Five Dollars / Don Juans©2007JCMarion


The Five Dollars were from Detroit and were originally known as The Shamrocks and The Del Torros. The members of the group were lead singer Eddie Hurt, tenors Lonnie Heard and Richard Lawrence, baritone James Drayton, and bass Charles Evans. After working on their music and stage presence, they picked up a manager named Sandy Amour and began to sing at area clubs and talent shows. What they were looking for most at the time was a chance to record, and soon in 1955 that goal was realized with a session at home town independent Fortune Records. On August 20, 1955 Dorothy Brown of Fortune announced the signing of the group along with Andre Williams (who was related through marriage to Eddie Hurt) who would also record with the Five Dollars.

The newly renamed Five Dollars recorded some songs for Fortune and in the late summer of 1955 the label released "Doctor Baby" and "Harmony Of Love" on # 821. Richard Lawrence was soon drafted into the military and so the Five Dollars became a vocal quartet. In October Fortune released "Going Down To Tijuana" and Jump, Shake, And Move" by Andre Williams and the group which was billed on the label as Andre Williams & The Don Juans which was released on #824. In December of the year of 1955 Fortune Records announces the release of The Five Dollars with "So Strange" and "You Know I Can't Refuse" on # 826. However, the record was not actually released until March of 1956.

Early in 1956 the group recorded again as The Don Juans this time behind vocalist Joe Weaver on "Baby I Love You So" and "It Must Be Love" on # 825. During the spring the group once again as The Don Juans provided backup vocals - this time for vocalist Don Lake on the tunes "Oh Oh Those Eyes" and "Cha Cha Of Love" on Fortune # 520. In August of 1956, an interesting bill was put together for a stage show in Windsor, Canada (right across the river from Detroit). Featured on the bill was Stan Kenton and his Progressive Jazz Orchestra, The NiteCaps, Diabolos, and the group now called The Four Dollars. That same month Fortune re-released "Going Down To Tia Juana" by Andre Williams & The Don Juans. In September "Bobby Jean" and "It's All Over" by Andre & The Don Juans is issued by Fortune on # 828, quickly followed by "Cool As A Cucumber" and "Going Back To Chicago" on # 829. In October back as The Five Dollars recorded "Hard Workin' Mama" and "I Will Wait" on # 830. Late in the year Andre Williams with The Don Juans hit with "Bacon Fat" and "Just Because Of A Kiss" on # 831. This time the record gets a lot of attention and generates sales especially in the Midwest.

In January of 1957 Joe Weaver on vocals with The Don Juans records "Looka Here Pretty Baby" and "Baby Chile" on # 832. In April The group as The Five Dollars records the sequel called "How To Do The Bacon Fat" on # 833 with Fortune Records pushing the record as part of the dance craze with dj radio contests as a tie in. The flip side is "You Fool". In May "You Are My Sunshine" and "Mean Jean" by Andre Williams & The Don Juans is released on # 834. In August Fortune releases "This Is A Miracle" and "Calypso Beat" on # 836 as by Little Eddie (Hurt) & The Don Juans. Andre Williams was back fronting the group on "My Tears" with Andre as a solo on "Jail Bait" on # 837. The group had one last record in 1957 with Andre on lead on "Come On Baby" and "The Greasy Chicken" on Fortune # 839

In 1958 Andre & The Don Juans recorded "My Last Dance With You" and "Hey ! Country Girl" on # 842. The Five Dollars record with Jim Sands on lead on the Hi-Q label with "We're Gonna Rock" and "You Don't Know My Mind" on # 5010. In December of 1959 Andre Williams and Gino Parks with the Walter Hamilton Combo recorded "Georgia May Is Movin" with The Diabolos, and "Andre Williams Is Movin" with The Five Dollars on Fortune # 851. In 1960 there were two last records by the group. "That's The Way It Goes" and "My baby-Oh" on Fortune # 854, and as The Don Juans - "It's Nice" and "Our Chalypso Of Love" behind the lead vocals of Marsha Renay.

That is the varied, involved, and sometimes confusing history of the Detroit vocal group that never had a history of hit makers, but for many years stood on the periphery of the music coming out of the motor city. A cd called "Motor City Doo Wop" on the Regency label from Germany contains 23 tracks including most of the essential history of the group. As The Don Juans, there is a cd called "Mr. Rhythm" also from Regency which headlines Andre Williams and contains a lot of the group sides from Fortune.

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