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[New!]Tony Talent & the Coalitions

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Sammy Strain & the Imperials, 1964 -, Part 4 in the series

Sammy Strain & the Imperials, 1961 - 1963 Part 3

Sammy Strain & the Fantastics Part 2

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Asbury Park Vocal Groups Pt. 2

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Philly's Original Capris

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bullet [New!]TNT with Vic Donna Group & Charlie Horner
 
bulletAsbury Angels 2014, Bobby Thomas
 
bulletRichard Nader Doo Wop Concert XXV
 
bullet2014 Portsmouth VA Gospel Concert
 
bullet Billy Vera Big Band at the Cutting Room NYC
 
bullet VGHA Extravaganza III
 
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African American
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bullet Ray Goodman & Brown in Plainfield
 
bulletRe-MemberThen
at NJ Doo Wop Singers Club 2013

 
bulletEncounters at Somerset Run
 
bulletRichard Nader's Doo Wop Celebration XXVI
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2013 Asbury Angels Plaque Dedications
 
bullet VGHA Acappella Extravaganza II
 
bullet2013 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
 
bullet Time Capsule Show 50th Anniversary
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2013 Portsmouth, VA Gospel Concert
 
bulletRe-MemberThen
at Manchester, NJ

 
bulletRe-MemberThen
at New Providence Library

 
bulletJohn Moore's Middle Room Records Closes
 
bulletLittle Isidore in Fair Lawn, NJ
 
bulletNJ Doo Wop Singers Club Jan 2013
 
bulletCelebrating Asbury Park's West Side Harmony
 
bulletDoo Wop Singers Club 4th Anniversary
 
bulletChuck Berry Honored by the R&R Hall of Fame
 
bulletQuiet Storm at Somerset Run
 
bulletAsbury Angels 2012 Induction Ceremony
 
bullet2012 Philly Doo Wop Festival
 
bullet2012 Lead East
 
bulletTNT R&B and Doo Wop Party, Aug 2012
 
bulletPam Nardella's Frankie Lymon Tombstone BBQ
 
bullet Classic Urban Harmony Celebrates Vocal Harmony & the Masqueraders 50th Anniversary
Multi-Part
 
bulletFrankie Lymon Tombstone Finds a New Home
 
bulletStormin Norman Seldin & Return of Ray & Darchaes in Monmouth Beach NJ
 
bullet2012 Portsmouth VA Gospel Concert
 
bulletTNT North Jersey R&B and Doo Wop Party - 2nd Anniversary
 
bulletAcappella Extravaganza at Molloy College 2011
 
bulletDoo Wop Singers Club (NJ) Third Anniversary
 
bulletSoul of Asbury Park Concert
 
bulletMasqueraders Silver Star Competition
 
bullet6th Annual Philly Doo Wop Festival
 
bulletSouth Philly String Band Club After Party to 6th Philly Doo Wop Festival
 
bulletTymes' Norman & Peggy Burnett BBQ 2011
 
bullet2011 Lead East
 
bullet Morris Museum Acappella & Doo Wop Concert # Two
 
bullet Morris Museum Acappella Concert # One
 
bulletClassic Urban Harmony Presentation NJ Doo Wop Groups Part 2
 
bulletClassic Urban Harmony Presentation NJ Doo Wop Groups Part 1
 
bulletMorris Museum LaBamba & Quiet Storm Concert
 
bulletMorris Museum Jersey Rocks Exhibit Opening
 
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bulletEvening With Vocal Group Legends Concert
 
bulletRe-memberThen Finds Its Echo
 
bulletSteve Applebaum Tribute Concert
 
bulletWFDU Fundraiser, Teaneck, NJ March 2011
 
bullet Four J's Jimmy Testa Tribute & Benefit Concert
 
bulletVic Donna Group Rehearsal at CUH Headquarters
 
bulletPam & Charlie's 5th Anniversary Celebration - Multi Parts
 
bullet2010 Philly Doo Wop Festival
 
bullet"Doll Face" Musical Comedy
 
bulletNJ Doo Wop & Street Corner Harmony Association
 
bulletNick @ Nite Open Mic Night
 
bulletLeins Wedding
 
bullet"Fun-Raiser" at South Philly String Band Club
 
bulletRichard Nader’s Summer Doowop Reunion XXI
 
bulletPhilly Doo Wop Diner Mural
 
bulletMaking Crossroads 2
 
bulletCornerstone CD Release Party
 
bulletVirginia Legends of Gospel Concert
 
bulletS. Philly Stringband Club Jan 13, 2010
 
bulletRemembering Ronnie I. Concert Nov 2009
 
bulletPGHA's Heavenly Harmony XII Concert
 
bulletS. Philly Stringband
Club
Testimonial
 
bulletFilming a Documentary
on Acappella
 
bulletAcappella Group Soul'D
Out on
Celebrity
Solstice
Oct 2009
 
bulletBattleship New Jersey Dance & Concert
 
bulletWVLT Cruisin' 92.1 Concert
 
bulletTymes' Norman & Peggy Burnett 2009 BBQ
 
bullet2009 Charleston Beach Music & Shag Festival
 
bulletAcappella Group Choice at Franklin Township Public Library
 
bullet American Bandstand Studio Fundraiser
 
bulletAcappella at the South Philly String Band Club Revisited
 
bulletFour Man Trio at At Dover NJ's Attilio's Tavern
 
bulletNicky Addeo at Asbury Park's Wonder Bar
 
bulletASAP's First Acappella Concert
 
bulletAcappella at the South Philly String Band Club
 
bulletVisiting Radio's Past & Present at WDVR-FM
 
bullet Chicago SoulTrip USA
 
bulletR&R Hall
of Fame
Interview with
Orioles' Deborah
Chessler

 
bulletSilhouettes' John Wilson Visits CUH World Headquarters
 
bulletNJ Doowop Group Harmony Club, 2009.
 
bullet New Years Eve 2008 with Nicky Addeo & Nite Owls
 
bullet 2008 European Road Trip: Deep River Quartet & Golden Gate Quartet
 
bullet 2008 Black Swan Burlington Concert
 
bullet 2008 Charleston Beach Music & Shag Festival
 
bullet Mills Bros,
Ink Spots
Beach Haven

 
bulletPhilly Doo Wop
Festival 2008

 
bullet Philly Doo Wop
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bullet [New!]Robert Murphy, Neighbors Complaint
 
bullet Walter McNeil, Gospel Nobleaires
 
bullet Jewel Akens, 4 Dots
 
bulletVirgil Johnson, Velvets
 
bulletCleotha Staples, Staple Singers
 
bulletDarlene McCrae, Cookies, Raeletts
 
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bulletMajor Harris, Delfonics, Nat Turner Rebellion, R&B Soloist
 
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bulletDeborah Chessler, Songwriter,Mentor to the Orioles
 
bulletWilla Ward, Ward Singers, Gay Charmers
 
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bulletJack Scandura
 
bullet Cadillacs' Bobby Phillips
 
bulletBobby Robinson
 
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bullet Blue Notes' Roosevelt Brodie
 
bullet Moonglows' Harvey Fuqua
 
bulletCrests' & Brooklyn Bridge's Johnny Maestro
 
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bulletSolitaires' & Vocaleers' Herman Dunham
 
bulletValentines' & Del-Knights' Eddie Edgehill
 
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bullet40 Years of Group Harmony: Ray Block's Photos of Vintage, Ad-Libs, Reunion, Bon-Aires, East River Drive
 
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Unknown Vocal Groups

     Great LINKS

 

 

    THE UNKNOWN VOCAL GROUP PAGE

Two More Unkown Groups Identified!

 

  Unknown Group #003  (Philadelphia, 1962) - NOW IDENTIFIED!

 

Jack & the Beanstalks
 

We already knew the name of this group – Jack & the Beanstalks.  We just didn't know anything about them.

  On August 24, 2009, we received the following email...

"Dear Dr. & Mrs. Horner.  I happened upon your site while Googling "Jack & the Beanstalks" (your Unknown Group # 3.  I can tell you who is in the picture!  It's my husband, Jack Lewis (guitarist, on top).  The picture is circa 1962 and the other musicians (left to right) are Wayne Seniff (bass, current status unknown), Dave Avayou (piano, current status unknown) and Joe Murphy (drums, deceased).  Represented by the Herb Lustig Talent Agency, American Artists Corporation in Philadelphia, Jack & the Beanstalks was a 60's cover dance band that played many of the colleges including Princeton, Rutgers, Temple, University of Pennsylvania, St. Joe's, Rider and also played Tony Marts in Somers Point.  My husband went on to form other bands through the years and he was also musical director for the Vibrations (James Johnson, Don Bradley, Dave Govan, Rick Owens) during the 1970's and has worked with other recording artists.  He earned his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Combs College of Music, PA, and while living in South Florida he was founder-director of a music school/retail facility that was involved in the country school band programs as well as on the faculty of high school adult education programs.  He has been a lifelong guitarist, singer, bandleader and music educator, performing professionally throughout the U.S., Canada and The Islands.  I have been performing with my husband since 1983 when we teamed up in Florida.  We are currently represented by an entertainment agency here in Charlotte, NC, and Jack teaches here in Charlotte." - Lynne & Jack Lewis, The Jack Lewis Band, Charlotte, NC.

In further correspondences, Lynn went on to say that all the members of Jack & the Beanstalks sang as well as played instruments.  The group performed mostly cover tunes of the day but never made any recordings.

Lynn attached a current photo of The Jack Lewis Band (they have currently downsized to a husband-wife dance duo since moving to the Carolinas).  In South Florida (Miami to Palm Beach) they worked from trio to 10 piece orchestra, performing at South Florida's most prestigious resorts and upscale venues for many years, including opening for headliner acts, political rallies, conventions, cruises, weddings, television, and society galas.  During the '90s they worked with the Sal Forell Show (Sal was formerly of the north NJ/NY area and had done concerts at the Meadowlands and recorded an album "So Lucky."  Sal was a Tony Bennett sound alike, a wonderful singer and entertainer.)  Jack arranged Sal's former 15-piece show down to a trio for the Lagoon Supper Club (Palm Beach County) where they also worked with drummer Joey DeNoia (who was formerly Buddy Rich's personal assistant).  Both Sal and Joey have sadly passed on.  The Jack Lewis band has also opened for the Four Aces, Soupy Sales, Pat Cooper, Julius LaRosa, and Sal Richards at the Lagoon.

The current dance orchestra repertoire for the duo includes jazz, latin, swing, big band, pop, disco cover material.  Jack is a world-class jazz guitarist who plays in the style of Joe Pass

Current photo of Jack & Lynne Lewis of thr Jack Lewis Band
(Photo courtesy of Lynne & Jack Lewis)


Thanks Lynne & Jack for identifying a photo that had intrigued us for a long time.  We hope to see you perform next time we're in the Charlotte area. - C&P
 

 

  Unknown Group #005  (1950's) - NOW IDENTIFIED!

Unknown Group #005's photo came to us from Todd Baptista who told us it was once in the possession of Jesse Belvin.  Jesse Belvin mentored dozens of vocal groups in the Los Angeles area during the 1950's so we thought maybe it was a group he rehearsed, coached or even sang with.  We were way off the track!

 

Unknown Vocal Group # 5 - Now identified as the Heartbeats
 

  At first we were thinking that this was a West Coast group.  We even sent a copy to Gaynell Hodge, hoping he'd be able to identify them.  Then Marv Goldberg sent us an email saying that the group was the Heartbeats!  After re-examining the photo, it did look like the Heartbeats to us.  We emailed the photo to Heartbeats' bass singer Wally Roker and soon got confirmation.  That's Wally Roker on the left, singing lead.  James Sheppard is on the right.  Wall even told us the song he's leading in the photo is "Oh Baby Don't."

Our thanks to Marv Goldberg for for his keen sense of observation.  How could we have missed that?  Thanks also to Wally Roker for the conformation. - C&P


For comparison, here's another Heartbeats photo.
Wally Roker is second from the left and James Sheppard is in the center.
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)
 

 

Unknown Group #008  (Cleveland, OH, 1950's)

Unknown Group #008's photo comes to us from Pete Wilgus.  Pete believes the group is from the Cleveland, Ohio, area.  Please email us if you recognize any of these singers or know anything about the group in this photo!

 

(Unknown Vocal Group #008)

 

 

Unknown Group #007  (Northern New Jersey, 1960's)

Unknown Group #007's photo comes to us from P. J. Noce.  P. J. found this photo in a flea market last year.  The photo says the group is called the U-Phonics and the manager's phone number (no longer valid) is from Northern New Jersey.  Please email us if you know anything about the group in this photo!

 



(Unknown Vocal Group #007)

 

Unknown Group #006  (Philadelphia or Camden, 1950's/early 1960's)

Unknown Group #006's photo comes to us from Val Shively who believes it is a Philadelphia, PA or Camden NJ group from the 1950's or early 1960's.  Please email us if you recognize anyone in this photo!

 

(Unknown Vocal Group #006)

 

Unknown Group #004  (New Jersey, late 50's) - IDENTIFIED!

Unknown Group #004's photo came to us from Phil Schwartz who obtained it from the estate of a DJ from Lebanon, PA.  According to Phil, the photo was taken at a photo studio in Belleville, NJ.

 

(Unknown Vocal Group #004)

UPDATE:

[New!]Identified - Another tough one, but on February 4, 2009, we received the following email...

 

"Hello Charlie and Pam.  I'm pretty sure those are The Plurals in picture #004.  A few months ago a handful of rare pictures went up for sale from the estate of a DJ from Lebanon, PA (probably the same DJ).  Included in those photos was a full scrapbook page of The Plurals.  Unfortunately, I didn't win the pictures and when I just searched completed listings nothing came up.  However, the picture below did come up when I searched on Ebay.  [See below.]  The only indication the scrapbook gave was one picture of them doing an outdoor gig.  If memory serves me right this shot was taken in Bloomfield (NJ).  The same vendor also had a scrapbook page of The Madisons on Lawn.  These were mainly pictures of the group hanging out in their house, rehearsing, etc.   It really broke my heart when I lost the bid on these pictures." - PJ Noce

 

 

We have to agree, PJ.  Unknown Vocal Group #004 looks like the Plurals to us.  We contacted Phil Schwartz, owner of the photograph.  He responded as follows:

"Hi Charlie & Pam,  This makes sense, since I have heard that The Plurals played at some record hops in the Lebanon area.  The group is probably from New Jersey. At least the label was out of Elizabeth, N.J.  I have a "stamped" DJ copy of their regional hit "Miss Annie" which has penciled writing on the label, listing C&M Records (probably the parent company) at 434 Pennington Street, Elizabeth.  The names listed are: Mazzillo, Anderson, Black, Bennet, and Wagner.  The date stamped is 11/7/58.  I have to admit that I missed out on the majority of records and photos from the  WLBR 'Henry & Al' collection.  I had a mutual DJ friend who gave me the contact a few years back, but I failed to follow up.  The auction was chaotic and mismanaged, according to some friends I know who were there.  Fortunately, I was able to get a handful of photos from one of the bidders.  Hopefully, the album will surface for further documentation.  It's a shame when these archives disappear into private collectors' hands who do not want to share them with those whose mission it is to preserve the history.  Fortunately, your web site is providing a format for those who are interested in preserving the history to contribute in a collective effort." - Phil Schwartz   

We believe the Plurals to be a Northern New Jersey group, as their record label, Wanger was from Elizabeth, NJ.  The Plurals had two records in 1958, "Miss Annie" b/w "Donna My Dear" and "Good Night" b/w "I'm Sold".

 



(Label Courtesy of Phil Schwartz)

 

"Miss Annie" came out first on the Wanger label.  At least three different label variations on Wanger are known.  The first label variation seems to be the one above, listing the group members - Carl Anderson, Theodore Bennett, Robert Black, Pat Mazzillo, and Rip Wagner.

Subsequent pressings had the group members listed only as song writers.  A third variation has the letters in Wanger closer together.  All pressings seem to be from 1958.

 



(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)

 

Later in 1958, "Miss Annie" was pressed on the Bergen label, apparently owned by Wanger.

 

(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)

 

One rare variation of the Bergen release is this blue vinyl copy, discovered in our archives!  This is not a bootleg, but from the same pressing as the black wax copy shown above.

 

(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)

 

The final record by the Plurals appears to be "Good Night" b/w "I'm Sold" on Wanger.  If the group personnel listed on the label is correct, a Mr. Benz replaced Pat Mazzillo on these sides.

 

 

Thanks P.J. Noce for recognizing the Plurals as Unknown Vocal Group #004.  We hope to have a more in depth article on the Plurals posted here soon.  And whoever bought that scrapbook, we'd love to know what else was in it! - C&P

 

Unknown Group #002 (Hollywood, 1955)  IDENTIFIED!

 

This one should be easier.  We believe this group was in an unidentified 1955 film, done by Universal Pictures.  Any ideas as to who the group is or what the film could be?

IDENTIFIED:  Bill Proctor emailed to tell us that this is a previously unknown photo of Charlie Fugua's Ink Spots.  Greg Centimore confirmed.  From left to right are:  Harold Jackson; Essex Scott; Jimmy Holmes; Charlie Fuqua.  The film these Ink Spots did in 1955 was a two song short film of "If I Didn't Care" (led by Holmes) and "Shanty In Old Shanty Town" (led by Scott).  The short was simply titled "The Ink Spots."  In addition to being a member of the original Ink Spots, Charlie Fuqua was an uncle to Harvey Fuqua, lead of the Moonglows. 

 

 

Unknown Vocal Groups #001 - IDENTIFIED!!!!!!!!!!!

When we first started this website, we made the following statement:

"In the course of serious research into any subject, there are always mysteries that sometimes never get answered.  We have a number of photographs of vocal groups that we know nothing about.  If you are visiting our website, odds are you have more than a passing interest in group harmony.  Please help us unravel these mysteries and give credit to these groups before they are lost forever in the vastness of time.  If you know anything about any of these groups, please email us at CUH@att.net."

Unknown Group #001 (North Philadelphia, 1955)

Unknown group #001 is special to us because their image graces the Classic Urban Harmony LLC logo.  The group represents to us all of the uncredited singers who gave their hearts and souls to give us harmony, yet are now in danger of being forgotten forever.  We found the photo in Philadelphia along with a 78 RPM acetate containing two of the finest mid-fifties R&B group sides we’ve ever heard.

 

The reverse of the photo lists Howard McCall of the 1400 block of North Corlies St. (North Philadelphia).  Note the poster in the photo that states “King Bowling Club Presents Tuesday Night Dances opening Tuesday November 15, 1955, starring Mel Melvin’s Orchestra and Viola Craig, Barber’s Building, ???? Oxford Street.”

 

 

Mel Melvin’s Orchestra can be partially seen in the background.  Mel Melvin was a Philadelphia bandleader as early as 1944.  His band at one point in 1949 contained such jazz greats as the Heath Brothers (Al on drums, Percy on bass and Jimmy on alto sax), Bill Barron (tenor sax) and John Coltrane (tenor sax).  Later, jazz pianist great Kenny Barron got his start as a teenager in Mel Melvin’s band, but that was probably a year or two after this photo was taken.

Update and Identification:

We showed this photo to dozens of Philly singers.  None could identify anyone in the photo.

Our first bit of detective work was done by Smitty of the vocal group, Quiet Storm.  He identified the location of the photo as Barber's Hall, a popular club during the 1950's located at 1404 West Oxford Street in North Philadelphia.

Our second break came when we played both sides of the unreleased acetate on George Frunzi's Goldradio Internet program on November 9, 2008.  Everyone who heard the songs, "Times Two I Love You," and "That's All There Is To That" marveled at how polished and professional the group sounded.  Yet no one recognized the lead singer's voice.

On November 29, we received the following email:

"Hi Charlie & Pam.  I think the unknown vocal group is The Notes (on Capitol and MGM).  I just got a copy of the Disco-File [Fernando L. Gonzalez] and in the unreleased records section of the book, both sides of your 78 RPM acetate, "Times Two I Love You" and "That's all There Is To That" are listed under The Notes.  Apparently the sides were recorded in 1955 under the name the Four Notes and the masters were sold to Capitol under master #'s 14872 and 14873.  Obviously the sides were never released.  After hearing you play the 78 RPM acetate on Goldradio a couple of weeks ago, in my opinion the lead singer sounds very much like the lead on The Notes' records "Round and Round," "Trust In Me" and "Don't Leave Me Now."  Let me know what you think.  Thank you.  Best regards," - Pete Finn.  

We immediately rushed to the Classic Urban Harmony Archives and listened to both released records by The Notes.  The lead tenor sure sounds like the same lead as on our unreleased songs by the Unknown Vocal Group.

 

 

Some time ago, Mitch Rosalsky's "Encyclopedia of Rhythm & Blues and Doo Wop Vocal Groups" identified The Notes as being from Philadelphia and consisting of Ray McElwain (first tenor), Boyd Beks (second tenor), Dave Wilson (baritone) and Clarence Beks (bass).  The group members all grew up in Philadelphia and went to school together.  They got together in 1953 and were all 23 years old (with the exception of Clarence Beks) in 1955.  Rosalsky quotes a Capitol record sleeve from "Don't Leave Me Now" as his source.

If the above information is true, The (Four) Notes apparently are unrelated to The Four Notes containing Gene Smith who also resided in Philadelphia and recorded for Gotham in the late 1940's.

 

Now the mystery deepens...  Did Nat King Cole & the Four Knights cover the Unknown Group's version of "That's All There Is To That"?

All told The Notes recorded twelve songs that we know of.  According to Disco-File, four were recorded independently and sold to Capitol in December 1955.  Four more were recorded for Capitol on March 2, 1956.  Four more were recorded for MGM on August 17, 1956.  Of the twelve songs recorded by The Notes, six were written by Clyde Otis! 

The (Four) Notes Discography

Recorded in Philadelphia and sold to Capitol in December 1955.

"Cha Jezebel"                 - Capitol 3332, co-written by Clyde Otis
"Don't Leave Me Now"      - Capitol 3332, co-written by Clyde Otis
"That's All There Is To That"    - Unreleased, co-written by Clyde Otis (only known copy in CUH Archives)
"Times Two I Love You"    - Unreleased (only known copy in CUH Archives)

Recorded for Capitol, March 2, 1956

"Clock Of Love"      - Unreleased
"Let Me Shake The Hand"    - Unreleased, written by Clyde Otis
"I Adore You"        - Unreleased
""I Never Cared Before"    - Unreleased

Recorded for MGM, August 17, 1956

"Trust In Me"    - MGM 12338
"Round And Round"    - MGM 12338
"Louise Louise Louise"    - Unreleased, written by Clyde Otis
""That's Why I Love You"    - Unreleased, written by Clyde Otis

Clyde Otis would go on to become one of the best known song writers of our era ("A Lover's Question," "It's Just A Matter Of Time," "A Rockin' Good Way," "Kiddio," "Baby You Got What It Takes," "Looking Back," "Endlessly," etc.).  One of his first big records was "That's All There Is To That" by Nat King Cole & the Four Knights - the same song as our unreleased acetate by The Notes.

Capitol Records purchased the rights to The Four Notes "That's All There Is To That" in December 1955.  They never released it.  On December 29, 1955, Capitol recorded the song by their established artists, Nat King Cole, backed by the Four Knights.  The arrangements are very similar.  The Cole/Knights version (backed by the Nelson Riddle Orchestra) was released in June 1956 and went to #15 on the R&B Charts, #16 on the Pop Charts.  Meanwhile, the Four Notes moved on to MGM Records.

Autographed photo of Four Knights, ca. 1956
(from the CUH Archives)

 

Some Questions still remain...

Were The Notes working with Clyde Otis in 1955?  They sure had six of his compositions before anyone else did.  We may never know because Clyde Otis passed away on January 8, 2008.

Did Capitol Records purchase The Notes version of "That's All There Is To That" just to give it to Nat King Cole and the Four Knights?  The timing certainly looks that way.

Who is Howard McCall, whose name and address are on the reverse of our photo?

More importantly, what ever happened to Ray McElwain, Boyd Beks, Dave Wilson and Clarence Beks?  Someone in Philly must know their whereabouts!!!  Maybe the mystery isn't totally solved after all.

 

Our deepest gratitude to Pete Finn and thanks to Ferdie Gonzalez' Disco-File.

 

Again, if you know anything about any of these groups, please email us at CUH@att.net  We’ll be posting more unknown groups in the weeks to come.

 

 

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