The Bakersfield-based Paradons emerged as a play on words from their gospel roots as the Dons Of Heaven according to member Charles “Chuck” Weldon. “We would sing on Sundays, then at school we became the Paradons .”
Weldon stated the original members were lead tenor West Tyler, Billy Myers, Billy Powers and Edwin Scott. Tyler’s best friend, Weldon stated “When I came in, they fired Scott. He took it very hard. Everyone treated Scott bad as we were teenagers. He wasn’t one of us.”
With Weldon taking Scott’s place, the group began “singing around the parks, putting different songs together,” one of them being “Diamonds & Pearls,” which Scott had written. After Scott left the group, the song underwent some changes, but it remained basically the same as when Scott taught it to the group.
Their recording career began with an association with a Mexican band, “Ricky Lee (Ricky Agary) and the somebody’s used to beat us. He said, ‘we’re going to L.A. to record. If we get done early you can record some songs.’”
That Agary session resulted in Bob Gaynor’s vocal on the Latin-beat “Cha Cha Rock” b/w “The Last Time I Saw You” on Milestone (2002).
“Kim Fowley had me set up with the Paradons,” recalled Gary Paxton. “Chris Christian was the local R&B entree in Bakersfield. At that time, Joe Love was the lead singer of the Paradons. He got hooked with that lady at Milestone, somehow the record wound up on that label. Would sign publishing with six different people. I was supposed to have 50% of publishing with Chris. Me and Kim, Milestone, Lode music…”
The Paradons then recorded for Fairburn’s Milestone at Baker’s Audio Arts Studio. “We must have done four or five songs in the first session,” said Weldon.
Released in the summer, “Diamonds & Pearls” b/w “I Want Love” (2003) slowly developed into a national hit in the fall of 1960. As a consequence of these strong unexpected sales, the label went through various batches of paper, issuing the song on red, maroon and green and white label colors.
Four or five months after their original session, the group returned to Audio Arts. By now, Scott who had never been paid for “Diamonds & Pearls” had hired an attorney to help him recoup his share of the song’s success.
Their next, “Bells Ring” b/w “Please Tell Me” (2005) rang up little in the way of sales.
Their final Milestone, “Never Again” b/w “I Had A Dream” (2015) also showed up on Tufffest (102). The a-side, “Never Againz” b/w a new b-side, “This Is Love” was also issued as the Trend-Tones on Superb (100) in 1961.
After this failure to properly cash in on an important hit, the Paradons moved on to the Warner Bros.
According to Weldon, when the group reported for their session with Warner Bros., Scott showed up with an injunction.
“We were in the recording studio, doing our next songs, while his lawyers were waiting for us outside,” said Weldon. “Joe Grayton, our manager, snuck us out through the back of the studio. We thought it was great fun.” They later regrouped to restart the session. But the fun soon evaporated. Kim Fowley recorded Scott with the Blue Angels for Edsel.
Tags: The Paradons