#948 (5/22/21)

SPOTLIGHT ON THE FOUR TONES - PART TWO OF THREE (1944-1948)
(LEON RENÉ INFLUENCE CONTINUED, THE SAGA OF SATCHEL MOUTH BABY,
AND ALSO A-1, LAMARR'S STAR, PREVIEW, AND MEMO LABELS)

"From Twilight 'Till Dawn"/"Lovely Hannah"
by Ceelle Burke's Orchestra
With The 3 Shades and The 4 Dreamers
on Exclusive AM-02686/AM-02689
released circa 1943

"From Twilight 'Til Dawn"/"Lovely Hannah"
by Ceelle Burke And His Orchestra
With The 3 Shades and The 4 Dreamers
on Capitol 136
released in 1943

"I'll Follow You*"/"Do, Do, Baby"
by The Four Tones *With Sophia Nae
on A-1 A/B-1001
released in 1944

"I'll Follow You"/"Do! Do! Baby"
by Dusty Brooks And His Four Tones
on La Marr's "Star" 101
released in 1945

"Someone Over Here Loves Someone Over There"/
"Hey, What You Say"
by The Four Tones
on Preview A-666/B-667
released in 1945

"Two Tears Met"/
"Satchel Mouth Baby"
by The Four Tones
on Preview B-668/B-669
released in 1945

"Thank You For The Lies"/
"Play Jackpot"
by Dusty Brooks And His Four Tones
on Memo 1001
released in 1945

"Uptown Rhythm"/
"Little Chum"
by Dusty Brooks And His Four Tones
on Memo 1002
released in 1945

"Please Don't Rush Me"/
"Seclusion"
by Dusty Brooks And His Four Tones
on Memo 1003
released in 1945

"Put Your Cards On The Table"
by Dusty Brooks And His Four Tones
on Memo 7001-A
(Flip is "Please Don't Rush Me")
released in 1948

Includes Audio For Twenty-Eight Songs And Two Videos
(Audio Restored By Dave Saviet - Images Restored By Tony Fournier)



[The above photo provided by Paul Ressler.]
Above: Photo of Dusty Brooks And His Four Tones, "Eddie Mallory Agency, 2025 Fitzwater St., Philadelphia, Pa." Lucius "Dusty" Brooks, bass singer and bass fiddle player, is in front.

THE BILLBOARD, January 29, 1944: THE FOUR TONES (Reviewed in Zanzibar Room, Florentine Gardens, Hollywood.)
Dusty Brooks, bass and leader of this sepian quartet, has been associated with small combos in the Hollywood area for seven years. His rich experience in this field is reflected in the selection of good musicians for the Four Tones. Because of the line-up, group turns out a neat brand of music augmented by vocal variations.

Instrumentally, the Four Tones offer nothing new; the usual pattern of piano, drums, guitar, and bass. The showmanship injected and the mastery of the individual instruments, however, give warmth and informality to the tunes handled. Even pops are done in a fanciful style.

Breakdown on the band must of necessity list George Young, pianist, as a top-notcher. Young, recently discharged from the army, offers exceptional pianology. Brooks paces the group on bass and his blending of pizzicato [plucking the strings] parts adds to the arrangement. A.J. Maryland, who joined the Tones after having his own orchestra, turns in a neat bit of guitar strumming.

Unusual with the group, too, is the drumming. Unlike most sepian groups, the Tones use only a snare. While much of their work is soft in character, Raymond Wheaton dusts his brushes on the skin. Drums are felt more than heard.

Outfit is strong vocally with Wheaton featured. His assignments include ballads, some swing, and blues. Brooks takes over for the sweet swing and folk songs. A solid bet for cocktail spots.

THE BILLBOARD 1944 MUSIC YEAR BOOK: DUSTY BROOKS' FOUR TONES
Billed as Dusty Brooks And His Four Tones, this unit has fast become Hollywood's favorite quintet. It is one of the few units that has not had personnel changes in over a year. Features plenty of comedy material in its sets as well as vocals since all five boys sing.

Instrumentation includes piano, electric guitar, bass fiddle, and drums, with a fifth member singing exclusively. Currently at the Hi-De-Ho Club, Hollywood. Managed by Frederick Brothers Music Corporation.


Above: Dusty Brooks And His Four Tones.

LEON RENÉ INFLUENCE (CONT'D) — CEELLE BURKE ORCHESTRA:
Above Left: THE BILLBOARD 1943 MUSIC YEAR BOOK.

Above Right: THE BILLBOARD, February 26, 1944.

Above: CALIFORNIA EAGLE, August 26, 1943: CEELLE BURKE AND LEON RENÉ
Ceelle Burke listens as Leon René sings his latest composition "From Twilight 'Til Dawn". Ceelle recorded the song on Capitol Records. Record critics proclaim Burke to be one of America's outstanding vocalists.

Above: Label images for Exclusive AM-02686/AM-02689, released circa 1943, and Capitol 136/15255, released in 1943, of "From Twilight 'Till Dawn" (composed by Leon René) and "Lovely Hannah" (composed by Johnny Burke-Leon René). The Exclusive record numbers are in the dead "wax". Note the matrix numbers on the Capitol labels match them. Exclusive sold the masters of these two sides for release on the Capitol label.

Both sides have Ceelle's lead voice backed vocally by a mixed group of harmony singers, The Three Shades and The Four Dreamers. "The Three Shades" here are the same singing group as "The Three Shades Of Rhythm" on Herb Jeffries' Excelsior 00100 record (NOTE: See The Four Tones - Part One.)

Above: CASPER STAR TRIBUNE (Wyoming), March 3, 1943: THREE TALENTED THRUSHES
The Three Shades Of Rhythm are featured in the USO-Camp Show's musical revue, "KEEP SHUFFLIN" an all-colored cast of fast-stepping performers. The show will be presented in the Base Theater, Saturday, March 6.
Above Left: Label image for Decca 3314 A "Trade Winds" released in 1940. Here he is backed by The Rhythmettes, a female vocal group. Again, Carl Jones shows up on the label as "Vocal Chorus Directed by".

Above Right: LONG BEACH INDEPENDENT, February 23, 1941.

Above: Ceelle Burke's 8 piece orchestra at Bal Tabarin. Ceelle is front left at microphone holding a guitar.

CALIFORNIA EAGLE, October 3, 1940: WRITERS BLAST OPERATORS OF JUKE-BOXES
Charging that local song writers and orchestras are being shamefully discriminated against by operators of local coin phonographic machines, Ceelle Burke, artist-orchestra leader, and Leon René, composer of the hit tune "When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano", yesterday laid their complaint before a committee of the Sepia Theatrical Writers Guild, in an effort to see their wares more profitably placed.

Burke, leader of the orchestra currently at the Bal Taborin club, that bears his name, is rated one of the year's "surprise artists", and his band given top rating along with other nationally famous orchestras because of its sweet swing and style versatility. It is the only band in America that sings in both Hawaiian and Spanish tongues.

It was the tune by René, and the playing by Burke’s orchestra, that was the cause of the "Swallows" number meeting with such instantaneous national success. Two recent numbers by Ceelle Burke, "They Tell Me Hawaii Is Heaven" and "Trade Winds", both Decca waxings, are comparably equal to any sweet numbers on the market. Yet, try and get them on any of the various coin machines in the district, they say.

Both Leon René and Ceelle Burke, although having national reputation, are local lads. With the Burke orchestra, when recording, almost always appear the famed sepia female quartet, the Rhythmettes. They are identified as Audrey Flowers, Margurette Stubb, Flossie Moody, and Fanny Bond.

The latest recordings by Burke and his orchestra, which are set for an early release, are "South Sea Island Heaven", "Here`s Hoping", "There's A New Plantation", and "One Word of Love". René collaborated with Burke on most of these latest tunes.

NOTE: Another article in the same edition of this newspaper gives the names of The Rhythmettes as: "Audrey Flowers, Fannie Barnes, Margaret Stubbs, and Flossie Moody.]

AFRO-AMERICAN, December 21, 1940:
CEELLE BURKE is the newest sensation in music circles on the Pacific Coast, who is the leader of the orchestra which plays nightly at the Bal Tabarin and which was the first aggregation to record Leon René's hit tune, "When The Swallows Come Back To Capistrano".

CALIFORNIA EAGLE, October 9, 1941: CEELLE BURKE HELD OVER AT ALABAM THEATER CAFE
Ceelle Burke and His Bal Tabarin Orchestra have been held over for the popular Sunday Afternoon Matinee at the Alabam Theater Cafe [located in Los Angeles], because of the large crowd demanding that he be returned according to an announcement by Curtis Mosby, genial owner and operator of the Central Avenue fun spot.

Burke brings a new style of rhythm to the afternoon matinee devotees and has proved to be one of the most popular bands to ever play this series. His eight piece band features Hawaiian, South American, and popular rhythms and has lifted the dancing patrons to realms of delight.

THE BILLBOARD, May 22, 1943: CEELLE BURKE (Reviewed at Bal Tabarin, Gardena, California.)
CEELLE BURKE is one Hawaiian guitar player who came by the instrument naturally. Starting in the South Sea Islands nearly twenty years ago, Burke has always been associated with music in which this instrument predominates. Here at the Bal Tabarin he has modernized his dance rhythms, but his guitaring retains the authentic South Sea technique.

Burke's outfit of eight pieces, including himself, uses instrumentation of three reed, one brass, and three rhythm. Jimmy Sneed gives out with the hot stuff with his trumpet, Marvin Johnson is featured in the reed section, and Charles Evans plays good piano, his clowning on a par with his ivory tickling....

STAR TRIBUNE, July 18, 1943:
....CEELLE BURKE, not nationally known yet, but he will be soon. Burke is a talented Negro guitarist and vocalist who gets superb backing on "From Twilight 'Til Dawn" and "Lovely Hannah", both new ballads. Watch this disc—it's a sleeper!...

THE BILLBOARD 1943 MUSIC YEAR BOOK: CEELLE BURKE
Ceelle (pronounced See-el) Burke rates high as an emsee and guitarist. Burke's showmanship enables him to sense what Joe Public wants to hear. Starting with the Norman Thomas Quintet, Burke then worked with Curtis Mosbey's Blue Blowers.

He is rated as an authority on tropical music but is just as much at home with swing. For the past five years Burke has been appearing at the Bal Tabarin, Gardena, California. He is under the direction of Frederick Brothers' Music Corporation and his personal representative is Reg D. Marshall.

Recently Burke collaborated on a tune with Leon René, which has just been recorded by Capitol. Title is Lovely Hannah.

The Billboard "Week's Best Releases" (7/17/43):

CEELLE BURKE, THREE SHADES, AND FOUR DREAMERS — Capitol 136.... From Twilight 'Til Dawn
A smooth and romantic ballad offered up by a smooth band that is extra-rich in vocal talents makes this side an inviting number to capture the fancy of the phono fans. While the Ceelle Burke band has made its mark mostly on the West Coast, their record impression is designed to create enthusiasm all over the land.

The song employs the Tommy Dorsey technique of a celeste to sprinkle stardust over the voices of the rhythm choir, and it is mighty effective for this lush lullaby, which has already gained some circulation and should climb even higher on the strength of this side.

At Far Right: A still-shot of The Four Dreamers from The Marx Brothers' 1941 movie "The Big Store".
In this photo's version of The Dreamers, Ormonde Wilson (Basin Street Boys) is at the far left and Carl Jones
(Delta Rhythm Boys) is third from left.

The Billboard Review (7/17/43):

CEELLE BURKE (Capitol 136).... From Twilight Till Dawn/Lovely Hannah
Long absent from the lists, the Capitol label resumes activities, with a number of new releases scheduled for this month. Of more than general interest is this pairing by Ceelle Burke's orchestra. While the accomplishments of the maestro are confined mostly to the West Coast, these samples are something to occupy the attention of any coast, principally because of their vocal richness and a well-defined and distinctive rhythmic beat that employs a bass guitar to make the toe-tingling incentives more pronounced.

Appeal of the platter is all in Leon René's "From Twilight Till Dawn", a sweet and soothing ballad that has the added advantage of a honey-dripping melody that catches on easily.

A singing maestro, possessing a pleasant baritone voice, Burke gets magnanimous vocal support from the Three Shades and the Four Dreamers, a mixed and finely-blended compliment of harmony singers.

Smacking of the Tommy Dorsey technique, celeste figures set the stage for the side, with the opening chorus carried real cuddlesome in the moderately slow tempo by all voices, the celeste continuing to sprinkle flashes of doubling up the tempo, leads to the second stanza that gets under way with the broad tones and tasteful phraseology of the tenor saxist.

The voices pick it up at the bridge again, carrying it out to the end with the celeste. And for added gloss to the polish, voices tag a toothsome coda passage. It's all mood-inspiring music romance at its best.

Johnny Burke's and Leon René's "Lovely Hannah" sounds all the more impressive as a rhythmic ditty because of all these vocal talents. Beat off in a bright and fast tempo, the voices take it right from the edge to set the stage for their opening chorus.

A second stanza is split three-way between the tenor sax, piano, and muted trumpet. Voices again set their own stage for a third chorus to carry out the side, with maestro Burke getting in a vocal lick as the last word.

In spite of the fact that Ceelle Burke is an unknown quality for the music boxes, operators can almost be sure of this ringing the bell—and resoundly too—with his "From Twilight Till Dawn". The ballad has enjoyed some circulation and with this fine record impression, should be a real revenue producer for the phono networks.

(NOTE: The above reviewer seems to have liked this record more than a lot. It has to be one of the longest Billboard reviews ever!)

The Billboard Review (10/30/48):

CEELLE BURKE — Capitol 15255 [Reissue]....
From Twilight 'Til Dawn
(79) Rather pleasant face which seems to have a race flavor to it. May mean something via the race location route.
Lovely Hannah (68) Ordinary sort of rhythm thing done rather well.

(NOTE: A ratings range of 40-69 was considered "satisfactory" and 70-79 was "good".)

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "From Twilight 'Till Dawn" - Ceelle Burke Orchestra And Three Shades And Four Dreamers - Exclusive AM-02686 - 1944.
2. "Lovely Hannah" - Ceelle Burke Orchestra And Three Shades And Four Dreamers - Exclusive AM-02689 - 1944.
3. "Trade Winds" - Ceelle Burke Orchestra And The Rhythmettes - Decca 3314 A - 1940.

ALL THREE SONGS played in sequence.


THE FOUR TONES ON THE A-1 AND LA MARR'S "STAR" RECORD LABELS:

Above: Label images for A-1 A/B-1001, released in July 1944, and La Marr's "Star" 101, released in 1945, of "I'll Follow You" (composed by Baline La Marr and George Byron Easton) and "Do, Do, Baby" (composed by Baline La Marr). Notice that on the La Marr's labels, La Marr takes full credit for composing both songs. It would seem from the record numbers this is the first release for both labels.

Matrix numbers in the A-1 "dead wax" are EC-422-A for "I'll Follow You" and EC-422-B. These matrix numbers are identical to those stamped in the La Marr's "Star" "dead wax". So the matrix numbers on the La Marr's "Star" labels are backwards. These sides were first released on Eccles 422 earlier in 1944, hence the origin of the matrix numbers. Not often the same record is issued on three different labels within two years.

The La Marr's "Star" re-issue added Dusty Brooks' name to the label and removed Sophia Nae's. An in-depth research of Sophia Nae's career/history came up empty.

Above: The Four Tones With Sophia Nae.

Per Disco-File, the members of The Four Tones who recorded for Eccles, A-1, and La Marr's "Star" Records are Dusty Brooks, Rudy Hunter, Virgil Johnson, Art Maryland, and Raymond Wheaton, and with Sophia Nae on the "A" side.

THE BILLBOARD, July 22, 1944:
....The Four Tones cut Pass The Beans and Little Chum for A-1 Records. First disc by that company, released this week, is I'll Follow You and Do, Do, Baby, also by the Tones....

The Billboard Review (7/29/44):

THE FOUR TONES (A-1 Records).... I'll Follow You/Do, Do, Baby
Another newcomer to the needling fraternity, A-1 Records comes to the fore with attractive vocal calisthenics offered up by the Four Tones, sepia male quartet. Boys possess fine voices, blended well, with their singing in high commercial order to attract attention to the new label. It's a cross between the Mills Brothers and the Ink Spots in their singing, retaining the better techniques of both in ascending the sustaining harmonies to back the solo singer, and in the bass singer talking out the lyrics.

The booming bass notes of the singer keeps the rhythm sharp and pronounced, and it's restful and effortless singing all the way. "I'll Follow You" is a pleasant ballad of merit, with the Four Tones taking a good stride, while "Do, Do Baby" accents their rhythm singing qualities.

The singing of the Four Tones, particularly for "I'll Follow You", packs much merit for the phono play, and the music ops could well tempt the possibilites of their plattering.

At Left: "LA MARR'S STAR" RELEASES - The Cash Box 11/12/45.
The number 102 and 103 selections were later released on the MEMO label.

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "I'll Follow You" - The Four Tones With Sophia Nae - A-1 A-1001 - 1944.
2. "Do, Do, Baby" - The Four Tones - A-1 B-1001 - 1944.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.


THE FOUR TONES ON THE PREVIEW RECORD LABEL:


THE CASH BOX — MARCH 3, 1945

Above: Label images for Preview A-666/B-667 and Preview A-668/B-669, released in March/April 1945. Joe Greene, who had been The Four Tones' manager, composed "Someone Over Here..." and co-composed the flip "Hey, What You Say". He also composed Herb Jeffries' "At Least You Could Save Me A Dream" (NOTE: See The Four Tones - Part One).

There are no matrix numbers stamped or etched in the "dead wax" for either record.

Per Disco-File, the members of The Four Tones who recorded for Preview Records are Dusty Brooks, Rudy Hunter, Virgil Johnson, Art Maryland, and Raymond Wheaton.

CALIFORNIA EAGLE, December 21, 1944: NEW TUNE RECORDED
Composer Joe Greene has written another tune, "Someone Over Here Loves Someone Over There", which is destined to become another song-hit. It has just been recorded by the Four Tones and you ought to be hearing it on your juke boxes soon....

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "Someone Over Here Loves Someone Over There" - The Four Tones - Preview A-666 - 1945.
2. "Hey, What You Say" - The Four Tones - Preview B-667 - 1945.
3. "Two Tears Met" - The Four Tones - Preview A-668 - 1945.
4. "Satchel Mouth Baby" - The Four Tones - Preview B-669 - 1945.

ALL FOUR SONGS played in sequence.


THE SAGA OF "SATCHEL MOUTH BABY":

"Satchel Mouth Baby" was originally composed and copyrighted in 1942* by pianist Mary Lou Williams. "Satchel Mouth" is slang for a large mouth. When Bill Johnson And His Musical Notes recorded the song in 1947, the title had changed to "Pretty Eyed Baby". "Pretty eyed" was certainly a nicer way to describe someone than "satchel mouth". However, the reason for the title change may actually have been for copyright purposes [See the Billboard article that follows below.]

[*Catalog of Copyright Entries 1942: "Satchel mouth baby; pf., with w. © 1 c. Sept. 1, 1942; E unp. 307820; Mary Lou Williams, New York. 37171".]

Composer credits on the record labels did not always give Mary Lou Williams her due. Notice the composer credits on the following Manor and Exclusive labels.... "Hartman" and "Snub Mosely" respectively, with no mention of Williams. The further above shown Preview label credits only "Walter Fuller".

In addition to those shown on this web page, other versions of vocal group harmony interest are "Satchel Mouth Baby" by The Progressive Four on D.C. 8048, released in 1948, and "Wami Wami" by The Manhattan Brothers (see photo at right), South Africa, on Gallotone 1277, released in 1951. The Gallotone label does not credit any composer.

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
"Wami-Wami" - The Manhattan Brothers - Gallotone 1277 - 1951.

THE BILLBOARD, October 27, 1951: FREE-FOR-ALL ON "PRETTY" DITTIES
NEW YORK—A legal fight over "Pretty Eyed Baby" among ork leader Leo "Snub" Mosley, Leeds Music, saxophonist Bill Johnson, and Mary Lou Williams, who, all agree, wrote the song in 1943, came to light in New York State Supreme Court this week.

Mosley charges the last three with infringement of his alleged common-law right to the tune, which he claims to have arranged from Miss Williams' "Satchel Mouth Baby" in public domain. Mosley says that Johnson was a member of his band when he made the arrangement in 1943.

He charges that in 1947, Johnson, after leaving the band, falsely represented himself to Miss Williams as the one who revised her tune. On that basis, Miss Williams allegedly entered into an agreement with Johnson and Leeds, whereby latter published and copyrighted "Pretty Mouth Baby" and she split the royalties with Johnson. Johnson recorded the song for RCA Victor.

The hassle came to light this week when Miss Williams filed a counter suit against Mosley, charging that his allegations have damaged her reputation as a clefter to the extent of $100,000. She moved that Mosley's complaint be dismissed.

Mosley makes claim to the rights to "Pretty Mouth Baby" because it was he who made the arrangement. He asks for an injunction refraining the three from making money from the tune and declaring Leed's copyright void. He asks that Leeds be forced to hold the royalties in trust for him.

[NOTE: Some agreement must have been reached as the current ASCAP data base lists Mary Lou Williams, Snub Mosley, and Bill Johnson as co-composers of "Pretty Eyed Baby".]

Above Left: Label image for Asch 502-A, recorded in March 1944, but may not have been released until 1945 [NOTE: See Arizona Daily Star review below.]. While the label says "Instrumental", it actually has ensemble vocal harmony.

Above Right: Mary Lou Williams Trio with trumpeter Bill Coleman and bassist Al Hall. This trio had several releases on the Asch label in 1944.

ARIZONA DAILY STAR, December 21, 1945: ASCH RECORDS
The balance of the offerings come from Asch, which seems a little undecided where it is going....This batch of releases has some that are beamed at the commercial-minded listener. The best of their new records that I have heard are done by Mary Lou Williams....

...."Satchel Mouth Baby" is again Miss Williams and still other artists; it was recorded in June of 1944. The group is a little better balanced here with Frankie Newton playing trumpet and Vic Dickenson playing trombone....

Above Left: Mary Lou Williams.

FROM THE BOOK BLACK BEAUTY, WHITE HEAT:
....Nineteen-year-old Mary Lou Williams, wife of Andy Kirk And His Clouds Of Joy alto and baritone soloist, John Williams, substituted at piano because Kirk's pianist did not show up. Brunswick Records' Jack Kapp was entranced with her playing and insisted that she make all the dates or there wouldn't be any more....

....She finally joined Kirk's band full time in 1931 and became chief arranger....

Above Right: THE BILLBOARD, November 3, 1945.
[NOTE: It seems that Mercury 2001, The Four Steps Of Jive, was Mercury's first record. If so, it's interesting that they are "pressing over 1,000,000 records per month" less than one month later.]

THE BILLBOARD, November 3, 1945:
....Mercury Records eying plenty of Gotham [Chicago] Negro talent for its catalog.... [NOTE: The Four Steps Of Jive were from Chicago.]

Above Left: Label image for Mercury 2001A, recorded in October 1945 and released later that month. The label states "Special Effects by Jimmy Gilmore", which might mean his scat-singing segment of the song.

Above Right: THE BILLBOARD 1945-1946 MUSIC YEAR BOOK. Four Jumps Of Jive clipping.

THE BILLBOARD 1945-1946 MUSIC YEAR BOOK PROFILE: FOUR JUMPS OF JIVE
When the newly formed Mercury Record Company of Chicago was looking for potential artists, they secured the contract for the Four Jumps Of Jive because of the peak which they had received as cocktail and night club entertainers.

These four sepia boys have been together for two years, and under the leadership of bass man Willie Dixon, they've been building a library of originals and standards, plus plenty of novelties and pops, that's large enough to handle most any call from a patron for a particular tune.

Remainder of the unit is: Bernard Dinnis and Ellis Hunter, electric guitars, and Eugene Gilmore, piano. Boys are all able to deliver capably a solo at the mike, and have plenty of harmony, up to four voices, for those payees who like tricky vocalizing.

During the past year they've played long stays at the Belvedere, Springfield, Ill.; the Sky Club, Elmwood, Ill.; and are curently featured at the floorshow at the Rhumboogie, Chicago. Managed by General Amusement Corporation.

Above: PITTSBURGH COURIER, November 17, 1945.
[Note that the first recordings for the Mercury label were by black artists.]

THE BILLBOARD, October 13, 1945: WINDY CITY GETS SOME NEW PRESSING PLANTS....
CHICAGO—Chicago's potential as a recording center got a big shot in the arm with the announcement this week by Irving Green, local plastics expert, that he is heading a new firm, Mercury Records, which will eventually reach 250,000 disks per month. New firm has a Chicago pressing plant and a St. Louis manufacturing outlet.

New firm is getting plenty of eyeing from the rest of the industry because it is considered a very modern record producer, in that the majority of its equipment, made by Green himself, is automatic and uses a minimum of trained personnel, an item which has been setting production back a good deal these days.

Thus far the new label has inked only Negro artists for records, with its catalog including sides by June Richmond, ex-Andy Kirk rhythm singer; Bill Samuels and His Cats 'n' Jammers and the Four Jumps Of Jive, both cocktail units; Sipple Wallace and Karl Jones, blues shouters; Al Ammons, boogie pianist and half of the team of Ammons And Johnson; and Bob Shaffner and His Harlem Hot Shots.

Besides the new label, Chicago recording industry will include Majestic label's projected pressing plant which will be ready in a couple of months; Phil Featheringill's new Session record pressing plant; and John Steiner's S & D label.

[NOTE: Of course, Chicago would soon became famous for their independent record companies, including Chance, Aristocrat, Chess/Checker, Vee-Jay, United/States, Parrot/Blue Lake, Theron, and Club 51.]

Above Left: Label image for Manor 1026-B, released in May 1946. "Hartman" is credited as the composer. The opening credits from the movie "Boy! What A Girl", in which The Brown Dots sing "Satchel Mouth Baby", show Mary Lou Williams as the composer.

Above Right: THE BILLBOARD, June 8, 1946.

Above: Deek Watson And His Brown Dots on one of the sets from the 1947 movie "Boy! What A Girl".
(L-R) Jimmie Nabbie (tenor), Pat Best (baritone and guitarist), Deek Watson (tenor), and Jimmy Gordon (bass). That is Pat's guitar that Deek has confiscated for the photo.

WATCH the VIDEO of Deek Watson And His Brown Dots singing "Satchel Mouth Baby" from "Boy! What A Girl" in MP4 format.
That's Ann Cornell that Deek has join them during the song.
(Will open in a new window)

LISTEN TO THE AUDIO ONLY (USING WINDOWS MEDIA PLAYER):
"Satchel Mouth Baby" - Deek Watson And His Brown Dots - Boy! What A Girl - 1947.

Above Left: Label image for RCA Victor 20-2235-A, released in April 1947.

Above Right: Bill Johnson And His Musical Notes. [This photo provided by Paul Ressler.]
(Back) Bill Johnson, sax; (Front L-R) Clifton "Skeeter" Best, guitar; Egbert Victor, piano; Gus Gordon, drums; Jimmy Robinson, bass.

Above Left: Bill Johnson And His Musical Notes magazine clipping for "Pretty Eyed Baby".

Above Right: STANDARD-SENTINEL (Hazleton, PA), September 16, 1948.
(Top Right) Ormonde Wilson; (Bottom L-R) Frank Smith ??; Mifflin "Pee Wee" Brantford; Gene Bilbrew [Gene Price]; Howard Glover Whaley.
[Thanks to Marv Goldberg for the group member's names.]

Above Left: Label image for Exclusive 19x, recorded in August 1947 and released in September 1947. Leon René's Exclusive label makes itself known again.

Above Right: HERALD AND NEWS (Klamath Falls, Oregon), May 9, 1947.

The Billboard Review (8/25/47):

THE BASIN STREET BOYS (Exclusive 19x).... Satchel Mouth Baby
Here's wax that'll get 'em stompin' up in Harlem. The Basin Street Boys are on the beat harmonizing "Satchel Mouth Baby" in swingin', tinglin' fashion and to which they have added a neat piece of talking business you'll like. They're backed by Lucky Thompson's ork with the maestro furnishing swell support all the way thru. On the flip, "Summertime Gal" (which was written by Exclusive's prexy, Leon René)....

Above Left: Label image for Decca 27479, released in 1951. It's interesting that the below Billboard Review says the "treatment borders on r.&b. and could score in that market". Mary Lou Williams, back where it all started, gets full composer credit on the label.

Above Right: Jane Turzey Trio. In the newspaper clipping just below right, they are the same personnel and are wearing the same outfits, so the above photo should be circa 1951. The group's name on the label indicates it is a quartet, probably adding the saxophone. Note that both below clippings specifically mention "Pretty Eyed Baby".

Above Left: THE CASH BOX COVER, September 15, 1951:
CAPTION: "Jane Turzey, who came to Chicago to make a name for herself with sparkling renditions of unusual songs, is shown here with Bill Randle (standing) of radio station WERE in Cleveland and Leo Mintz, proprietor of Record Rendezvous [Cleveland]. Jane first gained the public's attention with "Pretty Eyed Baby" and since then has followed through with such hits as "Good Morning, Mr. Echo" and her current "Bing Bong Bing". She records for Decca and is under the exclusive management of the Mutual Entertainment Agency, Chicago."

Above Right: GLOBE GAZETTE (Mason City, Iowa), May 4, 1951.

The Cash Box Review (3/10/51):

JANE TURZEY TRIO — Decca 27479
Pretty Eyed Baby
Jane Turzey and her trio take over here and come up with two ditties that make for nice listening...."Pretty Eyed Baby" side is a novelty on which they do ok....Ops might have a listen.

The Billboard Review (3/17/51):

JANE TURZEY TRIO — Decca 27479
Pretty Eyed Baby
(85) A Mary Lou Williams rhythm item is done with catchy, ear-attracting gimmicks—echo chamber, handclaps, etc. Treatment borders on r.&b. and could score in that market as well as prove "sleeper" material in the pop field.

(NOTE: A ratings range of 80-89 was considered "excellent")

Above Left: Label image for M-G-M 10967-A, released in 1951. The "Williams" shown in the composer credit is Mary Lou, not Billy.

Above Right: The Billy Williams Quartet. In the above photo, Billy Williams is the fourth man from left and Conchita Nikkitani, entertainment writer for the Pittsburgh Courier Press, is sitting. [This photo provided by Paul Ressler.]

Above: CHICAGO TRIBUNE, July 8, 1951.
[NOTE: Pictured are Billy Williams, lead tenor; John Bell, tenor; Claude Riddick Jr., baritone;
and Eugene Dixon, bass.
]

Above: THE CASH BOX, May 19, 1951:
BILLY WILLIAMS' NEW BABY
Imogene Coca and Sid Caesar fellow stars with Billy
Williams (center) on "The Show Of Shows" get their
first glimpse of Billy's new baby "Pretty Eyed Baby".
Father Bill; and MGM, to whom he's under contract,
are both doing well as evidenced by the interest shown
in this youngest offspring.

The Billboard Review (5/12/51):

BILLY WILLIAMS QUARTET — M-G-M 10967
Pretty Eyed Baby
(74) This sleeper rhythm ditty, which seems to be catching slowly via a pair of earlier etchings, is done crisply on this coverage slice.

(NOTE: A ratings range of 70-79 was considered "good")

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "Satchel Mouth Baby" - Mary Lou And Her Chosen Five - Asch 502-A - 1945.
2. "Satchelmouth Baby" - The Four Jumps Of Jive - Mercury 2001A - 1945.
3. "Satchelmouth Baby" - Deek Watson And His Brown Dots - Manor 1026-B - 1946.
4. "Pretty Eyed Baby" - Bill Johnson And His Musical Notes - RCA Victor 20-2235-A - 1947.
5. "Satchel Mouth Baby" - The Basin Street Boys - Exclusive 19x - 1947.
6. "Pretty Eyed Baby" - Jane Turzey And Her Trio - Decca 27479 - 1951.
7. "Pretty Eyed Baby" - Billy Williams Quartet - M-G-M 10967-A - 1951.

ALL SEVEN SONGS played in sequence.


THE FOUR TONES ON THE MEMO RECORD LABEL:

Above: THE BILLBOARD, January 12, 1946.
[NOTE: The Record numbers shown are actually the matrix numbers for these specific sides.]

MEMO is short for MELODY MODERNE. While the label, located in Hollywood, was mostly known for "hillbilly" records, their first releases were by Dusty Brooks And His Four Tones.

The Four Tones records were on the 1000 "race" series. "V-FT" designation on the label means "Vocal-Four Tones. The 3000 and 5000 series were "hillbilly" records. "HB-V" designation was used for "Hillbilly-Vocal" records. The 7000 series was used for re-issues.

THE BILLBOARD, January 12, 1946: MELODY MODERNE CUTS STAR DISK....
HOLLYWOOD—Melody moderne will devote its entire efforts to the sale and distribution of Memo Records, dropping the La Marr Star records. Exclusive recording pacts have been inked with Terry Fell and the Fellers, hillbilly group, and Dusty Brooks and His Four Tones to cut for the Memo label. Fell recently cut two originals, and six sides have been cut by the Four Tones.


THE CASH BOX — DECEMBER 24, 1945


THE CASH BOX — JANUARY 28, 1946

Above: Label images for both sides of Memo 1001, released in October 1945.

Above: Label images for both sides of Memo 1002, released in December 1945.

Above: Label images for both sides of Memo 1003, released in December 1945. As indicated on the above six labels, Baline La Marr is credited as composer of three of the sides. Four of the labels show who sings the lead vocal. The other two sides find Dusty Brooks on lead.

Above Left: Label image for Memo 7001-A, released in March 1948. Note the revamped label design. The song on this side had been released on Memo 1005 in either late 1945 or early 1946. The flip side is "Please Don't Rush Me", originally issued on Memo 1003 in 1945. The flip of Memo 1005 is "Seclusion", which had been on Memo 1003. [Thanks to Mark DeMeyer for the Memo 7001-A label image.]

Above Middle: THE BILLBOARD MUSIC YEAR BOOK 1945-1946. [Memo Records advertisement for their "hillbilly" line of records.]

Above Right: Label image for Memo 3001, the initial release in their "hillbilly" catalog.


CALIFORNIA EAGLE — DECEMBER 20, 1945
Per Disco-File, the members of The Four Tones who recorded for Memo Records are Dusty Brooks, Rudy Hunter, Virgil Johnson, Art Maryland, and Raymond Wheaton.

Bernard Banks, whose name is shown in the above graphic, had been the leader of his own trio in the early 1940s, himself on piano with saxophonist and drummer accompaniment. Earlier, he led a small band in the Los Angeles area.

THE BILLBOARD, March 23, 1946:
....Dusty Brooks and His Four Tones, now broadcasting nightly over KMPO, Hollywood, from Club Hi-De-Ho....

THE BILLBOARD, June 26, 1946:
....Dusty Brooks and Four Tones also holdovers at Club Moderne, Long Beach....
(NOTE: Not likely there is any connection between Club Moderne and Melody Moderne, but had to mention it)

The Cash Box Review (2/4/46):

DUSTY BROOKS AND HIS FOUR TONES (Memo 1001).... Thank You For The Lies/Play Jackpot
Dusty Brooks and His Four Tones work up a good sweat on both sides but reach their peak on "Jackpot". It's a lively number with Dusty ripping out a solid vocal. The flipover is one of those torches, ably handled by Raymond Wheaton. The disk is set up to cater to lovers.

The Billboard Review 5/18/46):

DUSTY BROOKS AND HIS FOUR TONES (Memo 1001, 1002, & 1003)
Four Tones is a Coast cocktail combo on an Ink Spots kick. Each disk pairs rhythmically contrasting tunes. Jackpot is a clever catchy novelty dedicated to the slot machine habit, and is the best that's offered here. Group blending on Uptown Rhythm and Dusty Brook's effortless chanting of Seclusion rounds out the brisker sides.

Slow tunes are given typical Ink Spot treatment, including the philosophical recitation towards the end. While what they do is listenable, the voice blenders would find it to their advantage to cultivate a style of their own.

Race spot ops could find use for these disks, with Jackpot the winner.

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "Thank You For The Lies" - Dusty Brooks And His Four Tones - Memo 1001 - 1945.
2. "Play Jackpot" - Dusty Brooks And His Four Tones - Memo 1001 - 1945.
3. "Uptown Rhythm" - Dusty Brooks And His Four Tones - Memo 1002 - 1945.
4. "Little Chum" - Dusty Brooks And His Four Tones - Memo 1002 - 1945.
5. "Please Don't Rush Me" - Dusty Brooks And His Four Tones - Memo 1003 - 1945.
6. "Seclusion" - Dusty Brooks And His Four Tones - Memo 1003 - 1945.
7. "Put Your Cards On The Table" - Dusty Brooks And His Four Tones - Memo 7001-A - 1948.

ALL SEVEN SONGS played in sequence.


ADDENDUM — MORE LEON RENÉ:
Above: 1928 photo of Leon René's Southern Syncopators. Leon is in the center holding sheet music, possibly one of his compositions. Ceelle Burke, their banjo player, is second from the right. At far left is their dancer, Russell Jones.

PITTSBURGH COURIER, August 21, 1937: NEW RENÉ SONG SWEEPS WEST LIKE WILD-FIRE
HOLLYWOOD—Already sweeping the West like wild-fire, a new song composed by Otis and Leon René and recorded by the Five Jones Boys, vocal quintet, bids fair to shortly become one of the year's greatest song hits.

With thousands of the latest model "nickel-in-the-slot" victrolas installed in public places throughout the Southern California district, the new number "Sleepy Time In Hawaii" has become so much in demand since its recent completion that the first supply of records was quickly exhausted. A new rush order was made last Saturday for 500 more for the city alone.

"Sleepy Time In Hawaii" is a new idea in vocal instrumentation, or the imitation of musical instruments by the voice. The Five Jones Boys, "four boys and a guitar", have within just a year surpassed all similar acts that ever came to Hollywood and, since their virtual discovery by Leon René, they have been kept constantly busy by the various major studios.

They are now imitating the orchestra that accompanies an 85 voice chorus in "Ali Baba Goes To Town" at Fox Studio with Eddie Cantor starring. They came there directly from Paramount Studio, where for several weeks they have executed a similar feat in Bing Crosby's "Double Or Nothing".

(NOTE: As the below Decca record was not recorded until September 7, 1937 and the above article is dated August 21, 1937, there was an earlier record of "Sleepy Time In Hawaii". It might have been the Recordings Incorporated No. B-5607 record by The Jones Boys Sing Band, which has different versions of "Sleepy Time In Hawaii" and "Pickin' A Rib" than the Decca release. The Recordings Incorporated labels state "Instrumental Imitations Vocal and Guitar".)

Above: Label images for both sides of Decca 1439 A/B, recorded on September 7, 1937 and released later that year. As credited on the labels, both sides were composed by brothers Otis and Leon René.
Above: Photo of Leon René and The Jones Boys Sing Band. In front directing the group is Leon René. At the microphones are (L-R) David Patillo, Jimmy Springs, Richard Davis, Louis Wood, Oscar Moore (guitarist), Herman Wood, Leroy Hurte, Charles Hopkins, and William Bartley. These were members of The Five Jones Boys and The Four Blackbirds (without their female singer) joined together. Patillo and Springs later were part of The 5 Red Caps, Oscar Moore later was with the King Cole Trio and Johnny Moore's Three Blazers.
Above: Still shots of The Jones Boys Sing Band from the 1938 movie short "Hollywood Handicap". They are using their voices to simulate musical instruments. In the picture above right is (L-R) Jimmy Springs, Steve Gibson, and David Patillo, who, along with Richard Davis, would soon form The Four Toppers.

The movie story line is that the "boys" sell their musical instruments to get money to enter their race horse "Suzi-Q" in the Hollywood Handicap. When called upon to sing for some quick money, they must use their voices to immitate their sold instruments. As an aside, in 1937, The Five Jones Boys had released a record with a song titled "Doin' The Suzi-Q".

In this movie short, The Jones Boys Sing Band is named "The Original Sing Band". It was directed by Buster Keaton, who also did another short with them in 1938 called "Streamlined Swing".

WATCH the VIDEO of The Original Sing Band (The Jones Boys Sing Band) singing "Pickin' A Rib" from the 1938 movie short "Hollywood Handicap" in MP4 format. (Will open in a new window)

LISTEN TO THE AUDIO ONLY (USING WINDOWS MEDIA PLAYER):
"Pickin' A Rib" - The Original Sing Band (The Jones Boys Sing Band) - Hollywood Handicap - 1938.

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "Sleepy Time In Hawaii" - Otis René With The Jones Boys Sing Band - Decca 1439 A - 1937.
2. "Pickin' A Rib" - The Jones Boys Sing Band - Decca 1439 B - 1937.
3. "Sleepy Time In Hawaii" - The Jones Boys Sing Band - Recordings Incorporated B-5607 - 1937.
4. "Pickin' A Rib" - The Jones Boys Sing Band - Recordings Incorporated B-5607 - 1937.

ALL FOUR SONGS played in sequence.


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


THE FOUR TONES - PART ONE FEATURES THEIR MOVIES, HERB JEFFRIES, THE LEON RENÉ CONNECTION, THE EDDIE BEAL TRIO, AND, ALSO, THE EBONY, MAKE BELIEVE BALLROOM, BLUEBIRD, AND EXCLUSIVE LABELS.

THE FOUR TONES - PART THREE FEATURES THE KANGAROO, CHECKER, MAJESTIC, ABC-EAGLE, AND SUN LABELS, AND ALSO JUANITA BROWN, RUBY PETERS, AND JESSIE MAE ROBINSON.


Listen to this week's selections using Windows Media Player: [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]

          1. "From Twilight 'Till Dawn" - Ceelle Burke Orchestra And Three Shades And Four Dreamers - Exclusive AM-02686 - 1944.
          2. "Lovely Hannah" - Ceelle Burke Orchestra And Three Shades And Four Dreamers - Exclusive AM-02689 - 1944.
          3. "Trade Winds" - Ceelle Burke Orchestra And The Rhythmettes - Decca 3314 A - 1940.
          4. "I'll Follow You" - The Four Tones With Sophia Nae - A-1 A-1001 - 1944.
          5. "Do, Do, Baby" - The Four Tones - A-1 B-1001 - 1944.
          6. "Someone Over Here Loves Someone Over There" - The Four Tones - Preview A-666 - 1945.
          7. "Hey, What You Say" - The Four Tones - Preview B-667 - 1945.
          8. "Two Tears Met" - The Four Tones - Preview A-668 - 1945.
          9. "Satchel Mouth Baby" - The Four Tones - Preview B-669 - 1945.
        10. "Wami-Wami" - The Manhattan Brothers - Gallotone 1277 - 1951.
        11. "Satchel Mouth Baby" - Mary Lou And Her Chosen Five - Asch 502-A - 1945.
        12. "Satchelmouth Baby" - The Four Jumps Of Jive - Mercury 2001A - 1945.
        13. "Satchelmouth Baby" - Deek Watson And His Brown Dots - Manor 1026-B - 1946.
        14. "Pretty Eyed Baby" - Bill Johnson And His Musical Notes - RCA Victor 20-2235-A - 1947.
        15. "Satchel Mouth Baby" - The Basin Street Boys - Exclusive 19x - 1947.
        16. "Pretty Eyed Baby" - Jane Turzey And Her Trio - Decca 27479 - 1951.
        17. "Pretty Eyed Baby" - Billy Williams Quartet - M-G-M 10967-A - 1951.
        18. "Thank You For The Lies" - Dusty Brooks And His Four Tones - Memo 1001 - 1945.
        19. "Play Jackpot" - Dusty Brooks And His Four Tones - Memo 1001 - 1945.
        20. "Uptown Rhythm" - Dusty Brooks And His Four Tones - Memo 1002 - 1945.
        21. "Little Chum" - Dusty Brooks And His Four Tones - Memo 1002 - 1945.
        22. "Please Don't Rush Me" - Dusty Brooks And His Four Tones - Memo 1003 - 1945.
        23. "Seclusion" - Dusty Brooks And His Four Tones - Memo 1003 - 1945.
        24. "Put Your Cards On The Table" - Dusty Brooks And His Four Tones - Memo 7001-A - 1948.
        25. "Sleepy Time In Hawaii" - Otis Rene With The Jones Boys Sing Band - Decca 1439 A - 1937.
        26. "Pickin' A Rib" - The Jones Boys Sing Band - Decca 1439 B - 1937.
        27. "Sleepy Time In Hawaii" - The Jones Boys Sing Band - Recordings Incorporated B-5607 - 1937.
        28. "Pickin' A Rib" - The Jones Boys Sing Band - Recordings Incorporated B-5607 - 1937.
 
          ALL TWENTY-EIGHT ABOVE SONGS played in sequence.
 
          ALL THIRTEEN SONGS ABOVE BY THE FOUR TONES played in sequence.


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


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