• The Roamers (Jersey City, New Jersey)

    Personnel :

    James Ricketts (Lead)

    Billy Williams (Tenor)

    Sam Walton (Baritone)

    Judge Taylor (Bass)

    Discography :

    The Roamers
    1954 - Deep Freeze / I'll Never Get Over You (Savoy 1147)
    1955 - Chop Chop Ching A Ling / Never Let Me Go (Savoy 1156)

    Wilbert Harrison & The Roamers
    1955 - Women And Whiskey / Da Dee Ya Da (Savoy 1149)

    Varetta Dillard & The Roamers
    1955 - You're The Answer To My Prayer / Promise Mr. Thomas (Varetta Dillard) (Savoy 1160)

    Biography :

    R&B vocal combo the Roamers formed in Jersey City, NJ, in 1953. According to Marv Goldberg's profile in the September 1999 issue of Discoveries, the lineup comprised lead James Ricketts, tenor Billy Williams, baritone Sam Walton, and bass Judge Taylor.


    Originally dubbed the Four Flames, they soon adopted the Roamers in an obvious nod to the Drifters; after unsuccessfully auditioning for Atlantic in 1954, the group signed to Savoy, making its recorded debut late that same year with the Taylor original "Deep Freeze." At the same session, the Roamers backed Wilbert Harrison on his single "Women and Whiskey," issued in early 1955; when "Deep Freeze" reached the Philadelphia area Top 20, the group went on tour, additionally hitting the road with Harrison and Latin bandleader Joe Loco.

                       Wilbert Harrison                                                                                   Varetta Dillard

    In the spring the Roamers released their sophomore effort, "Chop Chop Ching a Ling," soon after backing Varetta Dillard on her "You're the Answer to My Prayer." The session proved to be their last, despite a Savoy contract that kept them tied to the label until 1958. The group continued touring with Harrison until dissolving in 1959.


    Williams and Ricketts then signed to Sue as Billy & Ricky, issuing a pair of singles, "Mama Papa Please" and "How You Sound," to little notice. In 1962 the duo reunited with Walton as the Astronauts, but generated nothing beyond an unreleased demo before splitting two years later. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi


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