• clockwise from left : Furman Haynes, Walter Springer , Benjamin Peay  and Adriel McDonald 

    The Sandmen (New-York)


    Personnel :

    Benjamin Peay “ "Brook Benton" (Lead)

    Walter Springer (Second Tenor)

    Furman Haynes (Baritone)

    Adriel McDonald (Bass)


    Discography :

    The Sandmen
    1955 - When I Grow Too Old To Dream / Somebody To Love (OKeh 7052)
      Unreleased :
    1954 - I Could Have Told You (OKeh)
    1955 - I Was Fool Enough To Love You (OKeh)
    1955 - Bring Me Love (OKeh)

    Brook Benton & The Sandmen
    1955 - Ooh / The Kentuckian Song (Brook Benton) (OKeh 7058)

    Chuck Willis bb The Sandmen
    1955 - I Can Tell / One More Break (no group) (OKeh 7055)

    Lincoln Chase bb The Sandmen
    1955 - That's All I Need / The Message (Columbia 40475)
    Unreleased :
    1955 - I'm Sure (Columbia)
    1955 - Things Money Can't Buy (Columbia)


    Biography :

    When Brook Benton was young he enjoyed gospel music, wrote songs, and sang in a Methodist church choir in nearby Camden, where his father, Willie Peay, was choir master. So in 1948 he went to New York to pursue his music career. He went in and out of gospel groups such as The Langfordaires, The Jerusalem Stars, and The Golden Gate Quartet. It wasn't until 1954, however, that the dedicated young singer's efforts began to pay off with record industry recognition.   It was during that year that Peay, still in New York, was recruited by former Ink Spots bass singer Adriel McDonald for a new vocal group called The Sandmen.  Since McDonald had worked with the Moe Gale agency during his tenure with the Ink Spots, this was the firm he engaged to manage the Sandmen.  Disc jockey Bill Cook, who had been impressed with Peay's voice several years earlier when he first heard him singing gospel, was working for Gale at the time representing popular vocalist Roy Hamilton, one of Peay's heroes. 


    Brook Benton

    It was Cook who brought the Sandmen to Epic Records, the Columbia subsidiary that was marketing Hamilton.  With Benny Peay as lead singer, the Sandmen recorded their first Epic session on December 14, 1954.  The resulting single, issued on Columbia's Okeh rhythm-and-blues label rather than Epic, paired Cook's "Somebody To Love" with the old standard "When I Grow Too Old To Dream".  It was released the following February and got good reviews in the trade papers, but nothing came of it. Following their release as the Sandmen, they did some backup work for Chuck Willis and Lincoln Chase.


                                          Chuck Willis                                                                                                 

    It was the Sandmen's next session, held on May 26, 1955, that allowed Benny Peay to take his next decisive step down the long road to stardom. The single that resulted from the session placed him at center stage in a hard-swinging, enthusiastically sung, and flawlessly harmonized arrangement of a rather forgettable song called "Ooh".  The flip side, recorded a week later, featured him in a totally new setting with a solo performance of the theme from Burt Lancaster's latest movie, "The Kentuckian".  The arrangement, orchestrated with full string section by 22-year-old Quincy Jones, displayed Peay in all-out pop crooner mode, but his confident, sensitive delivery also demonstrated the distinctively soulful phrasing that would, in four more years, finally  gain him the recognition he deserved.

    (updated by Hans-Joachim) 

    The Sandmen

    Somebody To Love               When I Grow Too Old To Dream

    Brook Benton & The Sandmen


    Chuck Willis bb The Sandmen

    I Can Tell

    Lincoln Chase bb The Sandmen

    That's All I Need                            The Message

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