Thinking Of You : The Honeydreamers©2008JCMarion


The Honeydreamers were a tight harmony vocal group that was formed in the mid nineteen forties. The founder of the group was Keith Textor who came out of St. Olaf College in Minnesota. Other members were Keith's wife Sylvia Textor who had performed under the name Sylvia Michaels, Marion Bye, Lou Anderson, and Bob Davis (who was married to Marion Bye). The vocal group made their first recordings for the Chicago independent label Vitacoustic beginning in the spring of 1947. They recorded with the jazz trio led by pianist Mel Henke. "Alexander's Ragtime Band" and "What Is This Thing Called Love" on Vitacoustic # 3 was the result. This was followed by "Honky Tonk Train" (originally by Meade Lux Lewis) and "In A Mist" on # 5 also with Mel Henke. In December of 1947 the Honeydreamers recorded for the label with the orchestra of Bill MacRae on the songs "Get A PinUp Girl" and "My Baby Went Away" on # 12. In February of 1948 Vitacoustic released # 19 which included two songs by the group with vocalist Jack Carroll and the Bill MacRae orchestra. The tunes were "Trust In Me" and "The Valentine Song". In March of the year The Honeydreamers took part in a musical salute to the dedication of new radio station WKOW in Madison, Wisconsin. In late 1948 the group moved to RCA Victor Records and their first release for the company was issued on the Bluebird subsidiary on # 0016. The songs were "Six Times A Week" and "I'll Never Slip Around Again" originally by Jimmy Wakely and Margaret Whiting (as a sequel to their huge hit "Slippin' Around").

The group began radio work appearing on the revue "The U.S. Treasury Salutes" and "Van Camp's Little Show". They were also featured performers on the Kay Kyser program. The quintet continued on with RCA Victor who released their recordings on the main label. "Plaything" and "Silver Dollar" on # 3720 in early 1950 was followed by "Blue Prelude" and a cover of Bette McLaurin's "I May Hate Myself In The Morning" on # 3722. Next was "Bewitched (Bothered And Bewildered)" and "If I Had You On A Desert Isle" on # 3726 with the orchestra of Larry Green. "Bewitched" was a big song of 1950 (led by the Tower label version by Bill Snyder). The Honeydreamers and Larry Green had a good sized hit with their take on the song, getting as high as number fifteen in the country and stayed on the charts for close to three months. "Rain" and "Sweetheart Semi Colon" was released by RCA on # 3761. "Faith And Determination" and "Love Me A Little Bit" which was recorded with Lisa Kirk and the orchestra of Henri Rene was on RCA # 3765. The group recorded "I'll Get Myself A Choo Choo Train" and "An Arm With A Bow In Its Hand" on # 3794. Continuing in 1950 The Honeydreamers recorded "I Still Get A Thrill" with Tony Martin on # 3799. Tony went solo on the flip side with "Peace Of Mind". An interesting record on RCA was # 3817 - "Marianne" by The Honeydreamers on one side and "When The Saints Go marching In" by The Three Suns on the other side. During the year the group recorded some jazz vocals with the combo of Charlie Ventura. The songs "I'd Like To Wrap You Up" and "Love Goes Around (Like A Merry-Go-Round)" was issued by RCA on # 3821. "Can Anyone Explain" and "All Dressed Up To Smile" with the Larry Green Orchestra was released on RCA # 3902.

In 1950 the group also appeared with Martin & Lewis on the television show "The Colgate Comedy Hour" on NBC. The Honeydreamers also had a connection with the early late night variety show "Broadway Open House" with Jerry Lester, Dagmar, and Milton DeLugg. They recorded the theme song for the show called "The Bean Bag Song" with "Potato Bug Boogie" on RCA # 4023. The group also made some appearances on the TV show "Garroway At Large" with Dave Garroway (soon to debut "The Today Show") on NBC. At that time Sylvia Textor also appeared as a solo performer on NBC television. In 1951 Sylvia and Keith Textor left the group and performed as a duo and joined Fred Waring & His Pennsylvanians on television. They were part of the cast on the television program "Your Show Of Shows" which starred Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca. The Textors were featured during the final season of the landmark program. Meanwhile, The Honeydreamers appeared on the television programs "All In Fun" in 1952 and "Summertime USA" in 1953. The Honeydreamers carried on with Bob Davis doing vocal arrangements for them as well as vocalizing. The group did radio appearances on the Naval Air Reserve Show and in June of 1955 was part of the musical cast of the program "Rhythm On The Road" with Kay Armen, Bob Manning, and the orchestra of Eliot Lawrence. The group backed up Eddie Fisher on "Thinking Of You" (a different tune than the Kay Kyser theme) for RCA.

In 1955 Lou Anderson now exited from The Honeydreamers. He had been an alto sax player with a number of bands before joining the group. In 1955 an executive from NBC saw him and brought him to the network to take the place of Bob Keeshan in the role of Clarabell the Clown on the pioneering children's show "Howdy Doody". Anderson took the job and played the role until the end when he uttered the only words spoken by the character in the fourteen years on the show. He simply signed off with the words "Goodbye kids". Keeshan of course went on to further fame as Captain Kangaroo on TV for many years. In 1955 The Honeydreamers had moved to Capitol and recorded "Perdido" and "Sometimes I'm Happy" on Capitol # 2857. In the mid and late nineteen fifties The Honeydreamers concentrated on LP albums. They recorded "Really Living", "Bon Voyage", and "An Evening With The Honeydreamers" for RKO-Unique. The group backed up Kirk Stewart on "Swingin' Shepherd Blues" and "Gladly" for Josie on # 832. In 1959 The group recorded an LP for Dot Records called "It's Dark On Observatory Hill" on # 3175. They also recorded for Coral Records with two Latin numbers "Cha Cha Chimes" and "Stardust (Cha Cha)" on # 1022.

The group changed direction again for a time with a series of recordings aimed at children. Among the releases for Peter Pan Records were "Thumbelina" with Del Sharbut, "Rootie Tootie Tootie (The Kewtie Bear Song)", the seasonal "White Christmas" and "Adeste Fidelis" with Jack Russell and The Caroleers. For Columbia the group recorded "Chick Chick Chickies" and "Mrs. Easter Bunny" with Tony Mottola's band for Columbia on # 40668. The Honeydreamers recorded the album "A Child's Introduction To Jazz" for Golden Records LP # 29. In 1961 "Don't Send Me Away" and "A Patched Up Heart" was recorded for MGM on # 12178. There was also a number of songs recorded for an LP album for MGM which was never issued. There was also a 45 EP called "A Peach On The Beach" which contained the title song plus "Hands Off", "I'm Just A Darned Fool", and "Give An Old Fella A Break". In the late sixties the group was still harmonizing when they appeared on the radio show "Ten High" sponsored by the U.S. Air Force. Even today the internet site TV4U.com has an all star jazz program including vocals by The Honeydreamers. An odd recording by the group was "Irish Mambo" and "Five Minutes To Twelve" on the Double A (# 105) label that is prized by some collectors

And what of Sylvia and Keith Textor who had so much to do with the history of The Honeydreamers ? Sylvia had recorded "Miracle Of Love" as a solo, and then The Textors recorded with Fred Waring and his orchestra for Decca Records. "Whistle A Happy Tune" on # 27600, and "Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo" in 1951, "Two Sleepy People" and "Truly Be My True Love" on # 28527, and "I Want A Girl" in 1953. Keith Textor also was arranger for a number of Fred Waring orchestral and choral recordings. After their time with Fred Waring the Textor contributed vocals for the NBC television original musical production of "Satins And Spurs" one of the networks early "spectaculars" in September of 1954. Sylvia and Keith also appeared on the NBC show "Best Of All" in 1954. Beginning in the late nineteen fifties, the Textors were involved in a variety of musical endeavors. They recorded for Enoch Light's label Waldorf, covering of all things, the latest pop hits. Sylvia sang with Jerry Duane & The Monarchs on Paul Anka's "Diana" and "Fascination" a hit for Jane Morgan. Keith tried his hand on Fats Domino's "I'm Walking". The songs were included on the Waldorf LP "Rock 'n Roll Jamboree" 33BU #2.

Keith Textor then moved back to RCA with the Keith Textor Singers where he recorded a number of LPs using the newest technology of the time with stereophonic channel separation. Albums such as "Sounds Terrific" on # 2365, "Sounds Sensational" on # 2425, "Stereo Action Unlimited", and a single with Guitars Unlimited on the songs "Lonesome Road" and "Expresso" on RCA # 32489. There was an album for Warner Brothers Records called "Dancing By The Firelight", and a number of singles and albums for A & R Records. Singles included "Measure The Valleys" and "We're Together" on # 500, "Games People Play" and "Something" on # 502, and "Hold Me" and "He Has A Way" on # 508. Albums for A & R included "Measure The Valleys" on # 7100, and "A New Generation". Keith Textor also conducted the music on a liquor promotion disc for Four Roses.

After more than two decades vocalizing and arranging, Keith Textor turned to composing. He partnered with Mailyn Scott and created theme songs and associated music for television shows. Once such example was the theme song for the show "The Candid Camera". Sylvia and Keith Textor are members of the Society Of Singers group founded by Mrs. Henry Mancini, and also took part in a reunion of Fred Waring musicians in California in the nineties. The Textors certainly are a big part of the history of the Interlude Era. The Honeydreamers are represented by a cd release of their album called "An Evening With The Honeydreamers" . That's as good as it gets !

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