#885 (3/11/17 - 3/24/17)

"I'll Be True"
by The Flennoy Trio
on Excelsior FT-139A
released in 1945

Above: A 1945 picture of The Flennoy Trio (L-R) Lorenzo Flennoy (piano), Jimmie Edwards (guitar), and Robert Lewis (bass fiddle).

(Above: From The Billboard 1945 Yearbook)

(Above: From Long Beach Independent [California] dated 6/30/45)


(Above: From Pittsburgh Courier dated 6/30/45)

(Above: From The Billboard dated 9/15/45)

Above and Right:
"Excelsior Hit Parade" advertisement
(From Cash Box dated 3/4/46)

ABOVE: Picture of (L-R) Otis René, owner of Excelsior Records, and Jack Gutshall,
of Jack Gutshall Distributing Company, who seem to be admiring their teamwork for
the Excelsior advertisement shown in the two images at left.

This, however, is a 1945 picture of them at the Pacific Coast Record Manufacturers'
Association meeting. They were named President and Vice President of the organization,
composed of independent record manufacturers.

Gutshall, at the time, was also a distributor of Exclusive Records, owned by Leon René
(Otis' brother).

PITTSBURGH COURIER, November 21, 1942:
LOS ANGELES—Attesting the overnight popularity of Excelsior Record Company's new waxing by the King Cole Trio, "All For You," Mrs. Ruth Sampson, comely proprietress of Ruth's Record Shop here, last week purchased 1,000 of the waxings to satisfy the immediate demands of her customers. "I plan to order several hundred in the near future, as once I play the record, it is a cinch seller," she told reporters.

Proof that Excelsior, headed by Otis René, is fast becoming one of the nation's most popular record purveyors came further when René received a tentative order for several thousand of Herb Jeffries' "At Least You Could Save Me A Dream" from New York's Harlem Hit Parade Company. Just recently another sizeable order for the crooner Jeffries record came from the Baltimore Music Shop which is managed by Miss Elaine Mulzac, daughter of the illustrious captain of the S.S. Booker T. Washington.

This EXCELSIOR RECORDS link, which will open in a separate window, includes audio of the above mentioned Herb Jeffries song, as well as "That's A Good Little Old Deal" by Hollywood's Four Blazes. Both songs have vocal group singing. The King Cole Trio's "All For You" was released on Excelsior 103 in late 1942 (recorded in October). The King Cole Quartet had previously recorded for the Ammor label in 1940. Ammor was owned and operated by Otis René.

EXTRA AUDIO (Windows Media Player):
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]

(Above: From The Billboard 1945 Yearbook)

Listen to "I Ain't Mad At You Pretty Baby" - The Flennoy Trio - Excelsior FT-116 - 1945.

Listen to "The Induction Blues" - The Flennoy Trio - Excelsior FT-117 - 1945.
(NOTE: "The Induction Blues" does not have vocal group backing.)

EXTRA EXTRA AUDIO (Windows Media Player):
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]

The two above Tina Dixon images are from The Billboard 1945 Yearbook. Her bio in the 1944 Yearbook states she.... "started her singing career at 18. Her first club job was at the Club Ballyhoo, Detroit.... she has appeared before television cameras. Tina Dixon has made color movie shorts for Pathe...."

At far left is a picture of Helen Humes from 1946.

Listen to "E-Bob-O-Le-Bob" - The Flennoy Trio (Vocal by Tina Dixon) - Excelsior FT-130 - 1945.

Listen to "Be-Baba-Leba" - Helen Humes (With Bill Doggett Octet) - Philo PV1063 - 1945.
(NOTE: Helen Humes version does not have vocal group backing.)

The Excelsior label shows "Tina Dixon" as composer, while the Philo Label shows "Helen Humes." Based on an article from The Billboard dated 1/26/46, Dixon's version was granted publishing rights because Dixon had previously been featuring it in night clubs, thereby making her's a prior copyright.

NOTE: Per the Marv Goldberg article, Humes' version was released first, but Dixon's was recorded first.

There is an uncanny facial resemblence between the two women in their pictures shown here.

(The Helen Humes label image and audio file were provided by Dave Saviet.)

FLENNOY TRIO (Excelsior) E-Bob-O-Le-Bob
The blend of the electric guitar and piano, with the rhythm accented by the beat of the string bass, is effectively created by the Flennoy Trio....
Tina Dixon joins the threesome for the blues shouting of her own race doggerel, E-Bob-O-Le-Bob.
The Flennoys whip it up with a delightfully fast boogie beat, adding the pickings of piano and git-box.... The Flennoys have their own individual style that is definitely a winner.

The race locations alone will have the phonos eating up this side, altho the enthusiasm should extend beyond the reach of race spots alone.

(From California Eagle dated 1/3/46)

Above: Label image of Excelsior FT-139A, which was released in 1945. However, this specific 78-rpm record has a different flip-side than originally intended. The standard flip is FT-139B "It's Only A Paper Moon," but this record has FT-118 "Somebody's Got To Go, Mr. Jones." There is no vocal group singing on the "Somebody's..." side. I'll Be True" is the same song done by The Three Bits Of Rhythm released on the Modern Music label in 1946.

The Flennoy Trio had two records released on Melodisc (1945), one of which was backing Dan Grissom, and eight records on Excelsior (1945-49), including one side with Tina Dixon and two sides with Joe Turner.

Lorenzo Flennoy (as Lorenza Flennoy) And His Chocolate Drops performed four songs in the 1942 movie "Lady Luck." The Flennoy Trio also appeared in the movies "Mr. Ace" (1946), backing Joyce Bryant, and "I Walk Alone" (1948), the latter as The Regency Three.

Listen to this week's selection featuring The Flennoy Trio on Excelsior FT-139A from 1945:
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]

          I'll Be True

     B. Download RealAudio...
          I'll Be True

     C. Stream/Download Media Player...
          I'll Be True

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


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