A Short History of The Edsels©2007JCMarion


The Edsels were from an area that was in the forefront of the rock revolution in the early fifties, Youngstown, Ohio. This was one of the venues that Alan "Moondog" Freed used as a launching pad for his in person R & B stage shows and dances while he held forth in Cleveland. The group was known by a number of different names until they adopted the name of the Ford Motor Company's newest model, the Edsel. The group was comprised of George Jones on lead, James Reynolds and Larry Green on tenors, Larry's brother Harry on baritone, and the bass voice was Marshall Sewell. In 1958 as the vocal group style was beginning to fade the new group worked on a snappy novelty tune written by George Jones while in military service. The tune was called "Rama Lama Ding Dong" and the group soon had a manager named Jim Mandritz who had them record the tune in Cleveland. Then he began to shop the tune around hoping to find a label.

Hooking up the group to a record deal was easier said than done, but soon an obscure label in Little Rock, Arkansas, called Dub Records. In June of 1958, Dub #2843 was released with "Bells" and the mis-named "Lama Rama Ding Dong" and the group waited for the sales charts and wide spread airplay. Neither happened for the group. Mostly the record remained an unknown quantity getting lost in the slew of new releases, all hoping to become the next big thing. The group now wandered around trying to get their bearings and planning their next move. They changed management and recorded a ballad called "Do You Love Me" and another up tempo novelty type tune called "Rinka-Din-Ki-Doo". Both tunes were picked up by New York based Roulette Records and were released in May of 1959 on # 4151. Neither tune went anywhere and so the group was once again in vocal group limbo. In April of 1960 a ballad tune called "What Brought Us Together" was released by a small local label called Tammy Records on #1010, with "Don't Know What To Do". This time the group received a small measure of success, enough to enable The Edsels to get some area gigs in and around New York and Philadelphia.

Then in the spring of 1961 from out of left field so to speak, The Edsels became a hot attraction by a curious route. "Blue Moon" by The Marcels out of Pittsburgh, was a national hit record and soon comparisons were made to the like sounding "Rama Lama" from a few years ago. Some Eastern radio dj's started playing the Edsels original and soon the hunt was on. The master recording from Dub was leased to Old Town Records in New York who releases the tune on their subsidiary label Twin Records on #700. It became a top seller making the top twenty in sales across the country. Adding to the confusion was a re-release on the Dub label plus a couple of sides in the can that were issued hoping to cash in on the new found success of The Edsels. The group got some traction from the sales of the re-release and kept them working for about a year and a half.

Capitol Records recorded the group on "My Jealous One" / "Bone Shaker Joe" on #4588, "Shake Shake Sherry" and "If Your Pillow Could Talk" on #4675, and "Don't You Feel" and "Shaddy Daddy Dip Dip" on #4836. Tammy Records also had three more releases by the group-"Three Precious Words" and "Let's Go" on #1014 (also on Ember #1078), "Got To Find Out About Love" and "The Girl I Love" on #1023, and "Count The Tears" and "Twenty Four Hours" on #1027. There was also a recording for the Dot label-"My Whispering Heart" and "Could It Be" on #16311. Except for some action on "Sherry" little was accomplished by the other releases by the group. By 1962 the group was history and became a footnote to the musical history of this country with their status as a one hit wonder, but one that captured the spirit of the times.

A cd for Relic Records (called appropriately enough, "Rama Lama Ding Dong") presents all of the major vocal efforts by the group and includes some unreleased tunes. It is a worthy remembrance of The Edsels.

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