Audio Remasterer: Mike Milchner.
Liner Note Author: Bill Dahl.
Billy Ward & the Dominoes have seen their Federal material nicely anthologized by Rhino in 1993 and by Rev-Ola a decade later, but Real Gone's 2015 double-disc set, The Complete Federal/King Singles, trumps these previous releases by containing all the As and Bs for all the singles, not just on Federal, but also from their stints at King. This amounts to 58 tracks over the course of two discs, an ample amount of space to house all of their charting R&B hits between 1951-1965, save the singles the group released on Decca between 1956 and 1957. On Decca, the Dominoes leaned closer to the classy pop stylings of the Platters, and that side is still showcased on The Complete Federal/King Singles, a surprise for those who only think of the raunchy "Sixty Minute Man" when they think of Billy Ward & the Dominoes. That 1951 single was ahead of its time, and the group often remained ahead of the pack when fronted by either Clyde McPhatter, who was with the group until 1953, or his replacement Jackie Wilson, who stayed until 1956. After Jackie's departure, the group was then a bit old-fashioned but they could still deliver a surprise -- check the swinging 1961 single "That's How You Know You're Growing Old" for proof -- and the persistence of fine, carefully tailored crossovers helps set the wilder numbers in sharper relief. Combined, those big, bold swinging dance numbers and gorgeous, silken harmonies are proof positive of the depth and range of Billy Ward & the Dominoes, one of the great vocal R&B groups of the '50s. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine