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The Cadillacs: His Real Name is Mr. Earl

The Cadillacs were great, both before and after Earl Carroll sang one of the most recognizable lines in modern music: “Well now they often call me Speedoo, but my real name is Mr. Earl.”

The group’s story is told in loving detail at DooWop Nation. It’s a tremendously detailed history and one that even on the Web looks like it was banged out on a manual typewriter on a kitchen table in a cramped apartment by someone with a lot of great memories.

Here is how it starts. I strongly recommend giving the site itself a look:

The story of the Cadillacs begins on the street corners of Harlem in New York City during the spring of 1953. As usual the guys built a reputation in the neighborhood for the ability to put across a tune. At that time the name of the group was The Carnations, and the original members of the quartet were Earl Carroll, Bobby Phillips, Lavern Drake, and Gus Willingham. From the halls of PS 140 on 140th Street, and the stage of St. Mark’s Church, the “name” status of the young group began to spread.

The journey ends after 3,800 words. I write for a living and, believe me, you really have to like something to write 3,800 words about it. And you have to know your stuff.

Here are Down the Road, Please Mr. Johnson, Jaywalker and a later apparence during which they sang Speedoo, Gloria, Peek-A-Boo and The Girl I Love.

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Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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