The Blenders : You Do The Dreaming ©1999JCMarion


The Blenders were one of many vocal groups that started their vocalizing as members of a church choir. The original members of the group were Ollie Jones-tenor, Tommy Adams-baritone, Abel DeCosta-tenor, and James Deloatch-bass. Jones had a short tenure as a member of the Ravens, and then moved on to a group called The Four Notes where he met Adams. The new quartet came together as The Blenders and made their stage debut at a Greenwich Village night club called the Club Savannah. After that they appeared in many area clubs and night spots, and were soon auditioning to record for the National label. They recorded one single for the label which was released in September of 1949. The songs were "Come Back Baby Blues" and the pop standard "I Can Dream Can't I?". The record did not do much and soon record producer Lee Magid moved on to Decca records and convinced the group to follow his move.
In late March of 1950 Decca announces the signing of the group to its Coral Records subsidiary. By now the group had enlisted the talents of Terry Brannon as piano accompanist and arranger. In May their first record for the new label is released, but it is on the parent label Decca, rather than on Coral. Decca #48156 is "Gone" and Fats Waller's swing era jump tune "Honeysuckle Rose". This is followed quite quickly by Decca #48158 - "Count Every Star" and "Would I Still Be The One In Your Heart". In early November they recorded "I'm So Crazy For Love" and "What About Tonight" on #48183. Another Blenders version of a pop tune followed with "I'm Afraid The Masquerade Is Over" and the flip side "Little Small Town Girl" for Decca #27403 in January of 1951. At this time the group had a long stay at The Piccadilly Lounge in Newark, New Jersey.


In March of 1951 The Blenders get a plum assignment for a Rhythm & Blues vocal group in the early days of 1951. They are added to the cast of the Richard Hayes variety show on television for the Dumont network as a weekly feature. "All I Gotta Do Is Think Of You" and "Busiest Corner In My Hometown" is released on Decca #27587. At about this time the Blenders are given a two year contract extension for the label. The last record for the year was "My Heart Will Never Forget" and "You Do The Dreaming" on #48244. The group was well received during a week in March of 1952 at the Apollo Theater. At this time Decca #28092 was issued - "I'd Be A Fool Again" / "Just A Little Walk With Me". This was followed in June with "Never In A Million Years" and "Memories Of You" on #28241. Despite the confidence in the group shown earlier by Decca, after eight mostly unproductive records, they were dropped by the label. They were picked up by the MGM label in early 1953 and sought to reverse their fortunes with a change of scenery.
The first release for MGM was "I Don't Miss You Anymore" and "If That's The Way You Want It" on #11488 which was released in the spring of 1953. This was followed by MGM #11531 - "Please Take Me Back" and "Isn't It A Shame". Neither record made the slightest waver in the sales charts and so MGM was now also history. Joe Davis, a record producer for MGM had left and was setting up his own label to be called Jay-Dee (one of many Davis labels over the years-for example Joe Davis, Davis, Beacon, etc.) and thought the Blenders might fit into his plans. The one release for the label became their most famous (and infamous) recording. "Don't Play Around With Love" and "You'll Never Be Mine Again" on Jay-Dee #780. The 'A' side "Play" became a favorite in New York and Philadelphia, and caused Davis to have the group record a more salacious version of the song with revised lyrics. The new "underground" copy of "Don't F--k Around With Love" was kept as a trade artifact and got the group and the record much notoriety that has lived on for all these years. It took on the afterlife of such tunes as "Baby Let Me Bang Your Box", the "Annie Songs" and "Ride Me All Night Long".


As notorious as it had become, the straight version of the song was the last record the Blenders would record. However under other names the group has lived on. They reportedly recorded for Davis under the names The Sparrows and The Millionaires. These facts, as they are, are continually under dispute however. The Sparrows recordings are "Tell Me Baby"/ Why Did You Leave Me" on Jay-Dee #783, and "I'll Be Loving You" / "Hey Baby" on Jay-Dee # 790. There is also word of a version of "Love Me Tender" recorded on Jay-Dee as The Sparrows. Also reportedly by the group is the record of "Kansas Kapers" and Somebody's Lying" on Davis #441. The Blenders called it a career in late 1954 with Ollie Jones and Abel DeCosta becoming members of the fine session vocal group The Cues, who did some recording on their own on Capitol Records. The last postscript to the story of The Blenders, is the release of a single version of "Don't F--k Around With Love" by Wayne Kelly's small Staten Island local label Kel-Way in the early seventies.
The Blenders were an early R & B vocal group that came up among the earliest of the "bird" groups. They did not have a single record that cracked the R & B best sellers, but they had perseverance to stick it out for seven years and become part of the history of this great music.

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