• The Casanovas (1)      Frank McWilliams                                        Chester Mayfield                                     Willie McWilliams 


    The Casanovas (1) (High Point, NC)

    Personnel :

    Chester Mayfield (Lead)

    Willie McWilliams (First Tenor)

    Melvin "Mike" Stowe (Second Tenor)

    William Samuels (Baritone)

    Frank McWilliams (Bass)

    Discography :

    Singles :
    1955 - That's All / Are You For Real (Apollo 471)
    1955 - Hush-A-Meca / It's Been A Long Time (Apollo 474)
    1955 - I Don't Want You to Go / Please Be My Love (Apollo 477)
    1955 - My Baby's Love / Sleepy Mead Mama (Apollo 483)
    1957 - Please Be Mine / For You And You Alone (Apollo 519)
    1958 - You Are My Queen / (I Got A) Good Lookin' Baby  (Apollo 523)

    Unreleased :
    Rock A Bye Baby (audition tape)
    My Love For You
    Love Me Baby
    Night Rider (Acapella)
    Listen To Those Bells(Acapella)
    Please Be Mine (Acapella)
    Pleading from My Heart (Acapella)
    You Are My Queen (Acapella)
    Good Lookin’ Baby (Acapella)

    Biography :

    The Casanovas were a spiritual quartet turned rhythm and blues group from High Point, North Carolina. They started out as the Jubilee Kings a few years after World War II, joining Frank and Willie McWilliams with nephews Chester and L. D. Mayfield. The teens sang right up to, through, and past the Korean War (they were all drafted and became paratroopers during the campaign) until they were discovered by 5 ROYALES roadie Bob Woodward in 1954. He introduced them to William Samuels, brother-in-law of Lowman Pauling of the 5 Royales, and Melvin Stowe, both from nearby Winston-Salem.

    The Casanovas (1)      The Casanovas (1)  

    Bess Berman (Apollo)                                                                            Chester Mayfield 

    By 1954 the spiritual quartet became an R&B quintet. Woodward had contacts at Apollo Records and sent owner Bess Berman one of the group's demo tapes. The result was a trip to New York for the vocalists to record their first songs in November 1954. "That's All" (April 1955), with Chester singing lead, was their first release on Apollo. (The group sported three lead singers, and each had several chances to front  the group on subsequent recordings.) "That's All" was a straightforward R&B ballad with no particular merit other than the appealing harmony and a sincere reading from the lead. Their second single, out in May, was a blues ballad with harmonic turns reminiscent of THE MOONGLOWS' 1953 Chance masterpiece "Baby Please." Plodding ahead, the group recorded and released a third single in July titled "I Don't Want You to Go."

    The Casanovas (1)      The Casanovas (1)

    Willie McWilliams                                                                            Frank McWilliams

    Though no more distinguished than its predecessors, this song's Chester-penned melody did serve as the nucleus for Lowman Pauling's "Dedicated to the One I Love », which he and his 5 Royales released in 1957 and which later became a hit for THE SHIRELLES in 1961 (#3)and THE MAMAS AND THE PAPAS in 1967 (#2). The week before Christmas brought in the Casanovas' next ballad A side (come to think of it, all of their A sides were ballads),  a nice high-tenor recording by Melvin Stowe called "My Baby's Love." The Carolina quintet didn't record or have a record out in 1956 and worked mostly on a local club basis. In the summer of 1957 they returned to New York for another shot, recording the beautiful ballad "Please Be Mine". Their last 45 came out in 1958 but by this time it was apparent that Apollo was just going through the motions, and the group gave up singing together by the end of the decade. No, they didn't have any hits,

    Songs :
    (updated by Hans-Joachim) 

    That's All                      Are You For Real                  Hush-A-Meca

    It's Been A Long Time        I Don't Want You to Go            Please Be My Love

    My Baby's Love            Sleepy Mead Mama                  Please Be Mine

    For You And You Alone             You Are My Queen            Rock A Bye Baby

         My Love For You                          Love Me Baby         (I Got A) Good Lookin' Baby 

       Night Rider                   Please Be Mine (Acapella)        Listen To Those Bells (Acapella)

    Pleading from My Heart (Acapella)     Good Lookin’ Baby (Acapella)     Please Be My Love (Acapella))




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