Billy Wells & The Crescents (2) (Cleveland, Ohio)
    ref : The Wigs


    Personnel :

    William Burrell "Billy Wells" (Lead)

    Al Banks (Tenor)

    Leroy McQueen (Baritone)

    Garfield Jackson (Bass)

    Discography :

    Billy Wells & The Crescents (2)
    1956 - Julie / I Love Only You (Reserve 105)

    Clark Vaden &  The Crescents (2)
    1961 - Irene / You Can Make It If You Try (Dolly 5577)

    Biography :

    Inspired by Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers, four teenagers from the Outwaithe Housing Projects in Cleveland, OH, formed a group similar to the New York sensations. Al Banks (tenor), Leroy McQueen (baritone), Garfield Jackson (bass), and 13-year-old William Burrell (lead), and christened themselves the Crescents. Al, Leroy, and Garfield were 18 years old and had graduated from school, while Burrell, who sung under the stage name of Billy Wells, still attended Kennard Jr. High. The group was making a name for themselves in the greater Cleveland area when Al Banks got the ear of Sid Friedman, who owned and ran All-Star Theatrical Agency. Sid had them audition for Henry George, who quickly signed them to Reserve Records, with Sid becoming their manager and booking agent.  From the studio came "Julie," written by member Garfield "Buddy" Jackson, and the flip, "I Love Only You," composed by Billy Wells. Reserve had a unique way of promoting its recordings, they gave the Crescents a few boxes of records and told them to drive to different R&B concerts, at which Friedman had booked them, to promote "Julie." Their recording had gotten airplay in the North and the South. 

    Billy Wells & The Crescents (2)    Billy Wells & The Crescents (2)

    Lawyer "Henry" Curtis (tenor) replaced Wells and they continued to dazzle audiences. This version of the group do the background vocals for Clark Vaden's 45 release, "Irene," and "You Can Make It If You Try," on Dolly Records. Other members left for various reasons which left an opening for Arthur Blakey to join in 1963. Arthur Blakey did most of the Crescents' leads in his readily identifiable, boisterous, shouting, country preacher style. Other artists were amazed that the Crescents could do with four voices what some groups had difficulty achieving with five. Once again they approached Sid Friedman, their previous manager and booking agent, who after hearing their exciting sound, signed them to contracts and proceeded to launch them in a new direction. The motive was to cash in on the Beatles, the latest rage, who were coming to America. To be different, they decided to jettison the Crescents and renamed themselves the Wigs, after the Whig Political Party.

    Songs :

    The Crescents (2)

         Julie                                         I Love Only You

    Clark Vaden &  The Crescents (2)

                   Irene                                    You Can Make It If You Try


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