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The Dells | Then & Now

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Urban/R&B: Rhythm & Blues Urban/R&B: Chicago Soul Moods: Type: Vocal
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Then & Now

by The Dells

The Dells are famous. We have our own sound.
Genre: Urban/R&B: Rhythm & Blues
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Don't Tell Her About Me
5:20 $0.99
2. Skip That Part
4:31 $0.99
3. Free To Be Free
5:13 $0.99
4. Where Do We Go From Here
5:14 $0.99
5. Baby Come Back
4:54 $0.99
6. Reminiscing
5:26 $0.99
7. I Need You
4:56 $0.99
8. Can't Wait
4:28 $0.99
9. When Will We
4:09 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
The stature of The Dells as a magnificent musical Chicago landmark stands taller than the Sears Tower. They’ve been singing together for a truly staggering 56 years, with the longest-surviving personnel in the world. Formed way back in Spring 1952 by lead baritone Marvin Junior, second tenor Verne Allison, baritone Michael (Mickey) McGill, Bass vocalist Chuck Barksdale, and original lead tenor Johnny Funches, the group’s line-up has only changed once in 1961, when Johnnie Carter of The Flamingos replaced Funches, who quit after six years to spend more time with his family.

Between 1956 and 1992, The Dells racked up an astonishing 46 hits on the United States R&B charts. Eight of these made the Pop Top Forty. Doo Wop, Jazz, Soul, Funk, Blaxploitation, Disco, R&B, they’ve done it all, yet they continue to perform their magnificent catalog of songs to an ever-growing legion of fans, guaranteeing the group their very own special place in musical history.

Recognizing their half-century together, The Dells were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in March 2004. (Johnnie Carter was inducted as a former member of The Flamingos in 2001). In addition The Dells are the recipients of the Pioneer Hall Of Fame Award from the Rhythm & Blues Foundation; a 1991 NAACP Image Award, The Soul Of American Music Award; the Vocal Group Hall Of Fame 2004 induction; The NARAS Governor’s Award; the Jackie Award; and many other music industry and achievement awards. Robert Townsend’s movie “The 5 Heartbeats” was based on the tumultuous career of The Dells.

In 2005, The Dells picked up an Emmy Award for their Documentary Oh What A Night, which scored in the category for Outstanding Achievement for Documentary Programs – Document of Cultural Significance. Produced by Chicago’s Channel 5, this 30-minute feature details plenty of fascinating background information about this record-breaking soul outfit.

After a phenomenal 56 years together, The Dells survive intact to the present day and continue to perform regularly around the world Bass vocalist Chuck Barksdale is 73 (born January 11 1935), lead baritone Marvin Junior is 72 (born January 31, 1936), baritone Mickey McGill is 71 (born February 17, 1937), lead Johnnie Carter is74 (born June 2, 1933), while second tenor Verne Allison is 71(born June 22, 1936), giving the group a combined age of 361 years. “I love these guys, “Mickey McGill smiles. “We’re like brothers.

Soul music doesn’t get any better than this.
"Long Live".....The Mighty Dells
David Yeats, April 2008



to write a review

Jack Dabon

The DELLS Then & Now
Classic DELLS, Tremendous...

Tamara Pugh

hahaha that sound so good
Ha Mr.Dells this is carlyn play daughter and I just want to say how I love that Cd and I can't wait until I recive mines Thanks again for inviting me to the mothers day show at the show place arena Love you all!!!!!

Karl W

The Dells Then & Now
Simply remarkable effort from one of the premiere R & B Groups in the world. The album is full of goodies, none more so than "Can We Skip That Part" and Baby Come Back. Love never had it so good.

The Mighty, Mighty Dells !!!!!!

Chris & the RadioIndy.com Review Team

Outstanding Chicago Soul/Rhythm & Blues CD
“Then & Now” is an outstanding Chicago soul/rhythm & blues album filled with soulful ballads, great vocal layering, and incredible vocal performances from longstanding Chicago r&b outfit The Dells. Before The Dells stands a sparkling musical record – fifty-six years of performing together, forty-seven years with the same lineup, and an induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. Now all over seventy years old, bass vocalist Chuck Barksdale, baritones Marvin Junior and Mickey McGill, and tenors Johnny Carter and Verne Allison have still got it. As the album title “Then & Now” may suggest, it combines new recordings with their classic recordings. Over the years, The Dells have embraced diverse musical styles while staying true to their soulful r&b focus, as can be seen with the album\'s opener and \'80s r&b disco hit “Don\'t Tell Her About Me.” “Then & Now” is well-produced, and the classics sound just as polished as the new recordings. “Free To Be Free” is a great r&b ballad with great background vocals and an excellent lead vocal from Johnny Carter. “I Need You” is a new recording that opens with a heartfelt bass monologues and features great group vocals and the perfectly weathered vocals of Marvin Junior. “Then & Now” is proof that The Dells belong in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Neither long-time fans of The Dells nor fans of Chicago soul and r&b will be the least bit disappointed with this release.


I wish The Dells all the best in their new CD "Then and Now". I echo the sentiments of this being a highly favored CD, and would rate it a 9+ on a scale of 1 - 10. What I also admire & like about this project, beside their well-polished music, is their taking proprietary ownership..........Dellaway Records...........Co-Publisher is The Original Dells, Inc.................Executive Producers are The Original Dells, Inc. Way ta' go gentlemen. Although I am not a song critic, these are my observations and brief comments on the nine songs: Track 1, "Don't Tell Her About Me" is an 80's mid-tempo R & B disco sound featuring Marvin's powerful lead vocal. The backgrounds are light and Johnnie's 1st tenor stands out somewhat. I listened to this cut three times before I began to actually feel it. The sax entry is mildly disappointing, but recovers quickly with a spirited solo. The overall mix is so-so. "Skip That Part" , track # 2, is an beautiful ballad with an excellent musical balance to the vocals. Following Johnnie's soft set-up in the first verse, Marvin's delivery is a passionate plead. The background vocals are light unisons at the chorus entry, and light harmonies are heard periodically. People do break up for many different reasons.......but for us, let's just skip that part. This songs works for them very well. When hearing the third cut, "Free To Be Free", another solid, soulful ballad featuring Marvin, one can logically conclude that Harold Melvin & The Blue-Notes, as well as The Whispers, were greatly influenced by The Dells lead (Blue-Notes) and background (Whispers) approaches. Johnnie's un-mistakable signature 1st tenor is at the top for this stellar production. The musical opening to the CD third ballad (song # 4) entitled "Where Do We Go From Here" is magical, enchanting, and sets up the unison song title chant from the backing vocalists. Johnnie's 1st verse presentation in the lower register is a nice balance to Marvin's gradual vocal climb to above the Chorus. I hear additional choral female/male vocalist from 3:21 to the end of the song, but did not see any credits on them. "Baby Come Back" , Track # 5, is a sultry, Philly TSOP influenced "jem". The musical opening to this great ballad is lush, and the lyrics emitting from Marvin's powerful voice will catch everyone's attention.............it certainly did catch mine. Moreover, I continue to hear in this CD his influence in the voices of at least four sensational lead singers we know by their esteemed name .........(Dennis/GC/Teddy/Ali) . As I love great backgrounds, the soft, delcid care given to this accomplished Production by Mike, Verne, Johnnie, & Chuck is in a class of its' own. It is probably just a coincidence, but I swear I am hearing The Sound of Philadelphia music in track # 6, an outstanding product entitled "Reminiscing", and that is just fine with me. Focus on the lyric in this beautiful mid-tempo ballad. As nearly everyone can relate to their "main squeeze" from an earlier time, and when you see each other again, those pleasant memories come back in clear view, and the songwriter gets to his pen............Gents: Was this song written from a personal experience, as it is definitely worth sharing with us. Also, listen to the majestical interplay between the guitar and piano from 3:40 - 4:00. Again the "active" backing vocals add a positive luster to this selection. Many, many big-ups are given here for giving us a great song. "I Need You", track # 7, is a good old "ol skool slow draggin' in the basement with the blue-light on" waltz time ballad. This song, although a fresh recording, takes you back to another time. Chuck clearly defines a great bass monologue a la Orville Hoppy (The 4-Ink Spots) &/or Melvin Franklin (The Temptations), while the backing harmonies & unisons are quite creative, worthy, & wonderful. What more can I say about Marvin's vocal presentation other than simply outstanding. This is a monster hit. A bouncy, up-tempo R & B track (song # 8) entitled "Can't Wait" is easy to capture the imagination and energy of the live audience or ordinary listener. Marvin, again, is in full charge here, & with full support from the backing fellas. This is an excellently mixed & mastered dance tune. Ending the CD with "When Will We", a waltz ballad, Chuck again opens with an appropriate 4-bar monologue, then the backing chorus with Marvin, followed by Johnnie's "sincere" opening lead verse. Marvin's impact at the bridge gives a nice balance to the soft delicate direction coming from the 1st tenor lead. The harmonies are well-blended. Overall, another excellent production from the masters................The Dells....."THEN and NOW". Thanks. Thedream

Deborah Kennedy

Then & Now
It's amazing. After all these years, their music is still timeless.... I love It

Glen Trusty

The Dells Then & Now
I love old school and this album is as good as it gets. What's so fascinating is that Fat Marvin and the Mighty Dells after all these years continue to bellow out the sounds that we grew accustomed to and loved, when the era of music was totally different. This album is a must have for mucic lovers, in a word it's outstanding !

Janice Campbell

"Then and Now"
A great CD by The Dells!!! I can honestly say that I've enjoyed every song, especially my favorite, "Skip That Part".