#886 (3/25/17 - 4/7/17)

SPOTLIGHT ON THE DEEP RIVER BOYS
(Part One — 1940s)

"Dream Street"
The Deep River Boys
on RCA Victor 20-2305-B
released in 1947

"I Left Myself Wide Open"
The Deep River Boys
on RCA Victor 20-2397-B
released in 1947

"I'm Sorry I Didn't Say I'm Sorry"
The Deep River Boys
on RCA Victor 20-2610-B
released in 1947

"I Wanna Sleep"
The Deep River Boys
on RCA Victor 20-2808-A
released in 1948


[The above image is courtesy of Paul Ressler.]

Above: The Deep River Boys (Top L-R) Carter Wilson (second tenor), Harry Douglass (baritone), (Bottom L-R) Cameron Williams (pianist-arranger), Vernon Gardner (first tenor), Edward Ware (bass). This is the line-up for their RCA Victor records.

PITTSBURGH COURIER, March 20, 1943: Deep River Boys To Sing At Hampton Institute's 75th Anniversary—....The four singers originally met in the Hampton Institute glee club and there formed their successful association.... The group, which boasts a radio record of nearly 200 air performances during the past six years and claims a repertoire just as big, is composed of Edward (Cubby) Ware, bass; George (Boss) Lawson, second tenor; Vernon (Horse) Gardner, first tenor; Harry (Hands) Douglass, baritone; and Ray (Pidgy) Durant, pianist and arranger.

NEW YORK AGE, May 4, 1946: The Deep River Boys Receive Exclusive RCA Victor Contract—The Deep River Boys, famous Southern vocal group, have been signed to an exclusive RCA Victor contract. It was announced Wednesday by J.W. Murray, vice-president, RCA Victor Activities.

The five boys, Harry Douglas, Edward Ware, Vernon Gardner, George Lawson, and pianist-arranger Cameron Williams, began their career as student members of Virginia's Hampton Institute Glee Club. During their sophomore year they decided to take up singing professionally and journeyed to New York. There they were discovered at an NBC audition by Rex Ingram, the famous "Lawd" of "Green Pastures," who gave them their singing name, "Deep River Boys."

The unusual singing style of this quartette, with distinctive vocal arrangements by their accompanist-arranger, won them an NBC coast-to-coast network contract and their voices are now familiar to millions of radio fans. They have been heard on nearly 500 local radio stations through their transcription repertoire of more than 2,000 tunes. The Deep River Boys also have been guest stars on many network shows. They currently are appearing on a concert and theatre tour and will soon be featured on a new network program.

(NOTE: In 1940-1942, they had two records on Victor and five on the Bluebird label, a subsidiary of RCA Victor.)



Above: The Deep River Boys (L-R) Harry Douglass, Carter Wilson, Edward Ware, Cameron Williams (at piano), and Vernon Gardner.



(From Wilkes-Barre [Pennsylvania] Record dated 8/24/40)

(From Wilkes-Barre [Pennsylvania] Record dated 8/24/40)




(From Detroit Free Press dated 6/22/42)


Above is from The News Palladium (Michigan) dated 6/13/42....
"The Deep River Boys are Edward Ware, bass, George Lawson, second tenor, Vernon Gardner, first tenor, Harry Douglas, baritone, and Charles Ford, pianist and arranger. Former students of Hampton Institute, they became nationally famous soon after leaving college. They have more than 2,000 classical and spiritual compositions in their repertoire, and also are able to swing out when the occasion permits."



(From Akron Beacon Journal [Ohio] dated 11/22/42)

(From New York Age dated 11/20/43)
Above Left....
"Heard daily on NBC stations, The Deep River Boys also have a special Sunday morning program and are now on a tour which takes them into theaters, music halls, colleges and churches throughout the country. In the larger cities their performances are given flattering press notices and rank high with other leading entertainers....
The quartet is composed of Edward Ware, bass, Harry Douglas, baritone, Vernon Gardner, first tenor, and George Lawson, second tenor. Ray Durant is the piano accompaniest and Charles Ford is the arranger."


Above: The Evening News
(Harrisburg, PA) dated 5/2/44.

At Left: Press And Sun Bulletin
(Binghamton, NY) dated 2/26/44.






EXTRA AUDIO (Windows Media Player):
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]

(Far Left) Label image of Bluebird B-11569-A recorded on July 13, 1942
and released later that same month.
Bluebird was a subsidiary of RCA Victor.
This is the only side released by "Fats" with The Deep River Boys.

(Immediate Left) Fats Waller And His Rhythm with The Deep River boys
at the recording session for Bluebird.
(Picture is courtesy of Lillemor Lewander)

Listen to "By The Light Of The Silvery Moon
by "Fats" Waller With The Deep River Boys
on Bluebird B-11569-A released in 1942.




(Far Left) Label image of Majestic 1017 recorded on September 6, 1945
and released in October 1945.
This is the first of two records (one side each) by Thelma Assisted by The Deep River Boys.
Their second, Majestic 1023, was recorded in the same September 6, 1945 session
and released in December 1945.

(Immediate Left) Thelma Carpenter. (Picture is courtesy of Hans-Joachim Krohberger)

Listen to "My Guy's Come Back"
by Thelma Carpenter Assisted by The Deep River Boys
on Majestic 1017 released in 1945.

Listen to "Hurry Home"
by Thelma Carpenter Assisted by The Deep River Boys
on Majestic 1023 released in 1945.

The Billboard "Possibilities" (11/10/45):

THELMA CARPENTER-DEEP RIVER BOYS — MAJESTIC 1017....
My Guy's Come Back
— This is proof that Thelma Carpenter is in. The disk will sell thru her Eddie Cantor air shots and the fact the arrangement of the tune is plenty commercial—both for the paytables
and folding dough. Deep River Boys assist is plenty on the plus side too.


Above: Label images of RCA Victor 20-2305-B, recorded on May 14, 1947 and released in June 1947, and RCA Victor 20-2397-B, recorded on July 22, 1947 and released in August 1947.

The Cash Box Review (7/14/47):

DEEP RIVER BOYS — RCA Victor 20-2305.... Dream Street
Long missing from the phonos the Deep River Boys come up with a tune that may well regain for them the coveted position they held a few years ago. Spooning a lullaby hinging on a memory twist, they offer "Dream Street." Wax spins in a very slow tempo as the group render the nostalgic lyrics smoothly styled all thru. Makes for pleasant listening time, so give it a whirl.

The Billboard Review (9/13/47):

DEEP RIVER BOYS — RCA Victor 20-2397.... I Left Myself Wide Open Plenty of mellowness in the singing of the Deep River Boys, singing to rhythm instrument support. And with much warmth in the solo leads of the tenor and baritone, the fourtet fashion the ballad with full expression.


Above: Label images of RCA Victor 20-2610-B, recorded on November 12, 1947 and released in December 1947, and RCA Victor 20-2808-A, recorded on December 16, 1947 and released in April 1948.

In the 1940s, The Deep River Boys had two records on Victor (1940-41), one backing Bea Wain; four records on Bluebird (1940-41); one on Bluebird backing Fats Waller, one side (1942); eight for two Pilotone albums (1946, but recorded in 1945); two on Majestic backing up Thelma Carpenter, one side each (1945); and many on RCA Victor (1946-53).

NOTE: Most discographical information provided at this website is from Ferdie Gonzalez' Disco-File.


Listen to this week's selections featuring The Deep River Boys on RCA Victor from 1947/48:
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]

     A. Stream RealAudio...
 
          1. Dream Street
          2. I Left Myself Wide Open
          3. I'm Sorry I Didn't Say I'm Sorry
          4. I Wanna Sleep
 
          ALL FOUR played in sequence

     B. Download RealAudio...
 
          1. Dream Street
          2. I Left Myself Wide Open
          3. I'm Sorry I Didn't Say I'm Sorry
          4. I Wanna Sleep

     C. Stream/Download Media Player...
 
          1. Dream Street
          2. I Left Myself Wide Open
          3. I'm Sorry I Didn't Say I'm Sorry
          4. I Wanna Sleep
 
          ALL FOUR played in sequence


[The Billboard Clipping 8/30/47.]


      [To download audio files, right-click on link and then select "Save (Link) Target As..."]

Click HERE for SPOTLIGHT ON THE DEEP RIVER BOYS (Part Two — 1950s).
(Above link will open in a separate window)


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