• The Fleetones

    The Fleetones (Chicago, IL)

    Personnel :

    Joseph Norfleet

    Nathaniel Norfleet

    Peter Norfleet

    Junius Norfleet

    Arthur Norfleet

    George Taylor (Bass)

    Discography :

    1961 - Please Tell Me / Your Lover Man (Bandera 2511)

    Biography :

    The Fleetones were the secular incarnation of the Morfleet Brothers who recorded several gospel tracks for Bandera and its subsidiary Jericho Road. The line-up comprised Joseph, Nathaniel, Peter, Junius and Arthur Norfleet and George Taylor. Vi Muszynski, owner of Bandera Records, spotted their talent and inked them for what may well be their only recorded excursions outside the Gospel field and what fine doo whoppers they made, showing the polished harmonies they had developed over the years.

    The Fleetones

    The Norfleet Brothers

    Whether Vi persuades the group or whether they had always harbored desires to cross into the R&b field we will probably never know, but she also cut them on more familiar territory and issued four gospel tracks on the subsidiary Jerico Road. The Norfleet Brothers began singing on the family farm in Marion, AL. At first it was just two brothers (Peter and Arthur), but three other brothers soon joined. They could have formed a double-quintet with five additional female voices, as there were 15 Norfleet siblings on the farm (ten boys and five girls).

    The Fleetones     The Fleetones

    World War II caused a forced hiatus when the older brothers were drafted, splitting up the group, though the individual brothers kept sharp by singing with other groups. The brothers finished their duty by 1946 and regrouped to burn rubber all over the South and the Midwest. They soon settled in Chicago, IL, to take advantage of better jobs and opportunities for African-Americans. They still toured the gospel circuit, but made the Christ Temple Baptist Church their religious base.

    The Fleetones

    Despite all the siblings, The Norfleet Brothers weren't entirely family; Willie Wilson sung with them for a while and bass singer George Taylor was a long time member. After leaving the group, Wilson spearheaded a weekly television show in Chicago, the Jubilee Showcase, which featured The Norfleet Brothers and other local and national gospel acts. The popular group recorded their first and only album, Shadrach, in 1964 on Checker Records, the 12-song LP featured their popular rendition of "Shadrach," their beautiful arrangement of "None But the Righteous," and an original composition "Live the Life." The out-of-print delight is hard to find but well worth the search. An R&B group, Little Ben & the Cheers, a hot local group who recorded a slew of singles that didn't hit, were comprised of the offspring of the various Nortleet Brothers.

    Songs :

     Please Tell Me / Your Lover Man


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