"No musical instruments or mechanical devices used on this recording other than one guitar....."
- An inscription on all the 78 RPM labels of The Mills Brothers recordings for the Brunswick and Decca labels from the '30s and '40s.
A tall order - even for the most dedicated folk acts today, but The Mills Brothers did it during the 60 years of their career. With style to spare.
I've always been a fan of The Mills Brothers. They INVENTED doo-wop. Yes, some people will give lofty praise to The Robins, The Orioles, The Clovers and The Chords (and yes, they certainly DESERVE theirs). But you just can't hear their records and NOT know where it all REALLY came from.
And while Michael Buble might be the snazziest thing to come along since Harry Connick Jr., you just don't know HIGH CLASS MUSIC until you get hip to The Mills Brothers.
LONG before the days of multi-tracking studio vocals and other studio gimmickry, these guys could put out a record that sounded far ahead of it's time, but was as organic as can be. And do it all in ONE TAKE. Simply because they had such an awesome talent (Michael Buble today can sit back and check his Twitter feeds while his studio engineers remove every trace of morning after breath from his vocal tracks.....), The Mills Brothers could complete a whole album in less time than it takes for most pop bands today to decide which note goes where in the first three bars.
Their last big hit was 1968's "Cab Driver". They were the only act in pop music who had a hit record in the '20s to last until 1968.
.....and here they are with the Jackson Five in 1974:
The Mills Brothers are COOL......