Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Fabulous Flames - I'm So All Alone

Another lonesome song, this time on the Baytone label out of San Fransisco. Flip over for a beautiful ballad, 'Lover',  but it's the swinging 'I'm So Alone' that I keep coming back to. The year was circa 1961

Monday, 5 September 2011

Continental Five - My Lonely Friend

On the Nu Kat label from 1959. So uplifting and I really like the rough production, probably utilising one microphone to capture the group's sound.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

The Highlighters - The Bull

Someone is selling this on ebay for 100 US dollars if anyone is interested!A great up-tempo Spanish themed doo wop. The flip is another up-beat number called Flang Dang Doo, you can hear it on the WFMU Fool's Paradise archive show from December 2nd 2000. 

Saturday, 3 September 2011

The Pelicans - Down In Mexico

The Pelicans also went by the name "The Kidds." This is a previously unreleased recording which I first heard on this record. In fact, this groovy little number started my interest in all things "doo wop."

Monday, 11 April 2011

Remembering Rhythm Records

01 Alice Jean & Mondellos - 100 Years From Today
02 Alice Jean & Mondellos - Come Back Home
03 Lyrics - Everynight
04 Ollie 'Yul' McClay & Mondellos - Over The Rainbow
05 Ollie 'Yul' McClay & Mondellos - Never Leave Me Alone
06 Alice Jean & Mondellos - Daylight Saving Time
07 Alice Jean & Mondellos - That's What I Call Love
08 Little Willie Littlefield - Ruby Ruby
09 Alice Jean & Mondellos - Happiness Street
10 Alice Jean & Mondellos - Hard To Please
11 Bob Jefferies - Never Let Me Go
12 Tempos - Promise Me
13 Tempos - Never Let Me Go
14 Bob Jefferies & Marcels - Take Me Back
15 Marcels - Betty Lou
16 Paliya DeSantos - 'If I Had A' Wishing Well
17 Spinners - Marvella
18 Spinners - My Love And your Love
19 Rudy Lambert - Sunday Kind Of Love
20 Mondellos - My Heart (rare audition copy)
21 Rudy Lambert & Mondellos - That's What I Call Love
22 Mondellos - You'll Never Know (unissued)
23 Tempos - To Love Again
24 Alice Jean & Mondellos - 100 Years From Today (alt take)
25 Alice Jean & Mondellos - Come Back home (alt take)
26 Lyrics - Everynight (alt take)

Rhythm Records had a history of producing great San Francisco blues in the post war era. In 1957, Don Barksdale, a former NBA basketball star and prominent disc jockey for San Francisco Bay Area radio station KWBR, decided to start a record label. Rather than start from scratch, he bought the Rhythm label from Bob Geddins. This marked the beginning of our Rhythm Records vocal group story.................

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Dolphin's Of Hollywood LP

Earth Angel, JD-906
Side A
01 Grady Chapman And The Suedes - Don't Blooper
02 Grady Chapman And The Suedes - I Need You So
03 Lee Maye - Honey Honey
04 The Falcons - I Miss You Darling
05 The Falcons - Tell Me Why (You Made Me Cry)
06 The Robins - School Girl Blues
07 Lee Maye - Will You Be Mine
08 The Turbans - No No Cherry
09 The Voices - Two Things I Love
10 The Robins - Early Morning Blues
Side B
11 Lee Maye - Pounding
12 The Turbans - Tick Tock A-Woo
13 Lee Maye - All I Want Is Someone To Love
14 Cry Baby Curtis - I Wanna
15 The Voices - Takes Two To Make A Home
16 Bobby Relf - Our Love
17 The Voices - I Want To Be Ready
18 The Turbans - When I Return
19 The Gassers - Tell Me
20 Cry Baby Curtis - Did You Think I Care

Lee Maye - Will You Be Mine

Mystery contributor (MC from now on) strikes again. MC has kindly written some words, mainly using the LP notes with a few links contained. You may be able to read the LP notes from the jpg provided but be careful not to give yourself a headache.


John Grattan Dolphin was a record store owner, music publisher and record company operator who in the 1950s ruled the Los Angeles Rhythm and Blues scene until his murder by a disgruntled songwriter in 1958. Dolphin was born in Mississippi and raised in Detroit, Michigan, where he put together a grubstake selling cars. In the late '40s, like many other blacks, he moved to Los Angeles. In the words of an acquaintance, Dolphin "smoked the biggest cigars, wore the biggest hats, the widest collars, talked the biggest, and made the biggest promises."

Dolphin became aware that the music market was changing from jazz and country blues to a developing teenage market who wanted wild screaming saxes and teen vocal groups. He jumped in and cornered the market on R&B on the West Coast during the 50s.

There are many fine sites on the internet documenting Dolphin's life and business dealings, so to say too much would just be repeating them. Have a look here for a more detailed history including photographs. This short essay over at Steve Propes 45 blog is also worth a read.

Now some info on the groups..... 

The Robins were the quintessential West Coast group, formed in San Francisco in 1947 as the A Sharp Trio: Terrell Leonard (known professionally as Ty Terrell) and twins Billy and Ray Richard. They moved to Los Angeles in 1949 and performed at band-leader Johnny Otis' famed Barrel House in Watts. To fatten up the trio's sound, Otis made them a quartet by adding Bass singer Bobby Nunn. Later that year, because of contractual obligations elsewhere, Otis and the Robins, supplemented by Little Esther sound-alike Mickey Champion, recorded a session for Modern Records as the Nic Nacs. From Modern the Robins went to John Dolphin's Recorded In Hollywood label. For their second record for the label they reworked an earlier tune, "Double Crossing Blues" and called it "School Girls Blues". Again they recruited Mickey Champion to play the jailbait role.  That's Bobby Nunn singing on the flip, "Early Morning Blues". The Robins went on to record for RCA and had a couple of hits on the Spark label. Mickey Champion still performs around LA and is responsible for the Northern Soul stormer "What Good Am I"

High tenor Grady Chapman joined the Robins as a lead singer in 1953 while they were recording briefly for RCA and followed them to Spark Records.  He left the Robins briefly to avoid a scandal over his drug conviction. Taking advantage of the sabbatical Chapman recorded "I Need You So" and "Don't Blooper" on Dolphin's Money label (204) with a group he called The Suedes. His subsequent return to the Robins precluded any follow-ups.

Nothing is known about the Falcons other than they are not the popular Falcons from Detroit whose "You're So Fine" was a 1959 hit on the Unart label. "Tell Me Why" and "I Miss You Darling", with white drummer Jimmy Wright's band, was Dolphin's second release on Cash Records in 1955.

The Turbans -an Oakland-based sextet, led by baritone Harry Caesar.  Not to be confused with the Philadelphia group who had a minor hit with "When You Dance".  Other members- Al Williams (1st tenor), Burl or Berlin Carpenter (2nd tenor), Charles Fitzpatrick- tenor, Willie Roland- 2nd baritone , Ezra or Andre Goodwin- bass. "Tick Tock A-Woo/ No No Cherry" was released on Money in 1955. Instead of a real follow up, Dolphin slapped their only other recording, "When I Return" on the B-side of the first record by Gaynel Hodges' Turks.

The Gassers- a sort of vehicle group for Tommy "Buster" Williams, a vocalist who was championed by Jesse Belvin. Known by many as the father of LA doo wop, Belvin persuaded Dolphin to release Hum De Dum and its flipside, "Tell Me" which is featured here. Gasser is a reference to the hair straightening process many blacks went through. 

When singer Robert Byrd (aka Bobby Day left the Hollywood Flames in 1955, he formed a studio group called The Voices to explore his growing fascination with studio technology. He used the new development of overdubbing to sing various harmony parts. When his first release, the mambo-flavoured "Two Things I Love" became a West Coast hit, he was forced to form a trio to play live. "Takes Two To Make A Home" backed with the gospel influenced "I Want To Be Ready" was Byrds third Voices release. Byrd abandoned the project after his fourth Voices release, a Christmas boogie, went nowhere. Byrd went on to have big hits with Rockin' Robin and Over and Over as Bobby Day.

Not to be confused with Bobby Day, Bobby Relf also recorded under many different names.  On "Our Love" however, he used his own name. Bobby Relf is more famously known as one half of Bob & Earl and the song 'Harlem Shuffle.' In fact, Bobby Day was the original member of Bob & Earl and Bobby Relf replaced him.

Cry Baby Curtis' gimmick was apparently imitating other singer like James Brown and Lloyd Price. Other than the fact he lived in LA little else is known about him. His single "I Wanna/ Did you Think I Care?" was released on Cash after Dolphin's death, by his widow Ruth, in 1962.

Arthur Lee Maye, considered to be one of the finest tenors from the Los Angeles scene, is best known as the lead singer of the Crowns on Modern and the Jayos on Dig. He had a solo West Coast hit, Gloria on Speciality in 1957.  Nearly all his songs feature the bass vocal of Richard 'Louie Louie' Berry who also wrote many of Maye's songs.  Incredibly, as if having a successful music career wasn't enough, Maye was also a popular baseball outfielder with a .300 batting average (for those of you who don't know anything about baseball, that's not too shabby) who played for the Milwaukee Braves in 1959, the year after they won the World Series.  He chose to concentrate on his sports career, because in his own words, "In those days, none of us ever made much money in music, even when we wrote and sang hit records."  Maye managed to get a recording session in during the early 1960s, whilst the Braves were in LA to play the Dodgers, and the result was two excellent singles for Cash, "Will You Be Mine/ Honey Honey and  "All I Want Is Someone To Love / Pounding". Truly a phenomenal life, more on Maye can be found here
"We didn't realize that we were creating our own musical history, 'cause we were too busy having fun." Arthur Lee Maye (1934-2002)
Dolphin was a businessman first and foremost, he had no musical skill or knowledge, he relied on musicians such as Red Callender, Eddie Beal and Ernie Freeman to put together arrangements and organize sessions. Ernie Freeman was A&R man for Dolphin from 1954 to 1956, as well as producing, arranging and playing piano on nearly all Dolphin's vocal group recordings. After Freeman hit big for Dolphin with the quarter of a million seller "Jivin' Around" he was immediately signed up by Imperial Records and Dolphin had lost one of his most valuable talents. Freeman went on to have a successful and extremely lucrative career.

The End

Dolphin's empire came to an end on 2 February, 1958, when songwriter Percy Ivy shot him in a dispute over unpaid royalties. The murder was witnessed by future session drummer Sandy Nelson and eventual Beach Boy Bruce Johnston, who had come to Dolphin's office to try and sell him some songs.


Monday, 21 February 2011

The Dandeliers & Others - 'Chop Chop Boom'

01 The Dandeliers - Shu-Wop
02 The Dandeliers - Loving Partner
03 The Dandeliers - Chop Chop boom
04 The Dandeliers - My Autumn Love
05 The Dandeliers - Little Man
06 The Dandeliers - May God Be With You
07 The Dandeliers - She's Mine
08 The Dandeliers - My Love
09 The Hornets - Lonesome Baby
10 The Hornets - You Played The Game
11 The Hornets - Ridin' And Rockin'
12 The Hornets - I Can't Believe
13 The Hornets - Big City Bound
14 The Strollers - In Your Dreams
15 The Strollers - Go Where My Baby Lives
16 The Strollers - Bitter Dreams
17 The Drakes - Mellow Dady
18 The Drakes - Just A Dream
19 The Palms - Girl Of Mine
20 The Palms - I Knew I Had A Chance
21 The Palms - Dianne
22 The Five Chances - Sugar Lips
23 The Five Chances - Bashful Boy
24 The Five Chances - Gloria

The Dandeliers - Chop Chop Boom

A subsidiary to United Records (Leonard Allen), States (Lew Simpkins) concentrated on rhythm and blues, jazz, and gospel, but also released some fine vocal groups.

The Dandeliers had only been singing for a few months before they were "discovered" by United Records. "We had been up there to United several times and had auditioned for them," said Dixon (1st tenor), "but each time we had been turned down. And it was just this one day when we were in Washington Park, messing about with chords and stuff that Smitty (Lew Simpkins) came by and saw us."

The vocal group releases didn't sell well outside Chicago, making them highly sought by collectors. The Hornets only release 'I Can't Believe' b/w 'Lonesome Baby' was, according to the CD notes, sold for the humongous sum of $18,000 in the 1980s, although this could have been for 2 copies. A bargain at $9,000 a pop then!

The Five Chances recorded for Blue Lake and Chance labels prior to States, then went on to record for Federal. Never having much luck with any label.

The Palms never made much of an impression either, not for lack of talent. The song 'Girl Of Mine' was sold by United to Mercury, and the Diamonds recorded it.

Nothing is known about the Strollers or the Drakes.

very expensive

Friday, 18 February 2011

"El Capris"

'Girl of Mine' / 'These Lonely Nights' ('57)

There were two groups called the El Capris (that I know of), one from Pittsburgh and this group, from Detroit I think.........the record was released on the Hi-Q label - a subsidiary of Fortune. Sam Crumby sings, or more accurately 'wails', his heart out on both sides.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Wild And Frantic LP

Wilderness Records, 21667, 1979
Side A
01 Upsetters - I'm In Love Again
02 Billy La Mont - Country Boy
03 Pretty Boy - Switchen' In The Kitchen
04 Mr P.T - Crazy Sadie
05 Otis Redding - Fat Gal
06 Little Cameron - Kansas City Dog
07 Rockin' Bradley - Lookout
08 Don Covey - Believe It Or Not
09 Tony Harris - Chicken, Baby, Chicken
Side B
10 Tommy Louis - Wail Baby Wail
11 Mr P.T - Aunt Suzie
12 Freddy Robinson - Five Feet Of Lovin'
13 Joe Tex - You Little Baby Face Thing
14 Pretty Boy - Rockin' The Mule
15 Lowell Fulson - Rock This Morning
16 Andy Wilson - My Love, My Love
17 The Valiants - Frieda, Frieda
18 Curtis Carrington - I'm Gonna Catch You

Tommy Louis - 'Wail Baby Wail'

The title says it all! Vinyl rip and rudimentary info provided by Woo Dops -

The Upsetters & Little Richard
The Upsetters were Little Richard's backing band and the man himself sings on 'I'm In Love Again.' The band behind Billy La Mont 'Country Boy' is rumoured to have been The Upsetters as well. Don Covey also recorded as Pretty Boy and worked for a time as Cauffeur for his idol, Little Richard, doing double-duty as the hitmaker's opening act. The two songs by Mr. P.T. (and the Party Timers) appeared on a 1961 Federal release. Otis Redding's 'Fat Gal' was released on Confederate Records with the other side being 'Shout Bamalama.' Rockin' Bradley does a Little Richard lyrical mash-up with some brilliant tape overload shouts on 'Lookout.' Opera music gives Tony Harris the creeps, as his crazy chicken song explains! There's a decent bio at allmusic on the life of Tommy Louis aka Kid Thomas; a larger than life character who came to an unfortunate end. 

Tommy Louis
Freddy Robinson had a lengthy career and played guitar with some of the greats, including Ray Charles, Little Walter & Howlin' Wolf; find an obituary here. The famous southern soul artist Joe Tex coined the term 'rap' to describe his style of speaking over the music. Andy Wilson's back up band were called the Cosmos. The Valiants were a terrific R&B act with front man Billy Storm providing vocals on this frantic number; they also released a wild version of 'Good Golly, Miss Molly' which, in my opinion out does Little Richard's version and was released at an earlier date. Couldn't find any info on Curtis Carrington and Little Cameron. Hope you like!

Saturday, 12 February 2011

"The Nutmegs"

'The Way Love Should Be' ('58)

An acappella version was released in '63. A biography of the group here. The gruesome end of Leroy Griffin is noted in the 'Encyclopedia of Dead Rock Stars' subtitled - 'Heroin, Handguns, and Ham Sandwiches' !!

Monday, 7 February 2011

Vocal Groups Coast to Coast

01 The Mello Moods - Call On Me
02 The Mello Moods - I Tried & Tried & Tried
03 The Mello Moods - I'm Lost
04 The Mello Moods - When I Woke Up This Morning
05 The Mello Moods - The Christmas Song
06 The Cabineers - Each Time
07 The Cabineers - My My My
08 The Cabineers - Lost
09 The Cabineers - Baby, Where's You Go (To)
10 The Cabineers - What's The Matter With You
11 The Cabineers - Baby Mine
12 Henry Pierce & His Five Notes - Thrill Me Baby
13 Henry Pierce & His Five Notes - Hey Fine Mama
14 The Metronomes - That's Bad
15 The Dukes - Come On & Rock
16 The Dukes - I Was A Fool
17 The Dukes - Oh Kay
18 The Dukes - Ooh Bop She bop
19 The Chimes - Zindy Lou
20 Jesse Belvin - Gone
21 Jesse Belvin - One Little Blessing
22 Byron 'Slick' Gipson & The Sliders - Honey Dew
23 Vernon Green & The Phantoms - How Do You Kiss An Angel
24 Eugene Church - Why Oh Why
25 The Titans - Can It Be
26 The Monitors - Red Sails In The Sunset

An excellent CD showcasing some classy early to mid 50s vocal groups.
Cool and sometimes crazy doo-wop sounds swept the nation during the Fifties - from the East Coast to the West Coast and on down the Gulf Coast. Although Prestige specialised in modern jazz, the New York based company delved into doo-wop early in the decade. This collection begins with the teenage Mello Moods and the more mature Cabineers, both of whose Prestige recordings rank among the rarest of vocal group platters. The action then shifts to Hollywood, mixing tracks (some previously unissued) by southern California harmonizers the Metronomes, the Dukes, the Chimes, Jesse Belvin, Vernon Green & the Phantoms, Eugene Church, and the Titans, with equally rare selections from two New Orleans groups - Henry Pierce & his Five Notes and the Monitors - all from the vaults of Speciality Records - from CD back cover.
Here is one of the few up tempo tracks on the CD by Byron "Slick" Gipson & the Sliders released on Speciality. Can't find any info on Mr Gipson or the Sliders but just listen to that voice. Ouch!

Thursday, 3 February 2011

"THE MOVE" - Interview & Live Clip

A hilarious interview with a short but literally 'smoking' live clip of The Move during a visit to Holland. Any bootlegs of these shows knocking about?

One of the most successful pop groups to come out of Birmingham in the 1960s in terms of British chart success, they were also the hardest to categorize musically as their style ranged from pop to psychedelic, progressive, heavy metal, 1950s style rock 'n' roll and even country and western! Above all, it was Roy Wood's talent as a highly original songwriter that propelled the band on an extended chart run. - more info here

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Major Lance - Live at the Torch LP

Contempo, COLP 1001, 1973

Side A
01 Hey, Hey
02 I Wanna Make You Up
03 My Girl
04 Um Um Um Um Um Um
05 The Beat
Side B
06 Ain't No Soul (Left In These Old Shoes)
07 Investigate
08 Monkey Time

This recording by Major Lance is widely regarded to be the greatest live Northern Soul recording put to wax! Just listen to the party vibe going on in the YouTube clip below, bonkers! The venue reached full capacity that night, apparently there were as many people outside the club as inside, still trying to get in. Not a gig to forget if you were lucky enough to gain entry.

Originally an old cinema, the Golden Torch was redeveloped as a luxury nightclub by Chris Burton, a Midlands businessman, in 1963. Featuring a Roman chariot on the outside wall, the club was classy, with marble pillars and the now compulsory balcony overlooking the dance floor. Originally designed to hold about five hundred people, in it's heyday it hosted in excess of one and a half thousand; which, as the club was situated in a quiet residential street, was only the start of the club's problems. - more info here

Dateline: December 9th, 1972
The Torch Club, Turnstall, Stoke-On-Trent (UK)

Twelve thousand fingers a-poppin', twelve hundred voices raised in salute to a great artist. It's quite a night at Britain's No. 1 Soul club. Major Lance is on stage and tonight he's smashed every box-office record in the book. As he struts around the tiny stage, pouring out the songs which have earned him a place in the Soul Hall of Fame, the excitement reaches to the rafters. There's enough energy in the club tonight to light the town. This album captures the magic of the occasion.
It's something of a threefold tribute.....to Major Lance's dynamic artistry and magnetism; to the staunch supporters of the Torch for their enthusiasm, and, also, to the massive Soul following in Britain for it's undaunted efforts in keeping this brand of music firmly on the map. Soul is a feeling, and means different things to different people. Spin this album on your turntable and it'll mean something special to you.
Chris Burton
The Torch

This one is brought to you by my mystery contributor. Cheers!

Friday, 21 January 2011

Joe Weaver & His Blue Note Orchestra

01 Joe Weaver - Baby I Love You So
02 Joe Weaver - Do You Wanna Work Now
03 Joe Weaver - Baby I'm In Love You
04 Joe Weaver - 1540 Special
05 Joe Weaver - Soft Pillow
06 The Starlighters - Zoom
07 Joe Weaver - Tootsie Roll
08 Joe Weaver - Too Hot To Trot
09 Joe Weaver - It Must Be Love
10 Joe Weaver - Lazy Susan
11 Chet Oliver - Cool As A Cucumber
12 Joe Weaver - J.B.'s Boogie
13 Joe Weaver - I'm On My Merry Way
14 Andre Williams-Don Juans - I Wanna Know Why
15 Joe Weaver - Look-A-here Pretty Baby
16 The Five Jets - I Am In Love
17 The Diablos - That's What Your Doing To Me
18 Joe Weaver - Baby Child
19 The Five Dollars - Hard Working Mama
20 Joe Weaver - Going Back To Chicago
21 Joe Weaver - Loose Caboose
22 The Five Dollars - Weekend Man
23 The Starlighters - Big Feet
24 Joe Weaver - All I Do Is Cry
25 Andre Williams - Jailhouse Blues
26 The 5 Jets - Not A Hand To Shake

Joe Weaver - 'Baby I Love You So'

Joe Weaver & His Blue Note Orchestra were one of Detroit's hottest Blues and Rhythm & Blues bands in the early fifties. They recorded for labels like: Chess Records (the recordings are and remain unreleased), Deluxe, Jaguar, Fortune Records, J.V.B, HI-Q and Federal Records. Joe and his band recorded some fine discs, that were issued under their own name, and were also used as the back up band for many other Rhythm & Blues talents like: Andre Williams and The Don Juans, The Diablos, The Starlighters, Chet Oliver and many many more...Lovers of Detroit and Rhythm & Blues are getting now the unique chance with this CD to hear for the first time, what's considered by most collectors to be the very best recorded work of Joe Weaver & His Blue Note Orchestra. - CD notes
Joe Weaver also helped shape the sound of Motown in the early 60s. Other artists he worked with include; The Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, John Lee Hooker, Nathaniel Mayer, The Miracles, Martha Reeves, Nancy Wilson and Stevie Wonder!! Wonder how many people have heard of him? More info here

Andre Williams - 'Jailhouse Blues'

Monday, 17 January 2011

"The Royal Jokers"

'You Came Along' ('63)
'I Don't Like You That Much' ('58)

Staying in Detroit we have The Royal Jokers on the Fortune label. If my facts are correct, the group evolved from The Serenaders (as heard in the last post) and one of the results is this majestic slice of soulful harmony. The recording quality is 'rough', but for me this only adds to its beauty.

An earlier Fortune release was 'I Don't Like You That Much'.  You can also hear this on Spanking Doo Wops Volume 1.....This one is WILD!!!

Hear 'I Don't Like You That Much'

If you're interested in learning more about the Serenaders/Royal Jokers, Marv Goldberg is always a good bet.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Rhythm & Blues Detroit Style

01 Teardrops - Sweet Lovin Daddy-O (’52 Sampson)
02 Teardrops - Come Back To Me (flip)
03 Five Scalders - There Will Come A Time (’55 Sugar Hill)
04 Five Scalders - If Only You Were Mine (flip)
05 Five Scalders - Girl Friend (’56 Drummond)
06 Five Scalders - Willow Blues (flip)
07 Thrillers - I'm Going To Live My Life Alone ('53 Thriller)
08 Twilighters - Water Water (’57 J-V-B)
09 Twilighters - How Many Times (flip)
10 Serenaders - Tomorrow Night (’52 J-V-B)
11 Serenaders - Why Don't You Do Right (flip)
12 Gales - Darling Patricia (’55 J-V-B)
13 Gales - Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying (’56 J-V-B)
14 Gales - My Eyes Keep Me In Trouble (flip)
15 Voilinairs - Joy In The Beulah Land (’54 Drummond)
16 Voilinairs - Another Soldier Gone (flip)
17 Imperials - You'll Never Walk Alone (’53 Gem)
18 Imperials - Ain't Gonna Tell It Right (flip) 
19 Fresandos - Your Last Goodbye (’57 Star-X)
20 Fresandos - I Mean Really (flip)
21 Five Emeralds - I'll Beg (’54 SRC)
22 Five Emeralds - Let Me Take You Out Tonight (flip)
23 Five Emeralds - Darling (’55 SRC)
24 Five Emeralds - Pleasure Me (flip)
25 Dee Jays - Love Me Baby (’54 SRC)
26 Dee Jays - Baby Please Don't Leave Me Here To Cry (flip)

What we have here is a collection of super rare R&B and gospel infused Detroit vocal groups. Most, if not all of these songs are ripped straight off the original vinyl or shellac. To add to the almost non-existent CD notes, I've come up with an easily digestible list of random 'facts' on those groups I could find info on; mostly using Marv Goldbergs site.
  1. The Teardrops released one record. The risqué lyrics on 'Sweet Lovin' Daddy' prevented any air-play - "The way I do my loving / They always come back for more".
  2. The Five Scalders were so called because - "we were hot". One of the members, Mack Rice (baritone), went on to join The Falcons of 'You're So Fine' fame.
  3. The Thrillers had an unusual R&B record that expounded on the evils of drink.
  4. The Twilighters - No idea!
  5. The Serenaders later changed their name to The Royals, and then again to The Royal Jokers.
  6. The Gales - Blank
  7. The Voilinairs - You can hear the gospel influence in many of these songs (listen above).
  8. The Imperials - "We loved to sing. Not for money, fortune, or fame, but for the joy of singing, competing, and being together in harmony with one another as friends" - Milton Harris (lead tenor)
  9. The Fresandos were a group Otis Williams (The Temptations) admired as a youth
  10. The Five Emeralds - Sorry!
  11. The Dee Jays -  See scanned insert for an unfortunate yet amusing anecdote.
    Hey bobba ree bop,
    This is the Teardrops, you know!
    My name is "Carlos the King",
    All the women love to hear me sing.
    My name is "Little Pepperdini",
    When I sing, all the women start screaming.
    My name is "Ala Fons",
    And I'm the cutest one.
    My name is "Pepe Le Moko",
    When I sing, all the women go loco.
    Hey bobba ree bop,
    This is the Teardrops, you know!

    This was the way the Teardrops would introduce themselves at the beginning of their act!

    The Teardrops
    'Come Back To Me' was given a slating review in Billboard magazine. The reviewer called it "a weak blues ballad." I must be a sucker for them weak blues ballads! See what you think....

    The Teardrops - 'Come Back To Me' 

    Friday, 14 January 2011

    "The Premiers"

    'Jolene' ('58)

    Bbbbbbrrummm! Not a big fan of white doo-wop, but I can make an exception now and then! The Premiers were from Connecticut and also recorded as Roger & The Travellers / and also The Frontiers - this one was released on the Alert label. Dolly Parton would later cover this song in the 70's, minus the car sounds and everything else. More info on the group can be found on whitedoowopcollector.

    Wednesday, 12 January 2011

    "The Sharps"

    'Our Love Is Here To Stay' & 'Lock My Heart' ('57)
    plus a few more!

    The Sharps do a powerful version of this Gershwin song (released on the Lamp label). The song is also a popular jazz standard but this is by far the best version I have heard; utterly sublime and just keeps on getting better with each listen.

    The history of The Sharps is a bit complicated. From what I can gather they started out as The Lamplighters and ended up as The Rivingtons, with Thurston Harris going solo along the way; they sang backing on Thurston Harris' song 'Little Bitty Pretty One'. Another Sharps track (I think the same group) is 'Love Me My Darling' - a wonderful woozy ballad with a great speaking part mid-way. They also recorded the song 'Have Love Will Travel' with Duane Eddy laying down his trademark rhythm guitar - the song being inspired by the TV western series "Have Gun Will Travel."

    Flip over to the rockin' side. Don't miss it!!

    Hear 'Lock My Heart'


    Sunday, 9 January 2011

    Music City - Vol 2

    01 The Four Deuces - WPLJ
    02 Wanda Burt & The Crescendos - Your True Love Is Standing By
    03 The Gaylarks - Tell Me Darling
    04 The Midnights - She Left Me
    05 The Rovers - Why Oh
    06 The Kliks - It's All Over
    07 The Gaylarks - Church on The Hill
    08 The Five Crystels - Heaven's Own Choir
    09 The Rovers - Whole Lot Of Love
    10 The Crescendos - Take My Heart
    11 The Five Lyrics - I'm Travelling Light
    12 The Gaylarks - Lil' Dream Girl
    13 The Five Campbells - Hey Baby
    14 The Midnights - Hear My Plea
    15 The Gaylarks - Teenage Mambo
    16 The Five Swans - Lil' Girl Of My Dreams
    17 The Honeydrops - You're The One For Me
    18 The Five Rovers - Change Your Mind
    19 The Gaylarks - Somewhere In The World
    20 The Crescendos - Teenage Prayer
    21 The Gaylarks - Ivy League Clothes
    22 The Kliks - This Is The End Of Love
    23 The Four Deuces - Down It Went

    I first heard the song WPLJ on the Frank Zappa album Burnt Weeny Sandwich. I had no idea the original was written by Luther McDaniels of The Four Deuces. WPLJ stands for white port & lemon juice - a popular alcoholic concoction favoured by Luther and group.

    Around June 1955, the 4 Deuces drove up to see Dobard and auditioned for him. The very next day, he called them back for a recording session. Back they went and in only 44 takes laid down "W-P-L-J." "None of us had any musical knowledge," says Luther. "We were greenhorns. We did 44 takes, but we were having fun." This was the only song they recorded that day. - more info here
    Johnny Heartsman was the in-label band leader at Music City. He was a young gifted musician and used Dobbard's two-track tape recorder to overdub bass, guitar and sometimes piano on many recordings. You can hear his excellent guitar playing on Tiny Powell's 'My Time After Awhile' (covered soon after by Buddy Guy) and his own 'Johnny's House Party' which was the first and last charting release on the Music City label (see previous post for sound clip). The vocal shenanigans going on during 'Johnny's House Party' was provided by The Gaylarks.

    The Gaylarks
    Heartsman's most vivid recollections are of The Gaylarks. "It amazes me that they were as popular as they were. They were the no-singingest group I ever heard." - from CD notes
    My favourite Gaylark's song  is 'Tell Me Darling.' They weren't great singers, but the rawness in the vocals give an added charm.

     Both volumes can be purchased here at a very reasonable price.

    Monday, 3 January 2011

    Music City - Vol 1

    01 The Crescendos - My Heart's Desire
    02 The Gaylarks - Mr. Rock And Roll
    03 The Midnights - Cheating On Me
    04 The Rovers - Ichi - Bon Tami Dachi
    05 The Gaylarks - Romantic Memories
    06 The Five Campbells - Morrine
    07 The Fidels - Love Me Tender
    08 Wanda Burt & The Crescendos - Scheming
    09 The Rovers - Salute To Johnny Ace
    10 The Honey Drops - Honey Drop
    11 The Gaylarks - Doodle Doo
    12 The Five Crystels - Path Of Broken Hearts
    13 The Five Swans - Lip Tipa Tina
    14 Mr. Undertaker - Here Lies My Love
    15 The Midnights - Annie Pulled A Humbug
    16 The Five Rovers - Down To The Sea
    17 The Crescendos - I Don't Mind
    18 The Holidays - Never Go To Mexico
    19 The Gaylarks - My Greatest Sin
    20 The Four Deuces - The Goose Is Gone
    21 The Kliks - Elaine
    22 The Honeydrops - Rockin' Satellite
    23 Johnny Heartsman & The Gaylarks - Johnny's House Party (pts 1 & 2)

    The recordings on the Music City label are incredible to say the least; from raw soulful ballads to wild surf rock outs, there is plenty to get your teeth into! Here is a taster by the Rovers. The song is a tribute to the untimely passing of R&B star Johnny Ace (age 25).

    Johnny Ace
    Tragedy Strikes R&B Field; Johnny Ace Dies in Russian Roulette Game HOUSTON, Jan. 1, 1955 - Rhythm and blues recording star Johnny Ace accidentally killed himself while playing Russian roulette at a holiday dance here on Saturday (25). The shooting occurred at a show featuring the popular singer and his band. Ace had gone backstage for a five-minute break and had been fooling around with a revolver with one bullet in the chamber. Ace, whose real name was John Alexander, was one of the brightest stars in the r&b field.... - more info here

    The Rovers aka The Five Rovers

    Excellent CD notes provided by Jim Dawson - here is the first paragraph:
    Ray Dobbard's Music City label in Berkley, California, primarily recorded vocal groups. Since producer Bob Geddins in neighbouring Oakland had already tied up the Bay Area blues scene, it made sense for Dobbard, owner of the Music City Record Store at 1815 Alcatraz Avenue, to establish his own preserve in the local black music market. Besides, when Dobbard activated the label in early 1954, harmony groups were the best sellers. The Chords' "Sh-Boom" had just sneaked into the national Top 10, despite the group's definite Negro sound. The Dominoes, Ravens, Clovers, Spaniels, Moonglows and Charms were not only having huge hits on the R & B charts; their songs were also being recorded by top white acts like the Crewcuts and the Andrews Sisters on major labels. A small businessman who recorded vocal  groups and owned these songs could, with luck, get rich from both record sales and publishing royalties.........
    I'll leave you with one more audio sample, this time from Johnny Heartsman & The Gaylarks. Sounds like a great party!

    'Johnny's House Party' (pts 1 & 2)

    Both volumes can be purchased here at a very reasonable price.

    Sunday, 2 January 2011

    "The Majestics"

    'Nitey Nite' & 'Caveman Rock' ('54)

    Sam Moore recorded these songs with The Majestics several years before teaming up with Dave Prater to create the famous R&B duo Sam & Dave! Sam is singing lead on both sides of this Marlin release.
    Sam & Dave
    Don't forget to check the flip out.

    Do the 'Caveman Rock'!!

    Saturday, 1 January 2011

    Doo Woppin' The Blues LP

    (Rarin' Records RARIN 777, undated)
    01 Leon Tarver & The Cordones - Rooster
    02 Leon Tarver & The Cordones - Baby Don't Go
    03 Leon Tarver & The Cordones - Come Back To Me
    04 Leon Tarver & The Cordones - Whoee
    05 Leon Tarver & The Cordones - Soup Line
    06 Leon Tarver & The Cordones - It's My Fault
    07 Dozier Boys - Hey Jack
    08 Larks - She's A Good One
    09 Clouds - Baby Wants To Rock
    10 Arbee Stidham - Blues Why Do You Pick On Me
    11 Arbee Stidham - Baby Stop The Clock
    12 Moonlights - Love Me True

    Leon Tarver & The Cordones - 'Soup Line'

    Why don't you listen to one of the highlights from the LP whilst you read the LP gumf:

    "The Chicago ghettos in the late 1940's and 1950's were on fire with black talents, both known and unknown. Blues, jazz, gospel, and the first stirrings of doo wop were on the streets. Countless groups, hearing the street-corner sounds of the early Moonglows, Flamingos, Little Walter and Muddy Waters as well as the more polished jazzman like Gene Ammons, Tab Smith, and Johnny Griffin among many others developed a hybrid style known "doo wopping blues." Groups that originated in the ghettos modeled their style on the better known groups such as the Orioles, Ravens, Ebonaires, and Delta Rhythm Boys, but infused with a stronger blues emphasis, gospel-style wailing, and backed it up with the same musicians who played on many epochal Chicago blues and jazz sessions. In many cases little is known of the groups whose previously unreleased songs are heard on this LP, but the light they shed on their era is not dimmed and the music comes through strongly for us to enjoy.

    The earliest recording here is the Dozier Boys' 1949 "Hey Jack." The group enjoyed 11 single releases in the 1948-1960 period, making them one of the longer-lived groups on the scene. The harmonies here are in the popular cool style of the era, but the mood is definitely low down and blue.

    Arbee Stidham is a much recorded bluesman who has recorded for a galaxy of major and minor labels. His two 1952 cuts "Blues Why Do You Pick On Me" and "Baby Stop The Clock" feature an unknown but very effective group behind his oldish lead. Interestingly, additional takes were made of these tunes at the session without the group, but nothing from the date was ever released until now.

    The mystery surrounding the Larks' 1956 "She's A Good One" is deepened by the fact that there were several different and unrelated Larks' groups. However, our 'blue-woppers' are not associated with any of them. Similarly, nothing is known of the Clouds' 1954 offering "Baby Wants To Rock" or of the mysterious Moonlights, whose "Love Me True" is an interesting variation of a traditional blues theme.

    Leon Tarver & The Chordones enjoyed only one 1954 release on a now defunct Chicago label. Their six cuts which make up the first side of this LP really capture the all-too-fleeting time & place when doop(!!)-wop and the blues became one."
    My first vinyl post is kindly provided by a friend. I really enjoyed this LP, check it out!

    Happy New Year!!!