's Companion
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The Mills Brothers 1959 Merry Christmas (Dot DLP 25232)

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ITEM# SR-DODLP25232
Ratings: C=VG+; LP=VG+

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Artist:

The Mills Brothers

Title:

Merry Christmas

Released: 1959
Label: Dot
Catalog: DLP 25232
Genre: Easy Listening / Pop / Vocal
Note: Stereo Pressing
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Here Comes Santa Claus
02 The Christmas Song
03 Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town
04 White Christmas
05 Jingle Bells
06 I'll Be Home For Christmas
07 God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
08 Silent Night
09 O Little Town Of Bethlehem
10 Joy To The World
11 O Holy Night
12 Adeste Fideles
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The Mills Brothers - Fortuosity [Dot DLP 25809] (1967)

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ITEM# SR-DODLP25809
Ratings: C=VG+; LP=VG+

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Artist:

The Mills Brothers

Title:

Fortuosity

Released: 1967
Label: Dot
Catalog: DLP 25809
Genre: Easy Listening / Pop / Vocal
Note: Stereo Pressing
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Fortuosity
02 Everybody's Friend
03 Happy Together
04 I Found A Love
05 Cab Driver
06 The Bramble Bush
07 Sherry
08 More And More
09 Hallelujah Baby!
10 Long Long Ago
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Album Review

Greg Adams [allmusic.com]

The Mills Brothers reach into the grab-bag of songs on Fortuosity, tossing together old-fashioned vocal group numbers, Broadway and movie tunes, and tastefully arranged contemporary songs that illustrate the adaptability and currency of these 40-year veterans of the music business. The album is a departure, in that sense, from the thematic and nostalgic albums the group had been waxing for Dot up to that point, and the forward-looking approach paid off. The light rock rhythm of "Cab Driver" gave the group its first hit in a decade, and sparked a brief comeback on the pop and easy listening charts that yielded a few more hit singles thereafter. The title track comes from the Walt Disney film The Happiest Millionaire, and "The Bramble Bush" from The Dirty Dozen, while "Sherry" and "Hallelujah Baby!" are taken from the Broadway musicals of the same names. "I Found a Love" features a gorgeous, gospel-influenced vocal arrangement of the then-recent Wilson Pickett hit, and the Turtles' "Happy Together" receives a traditional pop makeover that is contemporary without seeming awkward or incongruous. Arranger Sy Oliver contributed one of three originals on the album, the snappy "Long Long Ago," and his big-band charts are rooted in an earlier era while tastefully incorporating more modern elements. The adventurousness of the album may reflect the influence of producer Charles Grean, who composed some famous novelty songs in the '50s such as Phil Harris' "The Thing" and Betty Johnson's "The Little Blue Man."


The Mills Brothers - Dream [Dot Records DLP 25927] (1969)

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ITEM# SR-DODLP25927
Ratings: C=VG-; LP=VG+

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Artist:

The Mills Brothers

Title:

Dream

Released: 1969
Label: Dot Records
Catalog: DLP 25927
Genre: Jazz, Blues, Pop
Note: Album Jacket has a notch cut-out


T R A C K L I S T:
01 The Jimtown Road
02 Dream
03 The Straight Life
04 Baby Dream Your Dream
05 When, When, When
06 Flit Around
07 What Have I Done For Her Lately
08 Happy Go Lucky Me
09 Didn't We
10 Guy On The Go
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Album Review

Greg Adams [allmusic.com]

Following the success of the hit single ''Cab Driver'' and the album Fortuosity, the Mills Brothers continued to court the adult contemporary audience that mysteriously had failed to rediscover them until the late '60s. Four of the group's Dot albums from 1968-1969 became their first and only albums to register on the album charts, concluding with Dream, which also contained their last adult contemporary hit. That song, ''The Jimtown Road,'' is a story-song about small town life that resembles the easygoing pop of Perry Como's contemporaneous recordings. ''Happy Go Lucky Me,'' too, is a ringer for something Como would have recorded. Thereafter, the album follows the pattern of Fortuosity with a wide variety of songs from Broadway and the popularity charts, ranging from Bobby Goldsboro's ''The Straight Life'' to the Pied Pipers' 1940s vocal group classic ''Dream.'' ''When, When, When'' drops the word ''grooviest'' into its nostalgic reckoning of good times past, which exemplifies the mild-mannered mixture of old and new that characterizes the Mills Brothers' albums from this period. Their something-for-everyone attitude toward repertoire also extends to subtle forays into other genres, as evidenced by the country-style guitar fills that punctuate ''Flit Around.''


Artist:

The Mills Brothers

Title:

What A Wonderful World

Released: 1972
Label: Paramount
Catalog: PAS-6024
Genre: Funk / Soul, Pop
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Come Summer
02 Sally Sunshine
03 What A Wonderful World
04 Everbody But Me
05 The Drum
06 My Sweet Mama
07 Lazybones
08 Angels Never Leave Heaven
09 Strollin'
10 Someday You'll Be Sorry
11 Happy Songs Of Love
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The Mills Brothers' biography

by John Bush [allmusic.com]

An astonishing vocal group that grew into one of the longest-lasting oldies acts in American popular music, the Mills Brothers quickly moved from novelty wonders to pop successes and continued amazing audiences for decades. Originally billed as "Four Boys and a Guitar," the group's early records came complete with a note assuring listeners that the only musical instrument they were hearing was a guitar. The caution was understandable, since the Mills Brothers were so proficient at re-creating trumpets, trombones, and saxophones with only their voices that early singles like "Tiger Rag" and "St. Louis Blues" sounded closer to a hot Dixieland combo than a vocal group. And even after the novelty wore off, the group's intricate harmonies continued charming audiences for decades.

The four brothers were all born in Piqua, OH -- John, Jr. in 1910, Herbert in 1912, Harry in 1913, and Donald in 1915. Their father owned a barber shop and founded a barbershop quartet as well, called the Four Kings of Harmony. His sons obviously learned their close harmonies first-hand, and began performing around the area. At one show, Harry Mills forgot his kazoo -- the group's usual accompaniment -- and ended up trying to emulate the instrument by cupping his hand over his mouth. The brothers were surprised to hear the sound of a trumpet proceeding from Harry's mouth, so they began to work the novelty into their act, with John taking tuba, Donald trombone, and Herbert a second trumpet. The act was perfect for vaudeville, and the Mills Brothers also began broadcasting over a Cincinnati radio station during the late '20s.

After moving to New York, the group became a sensation and hit it big during 1931 and early 1932 with the singles "Tiger Rag" and "Dinah" (the latter a duet with Bing Crosby). Dumbfounded listeners hardly believed the notice accompanying the records: "No musical instruments or mechanical devices used on this recording other than one guitar." Though the primitive audio of the era lent them a bit of latitude, the Mills Brothers indeed sounded exactly like they'd been backed by a small studio band. (It was, in essence, the flipside of early material by Duke Ellington's Orchestra, on which the plunger mutes of Bubber Miley and Tricky Sam Nanton resulted in horns sounding exactly like voices.)

The exposure continued during 1932, with appearances in the film The Big Broadcast and more hits including "St. Louis Blues" and "Bugle Call Rag." John, Jr.'s sudden death in 1936 was a huge blow to the group, but father John, Sr. took over as bass singer and Bernard Addison became the group's guitarist. Still, the novelty appeared to wear off by the late '30s; despite duets with Ella Fitzgerald ("Dedicated to You") and Louis Armstrong ("Darling Nelly Gray"), the Mills Brothers' records weren't performing as well as they had earlier in the decade. All that changed in 1943 with the release of "Paper Doll," a sweet, intimate ballad that became one of the biggest hits of the decade -- 12 weeks on the top of the charts, and six million records sold (plus sheet music). The group made appearances in several movies during the early '40s, and hit number one again in 1944 with "You'll Always Hurt the One You Love."

The influence of middle of the road pop slowly crept into their material from the '40s; by the end of the decade, the Mills Brothers began recording with traditional orchestras (usually conducted by Sy Oliver, Hal McIntyre, or Sonny Burke). In 1952, "The Glow Worm" became their last number one hit. The group soldiered on during the '50s, though John, Sr. semi-permanently retired from the group in 1956. A move from Decca to Dot brought a moderate 1958 hit, a cover of the Silhouettes' "Get a Job" that made explicit the considerable influence on doo wop exerted by early Mills Brothers records. As a trio, Herbert, Harry and Donald continued performing on the oldies circuit until Harry's death in 1982, and Herbert's in 1988. The last surviving sibling, Donald, began performing with the third generation of the family -- his son, John II -- until his own death in 1999.
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