• The Four Kings (3) (Menphis, Tenesee)
    aka The Canes

    Personnel :

    Don Bryant (Lead)

    James "Jamie" Bryant (Tenor)

    Elvin Lee Jones (Second Tenor)

    Lionel Byrd (Baritone)


    Discography :

    Willie Mitchell & The Four Kings (3)
    1958 - Tell It To Me Baby / Walking At Your Will (Stomper Time 1160)
    1958 - Walkin' Alone / Rag Mop (Stomper Time 1163)

    The Four Kings (3)
    1963 - Farmer John / Round And Round (Moc 651)
    1963 - Early In The Morning / I Want To Be There (Moc 655)

    The Canes
    1962 - Why Should I Suffer With The Blues / I'll Never Give Her Up (My Friend) (Stax 123)


    Biography :

    1942, Memphis, Tennessee, USA. A significant songwriter for Joe Cuoghi"s (and then Willie Mitchell"s) Hi Records, especially for (and sometimes with) his wife, Ann Peebles, Bryant was also a superb soul stylist, although most of his own recordings for Hi were cut long before Al Green, in particular, gave the label the commercial soul base it needed for continued survival. One of 10 children, Bryant"s father (Donald Snr.) featured in the gospel quartet the Four Stars Of Harmony, and in 1955, Don Jnr. and four of his brothers formed their own gospel group, the Five Bryant Brothers, which soon became "secularized" as the doo-wopping Quails.

    Four Stars Of Harmony

     At Booker T. Washington High School, Bryant joined a group variously called the Canes and the Four Canes, named after their "manager", local Radio WLOK DJ, D. Cane Cole. or their live gigs the Canes dressed in striped jackets and straw hats and carried walking canes. Don"s brother James was also in the group, along with Lee Jones and William Walker, reputed to be the later Goldwax, Checker and Pawn soulman, (Wee) Willie Walker. A group called the Canes were taken to Stax Records by D. Cane Cole in early 1962 where they cut "Why Should I Suffer With The Blues", but they have since been identified as probably being the Largoes, led by Lorece Thompson.

    Willie Mitchell                                                                                                                                           

    FEventually, Bryant split from Cole and changed the group"s name to the Four Kings. The new quartet became Willie Mitchell"s singing group at the band leader"s live gigs at Memphis clubs. Bryant himself was still underage, and, to enable him to work, Mitchell became his legal guardian. Mitchell was also producer for the Home of The Blues label, whose featured artists included the ex-King group the Five Royales. They recorded Bryant"s first commercial composition, "Is There Someone Else On Your Mind". Meanwhile, the Four Kings cut "Crawl Parts 1 & 2" with the Willie Mitchell Band for Hi, before the group dissolved. Bryant went solo in 1964, making his debut with a storming version of Chris Kenner"s "I Like It Like That".



    Songs :

    Walking At Your Will                      Walkin' Alone                          Rag Mop



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