The Kodaks aka The Kodoks aka The Kadak's
The Kodaks (Newark, New Jersey)
aka The Kodoks aka The Kadak's
Pearl McKinnon (Lead)
James Patrick (First Tenor)
William Franklin (Second Tenor)
Larry Davis (Baritone)
William Miller (Bass)
1957 - Teenager's Dream / Little Boy And Girl (Fury 1007)
1957 - Oh Gee, Oh Gosh / Make Believe Worlds (Fury 1015)
1958 - My Baby And Me / Kingless Castle (Fury 1019)
1958 - Guardian Angel / Run Around Baby (Fury 1020)
1960 - Don't Want No Teasing / Look Up To The Sky (J&S-1683 / 1684)
1961 - Twista Twistin' / Let's Rock (Wink 1004)
1961 - Mister Magoo / Love Wouldn't Mean A Thing (Wink 1006)
An early male R&B group with a female lead, the Kodaks' chief asset was the uncanny similarity of Pearl McKinnon's voice to that of Frankie Lymon. Pearl's first group got together in Newark, New Jersey, at Robert Trent Junior High and consisted of 15-year-old Pearl, Marian Patrick, and Jean Miller. The boys, who grew up in the Baxter Terrace housing project, included Marian's brother James (lead, tenor, and brother of Charles Patrick of The Monotones), William Franklin (second tenor), Larry Davis (baritone), and William Miller (bass). The guys met Pearl in 1957 and felt she would be the unique twist that would differentiate them from the volume of vocal acts singing throughout Newark. The group's influences included The Harptones, The Spaniels, The Heartbeats and Frankie Lymon's Teenagers.
The Kodaks (1957) William Franklin, William Miller, James Patrick and Larry Davis
Whether conscious or not, Pearl's amazing ability to sound like Frankie made the group a popular quintet around the Baxter Terrace recreation hall where they rehearsed. They called themselves the Supremes (over four years before the Detroit superstars) and when they felt confident enough headed for Harlem to audition for Fury label owner Bobby Robinson. Since Bobby had reportedly missed out on signing Frankie Lymon because he had been late for an appointment with Richard Barrett (who had then taken Lymon downtown to George Goldner's Gee label), he made up for it by grabbing the Supremes and recording "Teenager's Dream," a ballad Pearl and he collaborated on.
At this time the group decided to change their name to the Kodaks after the camera company. Both "Teenager's Dream" and its flip, the rollicking "Little Boy and Girl," were immediate New York airplay favorites, and the group's smooth yet enthusiastic harmonies gave both the songs and Pearl's lead an aura of quality not found in many of the Lymon-like groups. The group's second single, "Oh Gee Oh Gosh," written by Pearl when she was 12, became their best-known effort; it did well in the Northeast and reached number eight R&B on their hometown chart in June 1958. They performed a number of times at the Apollo, did the chitlin circuit from Philadelphia's Uptown Theatre to the Howard in Washington, and appeared on Dick Clark's "American Bandstand." Around this time Franklin and Davis left to join the Sonics ("This Broken Heart," Harvard, 1959).
They were replaced by Harold "Curly" Jenkins and Richard Dixon. The group had two more Fury singles, neither of which reached the level of the previous efforts, and within a year the Kodaks had disbanded. Pearl married and stopped performing; James Patrick joined his brother in the Monotones. Miller, along with his wife Jean, Harold Jenkins, and Renaldo Gamble (the Schoolboys, Okeh), formed a new Kodaks and recorded one single for Zell Sanders' J&S label in 1960 and two for Sol Winkler's Wink label, the best side being "Love Wouldn't Mean A Thing". In 1960 Pearl, along with Carl Williams (first tenor), James Straite (second tenor), Luther Morton (baritone), and Aaron Broadnick (bass), became Pearl and the Del tars and did another version of "Teenager's Dream" for Robinson's Fury label.
Teenager's Dream Little Boy And Girl Oh Gee, Oh Gosh
Make Believe Worlds My Baby And Me Kingless Castle
Guardian Angel Run Around Baby
Don't Want No Teasing Look Up To The Sky
Twista Twistin' / Let's Rock Mister Magoo
Love Wouldn't Mean A Thing
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