The Solotones aka The Marigolds
The Marigolds (Nashville, Tennessee)
aka The Solotones
Johnny Bragg (Lead Tenor)
Edward Lee Thurmon (Tenor)
William Stewart (Baritone)
John Edward Drue (Tenor)
Harold Hebb (Tenor)
Willie Wilson (Bass)
1955 - Rollin' Stone / Why Don't You (Excello 2057)
1955 - Two Strangers/ Love You - Love You - Love You (Excello 2061)
1955 - Don't Say Tomorrow (Excello)
1955 - Rollin’ Stone (alt. take) (Excello)
Johnny Bragg & The Marigolds
1956 - It's You Darling, It's You / Juke Box Rock And Roll (Excello 2091)
1955 - Pork And Beans / Front Page Blues (Excello 2060)
Johnny Bragg (solo)
1956 - Foolish Me! / Beyond The Clouds (Excello 2078)
The Prisonaires, as the name suggests, were a group of inmates led by Johnny Bragg, at the State Penitentiary in Tennessee who were in for a variety of reasons but, through their singing, were touted as evidence of the prison’s successful rehab program. Sam Phillips took notice and brought the group to record at Sun where the group cut “Walking In The Rain” written by member Robert Riley and Johnny Bragg, which was a sizable hit even being covered by Johnny Ray.
The group was allowed day passes to tour, even becoming a favorite of the Governor while continuing to record during their imprisonment. After the third single, several members of the group were paroled, so Bragg formed a new Prisonaires renamed the Sunbeams that included Harold Hebb (brother of Bobby Hebb, "Sunny," #2 Pop, #3 R&B, 1966), William Stewart, Willy Wilson, and Henry "Dishrag" Jones .
Henry Dishrag Jones (piano) Harold Hebb, Johnny Bragg, John Drue, L.B. McCollough(guitar), Alfred Brooks, Willy Wilson
Meanwhile, in July 1954, Sun issued the last Prisonaires single "There Is Love In You," which Billboard described as a "pretty ballad sung skillfully, sparked by a baritone lead. This is one of the group's best to date." Al Brooks joined the group later, replacing William Stewart. In 1955 the Sunbeams became the Marigolds and recorded in Nashville for Excello Records.
The Excello-released "Rollin' Stone" became a number eight R&B hit while the group was still based in the Tennessee penitentiary. After the Marigolds Bragg changed names again recording the Solotones and then under his own name before spending some additional time in prison for parole violations eventually hanging up his recording career though he continued to sing, as do many, in church.
Rollin’ Stone Rollin’ Stone (alt. take) Why Don’t You
Two Strangers Love You - Love You - Love You It's You Darling, It's You
Juke Box Rock And Roll Don’t Say Tomorrow
Pork And Beans Front Page Blues
Johnny Bragg (solo)
Foolish Me! Beyond The Clouds
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