• The Four Epics

    The Four Epics (Philadelphia)
    ref : The Vespers


    Personnel :

    Mickey Neil (Second Tenor)

    Jack Mc Knight (First Tenor)

    Jimmy Mullen  (Baritone)

    Bobby Riccobene (Bass)


    Discography :

    The Bancrofts
    Unreleased :
    1960 - Wonderfull Girl

    The Four Epics
    Singles :
    1962 - I'm On My Way To Love / When The Music Ends (Heritage 109)
    1963 - Again / I Love You Diane (Laurie 3155)
    1963 - How I Wish I Was A Single / Dance Joanne (Laurie 3183)
    Unreleased :
    1961 - Wedding Bells
    1962 - My Love
    1963 - Girl In The Moonlight
    1963 - Summertime Angel
    1963 - A Thing Worth Remembering
    1963 - Mr.Weather
    1963 - Girls
    1963 - Cover Girl
    1963 - Tammy Ann
    1963 - Congratulations To Someone
    1963 - For The First Time
    1963 - Future Just Passed

    The Vespers
    1963 - Mr Cupid / Walk With My Angel (Swan 4156)

    Johnny Greco bb The Four Epics
    1963 - Rocket Ride / Why Don't You Love Me (Pageant 602)


    Biography :

    They started as a trio in the fall of '59 and called themselves the Bancrofts, a name taken from their streetcorner hangout.  They were Jack "Rocky" McKnight (1st Tenor and vocal arranger). Mickey Neill (2nd Tenor) and Jimmy Mullen (baritone).  After months of practice, they were eager to hear their sound on acetate and in May '60, they recorded Dion and the Belmonts version of Wonderful Girl. Harmony and blend were good, yet  lacked the fullness Jack was striving for, It was decided a 4th voice was needed, and in early '61 enter Bobby Riccobene, who completed the ensemble with his basso profundo.

    The Four Epics     The Four Epics

Confident with their sound, they pooled their money for studio time and recorded some original material. The group finally made their mark after teaming up with Jerry Ross who, in 1962, suggested a name change  to the Four Epics and shuffled them to South Philly's AMS studio to record "I'm On My Way" b/w "When The Music Ends" for his Heritage label. Not only did promotional appearances abound along the eastern seaboard, Jerry  managed to keep the boys busy doing backround sessions for established artists like Chubby Checker, Little Joey & the Flips, Rick & the Masters, Freddy Cannon, and the Dovells. One of the most memorable sessions was with some of the members of the Fortune Tellers and the Dreamlovers on "Amazons & Coyotes".

    The Four Epics

     While the Heritage release was still generating airplay, Bobby Riccobene left the group and in stepped Richie Lalli just as Ross made a connection with the NY based Laurie Records.  So in 1963, the boys headed for the Big Apple and the famous Bell Sound Studios where they recorded an up-tempo version of the old standard "Again". Based on airplay and record sales, Laurie execs were ecstatic and sanctioned another release on the label. 

    The Four Epics

    So, hot on its heels in '63 came the follow-up, "Dance Joanne", a ditty reminiscent of "Little Bitty Pretty One". Even as these tunes made their improbable run up the charts, the boys would soon learn their stint with Laurie would be short lived, Consequently disappointment and frustration would lead to Mickey and Richie leaving the group. Jack and Jimmy would go on to form a new group with Tony Barbella (1st Tenor), and Buzzy Shearin (2nd Tenor).  Now known as The Vespers, a proficient, albeit ,short-lived ensemble.

    The Four Epics
    The Vespers : Jack Mc Knight, Jimmy Mullen, Tony Barbella & Buzzy Shearin

    They had only one release  in '63 on Swan Records "Mr Cupid" b/w "Walk With My Angel"  It was a modest hit, however no others would follow and the group soon disbanded. For the next 3 decades, the musical virtuosity of Jack McKnight would be demonstrated many times, whether it be the rebirth of the 4 Epics, Exodus, Exodus II,  or arranging and producing recording sessions for other recording artists.

    Songs :

    The Bancrofts

    Wonderfull Girl

    The Four Epics

    I'm On My Way To Love                     When The Music Ends

     Again                                      I Love You Diane

    How I Wish I Was A Single                        Dance Joanne      

    Wedding Bells                                      My Love

    Girl In The Moonlight                       Summertime Angel

    A Thing Worth Remembering                      Mr.Weather               

    Girls                                            Cover Girl

    Congratulations To Someone                   For The First Time       

    Future Just Passed

    The Vespers

       Mr Cupid                                   Walk With My Angel

    Johnny Greco bb The Four Epics

           Rocket Ride                                Why Don't You Love Me


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