THIS WEEK'S SELECTIONS PROVIDED BY ANDREW BOHAN
"In The Dark"
"It's Too Soon To Know"
Above: The Johnny Otis Show clipping from The Billboard, September 16, 1957. In upper left are The Moonbeams with Jeannie Sterling on their right. Similar pictures show The Moonbeams as four males. In upper right are Marie Adams and The Three Tons Of Joy.
From Todd Baptista:
The guy holding the hat in his hand on the right side in this picture is LITTLE ARTHUR MATTHEWS. A long-time member of The Johnny Otis Show, he was a comedian who worked as Dope in the comedy duo Mope and Dope on the West Coast. He worked later on with Skillet of Skillet and Leroy. He was discovered at Otis' Barrelhouse Club like so many others. Matthews was a good blues singer, too, and cut "I'm Gonna Whale On You" and "Someday Baby" with the Otis Band for Federal (12232) on June 3,1955. In 1956, he cut the rocking "Hot Diggety Dog" issued as "Bad Bad Bulldog" on Dig 117, again with the Otis band backing him.
Trade Magazine Clipping: CAPITOL INKS JOHNNY OTIS; SPECIAL PROMOTION PLANNED
HOLLYWOOD, Sept. 9, 1957—Capitol Records delved into the rock and roll field last week, inking vet bandleader-songscribe-deejay Johnny Otis to a term recording paper. Otis, who formerly waxed for the Savoy and Peacock diskeries, was responsible for several erstwhile rhythm and blues hits such as "Hound Dog," "Dance With Me, Henry" and others.
Capitol is slating a unique promotional angle on the first batch of platters cut by Otis and his rock and roll stageshow troupe. The four disks, which will be sold as singles but promoted as a package, feature vocals by Otis, Marie Adams and the Three Tons of Joy, baritone Mel Williams, Glen Jones, the Moonbeams, a vocal group, and 16-year-old Jeannie Sterling. Otis' band handles the backing on all slicings.
Altho Otis himself is under contract to Capitol, the rest of the artists are pacted personally to Otis. They formerly waxed for Dig Records, owned by Otis, but now inactive following Otis' parting by Capitol. Otis, who also holds down a deejay spot on KFWB, Hollywood, is currently readying plans to take his rock and roll stageshow package — augmented by additional acts — out on a cross-country tour, at which time the entire troupe will visit jockeys in key cities.
Meanwhile Capitol is making special display material, showcasing the singles as a package, available to dealers. A special mailing is also going out to pop and r&b jocks suggesting that the platters be presented together as a complete show seg.
Otis was pacted by Capitol's new artist and repertoire staffer, Tom Morgan, formerly district sales manager for the label in Cleveland and branch sales manager in Boston. Morgan, who also cuts the Four Freshmen, is readying an LP featuring Otis and his show troupe for release in early 1958.
Above: Label images of Capitol 3800 recorded on August 19, 1957 and Capitol 3802 recorded on August 20, 1957, both released in September of that year.
"In The Dark" is the 1940 hit for Lil Green, "Romance In The Dark," which has been recorded by many artists, including The Diamonds on Atlantic. Marie Adams, a blues singer, had been with Johnny Otis for years. The other two tons of joy were her sisters, Sadie and Francine McKinley.
"It's Too Soon To Know" is the same song that started The Orioles to stardom in 1948. The flip is Glenn Jones And The Moonbeams. There seems to be at least one more record by Jeannie Sterling And The Moonbeams, The Nutmegs' 1955 hit "Story Untold." Sterling, who was 16 years old in 1957, later recorded mostly "cover" records in c&w style (in the late 50's) and performed on several "Town Hall Party" TV shows in 1959. She married country singer Bobby Bare.
In Marv Goldberg's "Rhythm Aces" article, Vince House claims that his group, The Rockets, was added to the sound of "The Moonbeams" and "The Three Tons Of Joy" behind Jeannie Sterling and Marie Adams, respectively, on these Capitol releases.
Listen to this week's selections by The Johnny Otis Show
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
[To download audio files, right-click on link and then select "Save (Link) Target As..."]
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1. In The Dark - Marie Adams And The Three Tons Of Joy - Capitol 3800 - 1957
2. It's Too Soon To Know - Jeannie Sterling And The Moonbeams - Capitol 3802 - 1957
BOTH played in sequence
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