#954 (10/23/21)

New Record of the Week for SAVOY RECORDS - PART THREE (1950-1952) became available on 9/30/21.
New Record of the Week for SAVOY RECORDS - PART TWO (1946-1951) became available on 9/11/21.
New Record of the Week for SAVOY RECORDS - PART ONE (1942-1946) became available on 7/31/21.
New Record of the Week for THE FOUR TONES - PART THREE (1949-1954) became available on 6/14/21.

SPOTLIGHT ON SAVOY RECORDS - PART FOUR (1951 - 1955)

VARETTA DILLARD
THE ROAMERS
DOLLY COOPER
THE FOUR BUDDIES
THE BEN SMITH QUARTET
THE MARSHALL BROTHERS
WILLIAM COOK
THE GAYLORDS
EIGHT BONUS RECORDS

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


VARETTA DILLARD:
[The above photo provided by Paul Ressler.]
Above: Photo of Varetta Dillard from 1953. Varetta was born in Harlem, New York, and grew up in New York City. In 1951, she won two amateur competitions at The Apollo Theater, drawing the attention of Savoy Records, who signed her to a contract that year. Her last recording session at Savoy was in May 1955. In early 1956, Varetta joined Groove Records, a subsidary of RCA Victor.

Click HERE for an article about Varetta Dillard by Marv Goldberg. (Will open in a separate window)

Above Left: Label image for Savoy 822-A, recorded on September 18, 1951 and released in 1951.

Above Right: A photo of Varetta Dillard from 1952.

At Left: TRADE MAGAZINE, November 1951.

The Cash Box Review (11/17/51):

VARETTA DILLARD — Savoy 822....
Please Come Back To Me/Love And Wine
The sparkling voice of Varetta Dillard is matched with an equally wonderful ballad on the first half. The result is a dynamic and heartful rendition that we feel can easily happen. The lower lid is a forceful blues number that Varetta again handles in fine style. Ops can’t afford to miss the top one.

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "Please Come Back To Me" - Varetta Dillard - Savoy 822-A - 1951.
2. "Love And Wine" - Varetta Dillard - Savoy 822-B - 1951.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.

At Left: THE BILLBOARD, September 6, 1952.

THE CASH BOX, August 23, 1952:
....Herman Lubinsky and Lee Magid all smiles as they ready a surprise record by Varetta Dillard. The disk will have a promotion direct to djs before distribs even get a look at it. Advance reports indicate that it will be a sensation both in R & B and in pop.
(NOTE: This is probably "Them There Eyes", recorded on July 18, 1952 and released on Savoy 859. Notice the "In Pop and R.&B." in the clipping at left.)

NEW YORK AGE, October 17, 1953:
....Varetta Dillard is still another of the gifted youngsters who attribute their rise to the Apollo's "Amateur Night In Harlem" show. Her first records, "Them There Eyes", "Easy Easy Baby", "Hurry Up", and "A Letter In Blues" have elevated her to stardom in a short period....

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
"Them There Eyes" - Varetta Dillard - Savoy 859-A - 1952.




Above: Label image for Savoy 1153-A, recorded on January 24, 1955 and released in January 1955. Doles Dickens (of The Five Red Caps/Doles Dickens Quintet) is playing bass fiddle and Mickey Baker (of Mickey And Sylvia) the guitar on this side.


At Left: THE BILLBOARD, February 26, 1955.

THE CASH BOX, March 5, 1955:
....Herman Lubinsky and Freddie Mendelsohn back from their trip which took them through New Orleans, Atlanta, Birmingham and Charlotte. While the Savoy duo were in Atlanta, Lubinsky tells us “we got a kick out of a poll which designated our 'Johnny Has Gone' by Varetta Dillard number one tune in the area”. Lubinsky also announced the signing of Papa Lightfoot with Guitar Red and his Orchestra to a long term contract.

The Billboard Review (2/5/55):

VARETTA DILLARD — SAVOY 1153....
Johnny Has Gone
—Here's the first [sic] in what may well turn out to be a series of wax tributes to the late Johnny Ace. The canary warmly sings the clever special lyrics written to include the titles of Ace's old hits. The melody is familiar. A great performance by Miss Dillard, plus the sales-sentiment inspired by the recent Ace tragedy should put this one over big.

The first Johnny Ace tribute record came out on Hollywood 1031, "Johnny Ace's Last Letter" by Frankie Irvin and "Why Johnny Why?" by Linda Hayes, both sides backed by Johnny Moore's Blazers. Two other versions of "Johnny Has Gone" came out after Varetta's....The Five Wings on King 4778 and Patti Gerome on Josie 774. Later in 1955, a revamped Five Wings would record for Savoy.

THE CASH BOX, September 8, 1956:
....Vartta Dillard will issue “I Miss You Jimmy”, a ballad blues dedicated to Jimmy Dean. Varetta had tremendous success with her “Johnny Has Gone”, her tribute to the late Johnny Ace, and Ray Clark, Groove Records, is certain “I Miss You Jimmy” will likewise hit big....

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "Johnny Has Gone" - Varetta Dillard - Savoy 1153-A - 1955.
2. "Johnny Has Gone" - The Five Wings - King 4778 - 1955.
3. "Johnny Has Gone" - Patti Jerome - Josie 774 - 1955.

ALL THREE SONGS played in sequence.

Above: TRADE MAGAZINE, February 1955: (Varetta Dillard, The Roamers)
Above: Label image for Savoy 1160 A, recorded on May 3, 1955 and released in 1955. The Roamers back Varetta vocally. Disco-File names "James Ricketts, Judge Taylor, Sam Walton, and Billy Williams" as the Roamers' members for this side.

Sam "The Man" Taylor plays tenor sax and Mickey Baker the guitar on this record.

Above Left: THE BILLBOARD, May 21, 1955: (The Roamers, The Dreams, Varetta Dillard)

Above Right: THE BILLBOARD, February 4, 1956: (Varetta Dillard)

THE CASH BOX, May 21, 1955:
....Herman Lubinsky, currently guiding Savoy through its hottest period in several years, continues to feed his distribs, the latest being Varetta Dillard’s “You’re The Answer to My Prayer” and “Promise Mr. Thomas.” Varetta’s last, “Johnny Has Gone,” was a real biggie.

THE CASH BOX, May 28, 1955:
....Herman Lubinsky, Savoy prexy, reports that he sold a 25% interest of his new Varetta Dillard tune, “You’re The Answer To My Prayer” to Hill & Range Songs for a four figure amount. The Savoy boss is also happy about signing the Gaskin Sisters, gospel group, that a number of diskeries were after. Lubinsky has something up his sleeve in store for the thrushes....
(NOTE: No released record or even a recording session for the Gaskin Sisters could be found.)

The Billboard Review Spotlight (2/21/55):

VARETTA DILLARD — SAVOY 1160....
You're the Answer to My Prayer
—The thrush sings out with rich-voiced intensity and plenty of feeling on a moving ballad. She scored recently on the charts with "Johnny Has Gone" and this one may prove even a bigger coin-draw. Flip is "Promise, Mr. Thomas."

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
"You're The Answer To My Prayer" - Varetta Dillard With The Roamers - Savoy 1160 A - 1955.

VARETTA DILLARD—BONUS RECORD:
Above: Label images for both sides of Groove G-0152, released in April 1956. "I'm Gonna Tell My Daddy" was recorded on March 29, 1956 and the flip, "Cherry Blossom", on January 17, 1956.

Disco-File gives the members of The Four Students on the "Daddy" side as "James Breedlove, Abel DeCosta, Luthor Dixon, Henry Oliver Jones, and Joseph Smalls" (yes, that's five names).


THE CASH BOX REVIEW — APRIL 21, 1956

Above Left: THE CASH BOX, April 21, 1956.

Above Right: THE CASH BOX, May 12, 1956.

THE CASH BOX, January 14, 1956:
....We hear several companies are dickering for the services of Varetta Dillard, Savoy thrush, whose contract expires this month....

THE CASH BOX, January 21, 1956: VARETTA DILLARD SIGNED BY GROOVE
NEW YORK—Varetta Dillard, one of the most sought-after artists in the rhythm and blues field, has been signed by Groove Records to an exclusive recording contract and will be given an all-out promotion starting with her first release next week, Ray Clark, Manager for Groove, has announced.

Varetta’s initial disk for the RCA subsidiary label will be rushed to distributors with all of the Groove promotion barrages going full blast to hypo its initial reception, according to Clark. A heavy ad campaign will kick off the first Dillard disk including saturation coverage on such standard promotion gimmicks as the Dillard portrait on DJ labels, personal long distance phone calls by Varetta to DJ’s supplemented with notes and advance pressings, spot announcements and open-end interviews seguing into DJ disk spins.

P.A. tours also will be set up for Varetta in key cities such as Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia, and Boston. The pacting of such an important R & B artist as Varetta Dillard signalizes the growth of Groove, its emergence as a strong potential in the rhythm and blues market plus the development and growing acceptance of its artists and catalogue during the new label’s first year....

THE BILLBOARD, February 4, 1956: THRUSH GETS GROOVE PUSH
NEW YORK—Groove Records is inaugurating a big promotion push on behalf of Varetta Dillard, thrush who was recently pacted by the diskery. Ray Clark, manager for Groove, got the drive under way this week so as to time the promotion with the release of the chanter's first Groove disk.

Campaign includes a heavy ad schedule, portraits of Varetta on deejay labels, personal long-distance phone calls by the singer to deejays - all supplemented with notes and advance pressings, spot announcements and open-end interviews leading into spins of her disks. An extensive personal appearance tour has also been set up covering such key markets as Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia, and Boston.

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "I'm Gonna Tell My Daddy" - Varetta Dillard With The Four Students - Groove G-0152 - 1956.
2. "Cherry Blossom" - Varetta Dillard With The Four Students - Groove G-0152 - 1956.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.


THE ROAMERS:
Above: Photo of The Roamers, (Top) Judge Taylor, (Bottom L-R) James Ricketts, Billy Williams, Sam Walton.

Click HERE for an article about The Roamers by Marv Goldberg. (Will open in a separate window)

Above: Label images for Savoy 1147A/B, both sides recorded on November 19, 1954 and the record released in December 1954. James Ricketts sings the lead on both sides. This was The Roamers' first of two records for Savoy (1954-55), plus one record backing Wilbert Harrison (1955) and one side backing Varetta Dillard (1955). The Varetta side is featured further above on this webpage.

Above Left: TRADE MAGAZINE, January 1955.

Above Right: Another photo of The Roamers, (L-R) Judge Taylor, Sam Walton, Billy Williams, James Ricketts.

THE BILLBOARD, December 11, 1954:
....Herman Lubinsky, head of Savoy Records, has signed a flock of new talent, including organist Vin Strong and the Roamers....

THE CASH BOX, January 8, 1955:
Fred Mendelsohn chin up and chest out and rightly so. In the roughly one year he’s been with Herman Lubinsky at Savoy he has figured in such sides as “What If You”, Luther Bond; “Blue Hours”, The Hot Shots; “I Wonder” and “Is It True”, Nappy Brown; and “Don’t Drop it”, Wilbert Harrison. Fred cautions one and all to watch his newest, “Deep Freeze” by The Roamers....

The Billboard Review (1/15/55):

THE ROAMERS — Savoy 1147....
Deep Freeze
(81) The Roamers, a new vocal group, bow on the label with a sock reading. A swinging, rhythm effort that really goes. The boys are sparked by a fine lead singer. This one has a real chance: watch it.
I'll Never Get Over You (80) A very pretty ballad is handled strongly here by the Roamers, featuring some exceptional lead singing by a most talented new singer, plus smart beat by the ork. This side, too, is a potent one.

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

The Cash Box Review (1/22/55):

THE ROAMERS — Savoy 1147....
"Deep Freeze"
The Roamers dish up a bouncing ditty that comes out a strong wax. Should bring a strong sales reaction.
"I'll Never Get Over You" The flip is a slow pretty blues effectively done. Lead sings with a good deal of feeling.

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "I'll Never Get Over You" - The Roamers - Savoy 1147A - 1954.
2. "Deep Freeze" - The Roamers - Savoy 1147B - 1954.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.


DOLLY COOPER:
Above: Dolly Cooper, from Philadelphia, signed with Savoy Records in 1952, recording for them until 1953. She joined Modern Records in 1955. The Four Buddies, The Wanderers, and The Flairs backed Dolly vocally on some of her records. Also, there is solid evidence that she began her singing career as "Thelma Cooper", recording for Philadelphia's Palda record label in 1948.
Above: Label images for Savoy 891-A/B, both sides recorded on November 19, 1952. The record was released in December 1952. Note that composer credit on the "Is It True" label is "Thelma" Cooper.


THE CASH BOX REVIEW — DECEMBER 20, 1952

THE BILLBOARD, August 23, 1952:
....Savoy Records has added a number of new artists to its talent stable over the past few weeks. Hal Cornbread Singer, who waxed his big hit "Cornbread" with the label three years ago, is back on Savoy. Dolly Cooper, a blues singer from Philadelphia, Carlton Coleman, Tampa blues shouter, and Calvin Frazier, singer and guitarist from Detroit, are the other new additions....

THE BILLBOARD, December 13, 1952: NEW RECORDS TO WATCH
Believe In Me—Savoy 877—Dolly Cooper, new thrush on the label, makes an impressive debut on her first waxing with an exciting performance of a slow ballad. Thrush has a sound and a slick style.

At Right: THE CASH BOX, January 1955.

THE BILLBOARD, December 20, 1952:
....Dolly Cooper, first out on Savoy, with “Believe In Me”, sounds real fine. The musical background is particularly interesting, with nice work by the organist, Larry Johnson....

THE CASH BOX, December 27, 1952:
....Lee Magid of Savoy Records enroute to Hollywood with several recording sessions planned to take place in the cinema city.... Before leaving, Lee advised that Savoy had signed Henry Hayes and ork and Elmore Nixon, singer out of Galveston. Dolly Cooper, on the strength of her initial etching “Believe In Me” backed with “Is It True” has been booked into Bill Cook’s Caravan Club, Newark, N. J., on December 20....

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "Believe In Me" - Dolly Cooper - Savoy 877-A - 1952.
2. "Is It True" - Dolly Cooper - Savoy 877-B - 1952.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.

Above: Label images for 891-A/B, the "A" side recorded on March 6, 1953 and the "B" side on March 3, 1953. The record was released in April 1953. The Four Buddies back Dolly Cooper vocally on the "B" side, although she is not credited on the label for this particular issue of the record. Note that song composers are not credited on either label. Wonder just what Herman Lubinsky, Savoy owner, had in mind.

Above Left: THE BILLBOARD, April 4, 1953. "My Kind Of Woman", Savoy 886, was The Emmitt Slay Trio, not Dolly.

Above Right: THE BILLBOARD, May 9, 1953.

Above Left: THE CASH BOX, April 11, 1953. AWARD OF THE WEEK

Above Right: EVENING HERALD, July 18, 1953.

TALLAHASSEE DEMOCRAT, July 24, 1953:
Come August 3, Cootie Williams and his show will appear at the Elks Club. This aggregation has 16 members. Five of this group make up that top singing group which has skyrocketed to fame this summer, The Vocaleers. They are a group of young men who have a style that is worth listening to. Dolly Cooper will do the chirping for the band. I'm told that tables will be at a premium that night. So, you had better take a tip. (NOTE: This is The Vocaleers that recorded for Red Robin Records. Their "Is It A Dream" was on Billboard's "R&B Top Ten Seller List" for May through September 1953 in many of the larger cities. "They Found Out...", however, is not one of their songs. Perhaps confused with The Du Droppers "I Found Out" (the answer to "I Wanna Know").)

THE BILLBOARD, May 23, 1953:
....Dolly Cooper, currently riding the waves of success with her Savoy disk “I Wanna Know,” signed with Universal Attractions last week. Universal has booked the gal for a southern tour of one nighters from June 13 to July 4....

THE CASH BOX, October 3, 1953:
....Another vocal group entering the picture this week. Over at Savoy Records, Herman Lubinsky has himself what Lee Magid, A&R head, calls the first really different sounding group to vie for honors, “The Wanderers”....
(NOTE: The Wanderers had one record released on Savoy by themselves in 1953 and one record backing Dolly Cooper on Savoy in early 1954.)

The Billboard Review (4/4/53):

DOLLY COOPER–HAL SINGER — Savoy 891....
I Wanna Know
(80) Another answer to the hit tune "I Don't Know". Dolly Cooper chants the version in sock style. She has plenty of r.&b. quality. Side should get spins and nickels. It's a mighty potent side for the thrush.
I'd Climb the Highest Mountain (77) Dolly Cooper chants a slow-tempo version of the standard. Hummed chorus in background and the Hal Singer backing all add up to a sincere and strong delivery.

(NOTE: A ratings range of 70-79 was considered "good" and 80-89 was "excellent".)

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "I Wanna' Know" - Dolly Cooper - Savoy 891-A - 1953.
2. "I'd Climb The Highest Mountain" - Dolly Cooper And The Four Buddies - Savoy 891-B - 1953.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.

DOLLY COOPER—BONUS RECORDS:
Above: Label images for Modern 965, released in August 1955. On "Ay La Bah", Dolly is backed vocally by The Flairs.

Above: 1953 photo of The Flairs,who were from Los Angeles, consisting of (L-R Back) Richard Berry (bass), Cornell Gunter (tenor), Thomas "Pete" Fox (tenor), (L-R Front) Obie Jessie (baritone), and Beverly Thompson (tenor).

The Billboard Review (8/27/55):

DOLLY COOPER–Modern 965....
Ay La Bah
(70) This isn't the old Creole chant, but a blues rocker from fairly conventional cloth, chanted appealingly, however, by this r.&b. Teresa Brewer.
My Man (70) This one borrows liberally from several old blues rockers, not to mention the title. The thrush deserves better material.

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

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "Ay La Bah" - Dolly Cooper (And The Flairs) - Modern 965 - 1955.
2. "My Man" - Dolly Cooper - Modern 965 - 1955.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.

Above: Label images for Palda 2001-A/B, released in 1948. Thelma Cooper and Dolly Cooper, in my opinion, are one and the same person. The voices are the same. Dolly was from Phildelphia; Palda was a Philadelphia label. "Thelma Cooper" is the composer on Dolly's 1952 record, "Is It True" (see further above in this section). If anyone can confirm or disprove that presumption, your feedback is requested.

Above: COURIER POST (Camden, New Jersey), September 23, 1949. Camden is located directly across the Delaware River from Philadelphia.

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "Merry Christmas Baby" - Thelma Cooper - Palda 2001-A - 1948.
2. "I Lost Everything Losing You" - Thelma Cooper - Palda 2001-B - 1948.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.


I'D CLIMB THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN:
Above Left: Label image for Decca 18711 A, recorded on December 23, 1940 and released in 1945.

Above Right: Label image for Capitol 887, recorded on September 30, 1949 and released in 1950.

Above: Two photos of The Ink Spots. In above right photo: (L-R) Deek Watson, Bill Kenny, Hoppy Jones, and Charlie Fuqua.

Above: Four photos of Cleo Brown, who was a blues and jazz vocalist and pianist. She was given the title "Harlem's Crown Princess Of Song", although she was born in Mississippi and lived for years in Chicago before moving to New York.

Above Left: THE BILLBOARD, November 24, 1945.

Above Right: SIOUX CITY JOURNAL, October 16, 1948. (NOTE: Cleo Brown moved from Decca to Capitol in 1949.)

The Billboard Record Review (10/20/45):

THE INK SPOTS — Decca 18711.... "I'd Climb The Highest Mountain"
Having ironed out their internal differences, the Ink Spots return to the disks, and with Bill Kenny's soprano-scaled pipes still ringing true, the foursome should continue from where they left off. This side, following the winning pattern, is designed to spot the Spots in warm hearts. (NOTE: Bill Kenny's "pipes" on this side are from 1940, well before "where they left off".)

With the talking sequence to bridge this song, Kenny carries the lead all the way, selling the ballad like a million. "I'd Climb the Highest Mountain" is the Lew Brown-Sidney Clare classic of a couple of decades ago and ripe to start a revival of interest.

Phono ops should reap a harvest with this side in the Ink Spots' winning way.

The Billboard Record Review (3/25/50):

CLEO BROWN — Capitol 887 ....
"I'd Climb The Highest Mountain"
(69) Miss Brown, piano-vocal stylist who used to sell stacks of wax long before Rose Murphy or Nelly Lutcher appeared on the scene, delivers a pleasing fluty voiced vocal and solid 88ing on the standard.

(NOTE: A ratings range of 60-69 was considered "satisfactory".)

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "I'd Climb The Highest Mountain" - The Ink Spots - Decca 18711 A - 1945.
2. "I'd Climb The Highest Mountain" - Cleo Brown - Capitol 887 - 1950.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.


I WANNA KNOW:
Above Left: Label image for RCA Victor 20-5229, recorded on February 17, 1953 and released in March 1953.

Above Right: Label image for Coral 61004, released in May 1953.


Above Left: The Du Droppers, (Top L-R) Bob Kornegay, bass; Harvey Ray, baritone and tenor; J.C. Ginyard, lead; (Front Center) Willie Ray, tenor and baritone.

Above Right: Johnny Long, who was a violinist and bandleader, known as "The Man Who's Long on Music".


Above Left: TRADE MAGAZINE, March 1953.

Above Right: THE BILLBOARD, May 30, 1953.

The Checkers also had a version of the song:
LISTEN (Windows Media Player): "I Wanna Know" - The Checkers - King 4626 - 1953.

The Cash Box R&B Sleeper Of The Week (3/28/53):

THE DU DROPPERS — RCA VICTOR 20-5229.... "I Wanna Know"
The Du Droppers come up with an item, "I Wanna Know", that should make big noise for them and the disk. As a team, the group has a fine sound and one that bids fair for great success in the future. Their reading of the rhythmic quick beat employs that religious kick and creates excitement and interest for the zesty piece. The lead reads clearly and with impact against the smooth blend of the balance of the group and the easy backing instrumentally.

The Billboard Record Review (6/3/53)

JOHNNY LONG ORK — Coral 61004....
"I Wanna Know"
(77) Johnny Long follows in the footsteps of the Buddy Morrow ork with this version of a hit r.&b. tune. It's handed a good performance by the ork, again with a strong vocal from the unnamed warbler. This side is a potent one and it could snare spins and coins. Side is the best from the Long crew in the past few months.

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

The Cash Box Review (6/3/53):

JOHNNY LONG ORK — Coral 61004....
"I Wanna Know"
(B) A current blues clicker that’s making a strong bid on the R&B charts, gets a good pop going over from the Johnny Long ork and the vocal ensemble. The delivery has a bluesy flavor and a sock orking.

(NOTE: A rating of B was considered "very good".)

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "I Wanna Know" - The Du Droppers - RCA Victor 20-5229 - 1953.
2. "I Wanna Know" - Johnny Long Orchestra (Vocal Ensemble) - Coral 61004 - 1953.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.


THE FOUR BUDDIES:
Above: Label image for Savoy 888-A/B, recorded on March 3, 1953 and released in March 1953. This was The Four Buddies' last record, except for the one side backing Dolly Cooper (featured further up on this webpage). Disco-File shows the group members on this record are Leon Harrison, John (Gregory) Carroll, Alvin Bowen, and Maurice Hicks.

At Left: CLEVELAND CALL AND POST, April 19, 1952: The Four Buddies

The Cash Box R&B Sleeper Of The Week (3/28/53):

THE FOUR BUDDIES — Savoy 888....
"Ooh-Ow"/"My Mother's Eyes"
The Four Buddies, after a long spell of illness and injury, get right back in the groove with a grade-A recording that spells s-a-l-e-s. The boys chant a lively middle beat with novelty catchy lyrics that could get the customers singing, and that’s what the coin-slot patrons go for. The Buddies work well together and create an infectious sound and happy atmosphere.

Ops, place this side. Your customers will be singing “Ooh-Ow” in short order. The lower lid is a tender reading of the slow sentimental oldie and will appeal to the more mellow patrons. We go with the upper deck for big action.

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "Ooh Ow" - The Four Buddies - Savoy 888-A - 1953.
2. "My Mother's Eyes" - The Four Buddies - Savoy 888-B - 1953.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.


MY MOTHER'S EYES:
Above Left: Label image for Capitol Americana 40042, recorded on April 30, 1947 and released in September 1947.

Above Right: Label image for King 4510-AA, recorded on October 26, 1951 and released in 1951.


Above Left: Photo of Nellie Lutcher, who was an r&b and jazz singer and pianist.

Above Right: Photo of Lonnie Johnson, who was a blues and jazz singer, guitarist, violinist, and songwriter.


At Left: THE BILLBOARD, October 4, 1947.

CALIFORNIA EAGLE, July 3, 1947:
NELLIE LUTCHER GAINING FAVOR
Nellie Lutcher, sizzling song stylist, whose first Capitol Americana record is attracting attention, hails from Lake Charles, Louisiana, where she was a church organist when only 8 years old.

Appearances with orchestras and with small combos in Southern California Clubs finally brought recognition of the unique appeal in her highly stylized singing.

She adapts herself well to both novelties and standards, but prefers what she calls "heart songs", using her own piano accompaniment or a small rhythm group.

The Cash Box Review (10/27/47):
NELLIE LUTCHER — Capitol 40042.... "My Mother's Eyes"
It’s Nellie Lutcher and her own inimitable piano and warbling style that sets the pace on this cookie, with the refrain echoing full of coin play for ever and a day. Top deck grabs the glory as Nellie wails the oldie, “My Mother’s Eyes”.

Nellie’s wee voice with chips of scat therein makes for a mood the likes of which this ditty has never seen. It’s offered in toned down pattern, with Nellie coming thru the ivories to taint the wax full of buffalo.

For a sure deposit, latch on to Lutcher and “My Mother’s Eyes”.

(NOTE: The term "full of buffalo" means that it's puzzling or baffling.)


LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "My Mother's Eyes" - Nellie Lutcher - Capitol Americana 40042 - 1947.
2. "My Mother's Eyes" - Lonnie Johnson - King 4510-AA - 1951.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.


BEN SMITH QUARTET:

At Left: Label image for Savoy 820-A, released in 1951.
[Label image and audio provided by Andrew Bohan.]
This side was recorded in 1949 and released that year on the Coleman label. Both the instrumentation and vocal harmony on this side is performed by the Ben Smith Quartet.

In 1949, the Coleman record was rated the top pick by Bill Cook, a deejay at WAAT in Newark, N.J. There's more about Cook further down this webpage.

The Ben Smith Quartet also had one record on Savoy's subsidiary label, Regent, in 1951. That one has Tony Jenkins singing lead backed by The Starlings vocal group.

FROM TODD BAPTISTA (February 2009): "By The Candleglow" was written by William Luther Johnson (Bill Johnson of the Musical Notes) and Harry Payne Stevenson sometime in 1947. Stevenson was a songwriting hopeful ("How Would You Know") who was a friend of Gus Gordon. The song was originally recorded by Gordon with Johnson's Musical Notes for RCA Victor on 11/2/47 but never released. But how did the song get from the Johnson-Gordon songbook to Ben Smith?

(NOTE: Somehow Ben Smith had his name added to the writer credits on the label.)

At Upper Right: Pictures of Ben Smith, who was a jazz alto saxophonist, tenor saxophonist, and clarinetist. In the first picture, from December 1949, it appears to be a clarinet in front of him on his music stand. The second picture is when he was with the Claude Hopkins Orchestra.

Arriving in New York City in 1934, Ben worked with Benny Carter, Claude Hopkins, and Hot Lips Page and into the 1940s worked in the bands of Lucky Millinder, Andy Kirk, and Snub Mosley, among others.


THE CASH BOX, October 29, 1949:
....Abbey Records have added new artists to their roster including Bob Marshall, India White, Jesse Perry, the Ben Smith Quartet, and Mary Carr....

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
"By The Candleglow" - Ben Smith Quartet (Vocal By Band Ensemble) - Savoy 820-A - 1951.

Above: NEW YORK AGE, June 28, 1952.
(NOTE: Here Varetta Dillard is named "The Blue Rage Of The Middlewest", although she was actually from New York City. Varetta and Ben Smith are on the same billing. No records under Ben Smith's name could be found in Decca's listings for the period 1947-1952. Perhaps his quintet did instrumental back-up work for the label.)
HERB LANCE—BONUS RECORDS:
Above Left: Label image for Sittin' in with 514, released in September 1949. Note the revamped song title and lack of composer credits on the label.

Above Right: Label image for DeLuxe 6150, released in 1957. On this version, Herb has a vocal group backing him.

Herb had a pattern of re-issuing the same song. He released two versions of "Close Your Eyes", on Sittin in with 514 in 1949 and on DeLuxe 6124 in 1957.


At Right: Herb Lance. [Photo provided by Paul Ressler.]
Herb had ten records on the Sittin' in with label (1949-1951). He began recording for Columbia/Okeh in early 1951. In late 1951, Herb again moved, this time to the Mercury label. In early 1952, he co-composed Ruth Brown's hit "Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean".

And, later in 1952, he moved to Jubilee Records. After a few years away from recording, Herb showed up on the DeLuxe label, a subsidiary of King Records, in 1957.

NEW YORK AGE, May 2, 1949: Herb Lance Draws Philly Assignment
PHILDELPHIA—Herb Lance, the handsome young baritone singing sensation, makes his first nightclub appearance since arriving on the big time, when he plays the "Showboat" cafe here. Reigning favorite in the juke box set because of his heart throbbing recording of "Close Your Eyes".

Herb goes into the Roosevelt Theatre in Pittsburgh and the Regal in Cincinnati as part of an all-star lineup near the end of the month. The Pittsburgh date will be preceded by a three-day stand at the recently opened Duke Theatre in Detroit.

The Cash Box Review (3/19/49):

HERB LANCE — Sittin in' 514.... "Close Your Eyes"/"Candle Glow"
Pair of sides that are already bouncing around in top spots on juke boxes throughout the nation are these offered by balladeer Herb Lance. Top deck, tagged “Close Your Eyes” is a ditty that is rapidly winning wide favor with music ops. The slow, sensuous tones that Herb offers make for grand listening pleasure from start to finish. Ditty is a top drawer ballad, one that makes you wanna listen. Herb’s vocal range is terrific on the side, and should cause a load of attention in the music biz. The flip shows as a repeat grade A performance for Herb and should hold its own on the phonos. “Close Your Eyes” is hot—grab it!

The Billboard Review (11/4/57):

HERB LANCE — DeLuxe 6150....
By The Candleglow
(73) A ballad, sung well, with full sound in the instrumental arrangement.

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

The Cash Box Review (11/16/57):

HERB LANCE — DeLuxe 6150....
"By The Candleglow"
(B) The big voiced Lance offers a middle beat pretty styled for the romantic teener of all markets.
Shuffle type ballad turned out dreamily and with a tender touch.

(NOTE: A rating of B was considered "very good".)

Above: THE CASH BOX, August 13 1949:
NEW YORK—Pictured with a bit of an amazed look upon his face is balladeer Herb Lance, as Sittin' In Records prexy Bob Shad drops in for a visit at the New York Veterans' Hospital, Staten Island. Herb, temporarily bedded down, certainly is riding high in the music business, via a bevy of hot records, among them "Close Your Eyes", "Because", and his latest "Stardust". The platters Bob Shad is holding were donated to the hospital on behalf of the plattery for the Veterans' record library.

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "Candle Glow" - Herb Lance - Sittin' in with 514 - 1949.
2. "By The Candleglow" - Herb Lance (With Vocal Group) - DeLuxe 6150 - 1957.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.


THE MARSHALL BROTHERS:
Above Left: The Marshall Brothers, (Top) Maithe Marshall (lead tenor), (Bottom L-R) Phil Shaw (tenor), Willis Saunders (baritone), and Raymond Johnson (bass). The group's name was derived from their great tenor lead singer, Maithe, who was previously with The Ravens. Raymond Johnson later moved on to replace Bill Brown in the Dominoes. Willis Saunders went on to form the Embers and record the spine tingling "Paradise Hill".

Above Right: Maithe Marshall.

Above: Label images for Savoy 825-A/B, recorded on November 28, 1951 and the record released in December 1951. The Marshall Brothers' entire output was recorded in one day resulting in six released sides, including two backing influential New Jersey Disc Jockey William Cook (see next below).

Above: THE CASH BOX, December 1, 1951.
(NOTE: "Mr. Santa's Boogie" is the "A" side, but the above Savoy clipping tops the flip side.)

THE CASH BOX, October 6, 1951:
Lee Magid has signed Maithe Marshall, former lead singer of the Ravens, to an exclusive contract and will form a new group called the Marshall Brothers. Group will wax for Savoy. Marshall at this moment is working as a single at the Apollo Bar in Harlem.
(NOTE: Magid was the A&R man for Savoy Records, who also garnered credit for composing the "A" side of this record.)

The Cash Box Review (12/1/51):

THE MARSHALL BROTHERS — Savoy 825.... "Mr. Santa's Boogie"/"Who'll Be The Fool From Now On"
A strong contender is turned out by the Marshall Brothers on the top deck. It’s a wild and fast moving jump tune that the group handles in a wonderful style. Flip is a soft and soothing ballad that sounds great as sung by the vocal soloist. Both sides look like naturals for the boxes.

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "Mr. Santa's Boogie" - The Marshall Brothers - Savoy 825-A - 1951.
2. "Who'll Be The Fool From Now On" - The Marshall Brothers - Savoy 825-B - 1951.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.

Above Left: Label image for Savoy 828-A, both sides recorded on November 28, 1951 and the record released in December 1951. Julian Gould plays the organ on these two sides.

Above Middle: THE CASH BOX, December 22, 1951. (NOTE: Again, the "A" and "B" sides are flipped.)

Above Right: William Cook, who was a popular deejay for WAAT in Newark, New Jersey. Later on, he became Roy Hamilton's discoverer and manager. Bill Cook, in the mid-1950s, hosted a TV show, "Cook's Caravan", on WATV in Newark.

The Cash Box Review (12/15/51):

WILLIAM COOK — Savoy 828.... "A Soldier's Prayer"/"Just Because"
Two very interesting lids are turned out by William Cook and the Marshall Brothers. The group presents a wonderful singing backdrop for the sincere and heartful talking of Bill. He offers these prayers in a manner that can make this one a big seller. Ops can’t afford to miss it.

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "A Soldier's Prayer" - William Cook With The Marshall Brothers - Savoy 828-A - 1951.
2. "Just Because" - William Cook With The Marshall Brothers - Savoy 828-B - 1951.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.


THE GAYLORDS:
Above: Label images for Savoy 852-A/B, both sides recorded on May 23, 1952 and the record released in June 1952.

The Gaylords, a black male group, are also The Imperials on the Savoy label. There was one record for each of the two names released on Savoy (1952 and 1953). All four sides were from the same May 23, 1952 recording session.

Disco-File gives the member names as George Copes, Rudy Copes, James Morris, Earl Thomas, and Louis Van Dyke. James Morris is credited on the labels as composer of both sides.

The Cash Box Review (7/12/52):

THE GAYLORDS — Savoy 852....
"Go On Baby"
(B) A wildish waxing with a fast moving beat, is enhanced with handclapping, shouts in the background, and deep voiced inserts from time to time. Lead singer comes through in fine style.
"Get Mad Baby" (B) Another driving side with cute lyrics handled with gusto by the Gaylords.

(NOTE: A rating of B was considered "very good".)

The Cash Box Review (8/23/52): (Yes, they reviewed it twice.)

THE GAYLORDS — Savoy 852....
"Go On Baby"
The Gaylords go wild with an exciting fast tempo item that includes handclapping and shrill background screams.
"Get Mad Baby" The group, while not quite as wild as on the top deck, pulls out all the stops as they wax this toe tapper.

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "Go On Baby" - The Gaylords - Savoy 852-A - 1952.
2. "Get Mad Baby" - The Gaylords - Savoy 852-B - 1952.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.


SAVOY NEWSPRINT:

THE BILLBOARD, January 24, 1953: LUBINSKY FILES MERCURY DISTRIB SUIT
NEW YORK—Herman Lubinsky of Savoy Records filed an injunction recently in the Federal District Court, Newark, N. J., against Mercury distributors, enjoining them against selling any Mercury disks with Mel Walker. Lubinsky recently was awarded a decision in the same court which enjoins Mercury from manufacturing, pressing, or selling disks cut by Walker, prominent rhythm and blues artist. Suits were filed, according to Lubinsky, because Walker's contract with Savoy still has three years to run.

THE BILLBOARD, November 7, 1953:
On the personnel level, Herman Lubinsky of Savoy Records is now dickering with Teddy Reig to rejoin the label to take over duties previously handled by Lee Magid. Magid left Savoy last week to start a new r.&b. firm, Central Records, in partnership with Larry Newton of Derby. Reig had been with Savoy a number of years ago, and since has been doing free-lance a.&r. work with a number of labels.

THE BILLBOARD, June 16, 1955:
Savoy Records has landed the much sought-after blues singer Irene Reed. The gal signed an exclusive paper this week....

THE CASH BOX, June 16, 1955:
....Herman Lubinsky announces the signing of Irene Reed and a new group, as yet unnamed....
(NOTE: The new group might have been "The Carnations", who recorded for Savoy on August 3, 1955.)

LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
"The Angels Sent You To Me" - The Carnations - Savoy 1172-A - September 1955.

THE BILLBOARD, August 20, 1955:
Herman Lubinsky, Savoy prexy, has signed a new gal chanter, Irene Reed, who has already cut a couple of sides. Herman, by the way, will re-issue spirituals recorded some time ago by Nappy Brown, now that Nappy has come along so rapidly as a big seller.... (NOTE: Savoy released one record by Irene Reed, on Savoy 1170, in 1955.)

THE CASH BOX, July 23, 1955:
....Herman Lubinsky, Savoy prexy, just barely escaped the arms of Mr. Death last week. At four in the morning, he went fishing and his clothing got caught on the dock as he stepped into his boat. He was hanging in the water, unconscious, when someone passed by and saw him. He’s all better now and will be at the convention....

THE CASH BOX, July 2, 1955:
THE RECORD BUSINESS BY HERMAN LUBINSKY
I have been a pioneer in an industry that has had its ups and downs since the early twenties. When I first got my feet in, there were three majors and one or two indies, but things have changed since mother was a girl. We’ve seen the advent of many labels and I’ve seen ’em go as fast as they came, and I’ve seen greedy distributors burnt with returns and still they come. Our industry has seen many revolutionary changes—the LP, the 45 and now what’s next.

We don’t mind the multiplicity of labels but we are concerned with the unethical conduct of some manufacturers who sell from their car for cash and undersell the legitimate manufacturer, who pays Federal tax, and composers’ and artists’ royalties. We can stand up against legit competition but no legit manufacturer can fight an illegitimate handicap. But it’s a long alley that doesn’t have an ash can and there’s always a judgment day.

Uncle Sam is not blind. The roster of good distributors is getting like the list of living Civil War veterans. We’ve become bankers in addition to manufacturers.

It’s been said that there’s nothing wrong with the record business that a good hit won’t cure—that’s a great comfortable slogan but it doesn’t make people go into the record stores to buy records when a lot of Dee Jay’s have appointed themselves judge, jury, and executive in one breath and, with the other hand, they play so-called pop tunes with smutty lyrics in a sophisticated manner, and then they have the brass to yell “cop” on the first smell of an R & B record before they’ve heard it. Could it be that these boys haven’t heard the quotation “Let him cast the first stone”.

We’ve set a pattern at Savoy for clean, good recordings—all recorded at Hi Fi and, despite our advancing years, we’re still fighting to drive the money lenders from the temple, and make this a clean business where merit wins, not prices, nor pieces of eight or cute acts of chicanery.

We’ve developed a large and healthy foreign business on our packaged goods and the Savoy products are sold in all four corners of the globe except the Iron and Bamboo Curtain countries and we’re growing and expanding at a normal and healthy pace.

Our distributors are all happy and are making money with one or two exceptions. For those who can’t pay their bills, we’re billing them at half a price so when they go broke we won’t lose so much money. Plumbers and brick layers are all organized in their own industry but the record business will always be in a state of confusion until the people in it first educate themselves and their distributors and dealers on a commonsense and ethical basis.


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


SAVOY RECORDS - PART ONE FEATURES THE SAVOY DICTATORS, BONNIE DAVIS AND THE BUNNY BANKS TRIO, THE JOHNSON JUBILEE SINGERS, MISS RHAPSODY, THE TOPPERS, AND INDECENT SAVOY RECORDS.

SAVOY RECORDS - PART TWO FEATURES THE KING COLE TRIO, TINY BRADSHAW ORCHESTRA, THE X-RAYS, THE ROBINS, THREE B'S AND A HONEY, LITTLE ESTHER, MEL WALKER, JOHNNY OTIS ORCHESTRA, LIL GREEN, AND THE RAY-O-VACS.

SAVOY RECORDS - PART THREE FEATURES THE FOUR BUDDIES, LINDA HOPKINS, LITTLE SYLVIA, THE FALCONS, BILLY WRIGHT, MEL WALKER, "(IT'S NO) SIN" RECORDS, AND BONUS: THE SCAMPS/THE FIVE THRILLS.


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

          1. "Please Come Back To Me" - Varetta Dillard - Savoy 822-A - 1951.
          2. "Love And Wine" - Varetta Dillard - Savoy 822-B - 1951.
          3. "Them There Eyes" - Varetta Dillard - Savoy 859-A - 1952.
          4. "Johnny Has Gone" - Varetta Dillard - Savoy 1153-A - 1955.
          5. "Johnny Has Gone" - The Five Wings - King 4778 - 1955.
          6. "Johnny Has Gone" - Patti Jerome - Josie 774 - 1955.
          7. "You're The Answer To My Prayer" - Varetta Dillard With The Roamers - Savoy 1160 A - 1955.
          8. "I'm Gonna Tell My Daddy" - Varetta Dillard With The Four Students - Groove G-0152 - 1956.
          9. "Cherry Blossom" - Varetta Dillard With The Four Students - Groove G-0152 - 1956.
        10. "I'll Never Get Over You" - The Roamers - Savoy 1147A - 1954.
        11. "Deep Freeze" - The Roamers - Savoy 1147B - 1954.
        12. "Believe In Me" - Dolly Cooper - Savoy 877-A - 1952.
        13. "Is It True" - Dolly Cooper - Savoy 877-B - 1952.
        14. "I Wanna' Know" - Dolly Cooper - Savoy 891-A - 1953.
        15. "I'd Climb The Highest Mountain" - Dolly Cooper - Savoy 891-B - 1953.
        16. "Ay La Bah" - Dolly Cooper (And The Flairs) - Modern 965 - 1955.
        17. "My Man" - Dolly Cooper - Modern 965 - 1955.
        18. "Merry Christmas Baby" - Thelma Cooper - Palda 2001-A - 1948.
        19. "I Lost Everything Losing You" - Thelma Cooper - Palda 2001-B - 1948.
        20. "I'd Climb The Highest Mountain" - The Ink Spots - Decca 18711 A - 1945.
        21. "I'd Climb The Highest Mountain" - Cleo Brown - Capitol 887 - 1950.
        22. "I Wanna Know" - The Checkers - King 4626 - 1953.
        23. "I Wanna Know" - The Du Droppers - RCA Victor 20-5229 - 1953.
        24. "I Wanna Know" - Johnny Long Orchestra (Vocal Ensemble) - Coral 61004 - 1953.
        25. "Ooh Ow" - The Four Buddies - Savoy 888-A - 1953.
        26. "My Mother's Eyes" - The Four Buddies - Savoy 888-B - 1953.
        27. "My Mother's Eyes" - Nellie Lutcher - Capitol Americana 40042 - 1947.
        28. "My Mother's Eyes" - Lonnie Johnson - King 4510-AA - 1951.
        29. "By The Candleglow" - Ben Smith Quartet (Vocal By Band Ensemble) - Savoy 820-A - 1951.
        30. "Candle Glow" - Herb Lance - Sittin' in with 514 - 1949.
        31. "By The Candleglow" - Herb Lance (With Vocal Group) - DeLuxe 6150 - 1957.
        32. "Mr. Santa's Boogie" - The Marshall Brothers - Savoy 825-A - 1951.
        33. "Who'll Be The Fool From Now On" - The Marshall Brothers - Savoy 825-B - 1951.
        34. "A Soldier's Prayer" - William Cook With The Marshall Brothers - Savoy 828-A - 1951.
        35. "Just Because" - William Cook With The Marshall Brothers - Savoy 828-B - 1951.
        36. "Go On Baby" - The Gaylords - Savoy 852-A - 1952.
        37. "Get Mad Baby" - The Gaylords - Savoy 852-B - 1952.
 
          ALL THIRTY-SEVEN ABOVE SONGS played in sequence.
 
          ALL TWENTY ABOVE SONGS ON THE SAVOY LABEL played in sequence.


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


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Last Update: October 23, 2021

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