• The El Vireos

    The El Vireos

    The El Vireos (Dayton, OH.)

    Personnel :

    Frank Williams (Lead)

    Sonny Jackson (First Tenor)

    LeVoy Fredericks (Second Tenor)

    Willis "Bing" Davis (Baritone)

    Charles Hill (Bass)

    Jim Jennings (Guitar), Denny Davis (Saxophone), and Bob Hensley (Drums)


    Discography :

    1959 - First Kiss / Silly Willie  (Revello 1002)


    Biography :

    The El Vireos' history is mostly forgotten but it's notable, before integration, the local act featured five black singers and a trio of white backing musicians. Like Willis "Bing" Davis, most of the El Vireos were students at Wilbur Wright High School in East Dayton. However, one singer attended Stebbins and another went to Dunbar. They sing on various stages and go to talent shows at different high schools. They performed at churches. Community centers and recreational centers always had talent shows.  Revello's Bob Bowman saw the El Vireos perform at a Mother's Day program at DePauw in 1959 and signed the group to a one-record deal. With little industry experience and no label distribution, pushing copies of the 45s fell on the group. They sold them out of the back of their cars.The single might not have been good enough to hit the national charts, but both songs are very representative of the period. The single was released with minimal promotion behind it, but  simply having a record out and hearing it on the radio energized them enough to refocus on music. They decided to get serious and really try to do something with this. Their  plan was to go on the road  but then they lost Their lead singer, Frank. He ended up drowning in the pond at the Lakeside Amusement Park and that blew them up quite a bit."Williams' drowning was among the factors that officially ended the El Vireos.


    Songs :

    First Kiss                                   Silly Willie


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