#947 (5/1/21)

NOTE: THE NEXT RECORD OF THE WEEK IS SCHEDULED FOR 5/22/21.
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.
New Record of the Week for LAVERN BAKER - PART TWO (1954-1955) became available on 2/13/21.
New Record of the Week for LAVERN BAKER - PART ONE (1950-1954) became available on 1/9/21.

CELEBRATING THE 24TH ANNIVERSARY OF
"RECORD OF THE WEEK" (MAY 1997 - MAY 2021)

SPOTLIGHT ON THE FOUR TONES - PART ONE OF THREE (1939-1944)
(RADIO, MOVIES, AND OTIS AND LEON RENÉ INFLUENCE)

"What A Fool I Was"/
"Two Hearts To Beat Tonight"
by The Four Tones
on Ebony 100-A/B
released in 1941

"Someone's Rocking My Dreamboat"/
"Goodnight Baby, Goodnight"
by The Four Tones And Eddie Beal Trio
on Make Believe Ballroom A.M. 02357-E/A.M. 02358-E
released in 1941

"Someone's Rocking My Dreamboat"/
"Goodnight Baby, Goodnight"
by The Four Tones And Eddie Beal Trio
on Bluebird B-11408-A
released in 1942

"Beyond The Stars"/
"Sweet Mint Julep Man"
by The Four Tones And Eddie Beal Trio
on Exclusive AM-02494-E/AM-02495-E (In Wax)
released in 1944

"At Least You Could Save Me A Dream"
by Herb "Flamingo" Jeffries
Eddie Beal Trio And Three Shades Of Rhythm
on Excelsior 00100
released circa 1944

Includes Audio For Eleven Songs And One Video
(Audio Restored By Dave Saviet - Images Restored By Tony Fournier)



[The above photo provided by Hans-Joachim Krohberger.]
Above: Undated photo of THE FOUR TONES. Dusty Brooks is at far right on the bass fiddle.

CALIFORNIA EAGLE, April 2, 1937: "FOUR TONES" LATEST SINGING SENSATIONS
A quartet that needs no introduction to radio fans of Southern California is The Four Tones. This group of fine singers are originally from Lane College in Tennessee where they attended school together, learning the art of blending voices. This grand quartet was featured at the Texas Centennial for the entire time of the exposition. After that engagement, they came here to Los Angeles and under the management of Maceo Sheffield have become one of the most recognized artists of "color" from the standpoint of quartets since the Mills Brothers.

The Four Tones have been featured over KFAC for a number of weeks, going to KFWB where they were featured with Eddie Peabody, outstanding banjoist of national fame. For the past few weeks this quartet has been the attraction at the "Desert Inn [?]", Palm Springs, California, playground of Hollywood stars as well as millionaires of the U.S.

After returning from Palm Springs, The Four Tones at present are featured artists on KEHE. Just the other day they were featured on the dedication of the new radio station of the Hearst chain in Oakland, California, having on the same program the honorable Mayor Shaw.

The past Friday The Four Tones were featured artists on the Hollywood Knights program over KEHE. The following members make up this grand quartet: Ira Harding (guitar, 2nd tenor); Leon Buck (1st tenor); Rudolph Hart (baritone); and Lucius Brooks (bass).

Much credit is due Maceo Sheffield for his fine management of this group. Los Angeles is no doubt proud to have in their midst such fine talent as The Four Tones.

(NOTE: A good guess would be that Maceo Sheffield wrote the above promotional commentary.)

INDIANAPOLIS RECORDER, August 12, 1939: PORTER IS NOW WITH FOUR TONES
HOLLYWOOD—Johnnie Porter, former guitarist and soloist for Don Redmon and his orchestra in New York, is on the Coast and has joined The Four Tones, versatile singing group that recently returned from a tour of the Southland, for an international broadcast of songs and skits from the 30th Century Fox picture "Second Fiddle".

Porter is an accomplished musician. The "pint-sized" tenor has a great voice and is master of the guitar, piano, and accordian and his work will lend more color to an already colorful act. He will play these instruments as well as sing, thus causing the entire act to undergo a change which is considered much the better. The name of the act has been retained and will hereafter be known as "Dusty Brooks And The Four Tones".

CALIFORNIA EAGLE, August 15, 1940: FOUR TONES A HIT ON GOLD HOUR
As the last mellow notes of their harmonious chant died away last Friday evening overKGFJ on the Gold Hour, the Four Tones, famous screen, stage, and radio quartet, were greeted with resounding applause from the audience in the new, spacious auditorium upstairs in the Gold store. And as proof that there were thousands of other listeners at their radios, many calls began pouring in. Mr. Adams, highly capable colored sales manager, and a number of other officials of the firm came to the auditorium and highly complimented the boys.... The Four Tones will be back again Friday of next week over the popular Gold Hour.

LONG BEACH INDEPENDENT, November 24, 1942: FOUR TONES STARTED IN COLLEGE
Organized while attending a negro university at Jackson, Tennessee, the Four Tones orchestra....has quite an interesting background. From Lane College, Jackson, these negro musicians migrated to Dallas, Texas, where they became widely known in playing throughout the Centenial for four months in 1936.

While playing in a number of amusement centers, the young men recently filled an engagement at The Jade for a period of sixteen months. From there, they went to Sandie and filled an engagement of eight months, and became so popular that they could have signed for another engagement, but preferred to come to Long Beach as an attraction in the amusement zone of the Pike, having played there for some time.

"Dusty" Brooks as leader of the band and bass singer/bass fiddle player, Cornelius Jordan [Picture At Right] as second tenor and drummer, "Tiny" Grimes as first tenor and guitar player, "Rudy" Hunter as baritone soloist and guitar player, and Juan Panacle as pianist, make up the organization. The Four Tones have been playing since 1934.


THE FOUR TONES IN MOVIES:
Above: The Four Tones, with co-star Artie Young, from the 1939 cowboy movie, "Harlem Rides The Range". The movie's main star is Herbert Jeffrey (aka Herb Jeffries).
PITTSBURGH COURIER, November 5, 1938: ALL-COLORED PICTURE FINISHED BY HOLLYWOOD PRODUCTIONS
HOLLYWOOD—...."Bronze Buckaroo" will be good film fare for those who love fast-moving action pictures. Due to the support that colored people have given to colored films, Hollywood Productions was able to produce a more realistic drama.

This writer [Earl B. Morris] spent two weeks or more on location at Murray's Dude Ranch, the only colored ranch in America, to observe the filming of "Bronze Buckaroo", starring Herbert Jeffrey....

Herbert Jeffrey rides his horse and pulls his six-guns in a fashion that will make him loved by black America. Artie Young, who was chosen by Hollywood Productions to have the feminine lead, is an outdoor girl and one of the most beautiful girls to appear on screen. She graduated to lead parts by her work in "Life Goes On". Spencer Williams Jr. and Clarence Brooks, both veteran actors, give excellent portrayals.

But the surprise of the film is Lucius Brooks, baritone singer [bass], with the Four Tones.... Brooks fell into the comedy lead as natural as a fish into water. The Four Tones, singing along with Herbert Jeffrey, will prove a sensation. These four lads are all products of Lane College in Jackson, Tenn., where they formed their aggregation three or four years ago.

(NOTE: Artie Young, credited as Artie Brandon, acted in the 1938 action drama, "Life Goes On", starring Louise Beavers, Edward Thompson, Reginald Fenderson, and Laurence Criner.)

PITTSBURGH COURIER, November 5, 1938:
....The cowboy costume worn by Herbert Jeffrey in "Bronze Buckaroo" and "Harlem Rides The Range" cost a total of $415. His boots cost $45. His silver spurs, which have silver French dollars as rowels. His black costume cost (tailor made) $75. His hat cost $75, his silver guns, with pearl handles, and his gun belt together cost $200. His doe skin gloves $25.... (NOTE: Rowels are the spiked discs at the end of the spurs.)

DETROIT TRIBUNE, August 5, 1939: PUT ON DARK POWDER
At first the directors were skeptical about giving Herb the assignment [of acting in colored cowboy movies], pointing out that he was a shade or so too light for the part of a colored cowboy. But this opposition was soon removed by applications of dark powder, and the president of Harlem Productions shouted "Camera!"


Above Left: THE BEE (Cleveland, OH), January 25, 1939.

Above Right, Top: Still shot of Dusty Brooks, from "The Bronze Buckaroo".

Above Right, Bottom: Still shot of Herbert Jeffrey, from "Two-Gun Man From Harlem".

WATCH the VIDEO of Herbert Jeffrey And The Four Tones singing "Pay Day Blues" from "The Bronze Buckaroo" in MP4 format.
(Will open in a new window) (NOTE: The Four Tones use their mouths to similate musical instruments.)

LISTEN TO THE AUDIO ONLY (USING WINDOWS MEDIA PLAYER):
"Pay Day Blues" - Herbert Jeffrey And The Four Tones - The Bronze Buckaroo - 1939.

THE FOUR TONES FIRST RECORD:
Here is audio of the first record by The Four Tones, "Muggin' With A Swing". This song does not have Herbert Jeffrey and is not from one of the movies with him. The picture at left is provided as an example of the D & S label design.

LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
"Muggin' With A Swing" - The Four Tones - D & S 153 - 1939.

Per Disco-File, the members of The Four Tones who recorded for D & S Records are Dusty Brooks, Rudy Hunter, Leon Buck, and Ira Hardin.

CALIFORNIA EAGLE, July 13, 1939: AIRING FEATURES "FOUR TONES"
The Four Tones, headed by Lucius (Dusty) Brooks, arrived here last week for a special broadcast in connection with the newly produced 20th Century Fox picture, "Second Fiddle". The quartet was forced to cut short their tour of the Southland after an engagement at New Orleans, La., to be here for the broadcast.

The Tones were featured in an international broadcast with such headliners as Tyrone Power, Sonja Henie, Rudy Vallee, Mary Healy's 24 voice ensemble and a 50 piece orchestra. The number done by The Four Tones was from the picture and was entitled "I'm Sorry For Myself".

CALIFORNIA EAGLE, November 7, 1940: FOUR TONES RECORD FOR FILM JUKES
The Four Tones have completed the first of a series of recordings for the new phono-vision machines in which James Roosevelt, son of President Roosevelt, is interested. For their first number, the quartet did an original song by Leon Buck, tenor for the group, entitled "My Heart Is Aching For You". Minature motion pictures are also made for this machine. Johnnie Porter, Leon Buck, Milton Shaw, and Lucius (Dusty) Brooks were aided by Dorothy Dandridge.

CALIFORNIA EAGLE, July 10, 1941: FEATURE FOUR TONES IN NEW FILMS
The famed Four Tones, vari-styled sepia singing 4-tete, recently featured in two Universal Studios productions, just completed a short film subject starring Jack Teagarden and his orchestra [Campus Capers]. Previously the singing group appeared in a Fred Astaire musical film "You'll Never Get Rich" made at the Universal studio. The clever sepia 4-tete were also featured in that studio's "Radio Revels Of 1941".

Last Sunday, the Four Tones were well spotted on Al Jarvis' "Swing Show", a Warner Brothers broadcast feature. According to Joe Green, who handles all arrangements for the boys, they have just completed making a series of recordings. One number by Otis René, "If Money Grew On Trees", was made with Eddie Beal's orchestra trio.

MOVIES IN WHICH THE FOUR TONES APPEARED:
Harlem On The Prairie (1937)
Two-Gun Man From Harlem (1938)
Rhythm Rodeo (1938)
The Bronze Buckaroo (1939)
Harlem Rides The Range (1939)
One Dark Night (1939)
You'll Never Get Rich (1941)
Campus Capers (Short) (1942)
Baby, Are You Kiddin'? (Soundie) (1946)
Am I Lucky? (Soundie) (1946)
Mantan Messes Up (1946)

At Left: The Four Tones in "Mantan Messes Up".

AFRO-AMERICAN, November 8, 1941: THE FOUR TONES GO INTO TROC WITH DUNHAM AND DUKE
HOLLYWOOD—The Four Tones are currently appearing at the Jade Cafe, located in the heart of Hollywood, where they followed the Four Toppers, now in New York City, after a successful run in this cafe for a number of months. Wednesday of this week they were slated to go to the Trocadero with Katherine Dunham and a number of other celebrities said to include Duke Ellington.

The Tones have been making rapid strides in Hollywood for the last year and have recently completed a number of pictures at major studios. They have appeared with some of the biggest names in pictures and did "Radio Revels Of 1942" with Skinnay Ennis and his band, Ken Murray and Frances Langford; "Campus Capers" with Jack Teagarden, and "You'll Never Get Rich" with Fred Astaire....

They have appeared at the Rhum Boogie on two occasions and at the Alabam Theatre Cafe whenever they are not working elsewhere.

[The above image provided by Phil Beauchamp.]
Above: Still shot of The Four Tones in the movie "Harlem On The Prairie".

[The above image provided by Phil Beauchamp.]
Above: Another still of The Four Tones in the movie "Harlem On The Prairie".

CALIFORNIA EAGLE, November 30, 1939: FLASH RECORDS RELEASE DISCS BY OTIS RENÉ AND THE FOUR TONES
Flash Record Company this week announced the release of records featuring Otis René, nationally known songwriter, composer of "Sleepy Time Down South", "Lucky Day", and "Dusty Road", from the M.G.M. picture "Let Freedom Ring", starring Nelson Eddy.

René is waxed singing his latest ballads, "Haste Makes Waste" and "What A Fool I Was". The composer-singer does a nice job on both songs, however the "Fool" song furnishes the greater variety as René is supported by the deep, rich bass voice of Dusty Brooks in a confession chorus [recitation] that knocks you out. The Four Tones furnish the background harmony for René's voice.

Much has been heard of the record's growing popularity.... Flash Record Company will have the records on sale at 988 E. Vernon Avenue. They may also be obtained at the Music Center, 4110 1/2 S. Central Avenue.

CALIFORNIA EAGLE, January 9, 1941: FOUR TONES RECORD FOR EBONY RECORDS
Realizing the urgent need of a Pacific Coast Race Record company, these veteran ASCAP song writers met and formulated plans for the beginning of a Record company which will serve the Pacific Coast and Eastern markets. From a careful survey, Shelton Brooks and Otis René found that there are approximately 100,000 records sold a month in California. The biggest market for records today is coin operated machines.

It was also found by the survey that there are a number of talented artists among the race who should have a chance to display their talents on records but are out of contact with the recording companies whose headquarters are in the East.

The Ebony Record Company will be a definite plug for the songs of these writers and many other song writers whose songs are now barred from radio on account of the BMI-ASCAP song war.

The Four Tones are the first artists to record for Ebony. This group of artists were starred in many Hollywood motion picture productions, including Harlem On The Prairie, Harlem Rides The Range and many others. They do a magnificent job on "What A Fool I Was" written by Otis René and "Two Hearts To Beat Tonight" by Shelton Brooks. This record has been the number one plug record over Phil McGee's telephone system for the last four weeks. Every machine on the Eastside of the city is playing this new record.

(NOTE: Phil McGee was a jukebox operator in the Los Angeles area.)

INDIANAPOLIS RECORDER, November 9, 1940: THE FOUR TONES PRAISED ON WEST COAST
LOS ANGELES—Rapidly forging to the front ranks of the music world, the singing 4-tete known as the Four Tones have apparently "struck it rich" in the field of phonographic recordings.

Several months ago, they made waxings of Otis René's song number "What A Fool I've Been" [sic]. The disc was an instantaneous hit. Since, however, they have not been able to keep a supply of records on hand to meet the needs and demands of local operators of automatic phonograph machines.

This week René has ordered the Four Tones to make a remake of "What A Fool I've Been" [sic].
(NOTE: The article does not explain why a "remake" would be necessary.)

CAIFORNIA EAGLE, November 27, 1942:
....It took Otis René to give the Four Tones to America as a singing group on their own feet. He selected them to do "What A Fool I Was" and that record has sold about 1000 copies in Southern California....(Otis) believes that within the next month, there will be more than 10,000 records sold in Southern California alone. The Four Tones have become the most sought after quartet in Hollywood....

LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
(NOTE: Dusty Brooks does a talking bass recitation on both of these sides.)
1. "What A Fool I Was" - The Four Tones - Ebony 100-A - 1941.
2. "Two Hearts To Beat Tonight" - The Four Tones - Ebony 100-B - 1941.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.

Above: CAIFORNIA EAGLE, April 24, 1941:
Centered is Otis René, well known song writer, as he is surrounded by the Four Tones, clever sepia singing quartet famed in stage, screen, and recordings circles. The Tones are getting the lowdown on René's latest number "Still Water," which they are to record soon.

The Four Tones, currently at the Rhum Boogie Club, are under contract to Edward Crosby and Joe Green making their arrangements and handling their bookings. Their recordings of "What A Fool I Was" by Otis René, and "Two Hearts To Beat Tonight" by Shelton Brooks on Ebony Records, are the current rage.

(NOTE: There is only the one Ebony record by The Four Tones. "Still Water," referenced in this blurb, was never released by them. Lucius "Dusty" Brooks, lead of The Four Tones, was apparently unrelated to Shelton Brooks.)


THE FOUR TONES AND THE EDDIE BEAL TRIO:

AFRO-AMERICAN, November 1, 1941: THEY SEEM HAPPY ABOUT IT ALL
The Four Tones seem happy about the whole thing as Leon René, composer (right), presents them the first recording of "Someone's Rocking My Dreamboat". Joe Green, their manager (left) has the biggest smile as the Tones (Dusty Brooks, Rudoph Hunter, Leon Buck, and Johnnie Porter , left to right) look on.

Above: Label images for Bluebird B-11408-A, Bluebird B-11408-B, and Make Believe Ballroom A.M. 02357-E. "Someone's Rocking My Dreamboat" was composed by Leon René, Otis René, and Emerson Scott. Flip-side, "Goodnight Baby, Goodnight", composed by Leon René.

The Make Believe Ballroom record was released in October 1941 followed by the Bluebird release in January 1942. In between, The Ink Spots released their version on Decca.

As shown on the Make Believe Ballroom label, the Eddie Beal Trio consisted of Eddie Beal (piano), Louis Speiginer (guitar), and Joe Comfort (bass).

At Direct Right: Eddie Beal.... At Middle Right: Joe Comfort..... At Far Right: Louis Speiginer.

RICHMOND TIMES DISPATCH, February 1, 1942:
Four Tones and the Eddie Beal Trio (Bluebird) give out with some close harmony and rhythm that rocks on "Goodnight Baby, Goodnight". Their rhythmic vocal arrangement of "Someone's Rocking My Dreamboat" is a natural. Both sides have zing—a platter that rates a place on the shelf.

THE BILLBOARD, March 13, 1943: EDDIE BEAL TRIO
(Reviewed At The Zanzibar Room, Florentine Gardens, Hollywood)
Eddie Beal started as a piano single in 1937 after traveling with Buck Clayton and his orchestra thru the Orient. While in Shanghai, Beal augmented his conservatory training by taking additional lessons on piano technique from a Russian impresario. Today Beal combines his natural talents with that of his outstanding training and the modern musical trend.

Combo has the usual set-up of piano, bass, and guitar, but difference comes in the execution, arrangements, and showmanship put on the tunes. Beal steers shy of boogie-woogie except on ocassions. He features pop tunes and classics with a modern twist. On Latin American tunes Beal features the suave guitaring of Ulysses Livingston, formerly with Ella Fitzgerald's orchestra. On fast tunes bass slapping by Dave Robinson takes the spotlight....


(CALIFORNIA EAGLE—DECEMBER 18, 1941)


Above: Label images for both sides of Exclusive AM-02494-E/AM-02495-E (the numbers are stamped in the dead "wax"). The record was released in 1944. Both sides are done in the same style as the above Bluebird sides. Both sides composed by Leon René. The Eddie Beal aggregation remains the same as before.

Per Disco-File, the members of The Four Tones who recorded for Bluebird and Exclusive Records are Dusty Brooks, Rudy Hunter, Leon Buck, and John Porter.

Included in the audio selections is The Ink Spots' version of "Someone's Rocking My Dreamboat" for comparison purposes. It was released on Decca 4045 B in 1941. Bill Kenny sings tenor lead on this one.

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "Someone's Rocking My Dreamboat" - The Four Tones And Eddie Beal Trio - Bluebird B-11408-A - 1942.
2. "Goodnight Baby, Goodnight" - The Four Tones And Eddie Beal Trio - Bluebird B-11408-B - 1942.
3. "Beyond The Stars" - The Four Tones And Eddie Beal Trio - Exclusive AM-02494-E - 1944.
4. "Sweet Mint Julep Man" - The Four Tones And Eddie Beal Trio - Exclusive AM-02495-E - 1944.
5. "Someone's Rocking My Dreamboat" - The Ink Spots - Decca 4045 B - 1941.

ALL FIVE SONGS played in sequence.


CALIFORNIA EAGLE, July 10, 1941:
....Last Sunday, the Four Tones were well spotted on Al Jarvis' "Swing Show", a Warner Brothers broadcast feature. According to Joe Greene, who handles all arrangements for the boys, they have just completed making a series of recordings. One, a number by Otis René, is "If Money Grew On Trees" was made with Eddie Beal's orchestral trio....

At Left: DESERT SUN, January 25, 1946.

Above: DESERT SUN, February 1, 1946.

(NOTE: While the trio is still the Eddie Beal Trio, his other two members have changed since the early 1940s. The Lido was located in Palm Springs, CA)



HERB JEFFRIES ON THE EXCLUSIVE AND EXCELSIOR LABELS:
(NOTE: Exclusive was owned by Leon René and Excelsior was owned by his brother, Otis René.
Together, the René brothers owned the Ammor and Make Believe Ballroom labels from 1939 to the early 1940's.
)

Leon René                                                        Otis René
Above: CALIFORNIA EAGLE, December 18, 1931: YOUNG COMPOSERS WRITE TODAY'S GREATEST SONG HIT
"Otis René and Leon René are creators of popular melody and lyrics. They are responsible for today's popular southern song hit "When It's Sleepy Time Down South". The song was composed for George Fawcetts' Hollywood dramatic stage play "Under A Virginia Moon" more than two years ago which was a decided hit at that time. The song was featured by Clarence Muse, who is also co-author of the number.

The René brothers, with the assistance of their writing partner, Bennie Elison, are writing the musical score for the new all colored Hollywood musical show produced by Mr. Pantages, opening about Christmas week....

Their song "Sleepy Time Down South" came into prominence when their good friend Louis Armstrong made a record of it. The song then became a tremendous hit. Paul Whiteman liked the number so well that he made his version on a Victor record. Louis Armstrong now uses it as his theme song when coming on and going off the air."

THE AMMOR RECORD CORPORATION:

Above: (Left) Otis René and Jack Gutshall; (Middle) Ammor 101B record label; (Right) The Billboard dated 12/23/39.
(NOTE: This Detroit Ammor Records clipping seems to be for the "Hollywood" Ammor label... the font style exactly matches that on the label. If so, it appears that distribution of Ammor Records was not limited to the West Coast. In the May 5, 1940 edition of the Detroit Free Press there is a record review for Ceelle Burke's "When The Swallows Come Back To Capistrano" on the Ammor label.)

The AMMOR RECORD CORPORATION, located in Hollywood, CA., was formed in late 1939 or early 1940. Most likely, it was owned and operated by Otis René, although his brother, Leon René, appears to have also been involved. It's possible that Jack Gutshall, a big-name record distributor, might have been associated with the label, perhaps financially. Otis had been a pharmacist in New Orleans before getting into the record business.

Seven of the first eight releases were by Larry Breese And His Orchestra. Of these, one side each of their first two releases had vocal by The Four Toppers. Other artists to have releases on Ammor are Ceelle Burke And His Orchestra, The King Cole Trio, The Pied Pipers, Claude Hopkins And His Orchestra, and Seger Ellis And His Orchestra. Burke's original version of the Leon René composition "When The Swallows Come Back To Capistrano" was on the Ammor label.

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.] "Jumpin' Jive" - Larry Breeze Orchestra, The Four Toppers - Ammor 101B - 1940.

Ammor is supposedly an acronym for Automatic Music Machine Operators Recording, which means the label’s purpose was to sell to juke box operators. If so, it was not a particularly successful mode of operation, the label existed for three years and had about twenty releases.

After Ammor shut down, Otis and Leon successfully formed the Excelsior and Exclusive labels, respectively. As carryovers, The King Cole Trio recorded for Excelsior and Ceelle Burke recorded for Exclusive. Jack Gutshall was distributor for both labels.


(PITTSBURGH COURIER—SEPTEMBER 28, 1940)
HERB JEFFRIES:
Early in his career, Herb sang with the Erskine Tate band (for many years one of the most popular bands residing in Chicago). In 1931 he joined Earl Hines, staying until 1934, and was then briefly with Blanche Calloway. In the early 1940's, Herb sang with Duke Ellington producing his hugely successful recording of "Flamingo". In the 1950's, Herb sang in clubs, often on the west coast, recording with Lucky Thompson, Bobby Hackett and others. A re-recording of Flamingo, this time with Les Brown, was also successful.

When listening to "At Least You Can Save Me A Dream", notice Herb's rich baritone singing and the "talking" break, in the manner of an actor speaking his lines.

DETROIT TRIBUNE, April 22, 1939: HERB JEFFREY STARTS TOUR OF THE SOUTH (Traveling With The Four Tones)
LOS ANGELES—Herbert Jeffrey, Detroit singer, and The Four Tones are scheduled to leave Los Angeles this week for a personal appearnace tour which will take them through the South, according to an announcement by their personal manager, John H. Levy.

This aggregation will open their tour in Galveston, Texas, April 26, at the Dixie Theatre and soon afterwards will play a white house in Madisonville. The next city to be played is Houston, where these Hollywood cowboys will appear at the Rainbow Theatre.

Jeffrey is the leading actor playing cowboy roles in the cinemas. He has starred in more pictures than any other colored actor, with the possible exception of Paul Robeson.

Above: Label images for Exclusive 103-A "Here's Hoping", song composed by Leon René, and Excelsior 00100 and HJ-100 "At Least You Could Save Me A Dream", composed by Otis René and Joe Green, both records released in 1944. The latter record has the Three Shades Of Rhythm backing vocally and, again, the Eddie Beal Trio providing the instrumentation. The Three Shades Of Rhythm were a female singing trio consisting of Effie Smith, Gladys Davis, and Billy Jones.

"Vocal Chorus Directed by Carl Jones"... Anyone know if this is the same Carl Jones who joined The Delta Rhythm Boys in late 1944?

"Here's Hoping" was re-issued on Exclusive 208 B in 1945 and on Exclusive 127X in 1949.

CALIFORNIA EAGLE, November 27, 1941: SWINGTIME IN HOLLYWOOD
FLASH! THE THREE SHADES, a vocal trio of three young ladies with their original swing style and "mellow" harmonizing voices are really the tops here in Southern California. Many music critics are predicting a fine future for such a solid musical organization as this one. These three lovely singers organized this last year in the City of Angels. It gives great pleasure to introduce them to all you dear readers: Miss Gladys Davis, Wilhelmina "Billy" Jones, and Effie Smith.

They have a good musical background which may be a major factor in their musical achievements. Their versatile manner of vocalizing, harmonizing, and entertaining is somewhat similar to the Andrews Sisters' style. Without doubt, the Three Shades will be one of the nation's number one singing trios. At the present time they are featured with Leroy "Snake" Whyte's band.

The Cash Box Review (10/1/49):

HERB JEFFRIES - Exclusive 127X.... What's The Score/Here's Hoping
Pair of reissue sides by balladeer Herb Jeffries.... Top deck is a tune that scored widely not too long ago and should be familiar to most music operators. Herb's strong, booming voice handles the song well enough. The flip has the piper on another strong ditty that shows his vocal style off to excellent advantage. Herb's many fans should go for this duo. Ops take note.

THE BILLBOARD, August 12, 1944: EXCLUSIVE RECORDS WAXES SEVERAL LEON RENÉ NUMBERS
LOS ANGELES—With Leon René having built a substantial reputation with his composition "When The Swallows Come Back To Capistrano", other tunes by this writer are to appear on Exclusive Records. "Here's Hoping" and "You Are My Darlin'" by René have been recorded by Herb Jeffries and his orchestra and feature the Homer Hall Chorus....


(THE BILLBOARD 1944 MUSIC YEAR BOOK)


(THE BILLBOARD 1943 MUSIC YEAR BOOK)

The Billboard Review (5/12/45):

HERB JEFFRIES — EXCELSIOR HJ-100....
At Least You Could Save Me A Dream
While there is little melodic or lyrical appeal in the ballad itself, the expressive singing of Herb (Flamingo) Jeffries, set off against the sustained vocal harmonies by a mixed quartet led by Carl Jones, makes it plenty easy to listen to "At Least You Could Save Me A Dream". The Eddie Beal Trio, piano, bass, and guitar, provide just enough musical support.

In view of the popularity of Herb Jeffries, one-time Duke Ellington singer, among the race fans, some coins may find their way to the slot. (NOTE: The flip of this re-issue is Timmie Rogers, not Herb Jeffries. The flip of the original issue on Excelsior 00100 is an instrumental by the Eddie Beal Trio.)

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "Here's Hoping" - Herb Jeffries And Homer Hall Chorus - Exclusive 103-A - 1944.
2. "At Least You Could Save Me A Dream" - Herb Jeffries, Eddie Beal Trio, Three Shades Of Rhythm - Excelsior 00100 - 1944.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.

Above Left: CALIFORNIA EAGLE, July 15, 1943Above Right: PITTSBURGH COURIER, July 17, 1943

Above: THE CASH BOX, December 24, 1949: FIRST NIGHTERS AT BOP CITY
NEW YORK—First night visitors to Bop City at the recent opening of Buddy Johnson's orchestra and Herb Jeffries included disc-jockey Fred Robbins and singing star Sarah Vaughan. Shown here in a table chat about records and music are, left to right, Fred, Buddy, Sarah, and Herb.


(HERB JEFFRIES SINGING)

Above Left: DAILY NEWS, March 15, 1950:
HERB JEFFRIES, song stylist, headlines the new Franchon and Marco stage today at the Downtown Paramount Theater.

Above Right: CALIFORNIA EAGLE, September 8, 1949: THEY PROMISED TO APPEAR
Dorothy Dandridge and Herb Jeffries have promised to be at the Fox Theater on the 16th of this month when the California National Guard present their big show there.


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


THE FOUR TONES - PART TWO WILL CONTINUE THE LEON RENÉ CONNECTION AND ALSO THE A-1, LA MARR'S "STAR", PREVIEW, AND MEMO LABELS.

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

          1. "Muggin' With A Swing" - The Four Tones - D & S 153 - 1939.
          2. "What A Fool I Was" - The Four Tones - Ebony 100-A - 1941.
          3. "Two Hearts To Beat Tonight" - The Four Tones - Ebony 100-B - 1941.
          4. "Someone's Rocking My Dreamboat" - The Four Tones And Eddie Beal Trio - Bluebird B-11408-A - 1942. *
          5. "Goodnight Baby, Goodnight" - The Four Tones And Eddie Beal Trio - Bluebird B-11408-B - 1942. *
          6. "Beyond The Stars" - The Four Tones And Eddie Beal Trio - Exclusive AM-02494-E - 1944. *
          7. "Sweet Mint Julep Man" - The Four Tones And Eddie Beal Trio - Exclusive AM-02495-E - 1944. *
          8. "Someone's Rocking My Dreamboat" - The Ink Spots - Decca 4045 B - 1941. *
          9. "Jumpin' Jive" - Larry Breeze Orchestra, The Four Toppers - Ammor 101B - 1940. *
        10. "Here's Hoping" - Herb Jeffries And Homer Hall Chorus - Exclusive 103-A - 1944. *
        11. "At Least You Could Save Me A Dream" - Herb Jeffries, Eddie Beal Trio, Three Shades Of Rhythm - Excelsior 00100 - 1944. *
 
          ALL ELEVEN ABOVE SONGS played in sequence.
 
          ALL SEVEN 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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