The Chestnuts (2)  (New Haven, Conn.)
    aka The Five Chestnuts
    aka The El-Lanos



    Ruby Whittaker (Lead)

    Lyman Hopkins (First tenor)

    Frank Hopkins (Second Tenor)

    Jimmy Curtis  (Baritone)

    Reuben White     (Bass)

    Discography :

    The Chestnuts (2)
    Singles :
    1957 - It's You I Love / Love Is True (Davis 447)
    1957 - Forever I Vow / Brother Ben (Davis 452)
    1957 - Who Knows Better Than I?  / Mary, Hear Those Love Bells (Standord 100)
    1957 - Who Knows Better Than I? / I'm So Blue (Eldorado 511)
    Unreleased :
    1957 - Tilly, Take Your Time (Standord)

    Bill Baker & The Chestnuts (2)
    1959 - Won't You Tell Me My Heart / Tell Me Little Darling (Elgin 007/008)
    1959 - Wonderful Girl / Chit Chat (Elgin 013/014)

    Marvin Baskerville & The Five Chestnuts
    1958 - Chi-Chi / Chapel In The Moonlight (Drum 001/002)

    The Five Chestnuts
    Singles :
    1959 - My kind Of Baby / Chi Chi (Elgin 002/003)
    Unreleased :
    1958 -  I’m So Glad (Drum)

    Marvin Baskerville /  Hayes Baskerville & The Five Chestnuts
    1958 - Chi-Chi / Billy (My Kind Of Baby)  (Drum 003/004)

    Hayes Baskerville / Norven Baskerville & The Five Chestnuts
    1958 - Billy (My Kind Of Baby)  / My One And Only Love (Drum 003/004)

    Vicki Lee bb The Five Chestnuts
    1959 - Crying My Heart Out / With All My Heart (Drum 017/018)   


    The El-Lanos
    1989 - I Wonder Why / In Mexico (Crescent 200)

    Biography :

    The Chestnuts were named for their home state, Connecticut. They were from New Haven and the original members of the group were Leroy Griffin (lead, but not the lead singer of another New Haven group, The Nutmegs), Lymon Hopkins (first tenor ), Frank Hopkins (second tenor), Jimmy Curtis (baritone), and Reuben White (bass) . When they thought they were ready for a shot at recording, they made the rounds of a number of independent record companies in New York City without much success. The group thought about their status and felt that if they featured a female lead singer, they would have a more unique sound and have a better chance for a recording contract.

     At this time they contacted someone whom they thought would be the perfect addition to the group, and so Ruby Whitaker became the lead voice of the group (When Ruby came in, Leroy went out). Now the Chestnuts were set and they were put in contact with long time record producer and company owner Joe Davis. He had previously went out on his own with the Beacon label, and then Jay-Dee Records, and had good sellers with The Mellows and Dean Barlow and The Crickets.  The Chestnuts were set to record on another label, this one called Davis Records. In June of 1956 Davis # 447 is released featuring The Chestnuts on "It's You I Love" and "Love Is True". The 'A' side "Love Is True" gets good airplay in New York and Philadelphia, especially from Herman Amis and Doctor Jive in the Big Apple, and Jocko in Philadelphia. Although the song is an excellent group ballad featuring Whitaker's lead, sales do not dent the top hit charts and Joe Davis readies another try for the group.

    In September of the year, The Chestnuts record "Brother Ben" and "Forever I Vow" on Davis # 452. Unfortunately, not enough record buyers followed through on this great song and Davis dropped the group from the label. In February of 1957, the group signed on with a Connecticut outfit called National Enterprises which featured a record label called Standord Records located in the group's home town of New Haven. Standord would become famous as the original label for The Five Satins epic hit "In The Still Of The Night".

    Martin Kugell, the head of Standord Records, promotes the Chestnuts recording of "Who Knows Better Than I" b/w "Mary Hear Those Love Bells". By May Standord # 7701 featured "Who Knows Better Than I?" as by Ruby Whitaker & The Chestnuts, and the new flip side was "Mary Hear Those Love Bells" as by Lymon Hopkins & The Chestnuts. The song "Who Knows Better Than I?" was also released on Eldorado Records on # 511 with "I m So Blue" on the flip side.

    The Chestnuts (2) aka The Five Chestnuts

    In early 1959, Ruby Whitaker had left the group, but the Chestnuts carried on with a lineup of Lymon Hopkins, Frank Hopkins, a third brother Arthur Hopkins, Reuben White, and new lead singer Bill Baker who had spent some time in New Haven's Five Satins. A Connecticut record producer named Clarence Drum began two local labels in 1958, Elgin and Drum Records. He signed The Chestnuts to his label and in February of the year Elgin # 007 is released featuring "Won't You Tell Me My Heart" and the flip side is listed as by Bill Baker & The Chestnuts on the song "Tell Me Little Darling".

    Bill Baker (Top) & The Chestnuts (2)

    During May of the year Elgin Records releases "Chit Chat" and a version of The Five Satins song "Wonderful Girl" listed as by Bill Baker & The Chestnuts on # 021. Neither of the Elgin releases did much for the group or the label. Further sides for the labels by the group with new members Marvin and Hayes Baskerville included "Chapel In The Moonlight" by Marvin Baskerville & The Five Chestnuts, and "Billy My Kind Of Baby" by Hayes Baskerville & The Five Chestnuts both on the Drum label.
    Thanks to Marv Goldberg

    "I Wonder Why" b/w " In Mexico" was an unreleased acetate who Stevie Dunham  purchased in New Haven, CT, in 1988. Probably recorded in 1956-57. It is speculated this group was the Five Chestnuts (Chestnuts) from New Haven, CT. Stevie Dunham's partners at the time did not want to use the Five Chestnuts on the issue of this 45  and left it up to steve to put a name to an acetate that only listed song titles but no group name. So he christened it The El-Lanos. The record was released on Crescent, in July of 1989.

    Songs :
    (updated by Hans-Joachim)  

    The Chestnuts (2)

    Love Is True                        It's You I Love                      Forever I Vow

    Brother Ben             Who Knows Better Than I?      Mary, Hear Those Love Bells

    Tilly, Take Your Time               I'm So Blue

    Bill Baker & The Chestnuts (2)

    Won't You Tell Me My Heart       Tell Me Little Darling          Wonderful Girl

    Chit Chat

    Marvin Baskerville & The Five Chestnuts

    Chapel In The Moonlight                  Chi-Chi                     Billy (My Kind Of Baby)

    Norven Baskerville & The Five Chestnuts

    My Love and Only Love

    The Five Chestnuts

    My kind Of Baby                               I'm So Glad

    Vicki Lee bb The Five Chestnuts

    Crying My Heart Out / With All My Heart


    The El-Lanos

    I Wonder Why / In Mexico




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