Saturday, March 16, 2013


Doo-woppers are obsessed with pigeonholing their music. They have a myriad of categories; white groups, black groups, bird groups, car groups, proto-soul groups, roots groups, kid groups, male group with female lead (it rarely works the other way around), gang groups, Italo-doo-wop groups. They also like to categorize by label; Chance, Red Robin, Rama, Gee, Vee Jay, Blue Lake are very desirable names to doo-woppers. If that wasn't enough division, they also like to categorize the songs themselves; nonsense lyrics, jungle songs, songs about Latin women, songs about Oriental women, pop-doo-wop, neo-doo-wop, Tin Pan Alley doo-wop, classic doo-wop, distaff doo-wop, a wop bop a loo bop a whomp bam boo doo doo boppa loo boppa poppa stoppa hoody waddy woo......

Which is one reason why I enjoy this record so much. It doesn't really fit into the accepted categories. First of all, it's on Duke Records, an outfit well-known for blues records by the likes of Bobby Bland, Little Junior Parker, Rosco Gordon, Fenton Robinson and the late, great Johnny Ace (in fact, it was Bland and Parker who discovered the group). Duke released VERY little in the form of group harmony, so it's not one of the labels the rabid doo-wop label collectors drool over. Second, instead of singing about some angel who makes their crazy hearts skip a beat, the El Torros are singing about an Indian warrior named Yellow Hand, who apparently was a REALLY big guy (sample lyric: "he used a giant redwood tree to make his canoe / a buffalo's hide to make just one shoe"). There's no Indian princess to steal his heart, no mother to tell him to find love, no nothing. In fact, the only other person mentioned in the song is Geronimo, who says that he obeys NO MAN except for Yellow Hand.

So, I'm going to start a new sub-category for all the doo-woppers - American-Indian-doo-wop!!

By the way, for a really good article on the history of the El Torros, look no further than here.

The El Torros - Yellow Hand (Duke 175) - 1957


  1. I am always searching online for articles that can help me. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also. Keep working, great job!
    bubblegum casting