• The Serenades
    Willie Wright

    The Serenades (Chicago)

    Personnel :

    Willie Wright (Lead)

    James "Doolaby" Wright (Bass)

    Willie Daniels (Baritone)

    Tommie Johnson

    Ronald Sherman

    Discography :

    1957 - A Sinner in Love / The Pajama Song (Chief 7002)

    Biography :

    Thei story of The Serenades goes back to Jenner Grade School, where Tommie Johnson, Otha Lee Givens, Terry Collier, Bryan Barlow, and Napoleon Hall formed a group. Tommie Johnson was the brother of Charles Johnson, the bass singer of the Von Gayles. The group graduated to Wells High and soon were playing at parties and talent contests. Johnson then met Willie Wright (aka Willie Dial), who had a group of his own, the Quails.

    The Serenades    The Serenades
    Jerry Butler                                                                                             Willie Wright

    The story of the Quails goes back to the famed soul singer Jerry Butler, before he was a part of the Impressions. While still attending Washburne Trade, he and his classmates formed a group called the Quails. The other members were Willie Wright; his brother, James "Doolaby" Wright; and Ronald Sherman, the latter who used to fill in for missing members of the Von Gayles. Butler left the group when he had to drop out of school to go to work. the Serenades. Members of the Serenades were lead singer Willie Wright, James "Doolaby" Wright, Willie Daniels, Tommie Johnson, and Ronald Sherman. The Serenades got a contract with Mel London's Chief label in early 1957.

    The Serenades    The Serenades

    The two sides released by the group in March that year were a ballad, "A Sinner in Love," and a jump, "The Pajama Song". The ballad got played on the deejay Sam Evans's show but did little else. Butler vividly remembered "A Sinner in Love" because it credits "Wright" and " Snave" as the writers. "It was my first composition," said Butler. "After I left the group, they recorded it and didn't even put my name on the record. I remember Sam Evans playing it one night, and I said, 'That's my song!' I called the guys up but they were all covering their eyes and feeling ashamed.  The Serenades got a bit of recognition in April 1957 when they appeared on the big Mambo Easter Dance sponsored by three local deejays, McKie Fitzhugh, Big Bill Hill, and Richard Stamz. Other acts on the bill included Paul Bascomb, Tommy "Madman" Jones, Harold Burrage, the Clouds, the Gay Tones, and the Five Echoes. Willie Wright soon left the Serenades and formed The Medallionaires.

    THE CHICAGO SCENE by Robert Pruter




    Songs :

    A Sinner in Love                              The Pajama Song

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