Previous Vocal Group Record of the Week
(Week of 12/2/06 - 12/8/06) [Complete Upgrade on 6/30/18]

"Lift Up The Latch"/"Be Mine"
The Four Of Us
on Modern Music 222
released in 1951

All the photos on this page were provided by Judy Cota Jones.

Above: The Four Of Us (Top L-R) Don Worth, Charles Cota, (Bottom L-R) Lou Chambliss, and Jack Monan. They all were musicians and vocalists.

From Judy Cota Jones (daughter of Charles Cota): My dad would talk about how many other groups used to come and listen to their harmony. They inspired groups such as the Four Freshmen, the Hi-Lo's, the Ames Brothers and others. Besides their unique harmony, they also did comedy singing by changing words to popular songs. They worked with Peggy Lee, Kay Starr, Nat King Cole, and I can remember when they went on tour all through Canada with Mark Stevens, an actor/singer.

Above: The Four Of Us (Top-Bottom) Don Worth, Lou Chambliss, Jack Monan, and Charles Cota.

CAPTION: One of society's most entertaining musical units... famous for their amusing novelty programs including special arrangements and a varied, extensive library... instrumentation features bass, guitar, violin and piano (doubling vibraphone)... also features quartet vocals... five month engagement at the Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles; The Doll House, Balboa Beach; the Royal Palms Hotel, Palm Springs, (full season engagement); five months at the Buttery Room of the Ambassador East Hotel, Chicago; Six weeks—Cirque Room of the Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco.

Above: The Four Of Us (L-R) Jack Monan, Lou Chambliss, Don Worth, and Charles Cota.

Above: The Four Of Us from 1945, consisting of (L-R) Lou Chambliss, Don Worth, Charles Cota, and Jack Monan. In the center is Alice Faye.

Above: The Four Of Us (L-R) Charles Cota, Don Worth, Lou Chambliss, and Jack Monan. Playing the piano is John Garfield.

Above: The Four Of Us performing one of their comedy routines.

Above: The Four Of Us in caricature (L-R) Charles Cota, Don Worth, Jack Monan, and Lou Chambliss.

CAPTION: The Four Of Us is a foursome of diversified talents. Jack Monan piano, Charles Cota bass, Don Worth violin, Lou Chambliss guitar and singer. The combination is now in the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. They recently ended a 22-week engagement in the swank Buttery Room of the Ambassador Hotel, Chicago, and played an extended engagement at the El Mirador Hotel in Palm Springs. They are in the Cirque Room from 5:30 to 7:30 and after 9:00. The boys make up a very colorful musical group and have proven very popular. Jack Monan is the author of a new tune which the Actor News-Magazine will publish next week.

(NOTE: Neither ASCAP nor BMI have any entries for Jack Monan.)

Above: The Four Of Us (Top-Bottom) Don Worth, Lou Chambliss, Jack Monan, and Charles Cota.

Above: Jack Monan and Charles Cota of The Four Of Us.


Jack Monan 1938

Bakersfield Californian 8/22/47

Above Left: BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN, April 13, 1938:
GAYETY will prevail at Union Avenue dance pavilion this evening as the Beta Phi Sigma fraternity stages its first annual spring informal dance, presenting an entirely new orchestra, the "Tophatters," under the direction of Jack Monan.

The young maestro, a graduate of local schools, is well remembered as a band leader here several years ago while a student at high school, and since then has been playingvarious spots on the road, including Lake Yosemite, Hotel Planada, and the Rainbow Ballroom at Fresno. The band features a star girls' trio, "Gwen, Lyle and Judy," and "Reno" Zanotto as soloist....The public is invited.

TOP-FLIGHT MUSICIAN NOW TIMEKEEPER—Former pianist for Benny Goodman, Jack Monan is now a timekeeper at the Bakersfield sub-assembly plant of the Vega Aircraft Corporation....Mr. Monan also played with Claude Thornhill and Benny Powell, and had his own orchestra which played at the Ambassador Hotel in Chicago.


Above: DESERT SUN, February 16, 1961:
GUESTS JOINED THE entertainers at the piano-bar at Desert Air Hotel in an impromptu session when Henry MacCann, nephew of Desert Air owner Hank Gogerty, hosted a party. Pictured above with the Three Of Us, regular entertainers Bill Earley (piano), Renato (vocals), and Charles Cota (bass), are left to right, Pat Patterson of Hollywood, MacCann, who is a TV actor, Mr. and Mrs. Randy Sparks of Hollywood. Randy Sparks has appeared on the Bob Hope, Jack Paar, and Ed Sullivan shows, and is a recording artist for Major.

(NOTE: Henry MacCann is most known for playing Lt. Cover in the 1958 movie No Time For Sergeants. Randy Sparks was a musician, singer-songwriter, and founder of The New Christy Minstrels. Under his own name, he recorded for Verve and Columbia in the 1960s.)

Above Left: DESERT SUN, February 20, 1961:
"THE THREE OF US," Latin-jazz oriented trio now playing at Desert Air Hotel's Compass Room, has brought together three well-known musical personalities of the desert area. Bill Earley at the piano, Charles Cota on bass, and Renato on rhythm instruments and vocals give the threesome one of the best drawing cards in the Coachella Valley region.

Above Right: DESERT SUN, April 5, 1968:
BUDD CROUCH TRIO—Making the night-time sounds at the new Sherman Steakhouse is Bud Crouch and his trio. With Crouch on drums (center) is Lee Norris, piano and Charles Cota, bass. The group swings it with the jazz or makes it nice and easy with the ballads and popular numbers in the Steakhouse's intimate atmosphere.

Able musicians and clever entertainers are The Four Of Us, the nice-looking quartet of lads which has been giving patrons at the Royal Palms Rainbow Room a good deal of pleasure during the past weeks. The boys will continue on there, forming an important part of the Round Robin of entertainment which is being introduced by Earl Gray, owner of the favored night place, next Tuesday.

There are merry, merry times these holidays at the interesting entertainment places of the town. Typical of the mood is this scene at the Rainbow Room of the Royal Palms Lounge. From left to right are screen stars Louis Hayward and Ida Lupino with Peter Cushing, leading man for the Emery Hall Players and attractive Anne Haines. Entertaining them are the clever Four Of Us, who indulge in nonsense and pleasing music.

THE DESERT SUN, September 28, 1945:
(ARTICLE) CHI CHI GROVE PLAYS ....The Three Cabaleros including Charles Cota, Rubin and Harvey Guevara with Mrs. Susan Parker, who perform nightly at the Chi Chi, volunteered the entertainment. A patient at Torney since February 19, (Pfc. Joseph) Drew was hit in his left leg by fragments of a high explosive shell, November 24, 1944, in the Huertgen Forrest region, Germany....

(PHOTO CAPTION) LIKES IT—Pfc. Joseph Drew, battle patient at Torney General Hospital, enjoys surprise party, arranged by wife, Mrs. O.V.L. Drew, Madisonville, Texas. The photo is of Mrs. Drew. Shown in background are The Three Cabaleros, Chi Chi performers, who volunteered entertainment.

Above Left: Bakersfield Californian 9/20/40 ................................. Above Right: Fresno Bee (CA) 9/23/52

Above: The Desert Sun (Palm Springs, CA) 11/24/50


SANTA ANA REGISTER, November 4, 1941: ....they will be entertained by a musical group known as "The Four Of Us." The musicians have just completed a two-months engagement at a large Chicago hotel....

The Club Continental will open formally tomorrow evening at 692 South Palm Canyon Drive, the new owners and operators....said today ....The We Three trio, Xavier Guevara, piano; Ruben Guevara, guitar and Spanish songs; and Charles Cota, bass and American songs, will feature rhumba as well as American dance music....

Remember the "Four Of Us" who used to furnish entertainment here before the war? They're back, at least three of them, and have gotten together again after being separated many years by the fighting in Europe.

Charley Cota, bass; Lou Chambliss, guitar; and Don Worth, violin, are the three who came back to the Village and they will open Saturday in "The Hut" at the Chi Chi. Said Worth: "We'll probably be known as Three of the Four Of Us."

HOLLYWOOD—We've "discovered" a new combo which is so outstanding that its four members have remained in comparative obscurity while lesser aggregations are dragging down a multitude of nightclub, radio, and record shekels [money]. This outfit isn't a new one either. In fact, it actually outdates most of the big-name combos, starting as it did back in 1937. Peggy Lee got her start with the did Ella Mae Morse.

The combo's name is "The Four Of Us." The boys are known as Don, Lou, Jack, and Charlie (guitar, drums, clarinet, piano, and bass with one of the boys doubling on guitar and drums) and they're playing at present at Lindy's on Wilshire Boulevard. Not only do they play sweet music and sing harmonious ballads, but they also specialize in humorous selections. Their success may be seen in the crowds which frequent the eatery just to hear the boys.

The reason for bringing this up is that the combo is about to come into its own, speaking of such fields as the movies and television. The noted film producer, Joe Pasternak, dropped into Lindy's the other night and stayed to "close up the place," he was that interested. Bullets Durgom, the well-known actor's agent, also was there and is reported to be very interested in the combo's future—if he can handle their affairs! And for television, plans are under way to pair the combo with 13-year-old radio actress Anne Whitfield in the first show of its kind whereby a youngster acts as a major emcee.

We're going all out and make one of our few predictions (none of which has failed to come true as long as we've been conducting this column) and say that "The Four Of Us" will become one of the nation's top combos within a year.

(NOTE: does not have any movie or television entries for The Four Of Us.)

LOS ANGELES TIMES, December 5, 1950: ....In the La Quinta Hotel's new Mirage Room....that musical group, "The Four Of Us", is providing the dance music....Incidentally, you should hear some of their novelty numbers. A band with a wacky sense of humor....

That "The Four Of Us" has become one of Hollywood's stars favorite foursomes is proven by the nightly crowds enjoying their dance music and unusual vocal arrangements at the La Quinta. Recent guests have included such stars as Greta Garbo, Linda Darnell, Ginger Rogers, the Alan Ladds, Jane Russell, Jane Greer, and Rosslyn Russell [sic].

THE BILLBOARD, November 24, 1951: ....Mark Stevens, signed to personal management deal with Arena Stars, will work personals with an instrumental and vocal group labeled The Four Of Us....

(NOTE: Mark Stevens acted in various films in the 1940's and 1950's. Among other TV stints, he played the lead role in the NBC series "Martin Kane, Private Eye" from 1953 to 1954.)

The Four Of Us, popular combo which recently hit the Hit Parade with their arrangement of Clair de Lune, will fill a return engagement at La Quinta starting December 21 through December 31. They play in La Quinta's beautiful Mirage Room....

(NOTE: The only popular record of "Clair de Lune" released in 1951 seems to be by the Freddy Martin Orchestra.)

Above: The Grapestompers.... From The Desert Sun 11/13/65.

THE DESERT SUN, November 30, 1960:
THE THREE OF US, high-flying new trio featuring Renato, Charles Cota, and Bill Earley, soared into the Compass Room of the Desert Air Hotel last weekend and have been drawing large crowds nightly. The newly-aligned trio plays standards and Broadway tunes spiced with an occasional cha cha or meringue.

THE DESERT SUN, November 13, 1965:
PRESENTING THE GRAPESTOMPERS with Billy Earley, piano; Charlie Cota, bass; Steve White on tenor sax; and Frank Bode, drums. They sound off along with other desert musicians at Perrina's Place Sunday afternoons.

Peggy Lee photo given to Charles Cota.
INSCRIPTION: To Charlie, With much more than I could put on paper! I've never enjoyed working with a group as (much as) "The Four of Us". I hope you never forget our "Easy to Love". You're my "Babe"!! Love, Peg

Ella Mae Morse photo given to Charles Cota.
INSCRIPTION: Charlie — It's been wonderful working with you & nothing could make me happier than to play a return engagement. Bless You Mae 11/12/49

Louis Armstrong photo given to Charles Cota.
INSCRIPTION: To Charlie Cota B_____ [Best?] Louis Armstrong

Charles Cota and Hoagy Carmichael.

Above: Label image of Modern Records 222 released in 1951. The label conveniently gives the group personnel as "Jack Monan, Don Worth, Charles Cota, Lou Chambliss".

The composers on the above "Lift Up The Latch" label are shown as "Spina-Elliot. The composers shown on the flip "Be Mine" label are Lucraft-Jacobson. However, in actuality, Howard Lucraft and Lew Jacobson composed "Lift Up The Latch" copyrighted in 1951 and Harold Spina and Jack Elliott composed "Be Mine" copyrighted in 1950. Modern Records had the credits backwards. As the songs were copyrighted in 1950-1951, it's reasonable to conclude these sides were recorded in 1951.

Regarding the reference to Indio pizza in "Lift Up The Latch", Indio is a small city just southeast of Palm Springs, CA. "Well, it ain't Richard" refers to the "Open The Door, Richard" craze, even though that had occurred about four years earlier. The Mellomen with Ray Noble's Orchestra also released this song, on M-G-M, in 1951.

NOTE: Most discographical information provided at this website is from Ferdie Gonzalez' Disco-File.

Listen to this week's selections featuring The Four Of Us on Modern Music from 1951 using Windows Media Player:
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]

          1. Lift Up The Latch
          2. Be Mine
          BOTH played in sequence

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

(Above: Clipping From The Desert Sun, Palm Springs, CA, dated 1/17/41.)