The Orchids : A Short History©2006JCMarion


The Orchids were a vocal group that hailed from the South side of the city of Chicago. The members of the group were lead singer Gilbert Warren, Buford Wright, Charles Williams, and Robert Nesberry. The group practiced their sound and style and soon fopund their way to Parrot Records headed by Chicago deejay and record industry personality Al Benson known as "the Ol' Swingmaster". Warren wrote almost all of the original songs that the group performed, and soon Parrot released "Newlywed" and "You're Everything To Me" on # 815 in July of 1955. About this time the group had won a local talent contest and soon got an engagement at the Trianon Ballroom at an R & B Revue put together by Al Benson and starring a number of top acts including The Diablos, El Dorados, Eddie Vinson, Billy Boy Arnold and others. In September The Orchids sign on with Al Benson again for a Labor Day week at the Regal Theater along with the Buddy Johnson Orchestra with Ella Johnson and Floyd Ryland, The Spaniels, Four Fellows, Al Savage, and others. By October "Newlywed" with its recognizable bass intro is a top seller in Philadelphia and starting to be heard all over the Northeast.

 

After a nice run, in November Parrot Records releases the second single by the group with "You Said You Love Me" and "I Can't Refuse" on # 819. The group was not happy with their experience on Parrot Records with the same story as so many R & B artists from the fifties when dealing with small independent labels - the absence of any royalty payments and the theft of publishing rights to the lawful writers and composers of songs recorded. As Parrot Records came to an end in 1956 so did The Orchids. The group that started so well with "Newlywed" broke up after the demise of their label, and so there are the two fine records by this group that survive. There were a few odd masters by the group that were never released and surfaced on a few compilation albums in the sixties and seventies after the vocal group era had long since faded. As with so many of the vocal groups of the era that had a short history, we can say that the music (however short in number) and the memories linger on.

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