• The Five Echoes (1) aka The Five Echos
    The Five Echoes (L-R) Johnnie Taylor, Earl Lewis, Constant Sims, Jimmy Marshall, and Freddie Matthews.

    The Five Echoes (1) (Chicago)
    aka The Five Echos


    Personnel :

    Walter Spriggs(Lead / Tenor)

    Tommy Hunt(Lead / Second Tenor)

    Earl Lewis (First Tenor)

    Constant Count Sims(Baritone)

    Herbert Lewis(Baritone)

    Jimmy Marshall(Bass)

    Discography :

    The Five Echoes (1)
    1953 - Lonely Mood / Baby, Come Back To Me(Sabre 102)
    1954 - So Lonesome / Broke(Sabre 105)
    1954 - Why Oh Why / That's My Baby(Sabre 107)

    Wally Wilson bb The Five Echoes (1)
    1954 - If You Don't Love Me / The Hunt Sabre 106)

    The Five Echos
    1954 - Tell Me Baby / I Really Do(Vee Jay 129)
    1955 - Fool's Prayer /    Tastee Freeze(Vee Jay 156)

    Unreleased :
    1954 - Evil Woman (Vee Jay)

    Biography :

    The work of the Five Echoes on Sheridan's Sabre label ranks among the bluesiest ever recorded in the city. The group originally consisted of four kids from the South Side, in the vicinity of Thirty-fifth to Thirty-ninth Streets. They were Constant "Count" Sims, Herbert Lewis, Jimmy Marshall, and Tommy Hunt (who years later scored with "Human"). The group's hangout was the Morocco Hotel, at Thirty-ninth and Cottage Grove, home of a famous nightspot, the Flame. Around 1952 the Flamingos expelled their original lead singer, Earl Lewis. The banished singer loved to sing so he started looking for a new group, and the Flames gladly incorporated him into the group. Another, less-official, member was Freddie Matthews, who served as chauffeur and who also occasionally sang with the group. Not long afterward, the group changed its name to the Five Echoes after they discovered a previous claim to the "Flames" name.

    The Five Echoes (1) aka The Five Echos    The Five Echoes (1) aka The Five Echos   The Five Echoes (1) aka The Five Echos
    Walter Spriggs                    

    They ran into Walter Spriggs. He had heard about the Echoes. Walter Spriggs send them in a place up in Kenosha, Wisconsin, called the Right Spot owned by two Italian guys. Spriggs took them up there one weekend, and when they did this job there that night they had a nice crowd, which was the way Spriggs figured it. They did a good show for them and these two Italian guys told them to stay, and they stayed there 'bout a year. Walter Spriggs  wrote a couple, which was "Lonely Mood" and "Baby Come Back to Me." So when Ewart Abner of Chance Records came out there, by that time we were swinging. We had the house packed every weekend. Abner asked us to record and that's how we started recording records.The first record, "Lonely Mood" backed with "Baby Come Back to Me," was released on Sabre in September 1953. The first record, "Lonely Mood" backed with "Baby Come Back to Me," was released on Sabre in September 1953. Spriggs sang lead on both sides but was considered a member of the group only for the session;  Sims sang baritone; Herbert Lewis, baritone; Tommy Hunt, second tenor; Earl Lewis, first tenor; and Jimmy Marshall, bass.   

    The Five Echoes (1) aka The Five Echos    The Five Echoes (1) aka The Five Echos    The Five Echoes (1) aka The Five Echos
                      Johnnie Taylor

    Both sides got radio play in various cities across the nation, but the record could not be called a big seller since it did not get on the charts nationally. It did, however, make the group known, so that when they were billed they had some name recognition. After the record, Hunt was lost to the group. He had been drafted, leaving the Five Echoes short a member. The remaining singers in the group — Sims, the two Lewises, and Marshall —  recruited Johnnie Taylor, a Kansas City native who was bumming around Chicago singing in a local gospel group, the Highway QC's.  This was the same Taylor who became a hit- making phenomenon of the 1960s and 1970s.  With Taylor as a member, the Five Echoes' next record was "So Lonesome" backed with "Broke," released on Sabre in February 1954. Two further sides were done at the same session with one "Wally Wilson" joining the Five Echoes and the Al Smith group. These were released as Sabre 106. "Wilson" was in fact Walter Spriggs (who didn't seem to like record companies using his right name); he got composer credit (as "Spreegs") for all four sides from the session, and sings the lead on both "Wilson" sides.

    The Five Echoes (1) aka The Five Echos
    Freddie Matthews & his Four Echoes

    By early 1954 the Five Echoes were becoming regulars in the clubs, playing such venues as the New Heat Wave, in January, and Martin's Corner, in March. The Five Echoes had one more session with Sabre. The company seemingly was trying to get the Echoes away from blues so it had them record a ballad, "Why Oh Why," and a jump, "That's My Baby." Hunt, while AWOL from the service, joined the group on this session, singing second lead on "Why Oh Why." Hunt was soon lost to the group again after the FBI caught up with him and sent him to the stockade. The Five Echoes moved to Vee-Jay where they had two releases .
    "The Five Echoes" on a bootleg 45rpm release Vee-Jay 190 are not The Five Echoes of Sabre/Vee-Jay Records at all but actually another group called The Echoes. The titles "Pledging To You" / "Soldier Boy" were originally released on "4 Hits" EP. There is also a repro edition of Sabre 106 on Rascio blue wax as by The Five Echoes.

    Doowop: The Chicago Scene (Robert Pruter)

    Songs :

    The Five Echoes (1)

       Lonely Mood              Baby, Come Back To Me                      So Lonesome

        Broke                          Why Oh Why

    Wally Wilson bb The Five Echoes (1)

    If You Don't Love Me                    The Hunt          

    The Five Echos

    Tell Me Baby                            I Really Do                            Fool's Prayer

    Tastee Freeze


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