SPOTLIGHT ON THE GINGER SNAPS
"Too Many Irons In The Fire"
Above: 1945 photo of The Ginger Snaps. The group consisted of Charles Ford, Ethel Harper, Leona Hemingway, and Ruth Christian. First mention found in Billboard is a 5/29/43 ad for the Ginger Snaps' appearance at Frank Palumbo's in Philadelphia.
From Billboard - October 13, 1945:
Victor has just pacted the Ginger Snaps, vocal trio, whose initial effort will be "Shrimp Man" and "Tico Tico."
From Billboard - November 3, 1945:
THE GINGER SNAPS (Victor)
Familiar voices along musical bar and nitery lanes, the Ginger Snaps, Negro foursome of three gals and a guy, make their bow on platters an attention-rater. With a fine flair for the rhythm harmony singing and possessing good voices obviously well-tutored, the quartet blends its pipings in a highly acceptable commercial style, altho their choice of chants leaves much to be desired. For "Tico Tico" the Ginger Snaps lose much of the song's flavor when setting it in a forthright rhythmic pattern. "The Shrimp Man" is a song specialty—a Dixie street song of the shrimp-selling man. Nonetheless, their harmonies, heightened by the Russell Case musical backgrounds, make for pleasant platter even if it never reaches any exciting pitch.
From Billboard - July 27, 1946:
Strongest turn seen in a Pittsburgh nitery this year is on tap at Metz's. They are three gals (with an accompanist) who call themselves the Ginger Snaps. Played this same spot last year and are back in for three times the dough and certainly worth it. Outfit opened with I'm Gonna Love That Guy and followed with There You Are and Amen, which had the whole room rocking with applause. Gals couldn't beg off so they just stayed on for about 30 minutes with every song receiving a terrific mitt. Ginger Snaps have just returned from the Coast where they tested for 20th Century-Fox and are now waxing on Victor records. All have striking appearance, wear smart wardrobe and click solidly.
The following is from Marv Goldberg.... an undated press release found in the RCA files. It's probably from October 1945.
VOCAL QUARTET, THE GINGER SNAPS, SIGN TO RECORD FOR RCA VICTOR
A new vocal quartet from the Deep South, three attractive girls and one young man, called the Ginger Snaps, have been signed as RCA Victor recording artists, it was announced today by J.W. Murray, General Manager of the RCA Victor Record Division.
Now playing a highly successful Hollywood night club engagement, the Ginger Snaps started harmonizing while teaching school in the South. The four vocalists, Ruth Christian, Ethel Harper, Leona Hemingway, and Charles Ford, are all college graduates. Their first public appearances were with college choirs and in churches. When they began making their first professional appearances three years ago, Ethel was teaching at the Wadleigh Heights High School, New York and Leona was understudying Ethel Waters. Since that time they have become popular in night clubs from coast to coast. Of the four vocalists, all of whom are in their twenties, only two, Ruth and Charles, are married.
The Ginger Snaps combine the finest harmonic qualities of other vocal groups with a distinctive Southern type of rhythm. Their first RCA Victor release will be "Shrimp Man" and "Tico Tico."
Above: Clipping Inset: "Four Ginger Snaps know how to chase the blues.. The Four Ginger Snaps agree that one cola tastes best! Here Charles Ford takes the famous cola taste-test... 'It's a swell blues chaser!' say the Four Ginger Snaps..."
Above: Label images of RCA Victor 20-1960 released in September 1946 and RCA Victor 20-2170 released in February 1947. Both were recorded on August 6, 1946. The Ginger Snaps had four releases on RCA Victor (1945-47) and two on University (1945). They also had at least two Soundie videos, "Wham" and "Keep Smiling" (both 1943).
Listen to this week's selections by The Ginger Snaps from 1946 and 1947:
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
(Above: 12-29-45 Clipping) A. Stream RealAudio (DO NOT USE...LISTEN USING DOWNLOAD REALAUDIO)...
1. Too Many Irons In The Fire - RCA Victor 20-1960
2. Turnpike Turn - RCA Victor 20-2170
BOTH played in sequence
[To download audio files, right-click on link and then select "Save (Link) Target As..."]
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