WINTER ENCORE SERIES
"I Didn't Cry"
by Ray Wheaton With Dusty Brooks And The Four Tones
And "Shuffleboard Boogie"
by Dusty Brooks And The Four Tones
on ABC-Eagle ABC 228
released in 1950
CALIFORNIA EAGLE, April 2, 1937:
'FOUR TONES' LATEST SINGING SENSATIONS
A quartet that needs no introductions to radio fans of Southern California is the Four Tones. This group of fine singers are originally from Lane College in Tennessee where they attended school together. learning the art of blending voices. This grand quartet was featured at the Texas Centennial for the entire time of the exposition, after that engagement coming here to Los Angeles and under the management of Maceo Sheffield have become one of the most recognized artists of "color" from the standpoint of quartets since the Mills Brothers....
The following members make up this grand quartet, Ira Hardin (guitar, 2nd tenor), Leon Buck (1st tenor), Rudolph Hunter (baritone), and Lucius Brooks (bass).
CALIFORNIA EAGLE, August 15, 1940:
FOUR TONES A HIT ON GOLD HOUR
As the last mellow notes of their harmonious chant died away last Friday evening over KGFJ on the Gold Hour, the Four Tones, famous screen, stage and radio quartet, were greeted with resounding applause from the audience in the new, spacious auditorium upstairs in the Gold store. And as proof that there were thousands of other listeners on radios, many calls began pouring in.
Mr. Adams, highly capable colored sales manager, and a number of other officials of the firm came to the auditorium and highly complimented the boys.... The Four Tones will be back again Friday of next week over the popular Gold Hour.
(From Long Beach Independent 5/23/43)
(From Pittsburgh Courier 9/29/51)
(From Billboard 1944 Yearbook)
(Still from the 1946 movie "Mantan Messes Up")
(From Pittsburgh Courier 10/29/49)
COAST HITS—Dusty Brooks and the Four Tones are holding forth at the Black and Tan Cafe in San Diego, Calif. They recently closed at Club Down Beat in Los Angeles, shortly after they had returned to California following a nationwide tour. Combining music, group singing, and comedy, this group is one of the most versatile in the business. Left to Right: Virgil Johnson, piano; Dusty Brooks, bass; Rudy Hunter, drums; Art Maryland, guitar; Stanley Cassey, trumpet and sax.
(From California Eagle 2/17/49)
(From Pittsburgh Courier 1949))
(From California Eagle 12/20/45)
(From Billboard 5/20/50)
Gordon Burdge was President of ABC-Eagle, located in Hollywood, CA.
Jack Rivers, a "hillbilly" artist, was named Hillbilly Chief for the label.
ABC-Eagle existed from 1949 to 1950.
Starting in 1946, Burdge had owned and operated Eagle Records in San Francisco, which seemed to be primarily a hillbilly label. Eagle Records moved to Hollywood, CA in 1947.
After ABC-Eagle folded, Burdge reactivated the Majestic Records name in a late 1950 licensing agreement. This same Four Tones ABC-Eagle record was re-issued on Majestic 127 in late 1950.
At Left: From Billboard 7/30/49)
At Right: From Billboard 9/24/49)
(Above: From Billboard 5/4/46)
(Immediate Right: From Billboard 11/18/50)
(From Billboard 1/6/51)
(From Billboard 10/31/51)
EXTRA AUDIO (Windows Media Player):
Phil McGee, mentioned in the above article, was a juke-box "operator" in Los Angeles.
California Eagle April 24, 1941:[Illegible Picture] Centered is Otis Rene, well known song writer, as he is surrounded by the Four Tones, clever sepia singing quartet famed in stage, screen and recordings circles. The Tones are getting the lowdown on Rene's latest number "Still Water," which they are to record soon.
The Four Tones, currently at the Rhumboogie Club, are under contract to Edward Crosby and Joe Green making their arrangements and handling their bookings. Their recordings of "What A Fool I Was" by Otis Rene, and "Two Hearts To Beat Tonight" by Shelton Brooks on Ebony Records, are the current rage.
(NOTE: This is The Four Tones' only Ebony record. Their "Still Water," referenced in this article, was never released. Lucius "Dusty" Brooks, lead of The Four Tones, was apparently unrelated to Shelton Brooks. The Rhumboogie Club was located in Chicago.)
Addendum #1—From the Pittsburgh Courier dated August 5, 1939: Johnny Porter, former guitarist and tenor soloist with band leader Don Redmond, has joined "The Four Tones," versatile harmony quartet, who recently returned from a tour of the South in order to make an international broadcast of songs and skits from the 20th Century Fox picture "Second Fiddle," in which Bing Crosby stars.
(NOTE: The IMDB website does not show them in the cast of this movie. However, they are shown in the cast of "One Dark Night," another 1939 movie.)
Addendum #2—From the California Eagle dated November 27, 1942: ....It took Otis Rene to give (the Four Tones) to America as a singing group on their own feet. He selected them to do "What A Fool I Was" and that record has sold about 1000 copies in Southern California....(Otis) believes that within the next month, there will be more than 10,000 records sold in Southern California alone. The Four Tones have become the most sought after quartet in Hollywood....
Listen to "What A Fool I Was" - The Four Tones - Ebony 100-A - 1940.
Johnny Porter sings tenor lead and Dusty Brooks does the bass recitation.
Above: Label image of ABC-Eagle ABC 228 released in 1950. This is the only record The Four Tones had on the ABC-Eagle label. Per Billboard in June 1950, "I Didn't Cry" was also released by Johnny Dugan on Eagle 809. At right is a picture of Lucius "Dusty" Brooks from 1939. The line-up on this record is Brooks, Ray Wheaton, Rudolph Hunter, Virgil Johnson, and Art Maryland.
Regarding "Break Resistant Vinaflex," this 78-rpm record is made of a vinyl material that does have some flex, unlike shellac records. Not bad for a record that retailed for 39 cents.
Composers on this side are George Howe and Bobby Burns, who had the hit song "Down The Lane" in 1950. The flip "Shuffleboard Boogie" gives composer credit to Gordon Burdge, owner of ABC-Eagle Records and J. Russel Robinson, a prolific and famous songwriter.
Listen to this week's selections featuring Dusty Brooks And The Four Tones on ABC-Eagle ABC 228 from 1950:
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
[To download audio files, right-click on link and then select "Save (Link) Target As..."]
A. Stream RealAudio (DO NOT USE...LISTEN USING DOWNLOAD REALAUDIO)...
1. I Didn't Cry
2. Shuffleboard Boogie
BOTH played in sequence
This site is non-commercial. All information displayed is provided to further the general public's knowledge of RnB vocal group harmony.