The “5” Royales
Soul & Swagger: The Complete “5” Royales 1951-1967
Their songs were covered by everybody from James Brown and Ray Charles to Mick Jagger and the Mamas and Papas. Steve Cropper, the renowned Booker T and the MG’s guitarist, recorded a tribute album celebrating the group, recruiting the likes of Steve Winwood and Sharon Jones to sing. Though highly regarded by R&B connoisseurs, the “5” Royales have never received the widespread acclaim their hardcore fans believe they deserve, but a new collection intends to change that. Packed with raucous uptempo stompers and spine-tingling ballads, the essential five-disc, 141-track set Soul & Swagger makes a persuasive case for the Winston-Salem, NC group’s greatness. The key ingredients in the Royales’ sound were the pleading, gospel-tinged tenor vocals of Johnny Tanner and the stinging, bluesy guitar of Lowman Pauling, and while “Dedicated to the One I Love” or “Think” might be the initial standouts, there are dozens of other equally exciting tracks here. Check out “Monkey Hips and Rice,” “Catch That Teardrop” or “The Slummer the Slum” and prepare to be converted. Resistance is futile!