Archive for December, 2008

The Elements / Elgins

December 7, 2008


The Elements, Kenny Sinclair, Darryl “Cappy” Lewis, his brother Carl Lewis and Jimmy Smith emerged from the Six Teens with William DeVase, who had sung with Sinclair in the Colognes on Lummtone, also known as the Passions on Era and Capitol.

Their only release, the fine “Lonely Hearts Club” b/w “Bad Man” came out on Titan (1708) in 1960. A Beaumont, TX classmate of Smith from Texas, Oscar McDonald replaced Carl Lewis and the group moved on to the Flip, the original home of the Six Teens as the Elgins.

In 1961, Brown issued “My Illness” b/w “Extra Extra,” which used the opening (“…read all about it”) as by the Elgins (1724), with the title “My Illness” almost immediately changed to the more appetizing “Heartache, Heartbreak,” the opening lines (“heartache, heartbreak, and lonely misery”) of the song. Smith recalled, we always referred to it as ‘My Illness.’”

After a one-disc career as the Elements on Titan, the newly renamed Elgins put down one historic 45 for Flip, “Uncle Sam’s Man” b/w “Casey Cop” (353) in 1960. This tearful goodbye-to-a-serviceman’s sweetheart as he heads off to sea was patterned by Darryl Lewis from the bridge (“darling can’t you see that I’m going overseas”) of the Six Teens’ major Flip label hit, “A Casual Look” (315) from 1956.

The Elgins’ presentation featured strong unison harmonies overlaid with Jimmy Smith’s impassioned lead and soaring falsetto. “It’s what you call a weave, doing falsetto over the top, dropping back into the harmony, back to the lead,” said Smith. “It was a different thing.” For their next releases, the Elgins moved over to the Lummtone label in 1961.

Frank Wilson on Soul – Northern Soul’s Rarest – updated May 6, 2009

December 7, 2008

frankwilsonorig1One copy of this disc escaped from the Motown files in a transaction that involved drugs and a drug addled employee of the firm who took qualuudes from a medical professional (doctor  / famed / deceased / record collector) for the company’s file copy  of this 45.  The doctor who collected 50s vocal group harmony records turned it around in a big trade and later that copy sold for upwards of $20 gs.\

Now comes the following from the latest Goldmine (so you don’t have to click thru three links to get to the text – shame on you Goldmine! – oh the hardship):

“Sold by Kenny Burrell, this version is one of only two surviving copies of Wilson’s record known to exist — and it’s the only one in acceptable playing condition. Motown kingpin Berry Gordy originally ordered the record destroyed.

“As the story goes, Wilson, who became a producer for Motown, was hired in late 1965 to head up the label’s West Coast operation in Los Angeles. The deal was contingent upon Wilson giving up his recording and performing career. But Wilson recorded a demo of “Do I Love You.” Upon finding out, Berry gave the order to have it wiped off the face of the earth. But, two copies escaped.

“U.K. record dealer John Manship, who specializes in Northern Soul rarities, held the auction for Burrell’s record. The total amount of the sale, which started in the middle of March and ran to April 29, was £25,742.”

That’s sort of the back story:  Wilson, who sang with the family group the Wil-Sones on Highland and the  Remarkables on Audio Arts, joined Motown when it moved west.  He recorded the Soul single, then Gordy told him to make a decision:  either you’re a vocalist or a songwriter.  He chose writer, Gordy stopped the release.

Wilson is now a preacher and lives in Pasadena.

It Was You

December 3, 2008


The Feathers

December 3, 2008

feathers-show-time-1104The Feathers came together in 1954, when lead tenor Johnny Staton and his brother and first tenor Louis Staton relocated from El Centro, a California border town, to South L.A., where they settled.

Johnny Staton recalled, “we had twelve children, brothers and sisters. We used to get together and harmonize in church.” Following a stint in the air force, Johnny began performing at various talent shows with his brothers, Louis and Izell and sister Lenore. Izell sang bass. “My brother Louis said we had a very light bass, so why not name the group the Feathers?”

After about four months with this membership, Izell and Lenore left and the group and added neighborhood friends, second tenor Don Harris, baritone John “Sonny” Harris and bass Mitchell Alexander.

For their earliest song, Johnny “thought of a young lady I was with when I got ready to leave for the service. She had said, ‘Johnny, darling, please don’t go.’” For the flip side, Staton recalled another girl. “During my high school days, there was a girl called Nona Wyatt. All the boys would try to get her, she was so beautiful, but she never paid me no attention. I used to tease her, hit on her. I don’t think she ever found out about the record.”

Censored Chuck Higgins Cover – why withdrawn?

December 2, 2008

As best I can tell, the title “P:achuko Hop” is misspelled – should be “Pachuco Hop.”  Faced with this embarrasing gaffe, Combo withdrew it – from the marketplace, that is.  BTW, the lovely model is reputedly DJ Huggy Boy’s wife o’day.  Really, an enchanting relationship51hfp8modnl_sl500_aa240_1

Bring Back Those Doo Wops

December 2, 2008