Chicago:The Danderliers©2001JCMarion


On the South side of Chicago (right out of "Bad Bad Leroy Brown" by Jim Croce) the formation a vocal group took place in February of 1955. The members of this singing unit included Dallas Taylor and James Campbell, both lead singers, Bernard Dixon, Walter Stevenson and Richard Thomas. The inspiration for the name of the quintet came from the flower (or is it a weed ?) the Dandelion. The group was known as The Danderliers and in the spirit of the times polished their sound on the streetcorners of the neighborhood. They worked mostly on two songs written by member Taylor - one a slow ballad called "My Autumn Love" and the other an uptempo riff based song called "Chop Chop Boom". The boys finally got a shot at recording for Chicago's local company United / States Records. The two Dallas Taylor tunes were released in March of 1955 on States #147 backed up by Red Holloway's combo. At first all the knowledgeable sources in the music business around the area felt that the ballad side would have the best shot at success for the new fivesome, but soon it was apparent that the strange riffing tune was the people's choice. "Chop Chop Boom" took off and soon got into the top ten R & B best selling records in the country. Listeners it seemed could not get enough of the song about the strange tale of one Cat Ace. Cash Box trade mag listed the record as its "sleeper of the week" in April and soon was selling nationally and was then "rewarded" for their success by being the subject of a cover version on Mercury by The Crew Cuts. Now that the Danderliers had a "name" they began a round of personal appearances that included a Midwestern swing with The Moroccos, Five Blazes, and sax man Ron Hall.


In June the group signed up for an extensive tour of Michigan and Wisconsin to end up back in Chicago for a weekend show at the Trianon Ballroom. The tour coincided with the release of their second side for the States label - "New Way" and "Loving Partner" on #150. Soon after its initial release the title of the up tempo tune was changed from "New Way" to "Shu-Wop" because the label felt that the original name was too suggestive (my how times have changed !). The group continued their practice of having Taylor do the lead on the fast sides and Campbell lead on the ballads. Once again Cash Box picked their record as its "sleeper of the week" designation on July 23 of 1955. This time out the record did not sell as well as the first record, but personal appearance requests kept the group busy throughout the summer. A featured gig in the fall at Chicago's Basin Street Lounge kept the boys in the limelight among record buyers. At this time The Danderliers were back in the recording studio and soon States #152 was released at the end of the year - "May God Be With You" with its gospel feel and "Little Man". Although listeners in the East never heard the record due to an absence of airplay, the radio stations in the Midwest gave the record a chance. The gospel-pop side got into the top ten in the cities of Cincinnati and Louisville.


The Danderliers continued their limited touring and in person appearances to their local region based in Chicago for the rest of the year and late in 1956 had their final release for States on #160 - "She's Mine" and "My Love". The latter tune was another fine ballad for the group but this time there was little airplay and sparse sales outside of the city of Chicago. "My Love" which was a fine ballad treatment was unjustly overlooked among the vast numbers of vocal group records released during the time. With the fourth and final release for the States label the end came for The Danderliers. They reportedly did some demo work for Mercury Records but no commercial releases were forthcoming and so the group passed on into history. They remain as a dim memory for most vocal group aficionados but their one big smash "Chop Chop Boom", stands as one of the great musical moments of the era.


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