The Regals (From Top) Billy Adams, Aaron Cornelius, Albert Russell, Jerry Holeman & Harold Wright
The Regals (2) (Cleveland)
Ref The Orioles (2)
Billy Adams (Lead)
Albert "Diz" Russell (Bass/Baritone)
Jerry Holeman (Baritone/Tenor)
Aaron "Tex" Cornelius (Baritone/Tenor)
1954 - Run Pretty Baby / May The Good Lord Bless And Keep You (Aladdin 3266)
1955 - Got The Water Boiling / I'm So Lonely (Atlantic 1062)
1955 - Cha Cha (Atlantic)
1955 - Gotta Find My Baby (Atlantic)
Albert “Diz” Russell first ran into Sonny Til around 1951 in St. Louis, where both were spending quality time with a young lady named Adell Chapelle. Russell was doing some gigs with his group, The Modern Sounds, a vocal quintet from his native Cleveland that leaned more toward jazz than pop. They met again two years later in New York City, after The Modern Sounds became The Four Jays and blew Cleveland in a rickety Buick belonging to Aaron “Tex” Cornelius.
The 4 Jays (Top) Jerry Holeman & James Brunson (Bottom) Aaron Cornelius & Albert Russell
After breaking down in Pennsylvania, borrowing money in Atlantic City, and living for days off of stale donuts in the Lower West Side of New York, Russell and The Four Jays abandoned their car by the Hudson River, tossed the tags, and headed up to Birdland, the famous Broadway jazz club, to find work. What they found was scat-cat Eddie Jefferson, an old singing buddy from their days of rehearsing at the Cleveland YMCA, who took them immediately for an audition with none other than Duke Ellington himself, in his office in the Brill Building.
At The Apollo Theater
Ellington was so impressed that he set them up with a gig at Snookie’s, a midtown Mafia-owned Italian joint at 47th Street and Broadway. From there, The Four Jays moved up to amateur shows at the Apollo, where they scored a management contract with Bobby Shiffman, son of the nightclub’s owner.
The Regals (L to R) Jerry Holeman, Billy Adams, Harold Wright, Albert Russell & Aaron Cornelius
The Four Jays became The Regals after deciding there were too many groups with the names of birds, such as the Orioles. The name Regals was taken from a shoe store. The Regals began performing regularly. The Regals began recording for Aladin Records, where Atlantic’s Jesse Stone was moonlighting. Specialists in modern harmony, the group signed with Atlantic Records in February 1955.
At The Apollo Theater
Albert Diz Russell and Aaron Cornelius of the group wrote the song “Got the Water Boiling” and presented it to delighted audiences at the famous Apollo Theater, complete with choreography by Cholly Atkins. Members of the Cadillacs were in the audience, and admit later that this performance inspired their smash hit “Speedo”. Sonny Wright was a member of The Regals, but never recorded with them. He had been lead singer of The Diamonds on Atlantic (1952-53) and would later become the lead of The Metronomes on Cadence (1957).
Sonny Til & The New Orioles (Top) Sonny Til & Albert Russell (Bottom) Aaron Cornelius, Billy Adams & Jerry Holeman
Left without the Orioles, Sonny Til picked up the Regals and pianist Paul Griffin. This group became the New Orioles. Til liked the Regals' modern harmony style, and the existing tunes were rearranged to match the Regals' style (in many cases, sounding rather different than they formerly had). During this time, they were often billed as "Sonny Til and his New Orioles". They left Jubilee and signed with Vee-Jay Records.
(updated by Hans-Joachim)
Run Pretty Baby Got The Water Boiling
I'm So Lonely May The Good Lord Bless And Keep You