Previous Vocal Group Record of the Week
#894 (8/12/17)

SPOTLIGHT ON THE MIDNIGHTERS   
(Including Audio For Eight Of Their Sides)    

"Tell Them"/
"Stingy Little Thing"
The Midnighters
on Federal 12202
released in 1954

"Ashamed Of Myself"/
"Ring-A-Ling A-Ling"
The Midnighters
on Federal 12210
released in 1955

"Why Are We Apart"/
"Switchie Witchie Titchie"
The Midnighters
on Federal 12220
released in 1955

"Partners For Life"/
"Sweet Mama, Do Right"
The Midnighters
on Federal 12251
released in 1956


Above: The Midnighters (October 1954). (Top L-R) Charles Sutton, baritone; Sonny Woods, bass; Lawson Smith, baritone/tenor; (Bottom L-R) Arthur Porter, guitar; and Hank Ballard, tenor. Not long after this, Henry Booth replaced Sutton and Cal Green replaced Porter.

The Midnighters had several records on Federal as "The Royals," but changed to their new name in April 1954 due to confusion with another group, The Five Royales.

Click HERE for an article about The Royals And The Midnighters (through 1954) by Marv Goldberg.
(Will open in a separate window)

Click HERE for an article about The Midnighters by Todd Baptista.
(Will open in a separate window)



Above: THE CASH BOX, April 2, 1955: Best R&B Vocal Group Of 1954
NEW YORK—The Midnighters, Federal Records' big recording stars, receive their trophy from Bob Austin (center) for copping first place in the race for best rhythm and blues vocal group of '54. The boys had a number of big hits in '54 including the #1 record "Work With Me Annie." One of the boys holds a gold record from Federal for the same song.

The group personnel in the picture are (L-R) Henry Booth (tenor), Lawson Smith, Sonny Woods, Cal Green (guitar), and Hank Ballard.




The Billboard 12/25/54.

The Billboard 4/9/55.

The Billboard 4/23/55.

The Billboard 2/11/56.


THE ROYALS — MIDNIGHTERS

The Royals 1952.

The Royals 1953.


The Midnighters 1955.

The Midnighters 1955.

SPOTLIGHT ON FEDERAL RECORDS:

Federal Records, formed in 1950, was a subsidiary of King Records, both located in Cincinnati. The labels were owned and operated by Sydney Nathan. Ralph Bass was Federal's A&R man.

Federal's first record was #12001 - The Dominoes "Do Something For Me" - recorded on November 14, 1950 and released the following month. It is the record that introduced lead tenor Clyde McPhatter's voice to the world!

Listen to "Do Something For Me" - The Dominoes - Federal 12001 - 1950 (Media Player).

The label design started as green with gold top and gold printing. At #12130, the top and printing were changed to silver. Then at #12197, it became all green with silver printing and a silver outer ring (on the 78-rpm).

(Far Left) Federal "introduction" advertisement from The Cash Box dated 12/16/50.

(Left Top) From The Cash Box dated 12/23/50 - Federal Releases First Record
CINCINNATI, OHIO—Ralph Bass, A&R man for Federal Records, kicks off his new label as he presents the first record off the press [notice it is a 78-rpm] to Bill Ward, leader and arranger of the Dominoes, a quartet which just waxed "Do Something For Me" backed by "Chicken Blues." Left to right are: Ralph Bass, Charles White, Clyde McPhatter, William Brown and Joseph Lamont. Bill Ward is at the piano.

(Left Bottom) Hank Ballard and Sydney Nathan.

Above: Trade magazine clipping from December 1950.

Trade Magazine Article (11/11/50):

King Bows Federal Subsidiary; Bass Assumes A.&R. Post

NEW YORK A new King Records subsidiary, probably to be named Federal Records, is set to make its bow shortly, according to Sydney Nathan, prexy of King and DeLuxe record firms. Nathan said the decision to put a new label on the market was made at a recent board of directors meeting.

It was also learned that Ralph Bass has joined the new firm and will be in charge of rhythm and blues talent. Bass, who severed his connection with Herman Lubinsky's Savoy diskery, was formerly with Black & White, now defunct, and once had his own label [Bop located in LA 1947-49].

According to Nathan, flavor of Bass' recordings for Federal will be different from those now produced on King and DeLuxe. Federal will emphasize rhythm and blues material initially, but will also venture into the hillbilly and pop field. Label will also be used to develop talent which may be switched to the regular King label. Release of material pressed from masters of other companies is also contemplated.

Federal will be distributed thru the 33 King company-owned branches thruout the country.



Above: Label images of Federal 12202 recorded on September 23, 1954 and released in November 1954 and Federal 12210 recorded on January 7, 1955 and released in February 1955.

The Cash Box Award Of The Week (12/11/54):

THE MIDNIGHTERS — FEDERAL 12202.... Stingy Little Thing/Tell Them
The Midnighters have dropped "Annie" for this release. The lads, however, seem to do well enough without their patron saint. They have an infectious bouncer titled "Stingy Little Thing." Ditty is a story of a gal who is so stingy with her loving. The Midnighters have developed into a fine singing group and the results are apparent on this wax. The flip, "Tell Them," is a slow sad romantic blues beautifully performed. The wailing lead tells his tale with feeling and the others back him effectively. Two good sides.

The Billboard Review (12/11/54):

THE MIDNIGHTERS — FEDERAL 12202....
Stingy Little Thing
(82) The group could have a sock disc with this one. They deliver a spirited reading of some intriguing material while the instrumental backing maintains a strong driving beat. Watch it.
Tell Them (77) Strong effort on some fine ballad material. Lead singer takes the group thru a beat reading of a bluesy item which should get spins.

((NOTE: A ratings range of 70-79 was considered "good" and 80-89 "excellent.")

The Cash Box Review (3/5/55):

THE MIDNIGHTERS — FEDERAL 12210....
Ashamed Of Myself
(B+) The Midnighters have a powerful piece of wax on this slow beat bouncer. They sing it with feeling and a quality vocal. Could take off big.
Ring-A-Ling A-Ling (B+) The Midnighters rock through a middle tempo jump with loads of bounce and appeal. Good coupler, although the buying impetus will come from "Ashamed."

(NOTE: A rating of B+ was considered "excellent.")

The Billboard Review (2/26/55):

THE MIDNIGHTERS — FEDERAL 12210....
Ring-A-Ling A-Ling
(80) The Midnighters, who haven't been too strong since they left "Annie," jump back to the top with this new slicing. It's a wild new rocker, and the boys sing it with gusto. It moves all the way, and it should turn into a real coin-grabber.
Ashamed Of Myself (79) The boys show off their sweet side here, sparked by a fine warble by the tenor lead. The tune is a pretty one, and the backing is bright. Not quite as strong as the flip, but also a potent cutting. Two impressive sides by the boys.


Above: Label image of Federal 12220 recorded on January 7, 1955 and released in April 1955 and Federal 12251 recorded on December 1, 1955 and released in January 1956.

The Midnighters had twenty-two records on Federal (1954-58). As "The Royals," they had another nine releases on Federal (1952-53).

The Cash Box Award Of The Week (4/16/55):

THE MIDNIGHTERS — FEDERAL 12220.... Why Are We Apart/Switchie Witchie Titchie
The Midnighters dish up a slow tempo ballad pretty, "Why Are We Apart," with a warm and appealing performance. The lead is in good voice as he takes the group through the romantic item with a feelingful performance. Wax is the best effort the Midnighters have come up with in the last several releases. The flip, "Switchie Witchie Titchie," is a gay bouncer with the punch effect condensed in the nonsensical title. A middle beat jump that the kids can dance to. If one side makes it, it will be the ballad, "Why Are We Apart."

The Billboard Review Spotlight (4/9/55):

THE MIDNIGHTERS — FEDERAL 12220.... Why Are We Apart
The group has its strongest side in some time here. It's a ballad, with an especially penetrating job by the fine lead singer, and full group backing that keeps a strong pulse and never lets down. Flip is a provocative shouter, "Switchie Witchie Titchie."

The Billboard Best Buy (4/30/55):

THE MIDNIGHTERS — FEDERAL 12220.... Switchie Witchie Titchie
Because of the off-color lyrics, this disk has been bucking considerable deejay resistance. All this notwithstanding, it is shaping up as one of the group's strongest since the "Annie" series. Among the territories where the record is now strong are Baltimore, Buffalo,Cincinnati, Detroit, Atlanta, Durham and St. Louis. Flip is "Why Are We Apart."

The Cash Box Review (1/14/56):

THE MIDNIGHTERS — FEDERAL 12251....
Sweet Mama, Do Right
(B) The Midnighters rock through a middle beat jump with that polished performance that has been associated with them for the past few years. Ok deck.
Partners For Life (B+) The Midnighters etch a strong side in this romantic ballad. Deck is softly and smoothly done. The motif is sentimental with a gentle rock to lend it flavor. Lead is excellent. Strong side that could make it big.

(NOTE: A rating of B was considered "very good" and B+ was "excellent.")

The Billboard Review (1/14/56):

THE MIDNIGHTERS — FEDERAL 12251....
Sweet Mama, Do Right
(79) The boys knock off this blues with lots of heart and style, and the side has a good funky sound.
Partners For Life (77) This side is in the refined groove. It's a melodic, sentimental ballad and provides a fine showcase for the lead singer.

(NOTE: A ratings range of 70-79 was considered "good.")

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


Listen to this week's selections featuring The Midnighters on Federal from 1954, 1955 and 1956:
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]

     A. Stream RealAudio...
 
          1. Tell Them
          2. Stingy Little Thing
          3. Ashamed Of Myself
          4. Ring-A-Ling A-Ling
          5. Why Are We Apart
          6. Switchie Witchie Titchie
          7. Partners For Life
          8. Sweet Mama, Do Right
 
          ALL EIGHT played in sequence

     B. Download RealAudio...
 
          1. Tell Them
          2. Stingy Little Thing
          3. Ashamed Of Myself
          4. Ring-A-Ling A-Ling
          5. Why Are We Apart
          6. Switchie Witchie Titchie
          7. Partners For Life
          8. Sweet Mama, Do Right

     C. Stream/Download Media Player...
 
          1. Tell Them
          2. Stingy Little Thing
          3. Ashamed Of Myself
          4. Ring-A-Ling A-Ling
          5. Why Are We Apart
          6. Switchie Witchie Titchie
          7. Partners For Life
          8. Sweet Mama, Do Right
 
          ALL EIGHT played in sequence




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


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