• The Smoothtones (1)
     Top : Kenny McMillan & Enoch Hale - Bottom : Joe Martin & Alfred Gaitwood -Center : Walter Lowry  

    The Smoothtones (1) (Pittsburgh)


    Personnel :

    Alfred Gaitwood (Lead)

    Enoch Hale (First Tenor)

    Joe Martin (Second Tenor)

    Walter Lowry (Baritone)

    Kenny McMillan (Bass)


    Discography :

    1955 - Bring Back Your Love / No Doubt About It (Jem 412)


    Biography :

    The Smoothtones surfaced in 1953 in Pittsburgh. The lead, Alfred Gaitwood, was from Alabama and found himself in Pittsburgh with a U.S. Air Force unit. Gaitwood rounded up  Enoche Hale (First Tenor), Joe Martin (Second Tenor), Walter Lowry (Baritone), and Kenny McMillian (Bass). Gaitwood named the group the Smoothtones. Paul Ruffin was their manager.

    L to R : Alfred Gaitwood,  Walter Lowry, Paul Ruffin (Manager), Bill powel (DJ), Kenny McMillan, Jud Hunter & Joe Martin

    Hale was drafted in 1954 and was replaced by Jud Hunter at First Tenor. Through networking, Gaitwood met Lennie Martin, who ran the operations at Jem Records . (Martin would later be instrumental in forming Calico Records [Skyliners] and Robbie Records.) The Smoothtones recorded two sides for Jem in June 1955. Interestingly, these were the first black vocal group releases out of Pittsburgh. Early in 1956, Gaitwood was transferred to another air force base. Jud Hunter then brought Sylvester Brooks into the group at lead.

       The Smoothtones (1)

    This altered group went back to Jem to record two more sides. Supposedly, they recorded the Gaitwood-penned "It's Too Late Now."  A pressing of this disc has never been seen. Jud Hunter, in an interview by Carl and Nancy Janusek, swore that this was released and that he saw the recording on wax. (This cannot be confirmed — perhaps it was never released.) It was later done by the Cufflinks on Dootone. Gaitwood was with the group at that time. With Gaitwood gone, the cohesiveness that once held the group together disappeared, and they disbanded in September 1956.

    Songs :

    Bring Back Your Love                         No Doubt About It

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