(Assisted by Tony Fournier)

[The above photo provided by Paul Ressler.]

THE MARINERS were a vocal Quartet that I feel had a interesting history. They were an integrated vocal Quartet with two black members and two white members and were the only integrated vocal Quartet in the United States throughout the 1940's.

They weren't a Rhythm n' Blues group and they weren't a Rock n' Roll group. Their style of singing was like the style of most white vocal Quartets of the late 1940's and early 1950's. They recorded spirituals in the style of the way that was sung in most mainstream churches.

Their Columbia Recordings of the late 40's and early 50's were directed for the white mainstream middle class adult record buyers.

Last but not least, they were never what has been referred to as an amateur street corner group.

THE MARINERS are not a favorite vocal group with Rhythm n' Blues and Rock n' Roll vocal groups collectors. I know some collectors feel that there were better vocal quartets than them but with all of that I do feel that their story needs to be told and we will start near the beginning of the twentieth century with a person known as HOMER SMITH.

Before we get to HOMER SMITH, I would like to give credit where credit is due. Much of the information that I have on HOMER SMITH up to 1942 came from research in the early 1980's by the late Peter Grendysa and Ray Funk. I am grateful for their research. I also thank Marv Goldberg for his help with birth and death dates with some of the members of THE MARINERS.

I also thank Tony Fournier for his great help on this project. And a special thanks to Rev. Mark Boughan, the son of Martin Boughan of THE MARINERS.

HOMER QUINCY SMITH was born in Florence, Alabama. According to Pete Grendysa and Ray Funk's research, he was born in 1902. Now according to Marv Goldberg's research, HOMER SMITH told the World War Two registrars that he was born on December 2nd 1904.

When HOMER SMITH was a teenager he moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he joined a local Quartet. He then joined a church choir.

Above: WILBERFORCE UNIVERSITY QUARTETTE (1922). HOMER SMITH is second from the left.

In 1921 HOMER SMITH attended Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio, where he was trained in Quartet singing as part of the WILBERFORCE UNIVERSITY QUARTETTE.

After leaving Wilberforce he became part of one of several Dixie Jubilee Singers. Marv Goldberg had informed me that there was more than one Dixie Jubilee Singers throughout the 1920's. They range from large ensemble to Quartets. HOMER SMITH may have been in The Dixie Jubilee Singers that later became known as The Eva Jessye Choir.

Now according to Peter Grendysa and Ray Funk, HOMER SMITH went from The Dixie Jubilee Singers to THE UTICA INSTITUTE JUBILEE SINGERS, but I doubt this very much. In 1984 I personally spoke on the phone with MARSHALL COLE, the lead singer of THE UTICA JUBILEE SINGERS, and he gave me the names of the other members of the quintet and HOMER SMITH is not one of them. I also found online a photo of them from 1930 and HOMER SMITH is not in that photo. So HOMER SMITH couldn't be in THE UTICA JUBILEE SINGERS at that time.

Let's go to the Quartet that HOMER SMITH is most associated with and that is THE SOUTHERNAIRES.


Formed in 1929, THE SOUTHERNAIRES consisted of HOMER SMITH-1st Tenor, LOWELL PETERS-2nd Tenor, JAY STONE TONEY-Baritone, and WILLIAM W. EDMONSON-Bass. THE SOUTHERNAIRES became very popular on radio in the 1930's and 40's singing spirituals.

HOMER SMITH was the spokesman for the group and even scripted some of their radio programs.

THE SOUTHERNAIRES also performed a secular song in a 1934 all black movie short with ETHEL WATERS titled "Bubbling Over". They did not get screen credit in that movie.

Above Left: THE SOUTHERNAIRES in the 1934 movie short "Bubbling Over".

Above Right: HOMER SMITH (second from left) directing THE MANHATTAN BEACH CHORAL SOCIETY (January 1943).

In 1942 the United States was in a war with Germany and Japan. The United States was drafting men to fight in the war. THE SOUTHERNAIRES wanted to be drafted as a unit, but couldn't do this. So they stayed together with the exception of HOMER SMITH, who enlisted in The United States Coast Guard.

In the U.S. Coast Guard HOMER SMITH was stationed at The Third Navel District at Manhattan Beach, New York. He was Boatswain's Mate Second Class. At Manhattan Beach, he was not only there to protect the New York City shoreline from possible attack from Germany but did two other things.

First, he formed an integrated choral group of enlistees called The Manhattan Beach Choral Society, for which he was also it's director (see photo above right). Second, he formed an integrated vocal Quartet, which included himself in the Quartet, called The U.S. COAST GUARD QUARTET.

and MARTIN BOUGHAN. On piano is Francis Boyle aka Frank Boyle.

Above Right: THE RECORD (Hackensack, NJ), October 5, 1943: COAST GUARD QUARTET TO SING HERE
The Coast Guard Quartet, which will sing at the U.S. Coast Guard Recruiting Show, to be presented tomorrow night by the Holy Name Society of St. Anastasia's R.C. Church....Teaneck. The quartet includes Homer Smith, formerly of N.B.C.'s Southernaires, Thomas Lockard of the Los Angeles Opera Company, James Lewis of the cast of the "Hot Mikado", and Martin Boughan, a former Gilbert and Sullivan Opera soloist.

THE U.S. COAST GUARD QUARTET consisted of....


MARTIN HENRY BOUGHAN-Baritone-Yeoman Third Class, was born in Stanberry, Missouri, on January 24th 1922. He was a Gilbert and Sullivan soloist who spent several seasons with The Chicago Opera Company. His wife was named Alma and they had five children... Karl, Robin, Alming, April, and Mark.

THOMAS BLAKE LOCKARD-Baritone and Tenor-Storekeeper Second Class, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on March 17th 1918. He attended El Monte High School and Pasadena Junior College in Pasadena, California. Later, he majored in music at the University of California in Los Angeles. He would become a Los Angeles Opera Company star. His first wife was named Dorothea and they had two girls, Marlayna and Paula. In the Coast Guard TOM LOCKARD was a cook.

JAMES OTIS LEWIS-Bass and Baritone-Gunner's Mate Third Class, was born in Birmingham, Alabama, on June 8th 1918. He went to Talladega College in Talladega, Alabama. He starred in BILL "BOJANGLES" ROBINSON'S "Hot Mikado", an all black Broadway musical that was produced by Mike Todd. The musical was based on the Gilbert and Sullivan opera "The Mikado". He performed in night clubs such as The Café Society in New York, which was the first integrated night club in the United States. In 1948 James married Janice Brooks and they had two daughters, Janeen and Jacyn.

THE COAST GUARD QUARTET was attached to The Public Relations of The Third Naval District. When THE U.S COAST GUARD QUARTET was not busy with their regular duties they would appear at War Bond drives and Red Cross benefits. In 1943 and 1944, they were on a weekly radio program on the Mutual Network called "The Navy Goes To Church".

On October 5th 1943 they sang at The U.S. Coast Guard Recruiting Show in Teaneck, New Jersey. On December 10th 1944 they sang at The Universal Bible Rally that was held at The Hotel St. George in Brooklyn, New York. They appeared on Major Bowes' "Shower of Stars" radio show back in April 1945.

Just to let you know, the military during World War Two was segregated. Many black vocal Quartets were formed in military bases throughout the United States and from all branches of the military. THE U.S. COAST GUARD QUARTET was the only vocal Quartet to be formed from the U.S. Coast Guard and, as mentioned before, the only integrated vocal Quartet in the country. I consider HOMER SMITH a visionary for not only forming an integrated choral group but also forming an integrated vocal Quartet when such a thing was unheard of at that time.

On December 20th 1945 all of the members of THE COAST GUARD QUARTET were discharged from The U.S. Coast Guard. Instead of all of them going on their separate ways, they decided to stay together as a vocal Quartet, including HOMER SMITH who did not go back to THE SOUTHERNAIRES. Since the Quartet were no longer in The U.S. Coast Guard they changed their name to THE MARINERS.




THE MARINERS soon started doing radio shows and concerts around the country. Their first public performance as civilians and as THE MARINERS was on December 22nd 1945 on the Fred Allen radio Show. Soon after that they were on The Eddie Cantor Radio Show and the Paul Whiteman Radio Show. They were also on a radio show called "Coast Guard Parade".

In 1946 they did fourteen concerts that were produced by The Cultural Concerts Society Of Radio City, New York. In the summer of 1946, they went to the Pacific where they entertained G.I.'s at Pacific hospitals, canteens, and theaters. In the fall of 1946 the CBS Radio Network hired THE MARINERS to be part of a radio show hosted by Arthur Godfrey (Aug. 31st 1903-Mar. 16th 1983).

In 1945 Arthur Godfrey was a local New York radio personality until The CBS Network put him on their radio network. On April 30th 1945 the CBS Network started broadcasting "Arthur Godfrey Time", a Monday thru Friday morning variety show. In the show's first year Arthur Godfrey had as one of his regular performers a black Gospel Quartet called THE JUBALAIRES. They were only there for one year.

In the fall of 1946 CBS decided to replace THE JUBALAIRES with THE MARINERS.


Above: THE MARINERS on the Arthur Godfrey And His Friends TV show.

November 4th 1946 was the first appearance for THE MARINERS on the "Arthur Godfrey Time" radio show. This is the start of what will be THE MARINERS long association with Arthur Godfrey. Shortly after this, HOMER SMITH, for whatever reason he may had, decided to quit being in THE MARINERS.

Now according to Pete Grendysa and Ray Funk's research, HOMER SMITH toured with a group called THE HOMER SMITH'S MELODYAIRES which was composed of ex-servicemen. A blurb on a December 20th 1947 issue of the newspaper the Afro-American stated that "Homer Smith, formerly with The Southernaires, now heads up The Harmonaires."

THE HARMONAIRES were an eleven man Gospel ensemble and not the group that recorded "Come Back" for the Holiday Record label in 1957. I doubt that HOMER SMITH was connected with THE HARMONAIRES and, if he was, he would have been with them for a short time. HOMER SMITH died April 18th 1974. He was living in the Bronx, New York, at the time of his death.

With the departure of HOMER SMITH, THE MARINERS needed a new Tenor and they found that Tenor with NAT DICKERSON.


NATHANIEL DICKERSON was born in Waycross, Georgia. According to Marv Goldberg, NAT DICKERSON told The World War Two registrars that he was born on June 17th 1916, but he told Social Security that he was born on June 17th 1914.

NAT DICKERSON went to Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, and sang with The Fisk Jubilee Singers.

Nat studied voice at the Julliard School of Music in New York. He appeared on Broadway in New York in "Porgy and Bess" and "Finian's Rainbow". Nat won six scholarship awards including The Marion Anderson Scholarship Award. Nat was never in The U.S. Coast Guard.

Nat's wife was Ellen and they had two children, a boy, Nathaniel Junior, and a girl, Natalie.

Getting a new Tenor wasn't the only change with THE MARINERS.

Some performers would change their birth name. This was the case with MARTIN BOUGHAN, who is now known as MARTIN KARL.
From Martin's son, Mark Boughan: "(My dad) was told, when signing with Godfrey, that Boughan wasn't a good name for show business and he had to pick a last name quickly. My oldest sibling (Karl) had just been born, the name was in my dad's mind, and the rest is history. Marty Karl became his show biz name."

The "Arthur Godfrey Time" radio show was very popular. THE MARINERS would, from time to time, sing spirituals, but they sang all type of songs. Country and Western, Polkas, Broadway show tunes, movie tunes, novelty songs, and everything except Rhythm n' Blues and Rock n' Roll.

Above: ARTHUR GODFREY TIME at the CBS radio studio in New York City.
JANETTE DAVIS and THE MARINERS are at the microphone at right.
Archie Bleyer (Far Left) is conducting the orchestra. Wearing the headphones is Arthur Godfrey.

I would be remiss if I didn't include another important person in the history of THE MARINERS and that would be the lovely and talented singer JANETTE DAVIS.

JANETTE DAVIS was born Dorothy Janette Marguerite Davis in Memphis, Tennessee, on November 2nd 1916. In April 1946, JANETTE DAVIS became the resident singer on the "Arthur Godfrey Time" radio show.

Janette would often sing with THE MARINERS as her back-up group. Janette was no stranger to singing with Quartet. In 1943 she recorded at least ten Transcription Discs with the great FOUR VAGABONDS.


Above Right: ARTHUR GODFREY TIME radio show, September 28th 1948. (L-R) JIM LEWIS, TOM LOCKARD, NAT DICKERSON, MARTIN KARL, show announcer Tony Marvin, and (IN FRONT) JANETTE DAVIS.

I should mention here that Arthur Godfrey would refer to all of his performers on his programs as "The Little Godfreys" and that included THE MARINERS and JANETTE DAVIS.

THE MARINERS are now ready to embark on a new form of entertainment called Television.

On January 12th 1949 the "Arthur Godfrey And His Friends" TV show premiered on The CBS Television Network. It was a one hour weekly musical variety program that featured most of Godfrey's daytime radio performers, including THE MARINERS and JANETTE DAVIS. Depending on the songs and background scenes, THE MARINERS would sometimes perform in costume.

Above: THE MARINERS in costume on the Arthur Godfrey and His Friends TV show.

On January 7th 1952 "Arthur Godfrey Time" debuted on the CBS Television network Monday to Thursday. First it was 15 minutes long, then 30 minutes long, and by 1954 it eventually became one hour long. The program was simulcast on radio but the radio show was 90 minutes long with the last half hour of the program heard only on radio.

Above: ARTHUR GODFREY TIME TV SHOW, cigarette commercial. (L-R) MARTIN KARL, NAT DICKERSON, TOM LOCKARD, JIM LEWIS, Bill Lawrence (actor), JANETTE DAVIS, and Tony Marvin (announcer).

During the time that THE MARINERS were only performing on radio, the radio audience could not tell if they were black or white, so they didn't have any problems from that. But once THE MARINERS started performing on live TV, well, that was a whole different thing. THE MARINERS were being seen once a week at night and four times a week in the mornings on live TV. Complaints started to come in to the CBS Network from mostly the CBS affiliates stations from the South who did not like the mixing of black and whites together. They wanted THE MARINERS taken off the air.

One such complaint came from the governor of Georgia in 1952, saying that what he sees on TV with THE MARINERS goes against their segregation laws. Arthur Godfrey's response to all of this was in a statement that he made in 1952: "As long as I am on the show. The Mariners are going to stay."

JANETTE DAVIS also had a problem with television. On radio she and THE MARINERS would sing all together over the microphone. She couldn't do that on television. She would have to sing in one microphone while THE MARINERS were singing in another microphone away from her. She would be seen singing by herself while THE MARINERS can be heard singing off-screen or the director of the show would just split-screen them.

Above: JANETTE DAVIS and THE MARINERS performing on TV with a split screen.

In 1952 TOM LOCKARD got married for the second time, this one to Virginia Ann Cole (maiden name) or Virginia Ann Osborn (married name from first husband). Her nickname was Jinny or Ginny. Virginia Ann Cole was an original member of a female Quartet called THE CHORDETTES.

In 1949 THE CHORDETTES appeared on the "Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scout" radio show and won the competition. Soon after this they became regulars on both "Arthur Godfrey Time" and "Arthur Godfrey and His Friends", becoming one of Godfrey's "Little Godfreys". Tom and Jinny had a daughter named Kathleen. Jinny also had a son named Keith from her first marriage.

VIRGINA ANN COLE (at far left) was married to TOM LOCKARD.

THE MARINERS during their time with Godfrey made recordings. With the exception of one label, they mainly recorded for Columbia Records. THE MARINERS had started recording for Columbia in late 1947 and continued all the way into 1955. The one exception was doing back-up for Perry Como on a recording for RCA Victor. The majority of the recordings that they did for Columbia was spirituals.

Many of their early recordings were doing back-ups for Arthur Godfrey. They even backed up JANETTE DAVIS in 1949 on a country and western song titled "I Didn't Know The Gun Was Loaded". That recording was a big hit for her. Here's another side, "You", from 1951, where THE MARINERS backed up JANETTE DAVIS.

Cash Box Review (9-29-51): JANETTE DAVIS — Columbia 39537
"You" — A very dynamic oldie is given a ride by Janette Davis, who makes it sound new all over again. With Archie Bleyer providing the musical background, this one deserves ops’ attention.

LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
"You" - Janette Davis With The Mariners - Columbia 39537 - 1951.

Above: CASH BOX COVER, November 4, 1950:
Inscription: "The Mariners, hot vocal combo who scored via their click recording of "Sometime", are pictured above presenting a copy of their winner to Albert S. Denver, president of the Automatic Music Operators Association, New York.

The group also has another hot item in their latest etching, "Beyond The Reef" and "Minnequa", which is the subject of an intensive promotion campaign.

Aside from their recording activities, the group stars on the Arthur Godfrey radio show via CBS.

Pictured above, left to right: Martin Karl, Nat Dickerson, Albert Denver, Tom Lockard, Jim Lewis, and Sidney H. Levine, attorney for the operators association.

The Mariners are featured on Columbia Records."

THE MARINERS did have two top 20 popular chart hits, "Sometime" from 1950 and "I See The Moon" from 1953.

LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
1. "Sometime" - The Mariners - Columbia 38781 - 1950.
2. "I See The Moon" - The Mariners - Columbia 40047 - 1953.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.

Now I haven't heard all of their Columbia recordings, but the ones I like are the ones that are different from what they usually do. One of my all time favorite recordings by them is "Oh Mo'nah" with Arthur Godfrey from 1954. I consider it their best recording on Columbia.

In 1951 they recorded a spiritual titled "The Gentle Carpenter of Bethlehem". What makes this spiritual different from their others is that it has a definite INK SPOTS influence to it. Especially when you have JIM LEWIS doing a talking bass part in the bridge of the song.

The Billboard Review (7-3-54):

ARTHUR GODFREY — Columbia 40271
"Oh Mo'nah" (73) The Redhead joins the Mariners on the lively spiritual. Godfrey fans, and there are plenty or them, will buy this platter, but otherwise it doesn't shape up as anything for dealers to get excited about.
(NOTE: Ratings had a range of 0-100 with 70-79 considered as "good".)

This is a song recorded by The Blue Chips in 1939 on Melotone 6-09-55 (also on Oriole and Perfect, released on all three labels at the same time).

Orchestra under the direction of Spencer Odom.

The Billboard Review (11-24-51):

THE MARINERS — Columbia 39606
"The Gentle Carpenter Of Bethlehem" (67) The family audience, particularly Godfrey listeners, should make up the marker for this semi-seasonal religious opus which includes a short recitation. It's well done by the group.
(NOTE: Ratings had a range of 0-100 with 60-69 considered as "satisfactory".)

CASH BOX (1-27-51):
....One of Ed Wallerstein’s last acts at Columbia was to sign the Mariners to a new three year contract doubling their royalties.... (NOTE: Edward Wallerstein was the President of Columbia Records.)

LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
1. "Oh Mo'nah" - Arthur Godfrey And The Mariners - Columbia 40271 - 1954.
2. "The Gentle Carpenter of Bethlehem" - The Mariners - Columbia 39606 - 1951.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.

The Mariners quartet, singing attraction at Des Moines' 1956 Auto Show opening today, go over an arrangement for a new song. From left (rear): James Lewis, bass; Spencer Odom, accompanist and arranger [with The Southernaires]; (front) Thomas Lockard, baritone; Nat Dickerson, tenor; and Martin Karl, second tenor.

"Hey, Mabel! (Get Out of That Kitchen)" is a good uptempo number by them. It has a definite Rhythm n' Blues influence to it. It also has a sax break in the middle of the song. It was arranged by Spencer Odom, who also did an arrangement for THE SOUTHERNAIRES.

Other Columbia recordings that I like by them are "Lil Liza Jane" with Arthur Godfrey, "The Trail of The Lonesome Pine" with Arthur Godfrey, "Jambo (West of Zanzibar)", "Sweet Mama, Tree Top Tall", "When I Needed You Most", and "In The Chapel In The Moonlight".

LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
1. "Hey, Mabel!" - The Mariners - Columbia 40405 - 1954.
2. "Jambo" - The Mariners - Columbia 40318 - 1954.
3. "Sweet Mama, Tree Top Tall" - The Mariners - Columbia 40104 - 1953.
4. "In The Chapel In The Moonlight" - The Mariners - Columbia 40271 - 1954.

ALL FOUR SONGS played in sequence.

The Billboard Review (12-25-54):

THE MARINERS — Columbia 40405
"Hey, Mabel!" (71) The boys turn in a smart reading of a shuffle-beat and light, bounce ditty. Jocks might like it.
(NOTE: Ratings had a range of 0-100 with 70-79 considered as "good".)

The Billboard Review (10-2-54):

THE MARINERS — Columbia 40318
"Jambo" (76) A lilting novelty from the Universal-International movie "West of Zanzibar". The Mariners warble with spirit. Disk should get its share of plays, and, of course, the usual radio-TV plugs on the Godfrey shows.
(NOTE: Ratings had a range of 0-100 with 70-79 considered as "good".)

On Friday April 15th 1955 Arthur Godfrey called THE MARINERS, two other performers, and three staff writers into his office and gave all of them the axe. This firing came as no surprise to anybody for Godfrey was firing performers and members of his staff since 1953.

The Mariners from left, Tom Lockard, Martin Karl, Jim Lewis, and Nat Dickerson — fired by Arthur Godfrey from his television and radio shows — read newspapers announcing their dismissal. They were shown papers just after they arrived at Boston, Mass., for a show. Two other singers, Marion Marlowe and Haleloke, also were fired.

The first public performance for THE MARINERS after the Godfrey firing was the day following the firing. They had a scheduled concert in Boston. Their first TV performance after the firing was The Ed Sullivan Show on May 8th 1955. They also performed on The Ed Sullivan Show on July 3rd 1955 and August 28th 1955. Sullivan and Godfrey had a feud going for a long time.

THE MARINERS then embark on a series of concerts and benefits throughout the United States. These include a benefit in October 1955 at the Lyric Theater in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and an April 1956 concert at the Auditorium Music Hall in Omaha, Nebraska.

Beside being fired by Godfrey, THE MARINERS were no longer recording for Columbia Records. In late 1955 they moved to Archie Bleyer's Cadence Records. Bleyer was Godfrey's musical director until Godfrey fired him, along with singer Julius La Rosa, in 1953. THE MARINERS had three releases on Cadence Records. One of those sides was "Zindy Lou", a cover version of a Rhythm n' Blues recording that was originally done by THE CHIMES for Specialty Records in 1955.

The Billboard Review (11-5-55):

THE MARINERS — Cadence 1278
"Zindy Lou" (79) The boys come up with an exciting beat-full hand-clapper. Lots of gimmicky back-up sounds by half the group keeps things moving fast while the other half carry thru on the catchy melody. A good bet for action.
(NOTE: Ratings had a range of 0-100 with 70-79 considered as "good".)

The Billboard Review (9-10-55):

THE MARINERS — Cadence 1272
"I Love You Fair Dinkum" (78) The Mariners belt out a bright novelty with interesting lyrics based on Australian slang. The boys' first Cadence release has a zingy tempo, which should strike play-dirt on the boxes and with the jocks.
(NOTE: Ratings had a range of 0-100 with 70-79 considered as "good".)

LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
1. "Zindy Lou" - The Mariners - Cadence 1278 - 1955.
2. "I Love You Fair Dinkum" - The Mariners - Cadence 1272 - 1955.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.

Above: CASH BOX, November 5, 1955.

Above Left And Right: CASH BOX, September 3, 1955.

In 1958 two of the original members of THE MARINERS, JIM LEWIS and TOM LOCKARD, left the Quartet for good. Two new members replaced them, COYAL McMAHAN, who was black, and GABE MEINHARDT, who was white.

COYAL McMAHAN-Bass, from Union, Carolina, was a member of The Eva Jessye Choir. He was in one of the productions of "Porgy and Bess" on Broadway, playing the part of the undertaker. He was also involved in the Broadway production of "Finian's Rainbow", but mostly as an understudy and replacement for one of The Passion Pilgrim Gospeleers in "Finian's Rainbow". COYAL was also in a group called THE MELODAIRS.

GABE MEINHARDT-Second Tenor, was born in Brooklyn, New York. According to an album's liner notes, he was in The Pied Pipers and the Hi, Lo, Jack, And The Dame, two Quartets from the 1940's.


(NOTE: Gabe Meinhardt's name is misspelled.)
[The above image provided by Mark Boughan.]

Above: LINCOLN STAR, September 4, 1958:
The Mariners, looking ahead to a possible State Department sponsored world goodwill tour, let loose with one of their favorites. The personable foursome are Gabe Meinhardt, Nat Dickerson, Martin Karl, and Coyal McMahan.

In late 1957 THE MARINERS signed with Tiara Records, a small New York based record label that is noted by collectors for having the first record by THE SHIRELLES. Tiara Records was partly owned by Florence Greenberg, who would become the manager of THE SHIRELLES. THE MARINERS made three records on Tiara and, from the matrix numbers, all three of them were recorded in 1957. That means it is the original Quartet and not the later reformed Quartet on these sides.

THE MARINERS first release for Tiara Records was "I Remember (The Cornfields of Home)". It was released in October 1957 and reviewed in the October 14th 1957 issue of Billboard Magazine. Billboard gave it a rating of 69 (60-69 is satisfactory). I consider "I Remember" as one of their best recordings. It has influences from the West Coast group, THE PLATTERS.

Their second record for Tiara was "I Live For You" b/w "I Heard Ya The First Time", released in February 1958. The record itself was issued two ways. One way the record label had THE MARINERS name on it and, the other way, it did not on either side, which is the way I have it.

Their third and last release for Tiara was also their last single release. It was "The Victim", released in March 1958 and reviewed in the March 31th 1958 issue of Billboard. Billboard gave it a rating of 71 (70-79 is good). "The Victim" was released as by NAT DICKERSON and THE MARINERS. I consider this recording to be the best of all their recordings. It is a great Rhythm n' Blues/Rock n' Roll ballad with NAT DICKERSON doing an excellent job on lead. It is a recording that should be in every Rhythm n' Blues and Rock n' Roll vocal group collection.

LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
1. "I Remember" - The Mariners - Tiara 6108 - 1957.
2. "The Victim" - The Mariners - Tiara 6114 - 1958.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.

CASH BOX, October 5, 1957:
....Hy Grill, Tiara Records, signs the Mariners....

CASH BOX, February 1, 1958:
....The Mariners are back recording on the Tiara label. Their first release is “I Heard Ya The First Time” and “I Live For You”. Johnny O’Conner is handling the group....

The Billboard Review (10-14-57):

THE MARINERS — Tiara 6108
"I Remember" (69) Sid Bass' orking, with a rock and roll flavor, could help rekindle some interest is this older item, "I Remember The Cornfields". Boys do a full, convincing job.
(NOTE: Ratings had a range of 0-100 with 60-69 considered as "satisfactory".)

Cash Box Review (10-26-57):

THE MARINERS — Tiara 6108
"I Remember" (B) The boys blend smoothly on this side as they fashion a lovely oldie in today’s commercial rock and roll tempo.
(NOTE: A rating of B was considered as "very good".)

The Billboard Review (3-31-58):

THE MARINERS — Tiara 6114
"The Victim" (71) Lead singer scores with a moving vocal on meaningful ballad.
(NOTE: Ratings had a range of 0-100 with 70-79 considered as "good".)

Cash Box Review (4-5-58):

"The Victim" (B) Nat Dickerson and the Mariners team their talents and drift thru a dramatic, romantic rock-a-ballad that comes over strongly. Nat has a mellow lead voice and gets good assistance from the group.
(NOTE: A rating of B was considered as "very good".)

In the late 1950's the reformed Mariners continued to perform at concerts and benefits.

In the May 23rd 1959 issue of Cash Box Magazine it stated that The MARINERS have been signed with Epic Records to record LP's and singles. Epic was a subsidiary label of Columbia Records. Epic released an LP titled "A Hymn Sing With The Mariners (Lee Erwin at the Allen Organ)". This would be their last record because in 1960 they disbanded, leaving the legacy of a career that lasted almost 18 years.

NOTE: THE MARINERS' discography is at the end of this article.

Above: THE MARINERS on their way to a concert. (L-R) JIM LEWIS, TOM LOCKARD, MARTIN KARL, and NAT DICKERSON.

What happened to the group members after THE MARINERS were no more?

Well, before I get to that I should first mention that JANETTE DAVIS, who made a couple of recordings with THE MARINERS and sang with them on radio and TV, quit show business around 1958 and moved to Naples, Florida, with her husband, where they raised a family. JANETTE DAVIS died on April 25th 2005.

After the break-up, TOM LOCKARD became a sales representative for a Los Angeles area company. He and his family lived in El Monte. Later in the 1960s, he was employed by the Los Angeles county government. He died in Eugene, Lane County, Oregon, on September 3rd 2006.

NOTE: All of the following Mariners' family pictures are from TV-Mirror Magazine, and were provided by Mark Boughan.

Above: TOM LOCKARD and his family. (L-R) Paula, Marlayna, Tom, Keith, Jinny, and Kathleen.

JIM LEWIS moved to California, where he was Executive Director For The California State Teachers Association. He died on April 13th 2009.

Above Left: JIM LEWIS and his wife Janice.       Above Right: JIM LEWIS and his family. (L-R) Janeen, Jim, Janice, and Jacyn.

NAT DICKERSON worked as a registered representative on the New York Stock Exchange. He also worked for The Bergen County Urban League in New Jersey, where he helped coordinate field trips, interviews, and jobs for high school students and local businesses. He died on May 10th 1999 in Stanford, Connecticut.

Above: NAT DICKERSON and his family. (L-R) Natalie, Ellen, Nat, and Nathaniel Junior.

As to what happened to MARTIN BOUGHAN aka MARTIN KARL? The following information comes from Martin's son, the Rev. Mark Boughan:

"Traveling salesman - ministry studies and traveling vocal evangelist - moved to Canada 1962 - Minister of Music at a church in Toronto - to the Harbor Mission in Hamilton, Ontario, as Assistant and then Executive Director... growing the agency over 34 years to a major piece of the community's social care network (While there he was the Minister of Music/Choir Director of the large Philpott Memorial Church and one of founders of the Hamilton Opera Company where he and my mother were frequently principal singers)."

As you can see MARTIN KARL became a preacher in Canada. MARTIN BOUGHAN aka MARTIN KARL died in Canada November 15th 1997.

Above: MARTIN BOUGHAN aka MARTIN KARL and his family.
(L-R) Karl, April, Martin, Alma, Mark, Robin, and Alming.

Well that's their story. THE MARINERS paved the way for integrated Quartets and groups to be formed during the 1950's and 1960's. Some of them were in the military just like THE MARINERS had been.

For some of you that are wondering if there are any radio air checks of "The Arthur Godfrey Time" radio show, the answer is yes but not many. There is less than a handful of 16mm film Kinescopes from their live TV performances. Five of those performances are on my YouTube channel, which is pbrgma1, along with an audio video of four of their live radio performances from 1946 to 1949.


1. RCA Victor 20-2653-B - If You Had All The World And Its Gold - 1948

JANETTE DAVIS and THE MARINERS (Columbia Records recordings)
1. 38448 - I Didn't Know The Gun Was Loaded / Anything Can Happen When You're Lonesome - 1949
2. 38677 - Poison Ivy / I Don't Know Whether To Laugh Or Cry Over You - 1949

ARTHUR GODFREY and THE MARINERS (Columbia Records recordings)
1. 38066 - I'd Give A Million Tomorrows (For Just One Yesterday) - 1948
2. 38081 - I'm Looking Over A Four Leaf Clover - 1948
3. 38246 - The Trail Of The Lonesome Pine - 1948
4. 38303 - When I Lost You - 1948
5. 38390 - Little Guy - 1949
6. 38447 - All Right, Louie, Drop The Gun / Could I, I Certainly Could - 1949
7. 38721 - Dear Old Girl - 1950
8. 38882 - Driftin' Down The Dreamy Ol' Ohio - 1950
9. 39448 - Ke Kali Nei Au - 1951
10. 40271 - Oh Mo'nah - 1954
11. EP 6295 - Lil Liza Jane - 1954

THE MARINERS (Columbia Records recordings)
1. 38624 - On The Island Of Oahu / Leprechaun Lullaby - 1949
2. 38667 - Be The Good Lord Willing / Angels Watching O'er Me - 1949
3. 38781 - Sometime / Stars (Are The Windows Of Heaven) - 1950
4. 38966 - Beyond The Reef / Minnequa - 1950
5. 38992 - Lead Kindly Light / Blessed Be The Tie That Bind - 1950
6. 38993 - I Am Thine, O Lord / Close To Thee - 1950
7. 38994 - In The Garden / Oh Master, Let Me Walk With Thee - 1950
8. 38995 - Abide With Me / Now The Day Is Over - 1950
9. 39042 - Our Lady Of Fatima / The Rosary - 1950
10. 39073 - It Is No Secret / How Near To My Heart - 1950
11. 39101 - My Little Grass Shack (In Kealakekua, Hawaii) / An Old Friend Is The Best Friend - 1951
12. 39193 - With These Hands / Castles In The Sand - 1951
13. 39219 - Loving Is Believing / Light In The Window - 1951
14. 39332 - The Shannon, The Shamrocks And You - 1951
15. 39404 - Love Is The Reason - 1951
16. 39422 - Everyone Is Welcome In The House Of The Lord / Only, Only You - 1951
17. 39445 - Hello Sunshine / Good Luck, Good Health, God Bless You - 1951
18. 39515 - The Mariners Song / Mighty Navy Wings - 1951
19. 39568 - They Call The Wind Maria / The Tinkle Song - 1951
20. 39606 - The Gentle Carpenter Of Bethlehem / I See God - 1951
21. 39607 - It's Over But The Memories / Take Me Home - 1952
22. 39655 - Beautiful Isle Of Somewhere / Come To The Casbah - 1952
23. 39718 - Jeannie (I Dream Of Lilac Time) - 1952
24. 39791 - The Girls Are Marching - 1952
25. 40047 - I See The Moon / I Just Want You - 1953
26. 40104 - Sweet Mama, Tree Top Tall / A Red, Red Ribbon - 1953
27. 40111 (Album) - God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen - 1954
28. 40157 - Sentimental Eyes / They Don't Play The Piano Anymore - 1954
29. 40241 - When I Needed You Most / Steam Heat - 1954
30. 40271 - In The Chapel In The Moonlight - 1954
31. 40318 - Jambo (West Of Zanzibar) / They'll Forget About You - 1954
32. 40405 - Hey, Mabel! (Get Out Of That Kitchen) / An Old Beer Bottle - 1954
33. 40439 - I Didn't Come To Say Hello (I Came To Say Goodbye) / Do As You would Be Did By - 1955
34. 40514 - Chee-Chee-Oo-Chee / A Rusty Old Halo - 1955
35. J4-221 - The Monkey Band / Toot, Whistle, Plunk And Boom

THE MARINERS (Cadence Records recordings)
1. 1272 - At The Steamboat River Ball / I Love You Fair Dinkum - 1955
2. 1278 - Zindy Lou / Everybody's Doin' It Now - 1955
3. 1287 - The Large, Large House / His Gold Will Melt - 1956

THE MARINERS (Tiara Records recordings)
1. T45-6108 - I Remember (The Cornfields Of Home) / No Down Payment - 1957
2. T45-6111 - I Heard Ya' The First Time / I Live For You - 1958
3. T45-6114 - The Victim /Farewell Pretty Sally Belle - 1958

THE MARINERS (Columbia Records albums)
1. CL 609 - 14 Best Loved Hymns By The Mariners - 1955
2. CL 6154 - Hymns By The Mariners - 1950
3. CL 6295 - The Mariners With Arthur Godfrey - Seven Years Before The Mike - 1954

THE MARINERS (Cadence Records album)
1. CLP 1008 - The Mariners Sing Spirituals - 1956

THE MARINERS (Epic Records album)
1. LN 3615 - A Hymn Sing With The Mariners - 1959

Fontana, a subsidiary of Philips Records, was a European label.
In the USA, this song was released on Tiara Records

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February 16, 2023