The Lateers (Pittsburgh)
Gary "Gus" Collins
1963 - The Smock / Dance Party (World Artists 1006)
1963 - Kickin Kangaroo / Sweet Cadillac (World Artists 1009)
Everybody was singing on street corners of Pittsburgh's North Side during the 1950s, including Gus Collins. But he was a bit more advanced than his 'hood harmonizers; by the age of eleven, he was singing second tenor with his first group, Sammy and the Belltones. By the time 1960 rolled around, Gus was singing lead vocal for a local group called the Lateers with Dennis Fitzgerald, Sammy Beckham and Rodney Allen. Signed to Lenny Martin's World Artist label, the Lateers had two singles that landed on the national R&B charts in 1962 and 1963, “Dance Party” and “Swing Low, Sweet Cadillac” featuring Collins on the lead. After a couple of years of national tours and one-night stands, the Lateers called it quits in 1965.
The Smock Dance Party
1956 - Sammy Davis Jr., Little "Butchie" Saunders (9 year-old) and Elroy Peace.
Butchy Saunders & The Elchords (Manhattan, New York)
Ref : Little Butchie & The Vells (1)
Ref : Little "Butchie" Saunders & His Buddies (4)
John L. Brown aka Butchy Saunders (Lead)
Ronald Talbert (First Tenor)
Elliot Johnson (Second Tenor)
David Ballott (Bass)
Butchy Saunders & The Elchords
1958 - Gee I'm In Love / Peppermint Stick (Good 544/5)
Little "Butchie" Saunders & His Buddies (4)
1956 - Lindy Lou / Rock 'n Roll Indian Dance (Herald 485)
1956 - Great Big Heart / I Wanna Holler (Herald 481)
1956 - Don't Do Me Wrong (Gee)
Little Butchie & The Vells (1)
1959 - Over The Rainbow / Sometimes Little Girl (Angle Tone 535)
1959 - Please Tell The Angels (Angle Tone)
Beginning in 1956, every young singing prodigy in urban areas in the Northeast was following the lead position set by Frankie Lymon and his vocal group called The Teenagers. Because of the great success of the Lymon group, every independent record label was looking for their own "Frankie Lymon". One of the many hopefuls back in 1956 was nine year old John Brown in the city of Newark, New Jersey. When Brown felt that he was ready for professional direction and a shot at a record session, he went out and looked for contacts in the busy record industry in New York. He began using a stage name and he was known as Butchie Saunders. He eventually found his way to Herald Records in New York and soon had a vocal group surrounding him called The Buddies. He was being managed by Elroy Peace, a long time song and dance performer.
In August a jump tune called "Lindy Lou" was picked for the group and the flip side was "Rock & Roll Indian Dance" on Herald # 485. The record got good airplay and sales in the New York and Philadelphia areas. The record starts to sell in Chicago thanks to The Great Montague that city's top radio personality. In late August, Butchie and The Buddies appeared at the Apollo Theater with Doctor Jive (Tommy Smalls). In November of 1956, now billed as Little Butchie Saunders, Herald releases "Great Big Heart" and "I Wanna Holler" on # 491. This time there was no magic for Butchie, and the record did not sell much despite a concentrated effort in Washington D.C. and the Virginia Tidewater area of Norfolk and Portsmouth. Herald Records had second thoughts on continuing with the group. The label felt that the onslaught of Lymon sound-alikes was a glut on the scene. Subsequently Herald Records dropped the group from their recording roster and Butchie was out on his own again.
Butchie went back to making the rounds of the smaller New York independents looking for a break. He was eventually led to a man named Al Tate who had begun a new recording enterprise called Good Records. A vocal quartet was quickly thrown together including Ronald Talbert, David Ballot Elliot Johnson and Raphael ? (some source gives other names). They were called The Elchords and worked on two songs that were prepared for the group. The tunes were "Peppermint Stick" and "Gee I'm In Love" and were soon released on Good # 544. The record picked up radio airplay almost immediately, and was a good sized hit in the urban Northeast during the spring of 1958. Unfortunately for the group, some internal dissension coupled with problems with the record label ended the career of The Elchords after one record. Both sides were reissued a year later on the MusicTone label (# 1107). But that was not the end of the line for Butchie Saunders. After a try to hook up with George Goldner (who had Frankie Lymon and his group) came to nothing, Saunders did make a connection with AngleTone Records most known for a number of hits by The Fi-Tones. The label had a group called The Vels, and they had the idea to front the group with Butchie as the lead singer. The combined group had one release for the label "Sometimes Little Girl" and "Over The Rainbow" on AngleTone # 535 in 1959. It was not a successful record for the group and soon Butchie Saunders faded with the oncoming nineteen sixties.
Butchy Saunders & The Elchords
Gee I'm In Love Peppermint Stick
Little "Butchie" Saunders & His Buddies (4)
Lindy Lou Rock 'n Roll Indian Dance
Great Big Heart I Wanna Holler
Don't Do Me Wrong
Little Butchie & The Vells (1)
Over The Rainbow Sometimes Little Girl
Please Tell The Angels
(L to R) Vernon Williams, Sonny Sanders, Jim Ellis, Sammy Mack & Robert Bateman
The Satintones (Detroit, Michigan)
James Ellis (Lead)
Sonny Sanders (First Tenor)
Robert Bateman (Bass)
1960 - I'll Never Love Again / Solid Sender (Tamla 54024)
1960 - Motor City / Going To The Hop (Tamla 54026)
1960 - My Beloved / Sugar Daddy (Motown 1000) (No Strings)
1960 - My Beloved / Sugar Daddy (Motown 1000) (With Strings)
1961 - Tomorrow And Always / A Love That Can Never Be (Motown 1006) (Male Lead)
1961 - Tomorrow And Always / A Love That Can Never Be (Motown 1006) (Duet Lead)
1961 - Angel / A Love That Can Never Be (Motown 1006)
1961 - I Know How It Feels / My Kind Of love (Motown 1010)
1961 - Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart / Fadder Letter (Motown 1020)
N/A - Hungry Henry
N/A - You'd Make a Fine Son-in-law
N/A - Foot Stomping Time
N/A - You Cast A Spell on Me
N/A - Your Sweet Love
N/A - Boogie Woogie Heart
N/A - Because I Love You
N/A - The Feeling is So Fine
N/A - You Can't Beat My Lovin'
The Satintones were Motown's first group, recording for the company from 1960 through 1961 and releasing six singles. This was during Motown's blues and mundane R&B era, and before the arrival of the jazz-based rhythmic backing of the Funk Brothers; a time when Ivy Joe Hunter led the session musicians, not Earl Van Dyke; a period when Motown released nine bad records for every good one; and a time when disc jockeys cringed at 45s sporting the Tamla or Motown logo. The original group was a quartet consisting of Charles "Chico" Leverett, Sonny Sanders, James Ellis, and Robert Bateman. Chico sang with the Spinners for a minute, and recorded "Solid Sender" on Tamla Records.
The Satintones in 1961. Sonny Sanders (on the car), Vernon Williams, James Ellis, Sammy Mack and Robert Bateman.
They became a quintet in 1961, the new lineup consisting of James Ellis, Sonny Sanders, Vernon Williams, Sammy Mack, and Robert Bateman. Depending on who you talk to, Freddie Gorman (Originals) and Brian Holland (hall-of-fame songwriter) sang and recorded with them, but it's unclear if any sides they appeared on were released. You won't find any of their single releases -- "My Beloved," "Motor City," "Tomorrow and Always," "Angel," "I Know How It Feels," and "Zing Went the Strings of My Heart" -- on any Motown compilation album. "Tomorrow and Always" created some controversy, and a lawsuit (which Motown lost); the answer song not only answered the Shirelles' hit, it ripped "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" off note for note.
(L to R) Jim Ellis, Sonny Sanders, Chico Leverett and Robert Bateman
All the members enjoyed musical careers before and after the Satintones with the most distinguishing belonging to Sonny Sanders, who went on to become an arranger and songwriter at Ric Tic/Golden World Records then moved to Chicago, becoming a top arranger and co-writing "Love Makes a Woman" for Barbara Acklin. Bateman produced and wrote Wilson Pickett's early solo sides "It's Too Late" and "If You Need Me," jump-started the Marvelettes' career with "Please Mr. Postman" and "Playboy," and co-wrote Eddie Holland's "Jamie." (The Marvelettes' first album, Please Mr. Postman, featured two Satintones remakes, "Angel" and "I Know How It Feels," and one track, "The Feeling Is So Fine," became an obscure single for the Miracles.) Motown did schedule an album release (The Satintones Sing MT-602) in 1961, but it remains unissued; the label does have more than 20 unreleased Satintones tracks in the can, not counting the 12 issued on 45s. Around 1990, the Satintones recorded tracks produced by Ian Levine; surprisingly, Levine's productions of the Satintones are more pleasing than the originals.
Andrew Hamilton, All Music Guide
I'll Never Love Again Solid Sender Motor City
Going To The Hop My Beloved Sugar Daddy
Tomorrow And Always A Love That Can Never Be Angel
I Know How It Feels My Kind Of love Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart
Fadder Letter Hungry Henry You'd Make a Fine Son-in-law
Foot Stomping Time You Cast A Spell on Me Your Sweet Love
Boogie Woogie Heart Because I Love You The Feeling is So Fine
You Can't Beat My Lovin'
The Gingersnaps (1) (Sheboygan, WI)
Maryann Wimmer (Lead)
Judith Meyer (Baritone)
Jeanne Oehler (Bass)
Mary Gottsacer (Tenor)
1958 - Bald Headed Papa / There Is A Little Rock And Roll In Everyones Soul (Window 1115)
1960 - Rememb'ring / A Hundred And Fifty Guys (Jupiter 305)
1960 - Be Still My Heart / If The Shoe Fits Put It On (Jupiter 306)
The Gingersnaps. This singing group of four teenage girls was organized in 1956 when they were freshmen at North. High School in Sheboygan. The girls are Maryann Wimmer, lead: Mary Gottsacker, tenor; Jeanne Oehler, bass, and Judy Meyer, baritone. During the first year they were organized they placed first in a state talent contest. The group has made numerous appearances in and out Babcock ' Mother!.
The group were coached by Judith's father, John Meyer. John Meyer had helped form the Chordettes so the Gingersnaps, which included his daughter, Judith, were a similar project. Backing band, the Glaciers, included guitarist Brian Kumbalek, later known as blues artist Brian Lee.
Bald Headed Papa If The Shoe Fits Put It On
There Is A Little Rock And Roll In Everyones Soul
The Masterettes (Queens, New York)
aka The Exciters
1961 - Follow The Leader / Never, Ever (Lesage 715/716)
Brenda Reid, Carolyn (Carol) Johnson, Lillian Walker, and Sylvia Wilbur formed the group while at high school together in Queens, New York City, in 1961 when they were all 17 years old. They were called the Masterettes, as a sister group to another group called the Masters, and released their first recording, "Follow the Leader", in early 1962. Wilbur then left the group to be replaced by Penny Carter, and they auditioned for Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, winning a recording contract.
The Exciters : Lillian Walker, Herb Rooney, Brenda Reid & Carol Johnson
Penny Carter then left, and was replaced by Herb Rooney, a member of the Masters; Reid and Rooney later married. The group's name was changed to the Exciters, and their first hit record, arranged by George "Teacho" Wiltshire and produced by Leiber and Stoller for United Artists Records, was "Tell Him", which reached no. 4 on the U.S. pop chart in early 1963.
Never, Ever Follow The Leader