The Delroys : Bermuda Shorts©2006JCMarion
The Delroys were a New York City vocal group that hit it big for one shining moment in the mid nineteen fifties and never looked back. They were from the Queensbridge area which was just across the river from the island of Manhattan in the city. The group consisted of Reggie Walker, Milton Holder, John Blount, Robbie Coleman, and Bobby Coleman. They spent the requisite amount of time polishing their sound and presentation and favored a novelty tune written by Holder called "Bermuda Shorts". Soon they were heard by a representative of Apollo Records and vocalist Milton Sparks who was trying to make it as a solo performer. Apollo Records soon agreed to have the new group record but were persuaded to promote the 'A' side of the record as a song by Sparks.
Soon Apollo Records
released the tune with "Time" by Milton Sparks as the supposed 'A' side
and "Bermuda Shorts" by The Delroys on the flip side of # 514. Apollo
initially promoted the side by Sparks but radio listeners soon had the
final say. A few of the local jocks, notably Tommy "Dr. Jive" Smalls
and "Jocko" Henderson pushed the novelty jump tune "Bermuda Shorts". As
the record became a favorite among teenagers during the summer of 1957,
The Delroys began to get invites to appear at a number of R & B
shows at such venues as the Mosque Theater in Newark, New Jersey, and
the Apollo in New York. The record starts to sell in Pittsburgh and
Louisville, along with New York and Philadelphia. By September the
record is selling well in Detroit and Milwaukee and Apollo Records has
a good sized national hit on their hands.
As the group toured
the reality of the business end began to set in. Lack of royalties,
short changing on appearance money, and all of the other ills that were
so prevalent back in the day took its toll. John Blount called it quits
and there were personnel changes that left the lineup of the group
different than back in the beginning. Now The Delroys were Bobby
Taylor, Junior Talbot, Bobby Coleman, Reggie Walker, and Robbie
Coleman. In 1959 the group went to a new label formed by Milton Sparks
and manager Ernest Kelly called Sparkell Records. They recorded two
tunes - "Wise Old Owl" and "Strange Land" on # 102 but this record got
lost in the shuffle of new releases and did not sell. By now the group
had enough of the down side of the business and called it quits. Robbie
Coleman then formed a new version of The Delroys and signed on with
Carol Records in 1961. The other members of this version of the group
were Cliff Davis, Roy Payne, and Norman Boquie. The one release on this
label was "Love Me Tenderly" and "Pleasing You" on Carol # 4113.
Different members of
the group recorded through the years as "We The People" and "The First
Three", and in 1982 as The Delroys, recorded "Talk To Me" an original
hit for Little Willie John and also by Sunny & The Sunglows, on
their own RSVP label. And so today where ever records from the past are
played, the bouncy harmonies and bass talkover of "Bermuda Shorts" can
always be sure to bring a smile and some toe tapping.
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