SPOTLIGHT ON THE MIDDLE-TONE LABEL
"I Promise"/"Do You Love Me"
by Sonny Woods And The Four Winds
on Middle-Tone 008-A/B
released in 1956
"I Promise"/"Do You Love Me"
Above: Sonny Woods from 1946.
Above Left: Middle-Tone advertisement from April 1956.
Above Right: Label image for Middle-Tone 008-B 78-rpm record released in February 1956. This was the first of two by this group, both on Middle-Tone. In 1954, a different group, Sonny Woods And The Twigs had two releases on the Hollywood label. The Billboard (dated 5/8/54) reviewed Hollywood 1015Chapel Of Memories: "High tenor of the lead singer projects the tender opus warmly. Backing is designed to provide the proper atmosphere. An impressive side." The Twigs seem to be a "studio" group, also backing Linda Hayes and Ben Hughes on Hollywood.
Composers on this 008-B side are F. Tucker and C. Alford and, on the flip, C. Alford again. Were these members of The Four Winds? There was a Frankie Tucker and The Blazers, who were featured doing "cover" songs on a Columbia Records EP in 1958. Interesting, if nothing else, there is a "Cardell Alford" listed under BMI, but with no credited songs. The Cardells had a release on Middle-Tone in 1956. No other mention of either name could be found.
The Cash Box Review (2/25/56):SONNY WOODS/FOUR WINDS MIDDLE-TONE 008....
I Promise (C+) Sonny Woods and the Four Winds glide smoothly through a sentimental slow beat ballad. Soft-mellow listening.
Do You Love Me (B) Sonny Woods gives a very pleasing performance coming up with the better side here. Romantic ballad in a Bill Kenny [of the Ink Spots fame] type vocal.
(NOTE: A rating of B was considered "very good" and C+ was "good.")
Middle-Tone Records was owned and operated by Emanuel A. Middleton. The label's first release was "001" in 1951, with vocalist Velma Middleton and an "all-star" combo headed by Earl Hines. Velma was Emanuel's sister.
The label's final release was "020" in 1963 by The Jive Bombers. There was also a "2000" series with releases in 1955. Two instrumental units that recorded for Middle-Tone, Ernest Freeman and Riff Ruffin, had previously had instrumental releases on the Cash label. Freeman had the hit "Raunchy" on the Imperial label in 1957.
(At Left: Clipping from July 1955)
PARTIAL MIDDLE-TONE ARTIST LISTING
001 Velma Middleton 1951
2001 Carmen Davis 1955
2002 The Pebbles 1955
008 Sonny Woods And The Four Winds 1956
009 Carmen Davis 1956
(NOTE: One side, "No! No! Baby," is a reissue of 2001.)
010 Riff Rubbin's Combo 1956
011 The Cardells 1956
012 Al (Minnie) Boyd 1956
013 Sonny Woods And The Four Winds 1957
(NOTE: Above entry provided by Marv Goldberg.)
020 The Jive Bombers 1963
(At Far Left: Clipping from 1951. Velma was vocalist with Louis Armstrong for most of her career. Hines, Cole and Shaw were members of Armstrong's All-Stars in 1951.)
(At Left: Velma Middleton with Louis Armstrong from Pittsburgh Courier newspaper dated 4/18/42.
Listen to this week's selections by Sonny Woods And The Four Winds on Middle-Tone from 1956 using Windows Media Player:
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. I Promise
2. Do You Love Me
BOTH played in sequence
(Ernest Freeman 1957)
[To download audio files, right-click on link and then select "Save (Link) Target As..."]