Love Is A Vow : The Mello-Harps©2007 JCMarion


The Mello-Harps were a vocal group that did not have any great success with the record buying public during the era of the fifties and early sixties. Many collectors of the sound might have confused their name with the Mellomoods, Mello-Kings or even The Mellows (with Lillian Leach). The group was from Brooklyn and the original members were Arnold Malone, Bunny Elder, J Joe Gowder, and Vernon Staley. The group got a few neighborhood appearances and because of their unique sound soon acquired a manager named Larry Luce. Before long the group had the opportunity to make a demo recording for Morty Craft, a well known New York record industry figure who headed a number of labels. The Mello-Harps did one session for Craft that produced the group’s best known song “Love Is A Vow” and “Valerie” (DoReMi #203).
With that effort going nowhere the group was introduced to Teacho Wiltshire who had been a mainstay of the New York recording scene for many years. He did recording for Royal Roost with King Pleasure among others, and was a well known session man for independent record labels in the city. The result was that the group recorded for the Tin Pan Alley label and the first session for the label resulted in “Ain’t Got The Money” and “I Love Only You” (on # 145). This was followed by “Gone” and “What Good Are My Dreams” on # 157.A later recording date for the label produced “My Bleeding Heart” and “I Can’t Believe” on # 160. Neither of these releases did much of anything on the charts or in airplay on local radio.

At this time Elder departed from the group and was replaced by William Brown who did the lead vocal chores on the next release by the group “Walkie Talkie Baby” which was paired with a re-recording of “Love Is A Vow” for the Rego label on # 1004. The label changed the name of the group to the Teen Tones, probably hoping to cash in on the huge popularity of the Teenagers. That effort also failed to click, but the group labored on. Even with a number of personnel changes the group continued to record. By 1957 they were in the studio for Casino Records with “Gumma Gumma” and “No Good” on # 104.
That sadly was the last known recording by the group. They soon broke up and today are confined to the list of obscure vocal groups that are known to a few of the more astute collectors of the music. “Love Is A Vow” survives as a great example of the style and talent of groups like the Mello-Harps-four or five neighborhood kids who made beautiful music together in a world that will never be duplicated.

"Love Is A Vow" has shown up on compilation albums and CDs on many labels associated with Morty Craft including Craft, Warwick,

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