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Episode #693 – Five Keys, Pt. 1 – 1951-54

Air Week: August 14-20, 2023

Five Keys, Pt. 1 – 1951-54

The Five Keys were undoubtedly one of the finest vocal groups of both the R&B and Rock n’ Roll eras. They didn’t score as many hits as say the Dominoes or the Clovers, but like The Orioles and The Ravens before them, they were highly influential to other vocal groups of the day. One of the “keys” to their unique sound was their use of Ripley Ingram as an “octave tenor.” He sang a half note above the rest and could move in and out and dance around the musical arrangements. Rudy West and his beautiful tenor were featured on many of the Keys’ ballads, including their 1951 R&B chart-topper, “The Glory Of Love.” Maryland Pierce was more of a blues shouter and Dickie Smith gave the group a solid R&B edge. Rafael Ingram sang baritone/tenor and Rudy’s brother, Bernie West, sang bass. In part 1, Matt The Cat focuses on The Five Keys’ early years on Aladdin Records, where they would only have one chart entry, “The Glory Of Love,” but have so many classic recordings. Next week in part 2, their hit-making years on Capitol Records will be featured. At Capitol, they would not only score 6 R&B hits, but also crossover for 4 Pop Chart entries. The Five Keys are lighting up the jukebox for the next 2 weeks, right here on the “Juke In The Back.”


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