• The Romancers (1) (San Francisco, CA)


    Personnel :

    Alvin Thomas (Lead)

    Bobby Freeman (Tenor)

    Woodrow Blake

    Tyrone French

    James Shelbourne


    Discography :

    1956 - I Still Remember / House Cat (Dooto 381)

    1956 - This Is Goodbye / Jump and Hop (Dooto 404)

    1958 - You Don't Understand / Baby, I Love You So (Baytone 101)


    Biography :

    The Romancers was a short-lived San Francisco vocal group that recorded one session for Dooto Records in Los Angeles and another for the Baytone label in their home town. The original members were Texas-born Alvin Thomas, Texas-born Woodrow "Bobo" Blake, Tyrone French, Jimmy Shelbourne and Bobby Freeman. Alvin's brother James Thomas was also briefly in the group and helped write their songs, but he soon joined the Navy.

    In late 1955 the group drove to Los Angeles to record for Dootsie Williams, who was still hot from his success with local group The Penguins, The Medallions and Don Julian & The Meadowlarks. They recorded four songs: "I Still Remember," "House Cat," "This Is Goodbye" and "Jump and Hop."

    Baytone's owner Brad Taylor (left) and his brother Victor "Vic La Val"
    Taylor (right) present Alvin Taylor with his 1958 Romancers single.

    "I Still Remember," released in February 1956, is the best song of the lot, reminiscent of San Francisco's Gaylarks, who recorded for Music City Records in Berkeley. "I Still Remember" sold respectably in a few West Coast markets. The second single, "Jump and Hop," is a hot dance number that gave Dooto's then-bandleader Chuck Higgins plenty of room to honk a 16-bar solo on his tenor saxophone.  The group later recorded for their manager Brad Taylor's label, Baytone, before breaking up.


    Bobby Freeman went on to have a couple of Top 5 hits under his own name, including "Do You Wanna Dance" and "Do the Swim."  Alvin Thomas continued to work in the music business until his death in Brooklyn in 1997. His brother James died in Brooklyn thirteen years earlier, in 1984. Tyrone French, who sang lead on "I Still Remember" (he was 15 at the time), died in Monrovia, California, in 1994. And Bobo Blake died in San Francisco in 1991. This group is apparently not The Romancers who recorded on Flip, Palette, Celebrity, Marquee and Beacon. 


    Songs :

    I Still Remember                      This Is Goodbye              Baby, I Love You So

    Jump and Hop                   You Don't Understand                  House Cats



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