• The Mondellos

    The Mondellos
    Alice Jean Wilton

    The Mondellos (Pittsburgh, Ca)

    Personnel :

    Alice Jean Wilton (Soprano)

    Ollie "Yul" McClay (Tenor)

    Ron Lawson (Tenor)

    Charles Jackson (Bass)

    Gary Williams (Tenor)

    Discography :

    Alice Jean & The Mondellos
    1957 - 100 Years From Today / Come Back Home (Rhythm 102)
    1957 - Daylight Saving Time / That's What I Call Love (Rhythm 106))
    1957 - Happiness Street / Hard To Please (Rhythm 109)

    Yul McClay & The Mondellos
    1957 - Never Leave Me Alone / Over The Rainbow (Rhythm 105)

    Little Willie Littlefield (bb the Mondellos)
    1957 - Ruby-Ruby / Easy Go (inst.) (Rhythm 108)

    Bob Jeffries (bb the Mondellos)
    1958 - Never Let Me Go / (Irma Special - Roland Mitchell) (Rhythm 110)

    Jackie Gotroe (bb the Mondellos)
    1958 - Raised On Rock And Roll / Rock It To The Moon (Rhythm 111)

    Rudy Lambert & The Mondellos
    1958 - My Heart / That's What I Call Love (Rhythm 114)

    The Mondellos
    1990 - You'll Never Know / Hard To Please (The Marcels) (Rhythm 118)


    Biography :

    Founded by Ollie "Yul" (nicknamed because he shaved his head like movie star Yul Brynner) McClay, Ron Lawson and Charles Jackson, the Mondellos were one of the first groups to sign and record on the Rhythm Records label created by Bay Area basketball great and later popular Bay Area disc jockey Don Barksdale. McClay, Lawson and Jackson began singing together in Pittsburg (California) like many doo-wop groups around the country. The Mondellos, who were still nameless and performed as "a local group" was formally started in 1957. McClay and Jackson were attending East Contra Costa Junior College (now known as Diablo Valley College) and added a college classmate, Gary Williams. At Lawson’s suggestion, the group listened to a 15-year-old high school girl named Alice Jean Wilton, who blew the group away with her singing and piano-playing ability, and was immediately asked to join the group.

    The Mondellos     The Mondellos
    Don Barksdale                                                                                                               

    Ernie Petrucci, a drummer from Lafayette rounded out the group. Enjoying success at clubs and school dances, the group auditioned for Music City Records in San Francisco but was not signed. McClay’s girlfriend’s father knew Barksdale and arranged an impromptu audition for the group. Barksdale liked their sound, took them to his studio and recorded an old song "One Hundred Years From Today," originally recorded a decade earlier by the Jones Brothers. The flip side of the record was "Come Back Home." Barksdale gave the group its name, The Mondellos. Barksdale brought in Peewee Kingsley to front the band, and the record was released in May of 1957 with the group listed as Alice Jean and the Mondellos. 

    The Mondellos   The Mondellos    The Mondellos
     Bob Jeffries                                            Little Willie Littlefield                                                  Jackie Gotroe

    The record received some air play, and the group, minus Petrucci, began to get billings on the R & B circuit. A near-tragic traffic accident that nearly cost Williams his life and left McClay badly injured forced the group to disband for a while, but when it got back together, it returned to Barksdale’s studio and recorded "Never Leave Me Alone" and "Over the Rainbow," which was released as a single listing the band as Ollie "Yul" McClay and the Mondellos. A third recording soon followed with Wilton again featured as the lead singer. The group also did some backup work for Little Willie Littlefield, Bob Jeffries and Jackie Gotroe.


    Alice Jean & The Mondellos

    100 Years From Today / Come Back Home

    Daylight Saving Time / That's What I Call Love                Happiness Street / Hard To Please       

    Yul McClay & The Mondellos

    Never Leave Me Alone / Over The Rainbow

    Little Willie Littlefield (bb the Mondellos)     Bob Jeffries (bb the Mondellos)

    Ruby-Ruby / Easy Go (inst.)                    Never Let Me Go       

    Jackie Gotroe (bb the Mondellos)

    Raised On Rock And Roll             Rock It To The Moon    

    Rudy Lambert & The Mondellos                  The Mondellos           

    My Heart / That's What I Call Love                  You'll Never Know            


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