This Is The Night : The Valiants©2008JCMarion


The Valiants were formed by members of the Southern California music scene during the mid nineteen fifties. They were lead singer Billy Storm, Bryce Cofield, Rip Spencer, and Chester Pipkin. After much time at rehearsals and working on some original songs they were put in touch with Bumps Blackwell a well known West Coast producer best known for his association with Little Richard and the Specialty label. At that time however Blackwell was working independently without a working arrangement with any particular record label. Two songs recorded at one of the sessions were released by Aladdin Records, but they were identified as The Gents. The songs "My Unfaithful Love" and "It's Happening After School" on # 3387.

Soon after that record was released, Blackwell went to the newly formed independent label Keen Records where he also brought Sam Cooke after his Specialty hit "I'll Come Running Back To You". The Valiants also began to appear at area shows often as an opening act for Cooke. Everything changed for the group during the fall of 1957. Keen Records released "This Is The Night" on # 34004 (with an original version of "Good Golly Miss Molly" on the flip side), and with help from Dick Clark on American Bandstand, it began to sell across the country. By December the record is selling well in many markets nation wide, and is a best bet on the East Coast.

In early 1958 The Valiants are signed for their very first extended tour, this one a seventeen city swing through the Southwestern states. As the tour heads out Keen Records releases "Lover Lover" and "Walking Girl" by The Valiants on # 34007. In March the trade press still shows that "This Is The Night" is selling well in the Pacific Northwest and in San Francisco. The group has two further records released by Keen during the year. "Temptation Of My Heart" and "Frieda Frieda" on # 34008, and with a revamped numbering system Keen releases "Please Wait My Love" and another version of "Frieda Frieda" on # 4026.

The group keeps at it into 1959, when during the spring Keen re-releases two songs by The Valiants - "This Is The Night" and "Walking Girl" on # 2120. In June the group turns up on the Ensign label which was a part of the Keen Recording Company. The quartet is called Billy Storm & The Valiants and the songs are "We Knew" and a re-released "Walking Girl" on Ensign # 4035. After this record failed to sell and received negligible air play, the band broke up as Billy Storm went on with other reformed vocal groups in the area. He had his biggest success as a solo performer with the song "I've Come Of Age" for Columbia in 1959.

Many of The Valiants wound up in a recording studio group called Africa who released an interesting LP in the late sixties called "Music From Lil' Brown" seemingly a takeoff on "Music From Big Pink" by The Band. The Valiants were another of those fondly remembered vocal groups from the fifties that to many of us were more than one hit wonders, even if that's how they are designated. Yes "This Is The Night" was a song for the times but there was so much more to the story.

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