• The Hollyhocks

    The Hollyhocks (Knoxville, TN)


    Personnel :

    Clifford Curry (Lead)

    Willie Earl Drummond (First Tenor)

    Vestee Huddleston (Second Tenor)

    Clayton Whittington (Baritone)

    Leon “Mickey” Prater (Bass)


    Discography :

    1957 - You For Me / Don't Say Tomorrow (Nasco 6001)


    Biography :

    Clifford Curry attended Austin High School, 1951-55 during a time when the lines between races were clearly drawn and respected. By 1953 Curry garnered a reputation in his school as an outstanding singer. Benjamin Washington was a classmate at Austin High who introduced Curry to his singing group, The Echoes. They included the Myers brothers, Herbert, and twins, John and James, Charles Holloway (bass singer), and Benny Washington (lead singer).

    The Hollyhocks    The Hollyhocks
                                      Clifford Curry

    By 1954 he was a senior in high school. Curry sang with The Echoes for black audiences in churches and at clubs, and with The Fabulous Six at the University of Tennessee fraternity parties, debutant balls, and white night clubs. The Group signing a recording contract with Savoy records. Savoy management decided to rename the group The Five Pennies. They cut three singles. When The Five Pennies quit high school to go on tour Curry’s father refused to allow him to go until he got his diploma. With The Five Pennies away, Curry continued with The Fabulous Six who grew more willing and eager to play his songs.

    The Hollyhocks    The Hollyhocks                                                                                             Ernie Young (founder of Nashboro, Nasco and Excello labels)

    While The Five Pennies toured during high school, Curry’s four other friends formed a group called The Bingos. That group included, Willie Earl Drummond, Vestee Huddleston, Clayton Whittington and Leon “Mickey” Prater. Curry wrote his own songs and sang into his small reel-to-reel tape recorder until the group saved enough money to drive to Nashville to record one 45 on Nashboro Records. Curry was the lead singer on both; “Don’t Say Tomorrow” and “You For Me” the later, a song Curry co-wrote with Mickey Prater. Then the owner of Nashboro Records, Ernie Young, changed their name to The Hollyhocks. The man loved flowers. The following year, he joined a band called the Contenders (Dewey Guy, his twin brother, Lewey Guy, Jerry Johnson, Wayne Cronan, and Bob Adams). In late 1958, they recorded "Mr. Dee Jay"/"Yes I Do" for Earl Dorrance's Blue Sky Records (although the label called them the "Continders"). Then, as "Dewey Guy and the Fabulous Six," they had "Rock A While"/"Can't Stand To Be Alone" on Ralph Stevens' Ridgecrest Records in early 1959. Cliff also had a solo effort on Ridgecrest: "Kiss, Kiss, Kiss"/"Crazy For You."


    Songs :

    You For Me                         Don't Say Tomorrow

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