•  The Goldenaires
    Henry Gabb, Gene Ravain, Roy Picou - Bottom : Augie Wenzel

    The Goldenaires (New Orleans, Louisiana)

Personnel :

    Roy Picou (Lead/Second Tenor)

    Augie Wenzel (First Tenor)

    Henry Gabb (Baritone)

    Gene Ravain (Bass)


Discography :

    1959 - All About You / My Only Girl (Ron 325)
    1960 - Love letters  / Ding Bats (Ron 332)

    Biography :

    Ric and Ron were founded by Joe Ruffino, who named the labels after his two sons. Ruffino had learned how the R&B business worked through his association with Record Sales, the New Orleans record distribution outlet, and with Johnny Vincent, who based his Ace and Vin labels in Jackson, Mississippi but recorded almost exclusively in New Orleans. For a while Ruffino was Vincent’s eyes and ears, bringing several acts to Ace, including the Supremes and Lenny Capello. However, in 1958 Vincent cut him loose to do his own thing.

     The Goldenaires
    1958 - Henry Gabb, Augie Wenzel, Roy Picou and Gene Ravain

    Ruffino started Ric that spring with a handful of Ace masters he’d received as a parting gift from Vincent. He hired guitarist/bandleader Edgar Blanchard as his first A&R head and signed Al Johnson as the label’s initial artist. Blanchard soon moved on but his successors, Harold Battiste and the young Malcolm “Mac” Rebennack, carried on his work without missing a step before they in turn went on to greater fame as the 60s progressed.

     The Goldenaires      The Goldenaires
    1959 - Henry Gabb, Roy Picou and Augie Wenzel                                                     Joe Ruffino                        

    At the beginning of 1959, Joe Ruffino signed a vocal group "the goldenaires", a quartet composed of Roy Picou, Henry Gabb, Augie Wenzel and Gene Ravain. The quartet occurs locally in jazz clubs and other venues under the name of "Four Goldenaires". Ron released two singles "All About You" b/w "My Only Girl" in 1959 and "Love letters"  b/w "Ding Bats" at the beginning of the year 1960. From 1959, in spite of the departure of Gene Ravain the Goldenaires continue to occur in trio in the clubs of New Orleans and its surroundings.

    Songs :

    All About You                                   Love letters

    My Only girl                                  Ding Bats





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    Pauline Morgan, (center); Mayola Morgan, Rochelle Cooper and Christine Oliver

    The Melodettes (Baltimore)

    Personnel :

    Pauline Morgan

    Mayola Morgan

    Rochelle Cooper

    Christine Oliver

    Discography :



    Biography :

    The Melodettes were featured every weekend at Flame's Skylite Room of the Melody Ballroom along with the “Tilters, “The Skyliters” and Billy Barnhill, as the Master of Ceremony in 1953. They also performed in venues in Virginia, Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York.  They work with local popular groups such as “The Cardinals”, “The Swallows”, “ The Kings”, Shirley and Mickey Fields and the Seven-Tilters. Local promoter, Lou Karpouzie was their manager for four years.


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    The Salvadors (St. Louis.)

    Personnel :

    Gus Winfield  (Lead)

    Flint Lloyd (First Tenor/Lead)

    Donald Lloyd (Second Tenor)

    Robert Vincent (Baritone/Bass)

    Discography :

    1961 - Daddy Said / A-E-I-O-U (Nike 1010)
    1967 - Stick By Me, Baby / I Wanna Dance (Wise World 301)

    Biography :

    The Salvadors were a Black group from St. Louis.  They started singing while in high school in 1957.  They wrote their own songs.  From 1957-59, they had 5 members: Gus Winfield, Robert Vincent, Leroy McGhee, Carl Stark and another Carl.  In 1960, Donald Lloyd joined, replacing Carl Stark.  The other Carl dropped out, making them a foursome.  In 1961, his little brother, Flint Lloyd joined, replacing McGhee. 

    E. Rodney Jones

    In the Nike and Wise World groups, Gus Winfield was the lead, Flint Lloyd was 1st Tenor/Alternate Lead, Donald Lloyd 2nd Tenor, and Robert Vincent sang both the Baritone and Bass parts.  Winfield led on""A-E-I-O-U".  Flint Lloyd led on the 3 other songs on their 2 releases. They were discovered in 1961, by E. Rodney Jones while he was DJ in St. Louis.  He became their manager, and took them to Chuck Colbert in Chicago. who signed them.  In late 1961, Colbert recorded them at RCA's Chicago studio, and released a record on the group on his new label, Thor Records.


     It featured a male version of Luther Dixon's "Mama Said", with of one of The Salvadors' own songs on the flip, titled "A-E-I-O-U".  After some local Chicago sales, somehow the owners of another Thor Records, located in New York, found out about it and threatened a lawsuit.  So Colbert re-issued it in spring 1962 on his newly-named Nike Records. They appeared in some venues in Chicago during the early '61 and early '62.  Despite the almost 5 years between record releases, the group did make some local appearances between, but only in St. Louis.  They broke up in late 1962, but , and again once before 1965. 

    Donald Lloyd, Gus Winfield, Flint Lloyd & Robert Vincent

    From '65-67, the gigged in St. Louis, until late 1967, when E. Rodney Jones again took them to Chicago, and hooked them up with Joshie Armstead.  She recorded them at Universal Sound.  They appeared at a few venues in Chicago, but their record didn't sell at all, and got almost no airplay.  It sold moderately in St. Louis, due to their local appearances and consequent popularity.  They continued to play venues there until late 1969, when they broke up for the last time.

    Songs :

    Daddy Said                                 A-E-I-O-U

    Stick By Me, Baby                              I Wanna Dance


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  • The Showmen

    The Showmen (Norfolk, Virginia)
    (The early Years)

    Personnel :

    General Norman Johnson (Lead)

    Dorsey "Chops" Knight (Second Tenor)

    Gene "Cheater" Knight (First Tenor)

    Leslie "Fat Boy" Felton (Baritone)

    Milton "Smokes" Wells (Bass guitar)


    Discography :

    The Humdingers
    Unreleased :
    1956 - How Could You Forget (Atlantic)
    1956 - One More Kiss (Atlantic)
    1956 - Ride Alone (Atlantic)
    1956 – Papa Lollipop (Atlantic)

    The Showmen
    1961 - It Will Stand / Country Fool (Minit 632/Imperial 66033)
    1962 - The Wrong Girl / Fate Planned It This Way (Minit 643)
    1962 - Com'n Home / I Love You Can't You See (Minit 647)
    1962 - True Fine Mama / The Owl See's You (Minit 654)
    1964 - 39 - 21 - 46 / Swish Fish (Minit 662)
    1964 - Somebody Help Me / Country Fool (Imperial 66071)
    1965 - In Paradise / Take It Baby (Swan 4213)
    1965 - Our Love Will Grow / You're Everything (Swan 4219)

    Carl First & The Showmen
    1964 - I’m Still In Love With You / Mind Your Mamma (Lawn 223)

    Biography :

    The Showmen were one of the R&B groups to bridge the gap between doo wop and soul in the early '60s, creating a buoyant, energetic fusion of harmonies and propulsive R&B beats. The group only had one hit, "It Will Stand," which charted both in 1961 and in 1964, but their lead singer, General Johnson, went on to greater success as the leader of the '70s soul group Chairmen of the Board.

    The Showmen  The Showmen

    General Norman Johnson  and the group had been singing doo wop harmony together in their home town, Norfolk, Virginia, since the mid-'50s when they were barely in their teens and calling themselves The Humdingers. By 1960 their manager, Noah Biggs, had a demo recording made of the group, then consisting of lead singer Johnson, brothers Gene and Dorsey Knight (first and second tenors), baritone Leslie Felton and bass Milton Wells.

    The Showmen

    In 1961, the group signed with Minit Records, which was based in New Orleans. Their first single was a rock & roll anthem, "It Will Stand." Released in the fall of 1961, "It Will Stand" was a hit, particularly on the East Coast and in the New Orleans era, but it only peaked at number 61 on the pop charts. Nevertheless, the song's popularity never decreased and it became a hit three years later, when re-released on the Imperial label. On its second release, the single peaked at number 80 on both the R&B and pop charts.

    The Showmen    The Showmen

    Between the two chart appearances of "It Will Stand," The Showmen kept recording and performing. During this time, they had no national hits, but "39-21-46" became a significant regional hit. In 1965, the group signed with Swan Records, but none of the ensuing singles became hits. In 1968, Johnson left the band and moved to Detroit, where he formed the Chairmen of the Board, who would later have hits with "Give Me Just a Little More Time," "(You've Got Me) Dangling on a String," and "Everything's Tuesday" in the early '70s. In the three decades after the breakup of The Showmen, "It Will Stand" and "39-21-46" remained popular on the East Coast "beach music" scene and Johnson would later return to this area, carving out a living as a local performer.

    Songs :

    The Showmen

    It Will Stand                            Country Fool                            The Wrong Girl

    Fate Planned It This Way           Com 'n Home          I Love You Can't You See

    True Fine Mama              The Owl See's You                  39 - 21 - 46

    Swish Fish                        In Paradise                      Take It Baby

    Our Love Will Grow                 You're Everything


    Carl First & The Showmen

    Mind Your Mama             I'm Still In Love With You



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  • The Serenades
    Willie Wright

    The Serenades (Chicago)

    Personnel :

    Willie Wright (Lead)

    James "Doolaby" Wright (Bass)

    Willie Daniels (Baritone)

    Tommie Johnson

    Ronald Sherman

    Discography :

    1957 - A Sinner in Love / The Pajama Song (Chief 7002)

    Biography :

    Thei story of The Serenades goes back to Jenner Grade School, where Tommie Johnson, Otha Lee Givens, Terry Collier, Bryan Barlow, and Napoleon Hall formed a group. Tommie Johnson was the brother of Charles Johnson, the bass singer of the Von Gayles. The group graduated to Wells High and soon were playing at parties and talent contests. Johnson then met Willie Wright (aka Willie Dial), who had a group of his own, the Quails.

    The Serenades    The Serenades
    Jerry Butler                                                                                             Willie Wright

    The story of the Quails goes back to the famed soul singer Jerry Butler, before he was a part of the Impressions. While still attending Washburne Trade, he and his classmates formed a group called the Quails. The other members were Willie Wright; his brother, James "Doolaby" Wright; and Ronald Sherman, the latter who used to fill in for missing members of the Von Gayles. Butler left the group when he had to drop out of school to go to work. the Serenades. Members of the Serenades were lead singer Willie Wright, James "Doolaby" Wright, Willie Daniels, Tommie Johnson, and Ronald Sherman. The Serenades got a contract with Mel London's Chief label in early 1957.

    The Serenades    The Serenades

    The two sides released by the group in March that year were a ballad, "A Sinner in Love," and a jump, "The Pajama Song". The ballad got played on the deejay Sam Evans's show but did little else. Butler vividly remembered "A Sinner in Love" because it credits "Wright" and " Snave" as the writers. "It was my first composition," said Butler. "After I left the group, they recorded it and didn't even put my name on the record. I remember Sam Evans playing it one night, and I said, 'That's my song!' I called the guys up but they were all covering their eyes and feeling ashamed.  The Serenades got a bit of recognition in April 1957 when they appeared on the big Mambo Easter Dance sponsored by three local deejays, McKie Fitzhugh, Big Bill Hill, and Richard Stamz. Other acts on the bill included Paul Bascomb, Tommy "Madman" Jones, Harold Burrage, the Clouds, the Gay Tones, and the Five Echoes. Willie Wright soon left the Serenades and formed The Medallionaires.

    THE CHICAGO SCENE by Robert Pruter




    Songs :

    A Sinner in Love                              The Pajama Song

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