The Ink Spots
were the first modern black vocal group, and although chiefly known for their wonderful harmonies, which bridged the gap between 1940s pop styles and the street corner doo wop styles of the 1950s, they were also a self-contained band, and a versatile one. Led by lead singers Deek Watson
and Bill Kenny
(whose otherworldly high tenor and mannered diction put him in a class by himself), and grounded by Hoppy Jones
' innovative (and often improvised) talking-bass vocal lines, the Ink Spots
charted nearly 50 Top 40 singles beginning with "If I Didn't Care" in 1939. That track is included here, along with "Java Jive" and an interesting version of "Blueberry Hill," but while this set is fine as far as it goes, it lacks enough key tracks, like the Spots
' fine rendition of Duke Ellington
's "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," for one, to truly be called a "greatest hits."