Forgotten Names - Forgotten Faces©2004JCMarion


Richard Lewis

In May of 1951 Modern Records releases "Believe In Me" and "Forever" by Richard Lewis and The Barons on #818. Three years later in May of 1954 Richard Lewis records "Hey Little Girl" and "Richard's Boogie" on Aladdin #3238. That same month Lewis has another release on Aladdin Records backing up vocalist Deloris Gibson on the tunes "I Wish You Love" and "Let's Love Tonight" on #3239. In June "Hey Little Girl" starts to sell big in the Los Angeles area. Lewis and his band will play the Savoy Ballroom in L.A. over the July 4th weekend along with The Robins. In August the Starlight Theater in Burbank presents The Robins, Flairs, Big Jay McNeely, Jimmy Witherspoon, and Richard Lewis & his band. In September Lewis and the band visit Las Vegas along with Shirley Gunter & The Queens, and Jimmy Witherspoon. That month Lewis and his band record two more songs with Delores Gibson. Released on Aladdin #3255, the songs are ""Call Me Call Me" and an answer to Lewis hit - "Hey Little Boy". In October "Sweet Dreams" and "Still Driftin'" are released on Aladdin #3261. Richard Lewis and his band sign on for a series of one nighters beginning right after the first of the year along with Peewee Crayton. The tour will cover the Southwest and mountain states.In March of 1955 The Platters and The Flairs appear with Richard Lewis at the Hermosa Beach Biltmore for one in a series of R & B shows held every Saturday.

Monroe Tucker

Monroe Tucker is featured on piano on Percy Mayfield's hit record for Supreme "Two Years Of Torture" and "Half Awoke" in January of 1950. Tucker has been featured with a five piece combo at Chicago's Victory Inn since October of 1949. Tucker, also a song writer of note, is having one of his tunes "I Love Her" recorded by Amos Milburn. By the summer, Mayfield and Tucker's recording of "Two Years Of Torture" is now on the Recorded In Hollywood label ( # 111) and is a big seller. Hazel Jordan is now the vocalist with Monroe Tucker's band. In September of 1950 Tucker is with a combo at the San Pedro Inn in California with vocalist Duke Henderson. Featured in the band are Nat Rogers (sax), Vernon Bowens (vibes), Harold Grant (guitar), James McClain (bass), Joe Ussery (drums) and Tucker on piano. In mid December the L.A. Sentinel will hold their annual Christmas benefit program. The talent will be headed by Louis Armstrong, Johnny Otis and his band with Little Esther, and will also feature Monroe Tucker and his band with Duke Henderson and Violet Hall on vocals. Late in the year Tucker and his band with Duke Henderson will record for Imperial Records. In january of 1951 "Ten Days Of Agony" and "Kinfolks" are released on Imperial # 5109. Both songs were written by Tucker. In 1951 Tuckers combo now called the "Shades Of Rhythm Band" appears on weekends at the 5-4 Ballroom in Los Angeles. Tucker does arranging and conducting for various labels in the L.A. area including the Hollywood label where he records with Linda Hayes. In mid 1954 Cat Records # 105 is released featuring Prince Patridge with Monroe Tucker's Orchestra on the two part talking blues "Co-Operation". Tucker appears on two further records with Prince Patridge in late 1955 - "How Come My Dog Won't Bark" / "Choosing A Career" on Crest # 1006, and "Hen Party" / "Get Back" on Crest # 1009 (Crest being a subsidiary of Hollywood Records).

Jimmy Grissom

Singer Jimmy Grissom is a nephew of Dan Grissom, who was the vocalist for the Jimmy Lunceford orchestra. Jimmy records in the late nineteen forties for Miltone Records and hits with a seasonal tune "Christmas Brings Me Down" in 1948. The next year he records "California Blues" and "Footsteps Round My Door" on MGM # 10337. He plays clubs in the Los Angeles area in late 1949 and into 1950. His combo consists of Chuck Waller on tenor sax, Willard McDaniel on piano, Reginald Jones on bass, and Bob Harvey on drums. Gotham Records of Philadelphia purchases the masters of Miltone Records of L.A. Included are some unreleased sides by Jimmy Grissom. In the summer Grissom appears at the Bowery Club in Las vegas with alto player Clifton Neil, and bassist Theodore Shirley, as Grissom doubles on vocals and drums. In October of 1950 Modern Records plans to issue the first R & B LP album which will feature songs by a number of artists including Jimmy Grissom. In December of 1950 Recorded In Hollywood launches an ad campaign featuring the recording of "Once There Lived A Fool" and "I'll Still Keep Loving You" on # 143. They claim to have shipped twenty thousand copies of the record in the Southern California area in one week. Grissom appears with Jim Wynn and his band at the L.A. Elks Auditorium. Savannah Churchill covers "Once There Lived A Fool" for Regal. Both versions sell well in the Northeast. Other cover versions of the tune are recorded by Charles Brown, Big John Greer, Anita O'Day, Jimmy Witherspoon, and Tony Bennett. In February Recorded In Hollywood rushes out "Once In Love Blues" and "I Lost My Inspiration" on # 149. Grissom joins Little Willie Littlefield, and Mickey Champion for a tour of the West Coast. In April Grissom appears at the Basket Room on Central Avenue with Maurice Simon's band featuring Jack McVea. In July King Records of Cincinnati buys master recordings from Recorded In Hollywood including Jimmy Grissom's hit "Once There Lived A Fool". Late in 1952 Grissom records "So Help Me I Love You" on Recorded In Hollywood # 245. In January of 1953 Grissom is on hand to pay tribute to Red Saunders on his 15th anniversary in the music business. The tribute was held at Chicago's Club DeLisa where Red is drummer and heads the house band. Grissom then makes a series of recordings with the Duke Ellington orchestra. Among the songs are "The Vulture Song" (Columbia # 39942) and "Follow Me" (Columbia # 39961). He does vocals with Ellington on "What More can I Say", "I'm Just A Lucky So And So", and "Vagabonds". In April of 1955 Grissom records for the Los Angeles based cash Label with the songs "I had To Find Our For Myself" and "Listen Pretty Baby" on # 1006. Jimmy is still with the band during their famous performance at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1956. In the late fifties Grissom records for Argo Records a subsidiary label of Chess. "Mean And Evil Woman Blues" is out on Argo # 5460. "A World Of trouble" is also recorded for Argo. He appears with a small combo called "Ellington's Indigos Trio" along with Billy Strayhorn, and altoist Johnny Hodges. By 1962 Grissom is still at it with "I've Got You On My Mind" and "Lover's Reverie" for Verve # 8493 during the summer of the year.

Earl Williams

In April of 1951 Columbia Records announces the signing of singer Earl Williams as part of an effort to boost the label's presence in the Rhythm & Blues field. By the next month Columbia decides to record Williams and other R & B talent on their recently revived Okeh label. In July Williams tours with the Johnny Hodges orchestra and The Orioles for shows at the top Eastern theaters including the Howard in D.C., Royal in Baltimore, and the Apollo in New York. After the tour Earl Williams is featured vocalist with the band of Paul Gayten at Gamby's in Baltimore for two weeks. In August "This Love Of Mine" and "Beware" are released on Okeh # 6812. In September Williams heads out to the Midwest for a theater tour with Count Basie and his orchestra and The Swallows. In October Earl does a week at the Regal Club in Columbus, Ohio. In April of 1952 "I Don't Want To Take A Chance" and "Lost Without You" are released by Okeh on # 6874. In July of 1954 Savoy Records announces the signing of Earl Williams. In August of that year "Let's make Love Tonight" and "I Can't Go On" is released on Savoy # 1133. In June of 1956 Carnival Records of New Orleans records Earl Williams with the tune "Hungarian Rhubarb". During the summer of 1957 Earl now with ABC Paramount Records records "A Fool In Love" and "Someday Sweetheart" on # 9843. March of 1958 finds Earl on Arcadia Records with "O Baby Please" and "You Ain't Putting Out Nothing But The Lights" on # 114. In late 1959 Earl Williams records "Serious Thinking" and "I believe" for Ace Records on # 573.

Joe Thomas

Joe Thomas originally gained fame as a tenor saxist with the Jimmy Lunceford orchestra. he became a co-leader of the band with Eddie Wilcox on Lunceford's death, until he went out on his own in the late forties. In February of 1950 Joe Thomas records "Page Boy Shuffle" and "Teardrops" on King # 4299. That month Thomas and his band appear with The Ravens, The Choclateers,and Dinah Washington at Chicago's Regal Theater. "Artistry In Moods" and "Wham-A-Lam" is released on King # 4339. By mid March "Wham" is a top R & B seller in Los Angeles. In June "Rollin' The Blues" and "Star Mist" are released on King # 4367. "Rollin'" takes off in the Dallas area and by late July is one of that city's big sellers. In September "Raw Meat" and "Blue Shadows" are issued by King on # 4385. In November Thomas is in New York doing session work with the combo of Kelly Owens. At year's end "Harlem Hop" and "Sooey Sooey Baby" are released on King # 4401. In the first month of 1951 "Big Foot" and "Got To Have Her Loving" is released on King # 4421. In March Joe Thomas and Wini Brown appear at The Met in Philadelphia. That month "Sitting Around" and "Dog Food" is out on King # 4434. In May the Thomas combo goes out on the road with The Dominos. In July the Joe Thomas band plays a week at Philadelphia's Club Harlem. Thomas stays in Philly with a week at the Earle Theater with Wynonie Harris and Lil Green. In October Thomas does a series of one nighters with The Ravens and ends up the month at the Apollo Theater in New York with Ruth Brown and Willis Jackson and his band. "Buttons" and "You're Just My Kind" is released on King # 4474 in November. In December of 1951 Thomas announces that he is leaving King Records and has been signed by Mercury. In March "Everybody Loves My Baby" and the pop hit "Blue Tango" are recorded by Joe Thomas and released on Mercury # 8268. By this time he left music and took over his father's funeral business. A CD entitled "Harlem Hop - 1937-1950" for EPM Musique features the music of Joe Thomas.

Herb Lance

In January of 1950 Herb Lance riding the popularity of his recordings of "Close Your Eyes" on Sittin In # 514, and "Lucky Old Sun" / "If My Dreams Would Come True" on Sittin In # 524 (with backup vocals by The Beavers, an early R & B vocal group) appears with Freddie Mitchell's combo at Baltimore's Elks Lounge. In February still in Baltimore, Lance does a week at the Royal Theater with Cootie Williams and his orchestra featuring Willis Jackson and Eddie Mack. Sittin In Records releases "Don't Say We're Through" and "I Had Everything But You" on # 528. Late in the month Lance does a series of one nighters in the Ohio area sharing the stage with Roy Brown. Herb's recording of "My Buddy" / "Cancel The Flowers" on Sittin In # 544 starts to sell big in Chicago and Detroit. At Chicago's Regal Theater in April, Lance appears along with the Cootie Williams band, Ruth Brown, Josh White, and Derby Wilson. In June Lance joins Eddie Vinson's band at the Starlite Arena in Baltimore. In September Columbia Records announces the signing of herb Lance to their label. That month Lance appears at Sunnie Wilson's Show Bar in Detroit. In October Lance headlines for a week at the Apollo Theater in New York, and late in the year appears at Small's Paradise in Harlem celebrating 25 years as a top show business venue. In January of 1951 Columbia Records releases "The Loneliest House On The Street" and "A Shoulder To Cry On" on # 39120. This is followed by "Jet" ' "With Love In My Heart" on # 39218, and "Don't Tell Me" and "Dream A While" on # 39291. In May Columbia announces plans to shift Lance to its Okeh subsidiary label. In the spring Sittin In Records releases a side by Herb Lance with the tunes "At Last" and "A Home In The Sky" on # 602. In December Herb Lance signs with Mercury Records of Chicago. In January, Lance records two duets with Elaine Brent formerly of Abbey Records. The songs are "Lonesome And Blue" and "Paradise Valley". When Mercury gets around to releasing the recording, "Alone" is paired with "Lonesome And Blue" on # 8280. Lance continues to make appearances around the country, such as a week at the El Capitan Lounge in Kansas City in September. In the summer of 1954 Herb Lance is signed to Bruce Records in New York. Nothing comes of his time with Bruce, and soon Lance is signed as a vocalist with the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra. In 1955 and 1956 he appears with Dizzy in both the United States and Europe, and records vocals with the band which are part of Gillespie LP albums recorded for Norman Granz labels Norgran and Verve. In the spring of 1957 Lance now on the DeLuxe label out of Cincinnati records "Drifting Water" and a remake of his first hit record "Close Your Eyes" on # 6124. The remake is a good seller in Chicago where Lance appears on the Marty Faye R & B Show with longtime radio personality in that city, McKie Fitzhugh. Lance plays that city's Crown Propeller Lounge in July. "By The Candle Glow" and "You Can't Be Sure Of Anything" are released on DeLuxe # 6150 in December of 1957. In the summer of 1959 Lance records for the Mala label with "My Good Mind" and "Like A Baby" on # 404, and "Deep In My Heart" on # 426. Other Lance records were "Ghost Of A Chance" and "Because" on Castle # 519, and "The Comeback" on Chess # 1206. In 1961 from seemingly out of nowhere, Lance had the biggest hit of his career - "Blue Moon" recorded with The Classics on Promo # 1010 ( the flip side was "Little Boy Lost") battling the better known version by The Marcels. Lance was not able to duplicate this success, and after more than a decade as a fringe R & B vocalist he remains little known to music historians.

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