Vikki Burgess : Magic In The Air©2004JCMarion

The vocal group The Charmers was formed in late 1953 and its members were Vikki Burgess, George Daniels, Alfred Todman, and James and Sonny Cooke. They set up a recording date with Central Records run by Lee Magid and Larry Newton (who was also head of Derby Records). The second side released by Central in mid December of 1953 by The Charmers on the songs "The Beating Of My Heart" and "Why Does It Have To Be Me?" on #1002. The record was a steady if unspectacular seller for the first few months of the year, with heaviest action in the Northeast corridor of New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and D.C. In late April of the year The Charmers have their second record for Central out featuring the songs "Tony, My Darling" and "In The Rain" on #1006. This second effort does not do as well as their previous release. In October of the year Hy Seigel of Timely Records announces the signing of The Charmers to his label. Soon "I Was Wrong" and "The Mambo" were released on Timely #1009. Unfortunately, there is not much magic with the Timely release and The Charmers call it a day.

In 1955 Vikki Burgess joins with Myrna Hamilton and Renee Stewart and form a group called The Solirettes and are signed to top New York independent label Old Town Records. All of the efforts by the group remain unreleased and The Solirettes become a dim memory of the time. Burgess now forms another group with Margaret Moore and Estelle Harper and call themselves The Joytones. They are soon signed to record for George Goldner's Rama Records, and in March of 1956 "All My Love Belongs To You" (originally by The Hearts on Baton) and "You Just Won't Treat Me Right" on Rama #191 is released. During that summer Barbara Brown replaces Estelle Harper, and The Joytones second record for Rama is released. The songs "Gee What A Boy" and "Is This Really The End?" are released on Rama#202. The record is pushed nationally by Rama hoping for "Boy" to click with the teenage listening public, but that does not happen. The Joytones also sang backup for The Harptones on their Rama release "That's The Way It Goes" identified on the label as the "Royale Cita Chorus" on #203. There is another personnel change within the group when Lynn Middleton replaces Barbara Brown before the group's third release for Rama. In spring of 1957 Rama #215 features "My Foolish Heart" and "Jimbo Jango" which turns out to be the last record by The Joytones. Like the others it does not garner great airplay or sales.

By 1958 Vikki Burgess, Lynn Middleton, and Margaret Moore determine that maybe a name change is in order and so The Joytones now become The Hi-Lites and have one record release for the small indie label Reno Records in 1958. The songs are "Sweet And Lovely" and "Please Believe Me, I Love You" on #1030. In short order The Hi-Lites were also part of the great memory bank of the 1950s. But - The Joytones would reappear on record in 1965 in the middle of Motown and the British Invasion with "This Love" and "I Wanna Party Some More" recorded for Coed Records and released on #600. A few years later a group called Love Potion comprised of (surprise !) Vikki Burgess, Margaret Moore, and Lynn Middleton, release "This Love", the same take as by The Joytones in 1965. The song is released on TCB #1601 in 1968. One year later the same song is released as by Love Potion on Kapp #979.

Fast forward to the new millennium, and Vikki Burgess still vocalizes as both a solo artist in the modern jazz field, and around the New York area with the current version of doo-wop favorites, The Harptones. Sadly both Margaret Moore and Lynn Middleton passed away in the 1990s. And so without any great successes on record, Vikki Burgess is a reminder of those wonderful days when the human voice was that most special of musical instruments, and sung in harmony, magic was in the air. For that we are indebted evermore, for her presence.

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