• The Lyres aka The Rajahs aka The Nutmegs


    The Lyres  (New Haven, Conn.)
    aka The Rajahs aka  The Nutmegs


    Personnel :

    Billy Emery (Lead)

    Leroy Griffin (Bass)

    "Sonny" Griffin (Second Tenor)

    Jimmy "Coco" Tyson (Baritone)

    Walter Singleterry  (First Tenor)

    Discography :

    1953 - Ship of love / Play Boy (J&G 101)

    Biography :

    Hailing from New Haven, CT,  the original Nutmegs -- lead Leroy Griffin, Sonny Griffin (born James, he was Leroy's brother), Dieder Cobb, and a second Leroy Griffin (yes, there were two men with the same exact name) who later became Leroy Gomez -- all sang together with other members -- Walter Singleterry, Bill Emery, and Gomez's brother Tommy Griffin -- moving in and out of the lineup.

    The Four Haven knights

    The group performed on the street corners of New Haven, especially Webster and Dixon Streets, where Jimmy "Co Co" Tyson was asked to join the key lineup and soon they were a quintet.. The Nutmegs fragmented again and some of the members left to form a group of their own, the Lyres; the Gomez brothers formed the Four Haven Knights.


     (Top L-R)  James "Sonny" Griffin, Billy Emery, (Bottom L-R) Leroy Griffin, James "Coco" Tyson

    Now comprised of a lineup that included Bill Emery (lead), Walter Singleterry (first tenor), Sonny Griffin (second tenor), Jimmy Tyson (baritone), and Leroy Griffin (bass), the group met promoter Charlie Johnson in 1953, who fell for their sound and decided to record two of Leroy's songs, "Ship of Love" and "Playboy," for his small J&G label after the group was passed over by the local Klik label .

    The Nutmegs

    The single failed to sell, however, and Johnson lacked the funds to promote it properly. By 1954, the Nutmegs revised their hierarchy and Leroy Griffin switched over to lead, with Sonny Griffin now filling in as first tenor, Tyson (second tenor), Emery (baritone), and they added yet another Leroy, Leroy McNeil, for the bass vocals. Leroy Griffin's nephew Harold (Harry James, not the musician), would often sit in and listen, little knowing the part he would come to play in the group.


    Songs :
    (updated by Hans-Joachim) 

    Play Boy                                 Ship of love








  • Comments

    Monday 22nd August 2016 at 21:59

    Leroy Griffin's nephew name was(or is) Harold Janes. Not James. I knew him in the 90's and early 2000's. He would come up from FL to perform for The United and Group Harmony Association. He was a very nice guy and sounded much like his uncle

    All the best,

    D. Vail


      • Friday 7th April 2017 at 13:24

        "Playboy" is actually spelled "Play Boy".

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