MARV GOLDBERG'S
  R&B NOTEBOOKS

  The Brown Dots/4 Tunes


By Marv Goldberg

Based on interviews with Jimmie Nabbie
and Pat Best


© 2001 by Marv Goldberg



The 4 Tunes were probably the leading black Pop vocal group during the 1950s. Their origins can be traced back to a change of personnel in the Ink Spots. This requires a brief review of some events in the mid-40s.

      THE INK SPOTS IN 1944 - SOME BACKGROUND

The 1944 Ink Spots consisted of Bill Kenny (tenor lead), Deek Watson (tenor), Bernie Mackey (baritone and guitar; he was temporarily taking the place of Charlie Fuqua, who was in the service), and Orville "Hoppy" Jones (bass).

In June 1944, during an engagement in Chicago, Hoppy Jones became ill and the group had to finish a tour without him (Deek Watson filled in on the mandatory talking parts). This had unsuspected ramifications. Hoppy was the conciliatory father figure (nicknamed "the grand old man") of the Ink Spots. Now that he was missing, infighting between Bill Kenny and Deek Watson, which had formerly just smoldered, now flared up unchecked. Deek had been the leader of the group until their 1939 smash of "If I Didn't Care." Since then, Bill had firmly established himself in the forefront of the Ink Spots, pushing Deek further and further into the background. Hoppy returned in August, but by then, the damage had been done.

After an engagement at the State Theater in Hartford (probably in September 1944), Deek quit. The assertion of Bernie Mackey was that manager Moe Gale had given Bill Kenny a raise at this time, but not Deek or Hoppy. After being edged out of the singing leadership of the hottest black group in the country, this was more than Deek could take. Almost immediately he began putting together his own competing Ink Spots group.

Unfortunately, the worst was yet to come. On October 18, 1944, Hoppy Jones (who was 39) collapsed on stage and died after being taken home. It turned out that he had been having cerebral hemorrhages for over a year. Strangely, Billboard reported that Jones was the "last of the original Ink Spots."

At the end of October, Deek Watson tried to return to the Ink Spots; Bill Kenny refused to allow him back on stage. This triggered a complex array of legal machinations, which unfolded throughout late 1944 (and paved the way for lawsuits throughout the 1950s and 1960s). Suits and countersuits followed, and courtrooms became the place for memorable, albeit nonmusical, performances.

Starting in early November 1944, there was a bitter court battle involving Deek Watson and Charlie Fuqua on one hand, Bill Kenny on the other, and manager Moe Gale on the third:

    1. Deek Watson and Charlie Fuqua sued Kenny for $250,000 and the right to get back into the group, as well as to deny Kenny the right to use the name "Ink Spots" until they were reinstated. That battle they lost almost immediately. Even though Fuqua was still in the army (stateside), he sued to be allowed back into the group upon his discharge, as well as to be declared a full partner in the Ink Spots. Both Watson and Fuqua wanted to deny Kenny the right to represent himself as the sole owner of the Ink Spots name.

    2. Bill Kenny sued Gale for an accounting, charging that Gale took a 50% cut out of the group's earnings, as well as his 10% commission. (Gale said that he paid a lot of the group's expenses, such as advertising, arrangements, publicity, and half their transportation.) Gale also countered that they had signed a new 5-year contract with him just the prior year, indicating that they were satisfied with his services.

    3. Moe Gale sided with Deek Watson, and sued to deny Kenny the right to use the "Ink Spots" name if he wouldn't use Watson in the group.

It was finally decided to roll all the lawsuits into a single trial, which began in December 1944.

On January 8, 1945, the entire litigation mess was settled out of court. As it turned out, Deek was the one who was denied the name; clubs were barred from booking any Ink Spots group not containing Bill Kenny. Watson countered that he was going to form a new group based "on a completely new idea." Gale was to remain as Kenny's manager (his contract had four and a half years to go). Watson and Fuqua retained a financial interest in Bill Kenny's earnings (with Fuqua being paid a weekly salary even though in the army). Finally, Kenny dropped his suit against Gale.

The stage was set.

      THE BROWN DOTS

Around November 1944, Deek had started appearing with a new group, which he called the "Ink Spots." They consisted of high tenor Joe King, bass Jimmy Gordon, and an unknown fourth member, who was probably a baritone.

When he announced (in the January 1945 settlement of the lawsuits) that he would form a new group based "on a completely new idea," he simply changed their name to the "Brown Dots" (the name does sound somewhat familiar, doesn't it?). As it turned out, the "new idea" was to sound as much like the Ink Spots as possible. One real difference was that the Brown Dots relied more on harmony than the Ink Spots, who were more individualists. (Since the Brown Dots were also managed by Moe Gale, we know who the hands-down winner in this contest was.)

At the time Deek's "Ink Spots" became the "Brown Dots," the unknown baritone departed, to be replaced by baritone/guitarist William "Pat" Best. A bartender told Deek about this kid who fooled around in Central Park, singing and playing the guitar. Pat didn't think he could either sing well or play the guitar ("I only knew two chords"), but Deek was persistent. This, coupled with the fact that Pat was having some squabbles with his wife at the time, led to his joining the Brown Dots. He first met Joe King and Jimmy Gordon at Moe Gale's office.

The Brown Dots' first three engagements began on February 1, 1945, when they played the Club Plantation in St. Louis (for a reported $2000 a week). Pat Best says of that show: "We were terrible. They threw things at us and booed us off the stage. We'd only rehearsed for a couple of weeks and I only knew two chords on the guitar." From there they traveled to Smith's Hotel in Baltimore, and then to the Apollo Theater in early March.

A Variety review of that Apollo Theatre show was somewhat mixed:

      This is the first theatre date of the new quartet formed by Deke [sic] Watson, one of the original members of the Ink Spots, who bowed out of that combo last fall after drawn-out litigation. One of the sparkplugs of the Spots, Watson is doing a man-sized job of carrying the new group in its early stages. And the result is that the quartet, as it works here, shows very good possibilities.

      When caught [when the reviewer saw the show], the Dots were still a long distance from big time, however. Their harmony was a bit ragged, the tenor voice [Joe King's] was inaccurate and badly controlled (due to illness, it's said), and their selection of tunes ("Little On Lonely Side," "I'm Making Believe," "Java Jive") wasn't good in view of Watson's past association with the Ink Spots. However, as cited above, the very animation of Watson and brief flashes in the combo's work seems to indicate future strength.

      When laid out several months ago, it was said Watson's idea was completely different from the Ink Spots pattern. It isn't, and the similarity to the Spots isn't wise. Watson uses a high tenor much in the way Billy Kenny works with the former act. This isn't as bad as the insertion of a spoken bridge in one song, a chore handled for the Spots by the late Hoppy Jones, whose voice and delivery is difficult to copy. It shouldn't even be attempted.

Probably at that show, they received an offer of a recording contract from Irving Berman, owner of Manor Records' (located at 162 Prince Street in Newark, New Jersey). In an ad in the March 17 trades, Manor touted songs by the Brown Dots as "to be released." The Brown Dots initially recorded four songs for Manor: "Let's Give Love Another Chance" (led by Deek), "Thirty-One Miles For A Nickel (Subway Serenade)" (also Deek), "Sentimental Reasons" (led by Joe King), and "You're Heaven Sent" (also Joe King). Their first release, in May 1945, was "Let's Give Love Another Chance"/"Thirty-One Miles For A Nickel (Subway Serenade)."

"Sentimental Reasons" - later recorded as "For Sentimental Reasons" and "(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons" - was a poem that Pat had written. "Way back when I was in elementary school, I liked to write poems. Like I'm talking to a little girl. When I got older, I put a melody to it." Once they decided to record it, however, Deek saw something in the tune and the label only has his name on as writer (when the Brown Dots re-recorded it in September of 1946, both Pat's and Deek's names appeared on it; however, a re-release of the original finally credited Pat alone).

The song was released in the summer of 1945 (backed with "You're Heaven Sent") and didn't seem to be going anywhere. One day, however, Pat got a call from publisher Moe Levy, husband of Maxine Andrews (of the Andrews Sisters). Moe (who, along with his brother, Lou, owned Leeds Music) told him that he'd heard the song and "the whole world was going to sing it." Pat therefore sold him the rights to it for $2500 (a goodly sum in those days); Levy eventually transferred the rights to his granddaughter.

Well, maybe the whole world wouldn't sing it, but an awful lot of people would. There were hit versions in 1946 for Nat "King" Cole and Charlie Spivak. 1947 saw charters by Eddy Howard, Dinah Shore, Ella Fitzgerald, and Art Kassel. Over the years, it's also been done by (among others) Smiley Lewis (1954), the Rivileers (1954), Sam Cooke (1958), Jesse Belvin (1959), the Voices Five (1959), Donnie Elbert (1960), the Cleftones (1961), the Spaniels (1961), Marvin Gaye & Mary Wells (1964), Rufus Thomas (1971), and James Brown (1976). It was a long battle, but Pat finally regained the rights to the tune.

Sometime during the summer or early fall of 1945, Joe King and Deek Watson started fighting. King had some money and was very independent. Deek, after what had happened to him in the Ink Spots, wasn't about to give up power to someone else. When they played a gig in Atlanta, Georgia, Deek fired him.

They next went down to Tampa, Florida, where a friend told Jimmie Nabbie that the Brown Dots were looking for a tenor lead. Since Nabbie was a fan of the Ink Spots, he knew all their songs and was hired after an audition.

Jimmie Nabbie had graduated from Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach, Florida. Although he wanted to be an operatic tenor, in 1939, blacks weren't being hired by the Metropolitan Opera, regardless of talent. Jim then turned to Pop singing, forming the Orange Blossom Singers. The group broke up in 1941, when Jim found himself army-bound. With his discharge in late 1944, he started looking for a singing job. He auditioned for vocalist with the Jimmy Lunceford Orchestra, but Lunceford hired the Trenier Twins (Cliff and Claude) instead.

ad for Just In Case You Change Your MindAfter Nabbie joined, Manor started recording the Brown Dots in earnest. In November 1945, they issued "Just In Case You Change Your Mind"/"You're A Heartache To Me." In January 1946 it was the calypso novelty "That's What She Gets," backed with "Escuchame." The following month saw "Patience And Fortitude," coupled with "Is It Right." In the spring there was "Satchelmouth Baby," paired with "Surrender" and "If I Can't Have You"/"I'm Loving You For You."

ad for SurrenderBy June 1946, the Brown Dots had two coast-to-coast 15-minute radio programs on the American Broadcasting System network - one at 10:15 Saturday mornings and the other at 6:30 on Sunday evenings.

ad for Please Give A Broken Heart A Breakad for Rumors Are FlyingIn August, Manor issued the pretty "Please Give A Broken Heart A Break," backed with "Well Natch." September saw two more records released: "Rumors Are Flying"/"You Took All My Love" and a re-sung version of "For Sentimental Reasons" (led by Jimmie Nabbie) with "It's A Pity To Say Goodnight" on the flip.

In October 1946, they were recruited to replace the ailing Marva Louis in the movie Boy! What A Girl! (in which they sang "Satchelmouth Baby" and "Just In Case You Change Your Mind"; the movie also featured the Slam Stewart Trio, Al Jackson, Warren Patterson, and Tim Moore [as the "girl" of the title]). They also appeared in Sepia Cinderella that same year (doing "Long Legged Lizzie" and "Is It Right?"). Deek mugged his way through both movies, and even had a speaking part in Sepia Cinderella.

      THE SENTIMENTALISTS

Somehow, though, Deek was always having personality clashes, a pattern that would last throughout his entire career. In late 1946, things got so bad that Jimmie Nabbie, Pat Best, and Jimmy Gordon recruited a fourth member, Danny Owens, from Newark, introduced to them by Manor owner Irving Berman. (Owens had been with the Colemanaires, and also with former Ink Spot Cliff Givens, in the Southern Sons/Melody Masters, who recorded for Apollo. The Brown Dots (with Owens in place of Deek) called themselves the "Sentimentalists" (after "For Sentimental Reasons") and started recording for Manor also. The one thing they neglected to do was tell Deek; they first wanted to see if they could make it on their own.

If Manor's master numbers can be trusted (and I don't think they can), it seems like the Sentimentalists recorded a single tune ("Wrapped Up In A Dream") on the same day as a Brown Dots session. ("It's A Pity To Say Goodnight" is only two master numbers lower.)

In November and December 1946, Manor released 6 records by the Sentimentalists. Two of them were Christmas discs (done along with a 30-member choral group directed by Donald Haywood); one was a backup to Savannah Churchill (something they'd do many times in the future); and the remaining three were R&B offerings. These releases coincided with Manor's move to New York City (first to 2061 Broadway, then to 313 West 57th Street). Please see the discography for all releases from here on; they won't all be mentioned.

The guys had a long association with Savannah Churchill, collaborating on around two dozen songs. Her musical origins were in gospel, but she later switched to a jazz and blues vein. Their first pairing was on "I Want To Be Loved," which made the top five R&B tunes of 1947. They also had hits in 1948 with "I Want To Cry" and "Time Out For Tears." In all, it was a good union.

      DEEK WATSON'S SECOND BROWN DOTS

When Deek finally found out that he'd been left behind, he opened up a record shop in New York (reported in July 1947), before forming another Brown Dots group, about which little is known.

They first recorded "Strange As It Seems"/"Saturday Night Function" for Castle as "Deek Watson and the 4 Dots" in 1948 (the record seems to have been reissued, on a 45, around 1952).

In March of that year, they became the "Brown Dots" and cut some sides for Majestic: "I've Got The Situation Well In Hand"/"Pray For The Lights To Go Out."

Then it was back to Manor, where they had four records (one each month, beginning in February 1949: "As Tho You Don't Know"/"Darktown Strutters Ball," "Bow-wow-wow"/"At Our Fireplace," "After Awhile"/"If I Could Be With You" (backing Gwenn Bell on these two), and "My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean"/"You Better Think Twice."

Finally, there were two records issued on Varsity in 1949; those were Majestic masters: "I've Got The Situation Well In Hand"/"The Devil Was Beatin' His Wife" and "Pray For The Lights To Go Out"/"Give It Up."

Who were these Brown Dots? A Manor ad from March 1949 shows Deek with tenors Billy Wells and Earl "Ricky" Wells; the fourth member is unknown. (Ricky Wells would be part of the Mystery Quartet in 1950 and the lead of the Mel-O-Dots in 1952; his brother, Billy, will turn up again later.)

Note that only the Castle and Manor sides are group recordings. Even though the Majestic and Varsity sides say "Brown Dots," you only hear Deek's voice. It's possible that the group consisted of both instrumentalists and singers.

Around 1950, Deek released some solos on the Brown Dot label ("I've Loved You So Long Baby"/"The Devil Beating His Wife [sic]"). In 1954, there were some solos on Jubilee by "Deek Watson, the Brown Dot": "Why Does A Drink Make You Think," backed with a reprise of an old Ink Spots tune, "Brown Gal."

Deek Watson spent the rest of his career in various incarnations of the Ink Spots.

      THE 4 TUNES

Then, in early 1947, the Sentimentalists hit a snag: bandleader Tommy Dorsey contacted them and asked them to stop calling themselves the "Sentimentalists." He was known as "The Sentimental Gentleman Of Swing," and he had recently employed a female vocal group called the Sentimentalists. (However, they'd left Dorsey in April 1946 and were now appearing on radio as the Clark Sisters, so the Brown Dots felt justified in using the name.) But Dorsey was nice about it, so the guys decided to honor his request. Since all they had left were four tunes that they hadn't yet recorded, they changed their name to the "Four Tunes." (Although this story sounds like one of the apocryphal tales of the Ink Spots, Nabbie swore to its authenticity.) Manor reissued all their Sentimentalists recordings as by the Four Tunes.

ad for How Can You Say I Don't CareAlthough the Brown Dots were now history, Manor kept on releasing their records: "How Can You Say I Don't Care"/"Long Legged Lizzie" in December 1946; "I Don't Know From Nothing Baby"/"Shout, Brother, Shout" in February 1947; and a reissue of "That's What She Gets" in July 1947 (its flip was "Why You No Knock" by Benny Davis). Pat had no answer to why this should have been, except that, since the masters existed, they might as well have been released.

However, even though the Sentimentalists had held three sessions in late 1946, it looks like Danny Owens was still being auditioned for the group. He continued to appear and record with the Southern Sons/Melody Masters, whose last Apollo session was in March of 1947 (they broke up soon after). There's an eight-month gap between the Sentimentalists' records and the beginning of the 4 Tunes' career.

The first three records by the 4 Tunes were all issued in August of 1947: "Where Is My Love"/"Sometime, Some Place, Somewhere," "Wrapped Up In A Dream"/"I Found Love When I Found You," and "Chillicothe, Ohio" (on which they back up Betty Harris, a singer they really didn't know)/"Dreams." If this weren't enough, "Is It Too Late"/"I Understand" were released in September. (Note that "I Understand" is a different song than their later hit "I Understand Just How You Feel.")

All throughout 1948, Manor kept churning them out. Both on their own and behind Savannah Churchill, the 4 Tunes had ten records in 1948. This included two releases on Columbia, which were Manor masters. Also in 1948, the 4 Tunes were on a television transmission on the Dumont TV Network. It wasn't an actual program in the modern sense of the word, but it did go out to anyone who owned a TV set.

There were lots more Manor releases in 1949, including a reissue of a couple of old Brown Dots tunes ("Let's Give Love Another Chance"/"Just In Case You Change Your Mind").

In the spring of 1949, the 4 Tunes left Manor and switched to RCA Victor, at which time they briefly added pianist Ace Harris, who had been the pianist/arranger for the Ink Spots in 1941 and 1942. Manor would release one more record by them ("Someday"/"Karen Lynn"), before changing its name to Arco. "Karen Lynn" was a homage to Irving Berman's baby daughter (also mentioned in Savannah Churchill's "My Baby-Kin"). There would be ten more releases by the 4 Tunes on Arco. (Even though they were gone by that time, Savannah Churchill was still recording for Arco; almost all of these 4 Tunes cuts are backups to Savannah).

The 4 Tunes never really had a contract with Manor, so, in order to try to get some distribution and royalties, they switched over to RCA. However, the scheme backfired, because Manor successfully sued RCA, which ended up paying out all their royalties to Manor.

In early 1950, the 4 Tunes appeared on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts singing the not-yet-recorded "Cool Water." While they won, there was an unexpected glitch: because his pick made too much noise, Pat had to play his guitar with his thumb, which became bloodied from lack of calluses. Their prize was a week's worth of appearances on Godfrey's daily radio show, which, presumably, led to some bookings.

On RCA Victor, the 4 Tunes had 18 records released between May 1949 and November 1953. These included "Careless Love," "My Last Affair," "The Lonesome Road," "I'm In The Mood For Love" (backing Juanita Hall), "Am I Blue," "Kentucky Babe," "Do I Worry," "Cool Water," "The Last Round-Up," "May That Day Never Come," "I'll See You In My Dreams," "I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire," "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," and "Water Boy."

The polished style of the 4 Tunes was the product of their training, experience, dedication, and discipline. Their songs were carefully selected and arranged. Their first arranger was pianist Ralph Herman, who was the youngest member of Paul Whiteman's Orchestra. They also worked with Howard Biggs (whose most famous association was with the Ravens).

In mid-1953, they once again changed labels (since they weren't making any royalties from RCA). This time they went to Jerry Blaine's Jubilee label, where they achieved their greatest popularity. Their first Jubilee recording, "Marie," was released in September, and reached #2 on the R&B charts (#13 Pop). This Irving Berlin tune had been a #1 smash for Tommy Dorsey (Jack Leonard on vocal) back in 1937. ("Marie" was such a big hit that the purely R&B Dominoes and Larks were pushed to sing in the same kind of Pop mold.) Their next Jubilee release, "I Understand Just How You Feel" was an even bigger hit, climbing to #6 on the Pop charts (#7 R&B).

1954 saw two releases on the Kay-Ron label. These were old Manor cuts (although different takes). Two of them were backups to Savannah Churchill ("Savannah Sings The Blues" and "I Want To Be Loved"). The other two were "Just In Case You Change Your Mind" (which was actually by the Brown Dots) and "I Understand" (which was presumably released to confuse record buyers into thinking it was the same song as the current "I Understand Just How You Feel").

On Jubilee, the 4 Tunes were primarily a Pop group (although they did turn out something called "Rock N Roll Call"). Their output included "Don't Cry Darling," "L'amour, Toujours L'amour," "I Sold My Heart To The Junkman," "Time Out For Tears," "You Are My Love," "Far Away Places," "Dancing With Tears In My Eyes," "Sayonara," and "A Little On The Lonely Side."

The 4 Tunes appeared for a week at the Apollo Theater (beginning April 2, 1955), along with Red Prysock's Orchestra. They played both the black theater circuit and also many white clubs. When they were on a tour with Joni James, she asked Jimmie Nabbie to write a song for her. The result, "You Are My Love," was her big hit of 1955 (which the 4 Tunes covered).

Eddie WilliamsIn 1955, the 4 Tunes were booked into the Hacienda in Las Vegas on a handshake, and stayed for eight years. Other members, added at the time, were Smiley Hightower (guitar and bassist) and Eddie Williams (bassist; formerly of Johnny Moore's Three Blazers). Also, tenor Billy Wells (from Deek's second Brown Dots group) was hired so that each of the other members could go on vacation on a rotating basis.

In September 1956, probably to commemorate the first anniversary of the death of James Dean, the guys released "The Ballad Of James Dean," a song that had been cut by Dylan Todd on RCA back in March.

The 4 Tunes stayed with Jubilee until 1957, and were its second most prolific group (after the Orioles). Pat couldn't remember why the 4 Tunes decided to leave Jubilee.

In late 1959, there were two releases on Crosby (a Las Vegas label that Jimmie Nabbie partly owned): "Never Look Down"/"Don't You Run Away (And Leave Me)" and "Twinkle Eyes"/"Starved For Love." There was a single release on Robin's Nest (as the "4 Tunes And One") in 1962: "I Have Been Waiting"/"Only In Memories." The "One" was Billy Wells, who led "I Have Been Waiting."

After 18 years with the group, Jimmie Nabbie left in 1963, to become a soloist (in 1965, he joined an Ink Spots group to come full circle; he would remain with them until his death); Danny Owens left about the same time. Billy Wells was tapped to fill Nabbie's place and tenor Gaines Steele was brought in to replace Owens. Steele, younger brother of gospel great Silas Steele, sang with Detroit-area gospel groups and a West Coast Ink Spots group, as well as the Kuf-Linx on Challenge.

In the mid-60s, Frank Dawes (tenor and piano) was also brought on board, as the same kind of utility singer that Billy Wells had been. The group was now: Pat Best, Jimmy Gordon, Gaines Steele, and Billy Wells, with Frank Dawes as the utility voice.

Sometime in the 60s, the Four Tunes Plus One backed up Randy Hall on “Pearly Shells”/“Anytime,” released on the Canterbury-Hall Enterprises label. The recording career of the 4 Tunes wound down with an LP on the ARA label in 1969 (which not only contained a version of "I Love You For Sentimental Reasons," but also "Whole Lot Of Shaking Going On." The personnel were: Pat Best, Jimmy Gordon, Billy Wells, Frank Dawes, and Chuck Hampton (drums and vocals). Sometime in the 80s, Billy Wells left for medical reasons and was replaced by a tenor named Andre Williams. Pat Best, Jr. was also added, as a guitarist, for a few years.

Rufus McKayPat Best and Jimmy Gordon kept the 4 Tunes going until about 1998 (as the "Tunes Plus One"). When they played their last engagement (in Carson City, Nevada), the members were Pat Best, Jimmy Gordon, Frank Dawes, Rufus McKay (a tenor who’d replaced Andre Williams about 10 years previously; he'd been in the Red Tops on Sky around 1958), and Chuck Hampton.

Pat BestTime has taken its toll on the Brown Dots/4 Tunes: Deek Watson died in 1969; Jimmie Nabbie passed away after double bypass surgery in 1992; Jimmy Gordon is gone too. Pat wasn't sure about Danny Owens. Pat Best, who was always so delightful to talk with, passed away in October 2004, at age 81.

While the Brown Dots will always be associated with "For Sentimental Reasons" and the 4 Tunes with "Marie" and "I Understand Just How You Feel," they turned out an impressive body of work over a 24-year recording career.


Special thanks to Tony Fournier and Ferdie Gonzalez


THE BROWN DOTS (FIRST GROUP)

MANOR
1005 Let's Give Love Another Chance (DW) - 5/45
         Thirty-One Miles For A Nickel (all/DW)
1009 You're Heaven Sent (JK) - 1945
         Sentimental Reasons (JK)
1015 Just In Case You Change Your Mind (PB/DW) - 11/45
         You're A Heartache To Me (PB/JN)
1016 That's What She Gets (all/DW) - 1/46
         Escuchame (JG/DW)
1017 Patience And Fortitude (all/PB) - 2/46
         Is It Right (PB)
1026 Satchelmouth Baby (all) - 1946
         Surrender (JN)
1027 If I Can't Have You (JN) - 1946
         I'm Loving You For You (PB)
1032 Well Natch (all/DW) - 8/46
         Please Give A Broken Heart A Break (JN)
1040 Rumors Are Flying (PB) - 9/46
         You Took All My Love (PB)
1041 For Sentimental Reasons (JN) - 9/46
         It's A Pity To Say Goodnight (PB)


THE SENTIMENTALISTS

MANOR
8002 Silent Night (PB) - 11/46
         O Come, All Ye Faithful (PB/JN)
8003 Ave Maria (JN) - 11/46
         White Christmas (all)
1046 Foolishly Yours (SC) - 12/46
         I Want To Be Loved (SC)
1047 I'll Close My Eyes (JN) - 12/46
         Save Me A Dream (JN)
1049 I'd Rather Be Safe Than Sorry (PB) - 12/46
         I'll Be Waiting For You (PB)
1050 Too Many Times (PB) - 12/46
         I'll Always Say I Love You (PB)


THE BROWN DOTS (FIRST GROUP)

MANOR
1044 How Can You Say I Don't Care (JN) - 12/46
         Long Legged Lizzie (DW)
1057 I Don't Know From Nothing Baby (PB) - 2/47
         Shout, Brother, Shout (JG/DW)
1075 That's What She Gets (all/DW) - 7/47
         [Why You No Knock - Benny Davis]



THE 4 TUNES

MANOR
1077 Where Is My Love (PB) - 8/47
          Sometime, Some Place, Somewhere (JN)
1083 Wrapped Up In A Dream (PB) - 8/47
          I Found Love When I Found You (JN)
1087 Chillicothe, Ohio [backing Betty Harris] - 8/47
          Dreams (JN)
1093 Is It Too Late (SC) - 9/47
          I Understand (PB)
1116 Time out For Tears (SC) - 2/48
          All My Dreams (JN)
1123 Little Jane (PB) - 3/48
          [Tell Me So - Savannah Churchill]
1129 I Want To Cry (SC) - 4/48
          Someday (PB)
1131 Confess (PB) - 4/48
          Don't Know (all)
1141 Don't You Ever Mind (JN) - 10/48
          How Can I Make You Believe In Me (JN)
1142 I'll Never Belong To Anyone Else (SC) - 10/48
          [Try To Forget - Savannah Churchill]

COLUMBIA (masters purchased from Manor)
30145 (I Wonder) Where Is My Love (PB) - 11/48
           Take My Lonely Heart (JN)
30146 The Best Of Friends (SC) - 11/48
           The Things You Do To Me (SC)

MANOR
1152 It's Raining Down In Sunshine Lane (SC) - 12/48
         [How Could I Know - Savannah Churchill]
1154 I'm Gonna Ride Tillie Tonight (PB) - 12/48
         My Muchacha (PB)


THE BROWN DOTS (FIRST GROUP)

MANOR
1163 Let's Give Love Another Chance (PB) - 12/48
         Just In Case You Change Your Mind (PB/DW)


THE 4 TUNES

MANOR
1168 Would You Hurt Me Now (SC) - 2/49
         All Of Me (SC)
1173 Mister Sun (DO) - 4/49
         The Sheik Of Araby (PB)
1180 Savannah Sings The Blues (SC) - 5/49
         [Don't Try To Explain - Savannah Churchill]

RCA VICTOR
50-0008 Careless Love (DO) [22-0024 on 78rpm] - 5/49
              You're Heartless (DO)
50-0016 I'm The Guy (DO) [22-0032 on 78rpm] - 6/49
              My Last Affair (DO)

MANOR
1195 Someday (PB) - 8/49
         Karen Lynn (PB)

ARCO (Manor subsidiary)
1202 I'll Never Be Free (SC) - 11/49
         [Get Yourself Another Guy - Savannah Churchill]
1220 I Want To Cry (SC) - 11/49
         [My Baby-Kin - Savannah Churchill]

RCA VICTOR
50-0042 The Lonesome Road (DO) [22-0058 on 78rpm] - 12/49
               I'm Just A Fool In Love (PB)
47-3149 Old Bojangles Is Gone (JH – the 4 Tunes backing Juanita Hall) [20-3633 on 78rpm] - 1/50
               I'm In The Mood For Love (JH – the 4 Tunes backing Juanita Hall)

ARCO
1229 Savannah Sings The Blues (SC) 1/50
         [Don't Try To Explain - Savannah Churchill]
1236 Don't Cry Darling (SC) 2/50
         [Don't Take Your Love From Me - Savannah Churchill]

RCA VICTOR
50-0072 Am I Blue (PB) - 3/50
              There Goes My Heart (DO)

ARCO
1246 You're My Love (JN) - 4/50
         Don't Blame My Dreams (JN)

RCA VICTOR
50-0085 Old Fashioned Love (JG) - 5/50
              Kentucky Babe (all)

ARCO
1253 I Want To Be Loved (SC) - 6/50
         Foolishly Yours (SC)
1257 Time Out For Tears (SC) - 7/50
         All My Dreams (JN)

RCA VICTOR
47-3881 Do I Worry (PB) - 8/50
              Say When (DO)
47-3967 Cool Water (PB) - 11/50
              How Can You Say That I Don't Care (JN)

ARCO
1266 Silent Night (PB) - 11/50
         Oh Come All Ye Faithful (PB/JN)

RCA VICTOR
47-4102 The Last Round-Up (PB) - 3/51
              Wishing You Were Here Tonight (JN)
50-0131 May That Day Never Come (JN) - 6/51
              Carry Me Back To The Lone Prairie (PB)
47-4198 Carry Me Back To The Lone Prairie (PB) - 7/51
              Cool Water (PB)
47-4241 The Prisoner's Song (PB) - 8/51
              I Married An Angel (all)
47-4305 Early In The Morning (all) - 10/51
              My Buddy (PB)
47-4427 I'll See You In My Dreams (all) - 12/51
              Tell Me Why (JN)
47-4489 The Greatest Song I Ever Heard (JN) - 1/52
              Come What May (PB)
47-4663 I Wonder (PB) - 4/52
              Can I Say Any More (JN)
47-4828 They Don't Understand (PB) - 6/52
              Why Did You Do This To Me (??)
47-4968 I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire (PB) - 9/52
              Let's Give Love Another Chance (PB)

AFRS (Armed Forces Radio Services)
P-3613 How Can You Say That I Don't Care - Ca. 52
             I'll See You In My Dreams
             Come What May
             I Married An Angel

JUBILEE
5128 Marie (JN) - 9/53
         I Gambled With Love (JN)

RCA VICTOR
47-5532 Don't Get Around Much Anymore (PB) - 11/53
              Water Boy (JG)

JUBILEE
5132 I Understand Just How You Feel (PB) 1/54
         Sugar Lump (PB)
5135 Do-Do-Do-Do-Do-Do Do It Again (all) 2/54
         My Wild Irish Rose (DO/JN)

KAY-RON (masters purchased from Manor; alternate takes)
1000 Savannah Sings The Blues (SC) 54
          I Want To Be Loved (SC)
1005 Just In Case You Change Your Mind (PB/DW) 54
          I Understand (PB)

JUBILEE
5152 The Greatest Feeling In The World (JN) - 7/54
          Lonesome (PB)
5165 Don't Cry Darling (all) - 10/54
          L'amour, Toujours L'amour (DO/JN)
5174 Let Me Go Lover (JN) - 12/54
         I Sold My Heart To The Junkman (PB)
5174 Good News (Chariot's Comin') (all) - 12/54
         I Sold My Heart To The Junkman (PB)
5183 I Hope - 2/55
         I Close My Eyes (JN)
5200 Tired Of Wating (all) - 5/55
         Time Out For Tears (JN)
5212 Brooklyn Bridge (PB) - 8/55
         Three Little Chickens (JN)
5218 You Are My Love (JN) - 10/55
         At The Steamboat River Ball (JN)
5232 Rock N Roll Call (JN) - 1/56
         Our Love (DO)
5239 I Gotta Go (all) - 2/56
         Hold Me Closer (DO)
5245 Far Away Places (PB) - 5/56
         Dancing With Tears In My Eyes (PB)
5255 The Ballad Of James Dean (JN) - 9/56
         Sayonara (DO)
5276 Cool Water (PB) - 3/57
         A Little On The Lonely Side (JN)

JLP 1039 12 x 4 – The Four Tunes - 57
        Marie (JN)
         Dancing With Tears In My Eyes (PB)
         I Sold My Heart To The Junkman (PB)
         Rose Marie (JN)
         Cool Water (PB)
         Marquita (JN)
         I Understand (PB)
         Far Away Places (PB)
         Time Out For Tears (JN)
         Sugar Lump (PB)
         A Little On The Lonely Side (JN)
         The Greatest Feeling In The World (JN)

6000 Marie (JN) - 8/59
         I Understand (Just How You Feel) (PB)

CROSBY
3   Never Look Down (JN) - 11/59
     Don't You Run Away (And Leave Me) (JN)
4   Twinkle Eyes (JN) 11/59
     Starved For Love (JN)

ROBIN'S NEST (Four Tunes And One)
100  I Have Been Waiting (BW) - 1962
        Only In Memories (PB)

CANTERBURY-HALL ENTERPRISES (Four Tunes Plus One backing up Randy Hall)
CHG01 Pearly Shells - 60s
             Anytime

ARA (The Tunes)
32775 I've Been Waiting - 1969
         I've Been Waiting For An Angel
         Sure As I'm Sitting Here
         Another Lonely Song
         Maybe
         Bad Feet
         Sweet Georgia Brown
         Only In Memory
         Make-Believe Land
         Wag Your Woogie
         The Day That I Met You
         I Love You For Sentimental Reasons
         Whole Lot Of Shaking Going On


LEADS: PB = Pat Best; JK = Joe King; JN = Jimmie Nabbie; DW = Deek Watson; JG = Jimmy Gordon; DO = Danny Owens;
BW = Billy Wells; SC = backing Savannah Churchill



DEEK WATSON'S SECOND BROWN DOTS GROUP

NOTE: ONLY THE CASTLE AND MANOR SIDES HAVE A VOCAL GROUP

CASTLE (as “Deek Watson & the 4 Dots”)
2006 Strange As It Seems - 48
         Saturday Night Function
(The original release was on a 78; it seems to have been reissued, as a 45, in 1952; Castle was an early Shad label.)

MAJESTIC (Deek Watson & the Brown Dots)
1244 I've Got The Situation Well In Hand - 3/48
         Pray For The Lights To Go Out

MANOR (Deek Watson & the Brown Dots)
1166 As Tho You Don't Know - 2/49
         Darktown Strutters Ball
1170 Bow-wow-wow - 3/49
         At Our Fireplace
1171 After Awhile [Gwenn Bell & Brown Dots] - 4/49
         If I Could Be With You [Gwenn Bell & Brown Dots]
1179 My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean - 5/49
         You Better Think Twice

VARSITY (Deek Watson & the Brown Dots; these are Majestic masters)
5015 I've Got The Situation Well In Hand - 49
         The Devil Was Beatin' His Wife
5016 Pray For The Lights To Go Out - 49
         Give It Up

BROWN DOT (Deek Watson)
298 I've Loved You So Long Baby - ca. 50
      The Devil Beating His Wife [sic]

JUBILEE (“Deek Watson, The Brown Dot”)
5138 Why Does A Drink Make You Think - 2/54
         Brown Gal


Back To... The Pat Best Web Site

Unca Marvy's Home Page

More Articles By Marv Goldberg