A Short and Incomplete History

The Dozier Boys The Doziers were a local favorite in the Chicago area appearing at neighborhood night spots such as the Corner Lounge. They were formed in 1946 as The Four Tones. They changed their name to honor a family friend and early benefactor. Members of the group were Bill Minor, Eugene Teague, Cornell Wiley, and Benny Cotten. They specialized in gospel music and soon had a local following that resulted in a radio show based in Gary, Indiana. The group then switched musical interests to pop music. The vocal combo was soon signed to Aristocrat records in Chicago and their first release in November of 1948 was "All I Need Is You" / "She's Gone". The quartet now known as The Dozier Boys did a number of recording sessions as backup for blues singer Andrew Tibbs. The piano player on a lot of these recordings for Aristocrat in the late forties later became known as Sun Ra. The Doziers used the strength of that recording to appear with Eugene Wright's combo and later the King Kolax Combo at an all star show of jazz and R & B performers at the Beige Room of the Hotel Pershing. The group is also booked for the early television show "Spotlight Talent" which is presented by well known Chicago deejay Al "old Swingmaster" Benson. During the summer of 1950 the final Dozier Boys recording for Aristocrat (soon to become Chess) was issued - "You Got To Get It" and "Pretty Eyes". The group settled in for an extended gig at another Chicago local spot called Joe's Rendezvous in the late summer of 1951. In October of that year, the Chess label which had originally started as Aristocrat, re-released the Doziers recording of "All I Need Is You". The thinking was that the new popularity of vocal group recordings spurred by the incredible success of the Orioles and the Clovers, would lead to renewed airplay and sales for the group. With an opportunity for a new start the Dozier Boys sign on with Okeh Records in an effort by the Columbia subsidiary label to bolster their R & B roster of performers in late 1951. Nothing seems to come of the union with Okeh Records, and the following year the vocal combo is revamping their sound as they sign on with Chicago independent label United Records. In spring United releases Slim Gaillard's "Laughing In Rhythm" and "Do You Ever Think Of Me". Soon United releases"I Keep Thinking Of You" / "Early Morning Blues" with Tab Smith, and the disc starts out promising but does not catch on and disappears soon after. Other noted musicians that came and went in the Dozier Boys circle was pianist Amhad Jamal and guitarist Wes Montgomery. As with the other releases by the group, they did not sell initially and today remain as sought after collector's items, in great demand and value because of their scarcity. They were winners on the Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts TV show and later recorded for the ABC Paramount label. In October of 1958 the Dozier Boys recorded for the Apt label and "My Heart Is Yours" and "I Am So In Love With You" on #25014. In the late 1950s the Doziers record for Fraternity Records, part of the King complex and best known for the hit recording of "So Rare" by the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra. The last footnote to the Dozier Boys is a notice that they are appearing at Chicago's Club Laurel and doing good business. The Dozier Boys remain a minor imprint in the musical history of the R & B vocal groups, but one that true historians, fans, and fanatics treasure.


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