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[New!]Tony Talent & the Coalitions

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

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Richard Barrett
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Richard Barrett
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Richard Barrett
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Richard Barrett
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bullet [New!]TNT with Vic Donna Group & Charlie Horner
 
bulletAsbury Angels 2014, Bobby Thomas
 
bulletRichard Nader Doo Wop Concert XXV
 
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bullet VGHA Extravaganza III
 
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African American
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bulletRe-MemberThen
at NJ Doo Wop Singers Club 2013

 
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bulletRichard Nader's Doo Wop Celebration XXVI
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2013 Asbury Angels Plaque Dedications
 
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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
 
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bullet Morris Museum Acappella & Doo Wop Concert # Two
 
bullet Morris Museum Acappella Concert # One
 
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on Acappella
 
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Oct 2009
 
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bullet2009 Charleston Beach Music & Shag Festival
 
bulletAcappella Group Choice at Franklin Township Public Library
 
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bulletSilhouettes' John Wilson Visits CUH World Headquarters
 
bulletNJ Doowop Group Harmony Club, 2009.
 
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bullet [New!]Robert Murphy, Neighbors Complaint
 
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bulletCrests' & Brooklyn Bridge's Johnny Maestro
 
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[New!]Eddie Edgehill Tribute
(Valentines and Del-Knights)
1935 - 2010


Eddie Edgehill


Eddie
Your music meant so much to the world.
Your friendship meant so much to us.
We'll miss you, Eddie.

- Charlie & Pam Horner
 

Eddie Edgehill, second tenor for the Rhythm & Blues vocal groups the Valentines and Del-Knights passed away on January 13, 2010 in Philadelphia.  He was 74.  The world will remember Eddie as a great singer, a fabulous dancer and a quintessential entertainer.  We at Classic Urban Harmony remember Eddie as a good friend; someone who was always glad to share with us his memories of his long career in music.  Forty years ago, in 1970, Charlie played a Valentines record on his radio show and Eddie called in to say that he sang on that record.  Eddie and Charlie have been friends ever since.
 

Eddie Edgehill was born in New York City on June 6, 1935, raised in Philadelphia, and moved back to New York City when he was sixteen.  In New York he started singing in a group called the Valtones, a group that featured Eddie’s uncle, Robert Simmons.  When the Valtones competed in a show at a school early in 1955, members of the Valentines were in the audience.  “I had heard that the Valentines were looking for a second tenor, because Donald Raysor had been drafted,” Eddie told Charlie Horner. 

The Valentines were a Harlem R&B vocal group, led by Philadelphian Richard Barrett.  The rest of the group included Raymond Briggs, Mickey Francis, Ronnie Bright and Donald Raysor.  The Valentines had just drawn some local attention with their first recording, “Tonight Kathleen” on the Old Town label.  With Raysor entering the service, they were indeed looking for a new second tenor.  The Valentines were impressed with Eddie Edgehill’s singing, but what impressed them even more was Eddie’s dancing.  Eddie had always been a great dancer.  Richard Barrett knew that if the Valentines could combine talented singing with outstanding stage presence, they’d have the formula for success.  After the show, both groups began walking downtown, with Richard Barrett walking behind the Valtones.  And Richard kept saying, “You see that guy there [Eddie Edgehill].  I’m gonna get that guy for my group.”

Ronnie Bright and Eddie Edgehill knew each other, since both lived on 151st Street at Amsterdam Avenue.  Ronnie told Eddie, “Richard [Barrett] wants to get you into the Valentines.  They’re gonna have a meeting about you.  Come up to my house tomorrow night.”  So Eddie went over to Ronnie’s house the next night and the Valentines had a private meeting.  When they came out they told Eddie they wanted him in the Valentines.  No audition was necessary.  Eddie was given a copy of “Tonight Kathleen” and asked to learn it for the Valentine’s next rehearsal.  While rehearsing with the Valentines, Eddie continued singing with the Valtones.  Eventually the Valtones broke up and later re-formed without Eddie to record “Have You Ever Met An Angel” for Gee Records.

“I wasn’t really a second tenor,” remembered Eddie.  “I’d sung baritone with the Val-Tones.  But Richard said, “Oh, you can learn second tenor.”  And he worked with me and I got it but it took a lot of rehearsing, man, a lot of rehearsing.  We had a whole bunch of songs we were doing at that time besides ‘Tonight Kathleen’,” Eddie recalled.  “We had one called ‘Henry Ford’ [‘I Love My Baby,’ no doubt taken from the Re-Vels during Richard’s Philly days] and a song called ‘Chuck-A-Luck’ that Richard wrote that we never recorded.”

Before joining Rama records, the Valentines played mostly around New York, playing schools and teenager functions.  Initially they rehearsed at Ronnie Bright’s house on 51st street.  Later they started rehearsing at Bowman’s, 155th Street and St Nicholas Place, in the heart of Sugar Hill.  Richard Barrett lived uptown (at 165th St. and Amsterdam Ave.), as did Mickey Francis.  Eddie and Ronnie lived downtown.  The Valentines’ recording contract with Old Town was for one year.  They were supposed to make another record for Old Town but time ran out.


The Valentines: Top row; Ronnie Bright, Richard Barrett, Raymond Briggs
Bottom row; Mickey Francis and Eddie Edgehill
(Photo courtesy of Val Shively)
 

George Goldner invited the Valentines to come to his Rama/Gee Records studio for an audition.  Goldner formed his first label, Tico, in 1948, in order to record Latin and mambo records.  Through the early 1950’s his big star was Tito Puente.  In 1953 he ventured into Rhythm & Blues, scoring big with the Crows recording of “Gee”.  Goldner was looking for R&B vocal groups when he happened to run into the Valentines.

The Valentines auditioned with an early version of “Lily Maebelle”.  George Goldner liked the song but didn’t like the beat.  He told the group to use a beat similar to the Crows’ “Gee”.  The original version was slightly slower but didn’t have that finger snapping beat like the Crow’s record.  The Valentines went home and began rehearsing “Lily Maebelle” with a stronger beat and the “bo bo bo” baseline.  When George heard the new arrangement, he loved it.  He took the Valentines into the city and recorded it.


Valentines "Lily Maebelle"
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)
 

The first Rama release was the catchy jump tune, “Lily Maebelle”, released in October 1955.  The most well known Valentines’ personnel of Barrett, Francis, Edgehill, Briggs and Bright were now in full force.  They could do it all.  The quintet could handle up-tempo and ballad songs with equal ease.  But the energetic jump tunes really showed off their self-taught, carefully choreographed dance steps.


(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)
 

At Richard’s insistence, the Valentines took great pride in their appearance.  “We each had a white tux, a black tux, a red tux and a blue tux,” Eddie said.  “We had black suede jackets.  We had a black corduroy jackets with white pants.  We had black shoes, white shoes, red shoes.  And we had a red heart on the pocket of each of our uniforms.  Richard had a red heart made of oilcloth sewn on the pockets of all our uniforms.  That was our logo.”


The Valentines in their white tuxedos with red hearts on the jacket pockets.
Left to right: Mickey, Eddie, Ronnie, Raymond, Richard.
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)
 

One of the first appearances by the Valentines after the release of “Lily Maebelle” was an Alan Freed stage show at the State Theater in Hartford.  The show also included the Moonglows, the Heartbeats and the Nutmegs.  It was Halloween night and Richard said, “Let’s buy some masks to put on.”  “We came out with masks on and the audience kept yelling, ‘Take the masks off!  Take the masks off!’, remembered Eddie.  “We had a routine where we spun around and when we turned back to the audience we had the masks off.  Alan Freed loved that.”

On November 18, the Valentines began a week at the famed Apollo Theater with the Four Fellows, Chuck Berry, the Solitaires, Arthur Prysock and the Buddy Johnson Orchestra.  It was the Valentines’ first show at the famed Apollo.  The show was billed as “Hal Jackson’s Rhythm & Blues Review.”  “The Solitaires and Valentines sang and presented their songs in the colorful rhythm and blues style, with lots of choreography,” recalled Four Fellows’ lead Jim McGowan.  “Compared to them, we [the Four Fellows] must have seemed like stiffs.”


The Valentines on stage.
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)
 

From there, the Valentines appeared on dee jay Georgie Woods’ “Rock ‘N’ Roll No. 4” show in Philadelphia.  The show was held in the magnificent Mastbaum Theater at 20th and Market Streets, a five thousand seat venue, complete with marble imported from Italy and twenty-two karat gold leaf decorated lobby and ceiling.  During the show, the stage came up out of the floor.  Also on the show were Bubber Johnson, the El Dorados, Philadelphia vocalist Gloria Mann, Screaming Jay Hawkins, Lavern Baker and the Four Lads.  Bobby Roberts’ twenty-three piece rock & roll orchestra supplied the music.[5,6]

While in the Philadelphia area, many of the stars of the Georgie Woods show, including the Valentines, El Dorados and Screamin’ Jay, also performed at the Tippin Inn on Sunday, Dec. 18th.  The Tippin Inn was a black-owned establishment in Berlin, NJ, that sported a grand showroom and featured some of the country’s best known African-American entertainment.


(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)
 

The grandness of the Valentines bookings reflected the popularity of “Lily Maebelle” and their follow up release, “I Love You Darling”.  While there was no evidence that “Lily Maebelle” broke national (Billboards national R&B charts contained only the Top 15), the record sure made noise in some key local markets.  The record spent the month of December in Cash Box’s Hot Ten R&B charts in Philadelphia.  The song was also big in New York.  No wonder the Valentines were invited to join Alan Freed’s Christmas holiday show.  It opened at New York City’s Academy of Music on December 22, 1955, and ran for twelve days.  The show also included Lavern Baker, the Wrens, the Cadillacs, the Chuckles, Count Basie, Joe Williams, Boyd Bennett, Don Cherry, Gloria Mann, the Heartbeats, Sam Taylor and Al Sears.  To coincide with the Christmas season, the Valentines released “Christmas Prayer,” another Barrett composition.  Before long the Valentines were one of the hottest groups on the East Coast.

The Valentines quickly acquired their own fan club, the Valenteens! A number of young women came to Richard and asked if the Valentines wanted a fan club, and Richard said yes.  They wanted to come to the group’s rehearsals, but Richard would not allow that.  The Valenteens came to all the Valentines shows and always sat in the front rows.  They would call all the radio stations and request Valentines’ records.  [see matchbook photo below]


(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)
 

One of the Valentines’ recordings from late 1955 didn’t give them any label credit at all.  The vocal group the Wrens were scheduled to record “C’est la Vie” but only lead Bobby Mansfield and George Magnezid of the Wrens showed up.  The Valentines were already in the studio to record “Hand Me Down Love”.  George Goldner had the idea that the Valentines could lend backup voices, which they did.

In later years, Richard Barrett would become the quintessential A&R man/producer – the one who would be in the studio making sure the mikes were positioned and mixed right, making sure the recording had the sound the label wanted on the record.  Yet through most of the Valentines recordings, it was George Goldner who filled this role.  Richard watched and learned skills he would later used to produce records for Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers, Chantels, Flamingos, Isley Brothers, Imperials and Dubs.

WINS’ Alan Freed was not the only dee jay out promoting R&R stage shows in the New York – New Jersey area.  WLIB jock, Hal Jackson, staged the first such stage show in the Bronx on February 10–12, 1956.  Held at the Opera House Movie Theater, the line-up included the Valentines, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, the Bonnie Sisters, Cadillacs, Heartbeats, Ann Cole, Ruth McFadden, Al Sears and Frank (“Floorshow”) Culley’s band.  Such shows could be grueling, presenting five or six performances a day.

Also in February, the Valentines joined an R&B stage show package to tour the Stanley-Warner theater chain in northern New Jersey.  The package was promoted and MC’d by Ramon Bruce of WAAT (Newark) and also included the Heartbeats, Jesse Powell, Sam (The Man) Taylor, the El Dorados, the Cadillacs, Ray and Jay, Harriet Kaye, and Gloria Mann.  At opening night, Feb.12, at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, 8000 people circled the block waiting to buy tickets.  The following night at the Embassy Theater in Orange, both performances had been sold out a week in advance.  By Wednesday night at the Ritz in Patterson, 4000 teenagers jammed the streets.[7]  Shows in Hoboken, Bayonne, and Elizabeth did just as well.  All told, the six-day tour played to more than 25,000 people.[8]  Audiences were mixed race and generally well behaved.  At one show in Connecticut, fans stormed the dressing room, looking for autographs and pieces of the performers clothing,


Ad for Chubby's nightclub in South New Jersey
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)
 

In April 1956, Alan Freed put together another rock & roll stage show to run Easter Week at the Brooklyn Paramount.  Actually, the show ran ten days with six or seven performances a day.  The show was heavy on vocal groups – the Valentines, Teenagers, Platters, Willows, Flamingos, Cleftones, Rover Boys, and Royaltones – plus the Jodimars, Ruth McFadden, Cindy & Lindy, Dori Anne Gray and the Alan Freed Orchestra featuring Sam (The Man) Taylor and Al Sears.  This was the first time the Valentines performed on the same billing as Richard’s protégé, young Frankie Lymon.  The twelve-year-old Lymon spent a lot of time in the Valentines’ dressing room between sets.  Little did the group know, the youngster secretly tied the shoelaces of some of their shoes together.  “He tied mine together and those of Ronnie Bright,” Eddie recalled.  “He used to do things like that.”  The show was a huge success.  An estimated $240,000 was netted over the length of the show.  At $1.25 to $2.00 per ticket, that amounted to a half million tickets sold. [9]

One of the Valentines most popular songs was “Woo Woo Train”, released in the spring of 1956.  “Woo Woo Train” was notable for the great sax solo by Rama band leader, Jimmy Wright.  “Jimmy Wright – Oh man, he was great!” exclaimed Eddie Edgehill.  “I loved that man.  He was great, especially on “’Woo Woo Train’”.


Valentines' "Woo Woo Train"
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)
 

The sight of the group bounding onto the stage dressed in white suits with red hearts on their front pockets to the tune of “Lily Maebelle” was a sure crowd pleaser.  But what really tore up the show was the group’s closing song.  They saved “Woo Woo Train” for the end because it showcased their choreography.  Recalled Eddie, “We had canes and Ronnie [Bright] would have a conductor’s hat on, and he’d say, ‘All Aboard!’  And then they’d start ‘Woo Woo Train’.  We had a lot of dancing in that song and saved it for our closer.”

According to Eddie, most of the choreography was worked out by Eddie Edgehill and Mickey Francis, and sometimes Ronnie Bright.  “We all put our heads together and worked out the routines.  Richard said, ‘We’re not going to put no money together to go to no dance school.  This is something we can do ourselves!’  And we did.  The Cadillacs and lots of other groups went to Cholly Adkins, but we did our own choreography.”

By May, “Woo Woo Train” had reached #6 on Joe Smith’s Boston (WVDA) survey, prompting the Valentines to cut a radio promo for him.  They also cut a promo for Ramon Bruce.


The Valentines
(Courtesy of Richard Barrett)
 

In June of 1956, The Valentines, along with the Moonglows and Solitaires, donated their services to assist Alan Freed with entertaining an “alcohol-free” prom for Horace Greeley High School, in Chappaqua, NY.[10]

Also in June 1956, The Apollo Theater in NYC featured on its bill five groups from the Rama/Gee label stables:  The Valentines, Teenagers, Cleftones, the Pretenders and Mabel King from Charleston, SC.  The show also featured Clyde McPhatter, recently split from the Drifters.

Most of the Valentines performances were on the East Coast.  They did play the Downtown Lounge in Springfield, MA, Chubby’s in Camden, NJ (April 23, 1956), Washington, DC and the El Mocambo Club in Toronto, where they stayed for a month.  Richard felt they should perform where Rama records had the best distribution.  Most of the traveling was done in the group’s station wagon, with “Valentines” written on the side or by Trailways bus.  The group traveled with their music written out and used the house band of the venue they were playing.


(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)
 

Meanwhile, June 1956 saw the release of the Valentines’ fifth Rama release, “Twenty More Minutes,” which was another Barrett composition.  By August 24, the Valentines were back at the Apollo Theater with Tommy (Dr. Jive) Small’s R&B show.  The line up also included the Clovers, Big Maybelle, Claudia Swan, Bo Didley, the Five Satins, Charlie & Ray, and the Channels.

By late summer 1956, Raymond Briggs left the group and was replaced at first tenor by David Clowney.  Clowney had been playing piano for the group and moved into the role of singer.  The Valentines first met David Clowney earlier in 1956 while he was singing and playing piano with the Pearls (“Shadows of Love”).  The Pearls were a Detroit group who were on a week-long show at the Apollo Theater.  “The Valentines had seven days off so we went down to the Apollo and after the show went backstage and talked to David Clowney,” Eddie stated.  “We asked him where he was going next and he said the Pearls were heading back to Detroit but he was staying in New York.  So we asked him how he’d like to play piano for the Valentines and he said, ‘Sure!’  So he came to rehearsal and that’s how he got into the group.”  Clowney left the Pearls and joined the Valentines.  The Valentines’ recording of “Nature’s Creation,” released in October, still has Briggs as tenor, with Clowney on piano.

In late 1956, Eddie Edgehill left the Valentines and returned to Philly due to an illness in his family.  Eddie’s part was taken by Carl Hogan, who rejoined the Valentines.

                Back in Philadelphia in 1957, Eddie Edgehill ran into an old friend from his school days, Arthur “Jackie” Harden.  The two decided to start a singing group in Philadelphia so they recruited some singers from the South Philly neighborhood where Eddie was living (Wilder Street between Reed and Dickerson Streets).  Added to the group were Warren Sherrill, Frank “Lovey” Washington and Jerry Abel.  Warren Sherrill had begun singing with a legendary Philly street corner group called the Quantrells (no releases) that at one time also contained Roosevelt Simmons (Sensations & Universals), Robert Mott (Dreamers), Alphonso Howell (Sensations) and Russell Carter (Cherokees).

                Eddie Edgehill’s new group was named the Orientals.  Warren Sherrill and Arthur Harden shared the leads while Eddie sang baritone, Frank sang second tenor and Jerry sang bass.

                The Orientals rehearsed a lot at a room in the Progressive Club (a nightclub on Reed Street).  When he thought the group was ready, Eddie contacted Richard Barrett who was always looking for talented acts to produce at Gone/End records.  The group traveled to New York City and met with Barrett.  They ended up recording two songs produced by Richard Barrett, “Can’t You Hear the Bells” and “Lonesome”.  George Goldner told Richard to give the group a demo of both sides to take back to Philly.  Goldner wanted Georgie Woods to play the record on the air and start to break it in Philadelphia.  Woods played the record but nothing further became of it.  Unfortunately, the tunes were never released by Goldner.

                At Barrett and Goldner’s suggestion the Orientals changed their name to the Del Knights.  On a second trip to visit Richard Barrett, the Del Knights were given “Could You Care” to work on.  Richard wanted the Del Knights to remain in New York and work on the tune but Arthur Harden left the group to get married.  Without Harden, the Del Knight’s sound changed.  By the time Harden returned to the Del Knights, Goldner was no longer interested.


The Del-Knights, ca. 1958
Eddie Edgehill at bottom.
Top, left to right: Jerry Able, Frank Washington,
Dexter ? (pianist), Warren Sherrill, Arthur Harden
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)
 

The Del Knights career continued without Barrett and Goldner.  The group auditioned for Barry Golder and Jocko Henderson’s Casino label, where they then re-recorded “Lonesome” along with five other sides including “Compensation,” “Everything,” “I Am To Blame,” “Don’t Cry Anymore” and “Madly.”  “Compensation” b/w “Everything” were issued on the Unart label in December 1958.  The other four sides remained unreleased until 1994 when they appeared on the Collectables label CD’s “Spotlite on Mainline and Casino Records Vol. 1 and 2.”  In 2003 they were also issued on limited pressed (only 100 made) red vinyl 45 RPM singles on the Reco-Art label.  “Madly” (lead by Warren Sherrill) is a cover of the song “Honest,” recorded by the Philadelphia group the Gazelles for Gotham Records in 1955.




 

After signing with the Ruth Davies Theatrical Agency on South Broad Street, the Del-Knights spent much of the late 1950’s touring New England and eastern Canada as well as singing around Philadelphia.  For a time, Arthur Harden left the group, being replaced by Anthony “Bay” McKinley, the former second tenor of the Cruisers on V-Tone.  The Cruisers had originally come from Washington, DC, but had become a fixture around the Philadelphia club scene. Jerry Able also left the group, being replaced by a singer remembered as Al.  Both Arthur Harden and Jerry Able would eventually return to the Del-Knights.  Bay and Al were mostly used for live performances and touring.

By the early 1960’s, the Del-Knights had also assembled up a band that traveled and performed with them.  Members of the band included Howard Churchill (bass guitarist who also sang), Tommy Langley (guitarist), Sax White (saxophone), Henry Terrell (drums), and later on Joe Jefferson and Duke Johnson on sax.

In 1961, the Del-Knights recorded for Jerry Ross and Murray Wecht.  “I’m Coming Home” and “One Two Button My Shoe,” both lead by Warren Sherrill were released on Ross’ Sheryl label.  The record was issued again a year later as the De-Lights on the Popline label.  The group on Sheryl most likely included Eddie Edgehill, Warren Sherrill, Anthony McKinley and Al ?.


The Del Knights' "I'm Comin' Home"
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)



The Del-Knights performing at the Wagon Wheel, NYC, ca. 1961.
Left to right: Howard Churchill (bass guitar), Warren Sherrill,
Anthony McKinley, Al ?, Eddie Edgehill
(Courtesy of Eddie & Geri Edgehill)
 

Also in 1961 the Del Knights recorded for Chancellor records.  Two songs, “Wrapped Too Tight,” and “Wherever You Are” were arranged by veteran Philadelphia producer Jerry Ragavoy.  Eddie recalled the personnel on the record as himself, Warren Sherrill, Al ?, Arthur Hardin (who’d returned to the group) and Herbie Benjamin.  Some publicity photos from Chancellor, however, shows only Eddie Edgehill, Warren Sherrill, Al ? and Anthony McKinley.  Since Arthur Harden is listed as co-writer of “Wherever You Are” along with Eddie Edgehill and Warren Sherrill, it’s likely that some personnel changes occurred between the photos and the recording session.


The Del Knights on Chancellor label, ca. 1961
Top row, left to right: Warren Sherrill, Al ?, Anthony McKinley
Bottom, left to right: Howard Churchill, Sax White, Henry Terrell
Eddie Edgehill, Tommy Langley
(Courtesy of Eddie & Geri Edgehill)


The Del-Knights
Left to right: Arthur Harden, Eddie Edgehill, Herb Benjamin, Al ?, Warren Sherrill
(Photo courtesy of Eddie and Geri Edgehill)
 


Del Knights' "Wherever You Are"
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)
 

The Del-Knights final recording featured as return to the production team of Jerry Ross and Murray Wecht.  The group covered the David Dante novelty song, “Speedy Gonzales” for the Bronko label.  While the Del-Knights version did well, it was Pat Boone’s version that scored nationally.


Del Knights' "Speedy Gonzales"
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)


The Del Knights ca. 1961
Top, Left to right; Warren Sherrill, Eddie Edgehill, Al ?, Anthony McKinley
Bottom, Left to right; Howard Churchill, Henry Terrell, Tommy Langley, Sax White
(Courtesy of Eddie & Geri Edgehill)

 

The Del-Knights kept singing until 1966 when they formed the core of Terry Johnson’ Modern Flamingos group.  Booked by the Jolly Joyce Agency in Philadelphia, the modern Flamingos became Terry Johnson (lead), Eddie Edgehill (second tenor), Warren Sherrill (first tenor), Jerry Able (bass) and sonny Ross (baritone) along with musicians Duke Johnson (drums) and Eddie Thomas (bass guitar).  That group stayed together for about a year before Terry Johnson moved to Detroit to record, write and produce for Motown.

In 1967, Eddie Edgehill and Warren Sherrill wrote and produced “Do The African Twist” for the mad men on the Gamble label.

By 1968, Eddie Edgehill was managing the Sweet Delights, a group of four women and one man.  The Sweet Delights featured Eddie’s wife, Gerylane (Moore) Edgehill.  Also in the group were Peggy Murphy, Grace Montgomery, Albert Byrd and a woman remembered only as Jackie.  In 1968 the Sweet Delights recorded “Baby Be Mine” for Atco Records.  The record sold well, enabling the group to tour extensively.


The Sweet Delights, 1968
Left to right: Geri Edgehill, Peggy Murphy, Albert Byrd, Jackie ?, Grace Montgomery
(Courtesy of Eddie & Geri Edgehill)
 

On April 12, 1997, former Valentines’ Richard Barrett, Eddie Edgehill, Ronnie Bright and Mickey Francis were reunited on stage at New York City’s Symphony Space Performing Arts Center as they were inducted into the United In Group Harmony Association’s Vocal Group Hall of Fame.

Eddie Edgehill passed away on January 13, 2010 in Philadelphia's Temple Hospital.  He will be missed.


Recorded in 1958, the Del-Knights' "Lonesome" did not come out until
issued on A CD in 1994.  In 2003, it was released on a red vinyl
45 RPM collector's release.  Only 100 were pressed.
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)

 
Eddie Edgehill Discography - 45 RPM Singles

As by "The Valentines"

Rama 171            Lily Maebelle / Falling For You                                1955

Rama 181            I Love You Darling / Hand Me Down Love                 1955

Rama 186            Christmas Prayer / K-I-S-S Me                               1955

Rama 196            The Woo Woo Train / Why                                     1956

Rama 201            Twenty Minutes / I'll Never Let You Go                     1956

Rama 208            Natures Creation / My Story Of Love                        1956
 

As by "The Wrens" [Uncredited backup to Bobby Mansfield]

Rama 194            C'est La Vie / --                                                    1956
 

As by "The Del Knights"

Unart 2008            Compensation / Everything                                    1958

Sheryl 339            I'm Comin' Home / One Two Button My Shoe              1961

Chancellor 1075    Wherever You Are / Wrapped Too Tight                     1961

Bronko 502           Speedy Gonzales / Everybody Popeye                       1962

Reco-Art 1000      Lonesome / I Am To Blame                                       2003

Reco-Art 1001      Madly / Don't Cry Anymore                                       2003
[the last two records were recorded in 1958]


As by "The De-Lights"

Pop-Line 346        I'm Comin' Home / One Two Button My Shoe                1962
(Reissue of the Sheryl release)


The Del Knights' "Madly"
Only 100 pressed.
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)

 

Based on our lengthy interviews and conversations with Eddie Edgehill and Richard Barrett.
Parts of this this tribute were taken from our articles, "
Richard Barrett Part 1: The Valentines"
and "Richard Barrett Part 6: The Channels, Isley Bros, Del Knights,"both of which appeared
in "Echoes of the Past" magazine and are reprinted on this website. 

 

Copyright © Classic Urban Harmony LLC, 2010.  All Rights Reserved.