The Romaines (New York)
Earl Plummer (Lead)
Romaine Brown (Bass)
Bobby Bushnell (Baritone)
Roy Hayes (Tenor)
Henry Tucker Green (Drums)
1954 - Your Kind Of Love / Till The Wee Wee Morning (Groove 0035)
1954 - Long Time Dead (Groove)
1954 - Weight Broke The Wagon Down (Groove)
Romaine Brown & His Romaines
1956 - Soft Summer Breeze / Autumn Leaves (Decca 30054)
1956 - Ooba Dabba Dabba Da / Hold 'Em Joe (Decca 30122)
1957 - When Your Lover Has Gone / Satin Doll (Decca 30399)
This Philadelphia pianist and vocalist is mostly known as a member of the Five Red Caps, although he did strike out on his own with the Romaines, a group that together with the Icebergs and the Red Leafs definitely constitute the salad days of doo-wop. Actually, the band which began as the Red Caps began in the late-'30s days of jive, and one of Brown's specialities was that kind of swinging fast-paced music, sometimes complete with novelty vocal numbers. This was a talent he shared with the band's leader, Steve Gibbons. The latter performer was one of the Red Caps since its inception, while Brown came on board a few years later when pianist Beryl Booker became too sick to carry on with the group.
Soon thereafter the combo began its recording relationship with producer Joe Davis. "I've Learned a Lesson I'll Never Forget" was the opening salvo in what would be a four year relationship with Davis' Beacon label, and could easily have been written about any number of publishing agreements made by artists in this recording era. The Beacon track "Boogie Woogie Ball" is a sample of Brown's instrumental style. In 1948, the band, now known as Steve Gibson & the Red Caps and signed to the Mercury label, had what would be its biggest record ever, a cover of the chestnut "Wedding Bells Are Breaking Up That Old Gang of Mine." Brown's vocal features on the group's Mercury run of recordings are particularly fine.
Romaine Brown & The Romaines in Miami Beach
By the early '50s, it was now Steve Gibson & the Original Red Caps and a small stack of different singles had come out. Sales were falling off, with the jivey mood of the 1951 "Did Ya Eat Yet Joe?" perhaps not the type of musical question the listening public wanted to be asked. Enterprising manager Nat Nazarro, checking out the popularity of the Nat "King" Cole Trio format, tried out a Red Caps Trio highlighting the more delicate interplay of Brown, Gibson, and a bassist, usually either Israel Crosby or David Patillo. This group also recorded as a backup unit for bluesman George "Bon Bon" Tunnell, who had gone to high school with Brown.
Brown finally made the big move in 1953: wilting under pressures from the band, he pulled out and formed his own group, the Romaines. Other members included Bobby Bushnell, a baritone vocalist and bassist; Roy Hayes, a tenor vocalist and guitarist; and drummer Henry Tucker Green, whose name sounds like a location for a cricket match. Lead tenor Earl Plummer joined soon thereafter, and was already a mate from the shifting lineup of various Red Caps outfits. In the summer of 1954, the Romaines signed with the groovy Groove label, later going on to record for Decca under the sway of Harry Mills of the Mills Brothers. The group stayed together through the end of the decade, but only Brown was only able to make Hayes stay around out of the original outfit. Brown tossed out the Romaines in 1959 and went back to the Red Caps salad bowl. He is once again heard playing piano on songs originating from a few sessions that were done before he once again headed out on his own, this time to try working as a single. From the '60s on, this is how Brown finished out his career. He and bandmate Spring died in the same year, 1987.
Romaine Brown & His Romaines
Autumn Leaves Soft Summer Breeze
Your Kind Of Love / Till The Wee Wee Morning
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