#949 (6/14/21)

New Record of the Week for THE FOUR TONES - PART TWO (1944-1948) became available on 5/22/21.
New Record of the Week for THE FOUR TONES - PART ONE (1939-1944) became available on 5/1/21.
New Record of the Week for THE TETRA RECORDS LABEL became available on 4/3/21.
New Record of the Week for LAVERN BAKER - PART THREE (1956-1958) became available on 3/20/21.

SPOTLIGHT ON THE FOUR TONES - PART THREE OF THREE (1949-1954)
(KANGAROO, CHECKER, MAJESTIC, ABC EAGLE, AND SUN LABELS; JUANITA BROWN AND RUBY PETERS)

"Muse Awhile"/"Why Should I?"
by Clarence Muse
with Dusty Brooks And The Four Tones
on Kangaroo KM-1300-A/B
released 1949

"Bag-Pipe Boogie"/"You Told A Lie"
by Ruby Peters
with Dusty Brooks And The Four Tones
on Kangaroo K-1301-A/B
released 1949

"Genevieve"/"The World Wasn't Made That Way"
by Sy Tabu Mike
with Dusty Brooks And His Four Tones
on Checker 700-A/B
released in 1949

"Ol' Man River"/"Cream O' Wheat"
by Dusty Brooks
And The Four Tones
on Majestic 78-123
released in 1950

"I Didn't Cry"
by Ray Wheaton
With Dusty Brooks And The Four Tones
on ABC Eagle ABC 228
released in 1950

"Shuffleboard Boogie"
by Dusty Brooks
And The Four Tones
on ABC Eagle ABC 228
released in 1950

"Heaven Or Fire"/"Tears And Wine"
Dusty Brooks And His Four Tones
Vocals by Juanita Brown/J. Brown and Joe Alexander
on Sun 182
released in 1953

Includes Audio For Thirty-One Songs
(Audio Restored By Dave Saviet - Images Restored By Tony Fournier)



Above: Photo of Dusty Brooks And His Four Tones (L-R) Virgil Johnson, Dusty Brooks, Rudy Hunter, Stanley Casey, and Art Maryland.

THE BILLBOARD, January 29, 1953: DUSTY BROOKS, TONES — EX-LANE COLLEGE GROUP HITS TOP
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.—Pleasure-seekers here are getting top entertainment from Dusty Brooks and the Tones, featuring Juanita Brown. The group is putting on a real show, playing everything from Bach to the semi-classics to the latest in blues and rhythm.

Brooks and the Tones, a collegebred group, began their theatrical career a few years back while students at Lane College, Jackson, Tenn. After their graduation they took to the road.

Following an urge to go west, they hit the road in 1935 for California where they became an overnight sensation. They were featured in top night spots, theatres, on radio, and in the movies.

In Hollywood, they worked with Herb Jeffries in the first all-colored western, "Harlem On The Range" [sic "Harlem On The Prairie" 1937]. Since that time they have become international favorites playing top spots in America, Canada, Hawaii, Cuba, and the Panama Canal Zone.


Above: Dusty Brooks And His Four Tones (L-R) Virgil Johnson (piano), Dusty Brooks (bass fiddle), Rudy Hunter (drums), Art Maryland (guitar), and Stanley Casey (trumpet and saxophone).

Above: Dusty Brooks And His Four Tones (Front L-R) Art Maryland, Dusty Brooks, (Back L-R) Virgil Johnson, Rudy Hunter, and Stanley Casey.

Above Left: COURIER-POST (New Jersey), April 22, 1948.

Above Middle: MT. VERNON REGISTER-NEWS (Illinois), November 11, 1948.

Above Right: MISSOULIAN (Montana), June 7, 1949. (NOTE: Eugene Jackson led a musical trio that performed mostly in Hollywood's nightlife circles.)


THE FOUR TONES ON THE KANGAROO RECORD LABEL:
Above Left And Right: Label images for Kangaroo KM-1300-A/B, released in 1949.

Above Middle: Photo of Clarence Muse.

CALIFORNIA EAGLE, February 3, 1949: CLARENCE MUSE ON THE GO AGAIN
Clarence Muse has been approached by National Bookers of Chicago to make a concert tour of colored colleges but has had to turn it down because of Hollywood activities. Muse made a similar tour in 1947, giving a two-hour solo concert at sixteen colleges across the country.

Muse has just completed a singing featured role in United Artists' "The Great Dan Patch" and is currently readying the stage production of "The Merry Widow Of Harlem" and will soon go into "Broadway Bill" with Bing Crosby.

CALIFORNIA EAGLE, February 24, 1949: CLARENCE MUSE NEW RECORD "MUSE A WHILE"
Clarence Muse has recorded for the new Kangaroo Recording Company, releasing through Mercury Distributors, his latest song, "Muse A While", which he wrote with Hope Rider and Lida Dolan. The recording is undersided with "Why Should I", a typical Muse tune by Teepee Mitchell and Lew Porter. Muse's vocalizing for both sides is backed by Dusty Brooks and his Four Tones.

"Muse A While" marks Muse's first recording since before the record ban, although his fame is almost as great in the musical end of the entertainment field as it is on screen and stage. The song is a standard ballad with the nostalgic flavor of "Home On The Range", and is a folk song that will appeal to all American music lovers.

Those who have heard "Muse A While" claim it is destined to achieve the perenial popularity of "When It's Sleepy Time Down South", which Muse composed sixteen years ago and which is still going strong. Isham Jones says of "Muse A While", "If I ever heard a classic of the West, 'Muse A While' is it".
(NOTE: "When It's Sleepy Time..." was composed by Muse and, also, Leon and Otis René. Yes, the names of the René brothers have again appeared in this Four Tones' three-part web article.)


LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
"When It's Sleepy Time Down South" - Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra - Odeon A 286047b - 1931.

The song was composed for the Hollywood stage play "Under A Virginia Moon". After "When It's Sleepy Time..." became a hit for Louis Armstrong, he used it as his theme song coming on and off the air.

Above Left: CALIFORNIA EAGLE, August 25, 1949:
CLARENCE MUSE...is seen in the current flicker "Over The Wall". Beside his movie work, Muse is spending all of his spare time writing on his novel.

CALIFORNIA EAGLE, March 10, 1949: CLARENCE MUSE GUEST ON KECA HOUSE PARTY
Clarence Muse was the guest of Art Linkletter's "House Party" Friday on KECA. Clarence was interviewed on his new picture, "Riding High", which he will start this coming week at Paramount, and introduced on the airwaves transcontinentally for the first time his new song, "Muse A While", which he composed with Hope Rider and Lida Dolan and recorded for Kangaroo Recording Company for Mercury Distributors release.
(NOTE: Clarence Muse owned a dude ranch near Lake Elsinore [south of Los Angeles] named "Muse A While".)

Above Left And Right: Label images for Kangaroo K-1301-A/B, released in 1949. Composers "Teepee" Mitchel and Lew Porter get credit on three of the shown Kangaroo labels. They are also credited on both sides of The Four Tones' Checker record shown further down on this page.

Above Middle: PITTSBURGH COURIER, November 5, 1949: COAST FAVORITE
Mellow voiced Ruby Peters is popular in night club circles on the West Coast. She possesses an unusual voice and is at her best in small clubs.

Above Left: SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY SUN, May 17, 1947.

Above Right: SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL SUN, August 7, 1949.

Above Left: FAIRBANKS DAILY NEWS-MINER (Alaska), December 24, 1956. RUBY PETERS

Above Right: BURLEY HERALD (Idaho), July 24, 1952: "THE HIT OF THE SEASON"
Ruby Peters at the Pilots Club - Personality Plus - Music In The Mood...For Your Pleasure...An Artist On The Piano...Request Vocals.

Above Left: HONOLULU STAR BULLETIN, July 28, 1951.

Above Middle: MONTANA STANDARD, August 23, 1952.

Above Right: MONTANA STANDARD, August 28, 1952.
(NOTE: Fred Skinner, "Baron Of The Blues", was a singer and piano player who performed at night clubs, on the radio, and in the movies.)

CALIFORNIA EAGLE, August 28, 1952:
RUBY PETERS, eye-catching supper club pianist and song stylist will play a swank Montana Club for an indefinite period.

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "Muse A While" - Clarence Muse With Dusty Brooks And The Four Tones - Kangaroo KM-1300-A - 1949.
2. "Why Should I? " - Clarence Muse With Dusty Brooks And The Four Tones - Kangaroo KM-1300-B - 1949.
3. "Bag-Pipe Boogie" - Ruby Peters With Dusty Brooks And The Four Tones - Kangaroo K-1301-A - 1949.
4. "You Told A Lie " - Ruby Peters With Dusty Brooks And The Four Tones - Kangaroo K-1301-B - 1949.

ALL FOUR SONGS played in sequence.

"YOU TOLD A LIE"....

While Ruby Peters' version of "You Told A Lie" is the original, there were others that recorded this song. In fact, all the major record labels covered it in 1949:

  • Connie Haines With Four Hits And A Miss - Coral
  • Larry Clinton - RCA Victor
  • Marjorie Hughes - Columbia
  • Evelyn Knight - Decca
  • Jack Kilty - M.G.M.
  • Foy Willing - Capitol
In my opinion, Connie Haines' version is the best of them.

The Billboard Review (3/26/49):

CONNIE HAINES (Coral 60044).... You Told A Lie
Music ops looking for a pair of socko sides in wax can be sure they'll find it in this biscuit. It's chirp Connie Haines' first waxing on Coral, and whatta pair of boffo tunes the thrush offers! Connie's vocal strains on the pair, some of her best warbling we've ever had the pleasure of hearing, should meet with wide favor, and find a top spot on juke boxes with this platter.

Offering "You Told A Lie", with the Four Hits And A Miss chimimg in the background, Connie pitches her pipes in ultra fast manner to set the stage for some torrid coin play. Disk whirls in up-tempo patter, with the comely, cute lyrics making you wanna listen all the more.... Both sides are loaded with rhythm, with Connie's wonderful tonsils pitching full of excellent tricks and quivers that resound splendidly.

Ops should climb on the bandwagon here—and grab a boxful!

(NOTE: In the same issue, The Billboard gave Ruby Peters' version of the song an overall rating of 50, where a range of 49-69 is considered "satisfactory". That's all that will be mentioned here about that!)

LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
"You Told A Lie" - Connie Haines With Four Hits And A Miss - Coral 60044 B - 1949.


THE FOUR TONES ON THE CHECKER RECORD LABEL:

Above Left And Right: Label images for Checker 700-A/B, released in 1949. The "B" side label is missing the "RECORDING COMPANY" and "LOS ANGELES" that are shown on the "A" side. Research for information about "Sy Tabu Mike" found nothing other than this one record. Was he somehow related to the Checker label itself?

This is obviously a different Checker than the subsidiary Checker label of Chess Records in Chicago. Was this the only release on this Los Angeles based Checker label?

Again, Teepee Mitchell and Lew Porter are the credited composers. Did they have any direct business connection with Dusty Brooks? There are many unanswered questions.

Above Middle: Dusty Brooks showing his comedic persona.

At Direct Left: CALIFORNIA EAGLE, February 17, 1949.

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

LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
1. "Genevieve" - Sy Tabu Mike With Dusty Brooks And His Four Tones - Checker 700-A - 1949.
2. "The World Wasn't Made That Way" - Sy Tabu Mike With Dusty Brooks And His Four Tones - Checker 700-B - 1949.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.


THE FOUR TONES ON THE ABC-EAGLE RECORD LABEL:

Above: Label images for both sides of ABC-Eagle ABC 228, released in 1950. The above left label suggests that there were six members in the group for this side. This is the only record The Four Tones had on the ABC-Eagle label. Per Billboard in June 1950, "I Didn't Cry" was also released by Johnny Dugan on Eagle 809.

Regarding "Break Resistant Vinaflex," this 78-rpm record is made of a vinyl material that does have some flex, unlike shellac records. Not bad for a record that retailed for 39 cents.

Composers on the "I Didn't Cry" side are George Howe and Bobby Burns, who had the hit song "Down The Lane" in 1950. The flip "Shuffleboard Boogie" gives composer credit to Gordon Burdge, owner of ABC-Eagle Records and J. Russel Robinson, a prolific and famous songwriter.

At Direct Left: A 1950 clipping of Dusty Brooks And His Four Tones. Again, it seems that Ray Wheaton was the sixth member of the group.

The Rossonian Lounge was located in Denver. Added Attraction "Vivienne Greene" later recorded for the Mercury label. Her husband, Allen Greene, who will be mentioned further down this page, also recorded for Mercury.

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

ABC-EAGLE RECORDS:

Gordon Burdge was President of ABC-Eagle, located in Hollywood, CA. Jack Rivers, a "hillbilly" artist, was named Hillbilly Chief for the label. ABC-Eagle existed from 1949 to 1950.

Starting in 1946, Burdge had owned and operated Eagle Records in San Francisco, which seemed to be primarily a hillbilly label. Eagle Records moved to Hollywood, CA in 1947. After ABC-Eagle folded, Burdge reactivated the Majestic Records name in a late 1950 licensing agreement.

THE BILLBOARD, July 30, 1949: ABC-EAGLE PLATTERY FORMED
HOLLYWOOD—Formation of ABC-Eagle Records, new Hollywood indie, was announced this week by Gordon Burdge, prexy of the neophyte plattery. Disk outfit will sell direct to dealers, pegging the price at the low wholesale cost of 24 cents plus tax, with records to retail at 39 cents....

The vinaflex break resistant platters are to be pressed in Hollywood and Newark, N.J. First release, encompassing some 30 sides, will be announced soon.... Burdge formerly headed Eagle Records in San Francisco.

THE BILLBOARD, September 24, 1949: ABC-EAGLE SETS WOOLWORTH DEAL
HOLLYWOOD—ABC-Eagle Records this week snagged a top distribution plum by signing a deal with the F.W. Woolworth chain for release of its 39-cent pop platters thru 500 retail dime stores.

Deal, as disclosed by indie platter head Gordon Burdge, will assure the sale of at least 1,000 pressings per store for a total of 500,000 copies monthly, thus marking one of the lushest tie-ups to be achieved by an indie waxer here. Low-price disk line will feature proven hits waxed by name and semi-name artists....

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "I Didn't Cry" - Ray Wheaton With Dusty Brooks And The Four Tones - ABC-Eagle ABC 228 - 1950.
2. "Shuffleboard Boogie" - Dusty Brooks And The Four Tones - ABC-Eagle ABC 228 - 1950.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.


THE FOUR TONES ON THE MAJESTIC RECORD LABEL:
Above Left To Right: Label images for Majestic 78-123 (both sides) and Majestic 78-127, both records released in late 1950. "I Didn't Cry" and the flip side, "Shuffleboard Boogie", are the same versions as previously issued on the ABC-Eagle label (see ABC-Eagle section further above).

INDIANAPOLIS RECORDER, June 3, 1950: FOUR TONES ON TOUR
LOS ANGELES—Dusty Brooks and the Four Tones are well launched on their six-month tour of the nation after their successful run in the Rossonnian Lounge in Denver. Next in line are Scranton, Pa.; Showboat in Philadelphia; Chez Paree and the Boardwalk, Atantic City; and the Apollo, New York.

THE BILLBOARD, November 18, 1950: OLD MAJESTIC DONS NEW FACE
CHICAGO—The old Majestic label made a new entrance into the disk field this week with a whole new slate of artists and execs. The deal for the use of the Majestic name was made between Leonard Asbach, president of Majestic Radio & Television, and Gordon Burdge, Hollywood diskery exec who formerly headed the ABC-Eagle label.

Headquarters of the new outfit will be in Hollywood, but executive offices will be opened here and in New York. Ashbach licensed Burdge to use the Majestic name on disks under a ten-year deal.... The first releases on the Majestic label includes seven pop disks, eight country and western platters, three in the rhythm and blues series, and two Mexican disks....

Per Disco-File, the members of The Four Tones who recorded for Majestic Records are Dusty Brooks, Rudy Hunter, Virgil Johnson, Art Maryland, and Raymond Wheaton. However, as the masters for these sides came from ABC-Eagle Records, there may have been a sixth member involved.

LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
1. "Ol' Man River" - Dusty Brooks And The Four Tones - Majestic 78-123 - 1950.
2. "Cream O' Wheat" - Dusty Brooks And The Four Tones - Majestic 78-123 - 1950.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.


(THE BILLBOARD—NOVEMBER 25, 1950)

THE FOUR TONES ON THE COLUMBIA RECORD LABEL:


Above: THE BILLBOARD, June 30, 1951.

At Direct Left: Columbia 30236 Label Image, "Once There Lived A Fool", by Dusty Brooks And His Tones, recorded on December 1, 1950 and released in January 1951.

At Lower Left: Ruby Thrower, who was a member of The Four Tones for their Columbia records.

Dusty Brooks And His (Four) Tones had three records issued on the Columbia label in 1950-1951. The first was recorded on September 6, 1950 and the other two on December 1, 1950.

While the above clipping shows "Dusty Brooks" on the roster of Okeh (a subsidiary of Columbia), there were no releases by him or His Tones on that label.

The Cash Box Review (1/27/51):

DUSTY BROOKS ORCH. — Columbia 30236.... Once There Lived A Fool/Cryin' To Myself
A beautiful ballad is given a good vocal on the upper level by Ray Wheaton as Dusty Brook's orchestra provides the music. Done with a great deal of feeling, this tune has a tremendous potential. A blues number is turned out on the lower level again with a good vocal by Ray. Ops will do alright with this one.

The Billboard Review (2/3/51):

DUSTY BROOKS & HIS TONES (RAY WHEATON) — Columbia 30236....
Cryin' To Myself
(66) Wheaton chants this strong Cecil Gant blues in a persuasive, attractive bary, backed by a smooth rhythm combo.
Once There Lived A Fool (60) One of many carbons of the original Jimmy Grissom side. Effective, but too like the successful original.

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

Per Disco-File, the members of The Four Tones who recorded for Columbia Records are Dusty Brooks, Rudy Hunter, Virgil Johnson, Art Maryland, Ruby Thrower (see photo at left), and Ray Wheaton.

LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
1. "Shoo Boogie Mama" - Dusty Brooks And His Four Tones - Columbia 30230 - 1950.
2. "Liddy" - Dusty Brooks And His Four Tones - Columbia 30230 - 1950.
3. "Once There Lived A Fool" - Dusty Brooks And His Tones - Columbia 30236 - 1951.
4. "Cryin' To Myself" - Dusty Brooks And His Tones - Columbia 30236 - 1951.
5. "I Ain't Gonna Worry No More" - Dusty Brooks And His Tones - Columbia 30241 - 1951
6. "Shadow Of The Blues" - Dusty Brooks And His Tones - Columbia 30241 - 1951

ALL SIX SONGS played in sequence.


JESSIE MAE ROBINSON:

In addition to Dusty Brooks And His Tones on Columbia, there were many other versions of "Once There Lived A Fool" released in early 1951. The composer of this song is Jessie Mae Robinson, who composed many songs for both the rhythm and blues and pop fields.

Among those songs recorded by r&b artists are "I Went To Your Wedding" (Damita Jo With Steve Gibson's Red Caps), "Roomin' House Boogie" (Amos Milburn), "Black Night" (Charles Brown), "Keep It A Secret" (Five Crowns), and "Blue Light Boogie" (Louis Jordan).


(JESSIE MAE ROBINSON)

Above: CALIFORNIA EAGLE, October 23, 1952: LOCAL WOMAN IS AUTHOR OF "I WENT TO YOUR WEDDING"
Jessie Mae Robinson, 5112 McKinley Street, is the author of the current nation's number one hit tune "I Went To Your Wedding". Her song today has sold well over 7,000,000 copies since its release.... Modest Jessie Mae has been writing music fo seven years. "Blue Light Boogie" was a special tune she wrote for Louis Jordan and "Once There Was A Fool" was done by her for songster Jimmy Grissom.

About the hit tune "I Went To Your Wedding", Jessie Mae attended the wedding of her niece and was inspired to write the song after witnessing so many tears at the wedding. Song stylists Patti Page and Damita Jo made recordings and it soon skyrocketed to the nation's current hit.

Jessie Mae is a native of Los Angeles and makes her home with her 16-year-old daughter, June, who attends L.A. High School. She is a staff writer for Superior Bernstine Music Publisher with offices in Hollywood and New York.

She will soon release another tune titled "Keep It A Secret", on the RCA Victor label with Jo Stafford and Columbia's Dinah Shore....

ARTISTS WHO RECORDED "ONCE THERE LIVED A FOOL" IN 1951:

  • Dusty Brooks And His Tones - Columbia
  • Savannah Churchill And The Striders - Regal
  • Jimmy Witherspoon - Modern
  • Allen Greene - Mercury
  • Big John Greer - RCA Victor
  • Jimmy Grissom - Recorded In Hollywood
  • Charles Brown - Aladdin
  • Tommy Edwards - M.G.M.
  • Anita O'Day - London
  • Bill Darnel - Coral
  • Billy Valentine Trio - Decca
  • Tony Bennett - Columbia
Above: Jimmy Grissom had the original release of "Once There Lived A Fool". The letter reads: Dear John (Dolphin), We want to take this opportunity to thank you for the very fine and wonderful recording that you made with Jimmy Grissom of our composition, "ONCE THERE LIVED A FOOL", by Jessie Mae Robinson, on your "Recorded in Hollywood" label, and for the fine exploitation job you have done. Yours was the first recording of this composition, and was greatly instrumental in making "ONCE THERE LIVED A FOOL" a hit. Kindest personal regards....

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): "Once There Lived A Fool" - Jimmy Grissom - Recorded In Hollywood 143 - 1951.

Above Left To Right: Label images for Regal 3309, Modern 20-793A, and Mercury 8213, all released in early 1951.
Above Left: Savannah Churchill And The Striders in the Regal Records recording studio on December 24, 1950. [This photo provided by Hans-Joachim Krohberger.]
(L-R) James Strider, Charles Strider, Savannah, Gene Strider, and unknown (perhaps Al Martin).

Above Right: THE BILLBOARD, January 20, 1951. Modern Records advertisement for Jimmy Witherspoon's version of the song.


(JIMMY WITHERSPOON AND BAND PERFORMING)


(THE MIRROR [LOS ANGELES]—MAY 3, 1951)

THE BILLBOARD, December 23, 1950: McCOY HEADS JAZZ DIVISION FOR MERCURY
CHICAGO—Art Talmadge, vice-president of Mercury Records, this city, announced this week that the firm had appointed Austin McCoy to head its "Jazz 'N Blues" [i.e. rhythm and blues] division.

"Mercury hasn't been very active in this field", stated Talmadge, "but from now on, we intend to pay a great deal of attention to producing hit 'Jazz 'N Blues' records. Our first offering to the juke box operators is, 'Once There Lived A Fool', with vocal by Allen Greene with Austin McCoys's Combo. Other records featuring money-making 'Jazz 'N Blues' artists will follow.

Austin McCoy was previously connected with Modern Records of Hollywood, and comes to Mercury with a well-established background....

(NOTE: Austin McCoy, a piano player and band leader, also had some records released on the Sterling and Sunshine labels with his sextette in the mid-1940s. With Peter Morgan, he formed the Show Time label in 1954 [recording The Five Stars and The Feathers]. Interestingly, the first ever records released by Mercury (in 1945) had been by rhythm and blues artists.)

THE BILLBOARD, July 1951:
....Mercury has inked Allen Greene, Negro baritone, who, incidentally, is hubby of Vivienne, the pianist-vocalist who cut "Honey, Honey, Honey" for the old Trilon label and later went to Mercury....

The Cash Box Review (1/20/51):

SAVANNAH CHURCHILL — Regal 3309.... Once There Lived A Fool
Savannah Churchill's first record on the Regal label is one to shout about. Taking a currently sensational number, Savannah joins with the Striders to turn out a first rate rendition of it.... No op [juke box operator] should miss this disk.

The Billboard Review (2/20/51):

SAVANNAH CHURCHILL (STRIDERS) — Regal 3309....
Once There Lived A Fool
(83) Thrush and male group apply a warm and different-enough treatment to the upcoming ballad to score.
(NOTE: A ratings range of 80-89 was considered "excellent".)

The Cash Box Review (1/6/51):

JIMMY WITHERSPOON — Modern 20-793.... Once There Lived A Fool
A wonderful song is given a good going over by Jimmy Witherspoon on the upper deck. Singing out the lyrics very slowly, he adds a good melodic turn to them and has some grand backing.... This is fine for ops.

The Cash Box Review (1/13/51):

ALLEN GREENE — Mercury 8213.... Once There Lived A Fool
A terrific ballad gets another wonderful rendition, this time by Allen Greene. Pouring a great deal of feeling into it, he gets an excellent assist from Austin McCoy's Combo.... This is right for ops.
Above: Label images for Decca 27114, released in 1950, and RCA Victor 20-4835, released in 1952, both in "deejay sample" format. The RCA Victor is a flexible vinyl material. Both Damita Jo and Patti Page had hits with "I Went To Your Wedding". Grady Martin And His Slew Foot Five had the song on Decca with vocal by Cecil Bailey. Also, Spike Jones had a comical version of it and Hank Snow a country version.
Above Left: Photo of Louis Jordan And His Tympany Five. In back are (L-R) Jimmy Peterson [piano], Charles Rice [drums], Bob Mitchell [trumpet], Louis Jordan [sax], Bert Payne [guitar], and Bob Bushnell [stand-up bass]. In front are singers/dancers (L-R) Elaine Robinson and Ann Bailey.

Above Right: Photo of Damita Jo (DuBlanc) and Steve Gibson. Damita Jo and Steve married in early 1954. [Photo courtesy of Paul Ressler.]

EL PASO TIMES, July 30, 1950: LOUIS JORDAN MAKES FINE DECCA DISC
"You do the boogie real slow, with the blue lights 'way down low...." It's infectiuous. It's also smooth and rhythmical. It's "Blue Light Boogie" in a Decca two-sider rendition by Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five.

Louie takes the vocal, backed by an unobtrusive trio. The background concentrates on rhythm and harmony. And the result is mighty nice. Mighty nice. (Decca 27114).

The Cash Box Review (7/26/52):

STEVE GIBSON AND THE ORIGINAL RED CAPS — RCA Victor 20-4835....
I Went To Your Wedding
(B+) The orking on this slow item is dramatically done as Damita Jo warbles the sentimental tune softly and sweetly. Damita receives a choral assist to help bring in a fine disking.
(NOTE: A rating of B+ was considered "excellent". The word "strongly" can be added to "softly and sweetly".)

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "Once There Lived A Fool" - Savannah Churchill And The Striders - Regal 3309 - 1951.
2. "Once There Lived A Fool" - Jimmy Witherspoon - Modern 20-793A - 1951.
3. "Once There Lived A Fool" - Allen Greene - Mercury 8213 - 1951.
4. "Blue Light Boogie - Part One" - Louis Jordan And His Tympany Five - Decca 27114 - 1950.
5. "Blue Light Boogie - Part Two" - Louis Jordan And His Tympany Five - Decca 27114 - 1950.
6. "I Went To Your Wedding" - Steve Gibson And The Original Red Caps Featuring Damita Jo - RCA Victor 20-4835 - 1952.

ALL SIX SONGS played in sequence.


THE FOUR TONES ON THE BULLET RECORD LABEL:

Bullet Records was located in Nashville, TN. The label, formed by Jim Bulleit, was initially established in 1945 to produce "country and western" records. Later, they ventured into popular, gospel, and rhythm & blues records. Their "race" series was numbered from 250 to 346.

Bullet's rhythm and blues repertoire included Dusty Brooks (And The Four Tones), (Jimmy Sweeney And) The Five Bars, The Big Three Trio, The Rudy Greene Trio, The Four Clefs, Cecil Gant, Wynonie Harris, and B.B. King.

Dusty Brooks' "Whoa Mule" and "Chili Dogs" were released on Bullet 346 in September 1951. "Chili Dog" was re-issued on DooTone 306-A in January 1952, backed by Dusty Brooks And The Four Tones' "You Never Told A Lie". Not sure if that title is an answer to "You Told A Lie". While the Bullet label shows only "Dusty Brooks", the Dootone label has "Dusty Brooks And The Four Tones".

LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
1. "Whoa Mule" - Dusty Brooks - Bullet 346-A - 1951.
2. "Chili Dogs" - Dusty Brooks - Bullet 346-B - 1951.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.


THE FOUR TONES ON THE SUN RECORD LABEL:
Above Left: Label image for Sun 182, recorded on April 25, 1953 and released shortly afterward. "Heaven Or Fire" is Juanita Brown singing solo. The flip, "Tears And Wine", is a duet with Juanita Brown and Joe Alexander.

Above Middle: FRESNO BEE REPUBLICAN, August 18, 1951. JUANITA BROWN

Above Right: PITTSBURGH COURIER, December 17, 1938. JOE ALEXANDER
(When he was with Floyd Ray's Orchestra. More of his biography is further below.)

Per Disco-File, the members of the group instrumentally backing Juanita and Joe on Sun Records are Dusty Brooks, Rudy Hunter, Virgil Johnson, Art Maryland, Ruby Thrower, and Raymond Wheaton.

The Complete Sun Label Session Files (Revised) has the personel as Juanita Brown, Joe Alexander, Lucius "Dusty" Brooks, Bernard Hunter, Arthamus Maryland, Ruby Thrasher, and Virgil Johnson.
There were four additional sides recorded in this session (at Delta Records in Nashville), but none of these were released.

The Cash Box Review (8/15/53):

DUSTY BROOKS — Sun 182....
Tears And Wine
(B) Dusty Brooks and his Tones etch a slow romantic item with Juanita Brown and Joe Alexander forming a smooth sounding duo. Brooks, instrumental backing is softly done.
Heaven Or Fire (B) Juanita Brown does a solo on the reverse deck and the gal handles her job smoothly. Tune is romantic middle beat. Soft piano sets the mood.
(NOTE: In other words, these two sides are smoothly and softly done. A rating of B was considered "very good".)

LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
1. "Heaven Or Fire" - Dusty Brooks And His Tones (Vocal By Juanita Brown) - Sun 182 - 1953.
2. "Tears And Wine" - Dusty Brooks And His Tones (Vocal By Juanita Brown And Joe Alexander) - Sun 182 - 1953.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.

JUANITA BROWN: (NOTE: A separate section for Joe Alexander follows this one.)
Juanita Brown was a singer known as the "Bomb Shell", "Torpedo Of Toledo", "Queen Of Song", and "Brown Bombshell". After a couple of years as a solo performer, she joined Dusty Brooks And The Four Tones in 1949 and stayed with them until 1954. However, newspaper clippings from January 1955 show her with "The Tones" without mention of Dusty Brooks (although a picture of them includes Dusty). Clippings from February 1955 have Juanita performing with Art Maryland's Marylanders. Art Maryland had been the Four Tones' guitarist for many years. In October 1955, she is featured with The Maryland Trio, again with Art Maryland. However, it seems that after that came obscurity.
Above: GREAT FALLS TRIBUNE (Montana), January 29, 1954.
Above Left: PITTSBURGH COURIER, September 29, 1951.
(NOTE: Notice the reference to "Columbia Records". Juanita apparently was not involved with the Columbia recording sessions.)

Above Right: RAPID CITY JOURNAL, December 26, 1954.

Above Left: HONOLULU STAR BULLETIN, January 15, 1951. (NOTE: Was the description "his Sepia Tones" used here to inform the public that they were a Black act? One and a half months later, they were billed correctly as "his Tones". Further down this page, there is a clipping for the Clayton Club in Sacramento, also in January 1951, where they are billed as "His Sepiatones".)

Above Right: HONOLULU STAR BULLETIN, March 1, 1951.

Above: RAPID CITY JOURNAL, September 26, 1954.
Above Left: BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN, April 16, 1948.

Above Middle: CALIFORNIA EAGLE, January 27, 1949.

Above Right: CALIFORNIA EAGLE, March 17, 1949.

Above Left: SACRAMENTO BEE, January 5, 1951.

Above Middle: HONOLULU ADVISER, March 18, 1951.

Above Right: SACRAMENTO BEE, January 3, 1953.

Above: SACRAMENTO BEE, May 22, 1953.
Above: SACRAMENTO BEE, February 28, 1948.
Above Left: SACRAMENTO BEE, July 19, 1947. (NOTE: These late night/early morning shows must have been for night owls.)

Above Right: SACRAMENTO BEE, September 11, 1948.

Above Left: SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY SUN, November 28, 1948.

Above Right: SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY SUN, November 7, 1948.

OLLIE JACKSON AND HIS BAND recorded for Juke Box, a New York City label, in the mid-1940s. Jackson played piano and sang lead vocals. In the selection below his band provides ensemble vocal backing for him.

The Cash Box Review (9/9/46):

OLLIE JACKSON AND HIS BAND — Juke Box 508.... Fat Boogie Woogie
Chalk one up for Ollie Jackson as a lad with a top talent, and, as a virtuoso of the piano, he's right up there among the top. If you don't believe that, grab a listening to this disk as he tickles the keys on "Fat Boogie Woogie". It's a "race" record with jive as solid as Gilbralter, and if your location's cutomers call for something to make the place jump, this'll make 'em skyrocket. "Fat" is Ollie's side all the way, instrumentally and vocally, tho his crew do help out with a few tricks of their own.


LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
"Fat Boogie Woogie " - Ollie Jackson And Band - Juke Box JB-508-A - 1946.

Above: THE BILLBOARD, October 26, 1946.
Above: RAPID CITY JOURNAL, January 5, 1955.

Above Left: NEWS-REVIEW (Roseberg, OR), June 14, 1955.
(NOTE: Art Maryland had been guitarist with The Four Tones for many years.)

Above Right: RAPID CITY JOURNAL, October 25, 1955.

JOE ALEXANDER:
Joe Alexander was a baritone singer, drummer, and composer, who was featured with the Floyd Ray Orchestra from 1937 to 1944. During that time, he recorded with Floyd Ray for the Decca label. In 1945 and 1946, Alexander led his own quintet at a Los Angeles night club. During 1947 to 1948, he had six releases on the Capitol/Capitol Americana labels, several of these sides with vocal group backing.
Above Left: Label image for Capitol Americana A40023, recorded on June 2, 1947 and released in July 1947.

Above Right: Joe Alexander (Left) with Dave Cavanaugh in the Capitol recording studio.

Dave Cavanaugh was a tenor sax and clarinet player, orchestra leader, composer, and arranger, whose Capitol "house band" (Dave Cavanaugh's Music) provided musical/rhythm back-up for Capitol and Capitol Americana records. In 1950, he recorded for Capitol as Dave Cavanaugh And His Curbstone Cops (dixieland music). In 1954, he was re-signed with Capitol resulting in several instrumental records under the name "Big Dave." For many years, Cavanaugh also served as an Artists and Repertoire man for the label.

INDIANAPOLIS RECORDER, September 6, 1947: "CLING TO ME, BABY" IS TOPPIN' LIST
LOS ANGELES—Hotter than the August heatwave these days is smiling, personable Joe Alexander, whose Capitol record of "Cling To Me, Baby" has zoomed into the nation's best-seller listings within the past two weeks.... It was composed by Dave Cavanaugh.

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
"Cling To Me, Baby" - Cling To Me, Baby - Joe Alexander And Vocal Group - Capitol Americana A40023 - 1947.


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 TWO CONTINUES THE LEON RENÉ CONNECTION AND ALSO THE A-1, LA MARR'S "STAR", PREVIEW, AND MEMO LABELS, AND THE SAGA OF SATCHEL MOUTH BABY.


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

          1. "When It's Sleepy Time Down South" - Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra - Odeon A 286047b - 1931.
          2. "Muse A While" - Clarence Muse With Dusty Brooks And The Four Tones - Kangaroo KM-1300-A - 1949.
          3. "Why Should I? " - Clarence Muse With Dusty Brooks And The Four Tones - Kangaroo KM-1300-B - 1949.
          4. "Bag-Pipe Boogie" - Ruby Peters With Dusty Brooks And The Four Tones - Kangaroo K-1301-A - 1949.
          5. "You Told A Lie " - Ruby Peters With Dusty Brooks And The Four Tones - Kangaroo K-1301-B - 1949.
          6. "You Told A Lie" - Connie Haines With Four Hits And A Miss - Coral 60044 B - 1949.
          7. "Genevieve" - Sy Tabu Mike With Dusty Brooks And His Four Tones - Checker 700-A - 1949.
          8. "The World Wasn't Made That Way" - Sy Tabu Mike With Dusty Brooks And His Four Tones - Checker 700-B - 1949.
          9. "I Didn't Cry" - Ray Wheaton With Dusty Brooks And The Four Tones - ABC-Eagle ABC 228 - 1950.
        10. "Shuffleboard Boogie" - Dusty Brooks And The Four Tones - ABC-Eagle ABC 228 - 1950.
        11. "Ol' Man River" - Dusty Brooks And The Four Tones - Majestic 78-123 - 1950.
        12. "Cream O' Wheat" - Dusty Brooks And The Four Tones - Majestic 78-123 - 1950.
        13. "Shoo Boogie Mama" - Dusty Brooks And His Four Tones - Columbia 30230 - 1950.
        14. "Liddy" - Dusty Brooks And His Four Tones - Columbia 30230 - 1950.
        15. "Once There Lived A Fool" - Dusty Brooks And His Tones - Columbia 30236 - 1951.
        16. "Cryin' To Myself" - Dusty Brooks And His Tones - Columbia 30236 - 1951.
        17. "I Ain't Gonna Worry No More" - Dusty Brooks And His Tones - Columbia 30241 - 1951.
        18. "Shadow Of The Blues" - Dusty Brooks And His Tones - Columbia 30241 - 1951.
        19. "Once There Lived A Fool" - Jimmy Grissom - Recorded In Hollywood 143 - 1951.
        20. "Once There Lived A Fool" - Savannah Churchill And The Striders - Regal 3309 - 1951.
        21. "Once There Lived A Fool" - Jimmy Witherspoon - Modern 20-793A - 1951.
        22. "Once There Lived A Fool" - Allen Greene - Mercury 8213 - 1951.
        23. "Blue Light Boogie - Part One" - Louis Jordan And His Tympany Five - Decca 27114 - 1950.
        24. "Blue Light Boogie - Part Two" - Louis Jordan And His Tympany Five - Decca 27114 - 1950.
        25. "I Went To Your Wedding" - Steve Gibson And The Original Red Caps Featuring Damita Jo - RCA Victor 20-4835 - 1952.
        26. "Whoa Mule" - Dusty Brooks - Bullet 346-A - 1951.
        27. "Chili Dogs" - Dusty Brooks - Bullet 346-B - 1951.
        28. "Heaven Or Fire" - Dusty Brooks And His Tones (Vocal By Juanita Brown) - Sun 182 - 1953.
        29. "Tears And Wine" - Dusty Brooks And His Tones (Vocal By Juanita Brown And Joe Alexander) - Sun 182 - 1953.
        30. "Fat Boogie Woogie " - Ollie Jackson And Band - Juke Box JB-508-A - 1946.
        31. "Cling To Me, Baby" - Cling To Me, Baby - Joe Alexander And Vocal Group - Capitol Americana A40023 - 1947.
 
          ALL THIRTY-ONE ABOVE SONGS played in sequence.
 
          ALL TWENTY 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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