Raise A Ruckus : The Coleman Brothers©2007JCMarion


The vocal group with the name The Coleman Brothers goes back to the early nineteen twenties as a family originally from Virginia steeped in the traditional Southern Black gospel music sound. Different family members were part of the ensemble and by the late nineteen thirties began to appear on local radio in the New York area. They had a regular spot on one of the very few stations programming for the Black population at the time with WMCA in New York City. By the start of the next decade they were given an opportunity to record with Decca Records. The Coleman Brothers were Lander, Russel, Wallace, Melvin, and Everette. In 1944 Decca released "His Eye Is On The Sparrow" and "Low Down The Chariot" on # 8662. This recording got substantial airplay on local radio and remained favorite songs by the group for years. In 1945 they recorded some sides for New Jersey based Manor Records and found themselves in demand for radio programming on network radio. They also were pioneering with their commercial product endorsements and becoming involved with recorded commercial advertisements. In 1946 a radio situation developed for the group and so they moved to Cincinnati to work on WLW radio. Decca # 8673 was released in 1946 and featured the hit tune "Get Away Mr. Satan, Get Away". The flip side was "We're Gonna Raise A Ruckus Tonight".

In the late 1940s the Brothers also started their own record label called appropriately enough Coleman Records. Even that enterprise proved successful with a hit record in 1949 - "I'll Always Be In Love With You" by The Ray-O-Vacs on #100 (with "Groovin' Low" on the other side) and a good follow up with "Besame Mucho" on # 105. On August 12 of 1950 Regal Records based in Linden, New Jersey announces the signing of The Coleman Brothers. They will work with arranger Howard Biggs for the label. The first recording for the brothers is a vocal behind R & B star Paul Gayten on the Weavers pop hit "Goodnight Irene" written by Leadbelly (Huddie Ledbetter). The song released on Regal # 3281 shows good sales in the Northeast and is featured on radio throughout the area. Changin their name to The Colemans, the group had two further releases for Regal - "You Know I Love You" and "I Don't Mind Being All Alone" on # 3297, and "If You Should Care For Me" and "I Ain't Got Nobody" on # 3308, also in 1950. By 1951 the brothers called it a career as far as singing went but continued on in other business ventures such as their record label. Coleman Records released such sides as "Flea On A Spree" / "Lover's Moon" by the Ben Smith Quartet on # 121 and "She's Yours She's Mine" by Pablo Jones on # 122, and "Got To Go Around The Corner" by Sonny Bridges, but had little success in the early fifties.

Lander Coleman was the only brother that stayed with singing after 1951. The others followed their religious pursuits and became ministers. Lander managed a couple of night spots in the Newark, New Jersey area, and started up a new version of the vocal group for a time. The brothers sold their interests in the record label to Savoy in the late fifties, and today they are a dim memory for the fortunate few that were aware of the singing brothers that spanned so many decades. They were surely an important part of the transition years that set the stage for The Ravens, Orioles, and all who would follow.

The Coleman Brothers live on in sound on the Acrobat cd titled "The Coleman Brothers : 1943-1948" which features all of their Decca and Manor sides from those years.

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