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Twilites / Calvin And The Twilites / Shadows Interview

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Hi. Last Sunday on my radio show I interviewed Matthew Perkins, member of the Chicago groups the Twilites and the Shadows. Matthew was originally from Stockville, MS and started singing in a doowop group in the 7th grade called the Velvets. His group performed locally, even singing on the radio, and went to New Orleans to try to get a record deal. The group cut a demo but never got signed. After graduating from high school the group broke up.

After school, Perkins moved to Chicago; Perkins moved to Altgeld Gardens, the housing on the southern border of the city. Perkins originally met up with members of the Gardens group the 4 Gents who had just broken up. Perkins wanted to get a group together specifically with the intention of recording. With a couple of members of the 4 Gents, Perkins found Calvin Barron (who also stayed on the South Side of Chicago, in Englewood); Barron had previously sung in the Moroccos and Sun Ra's jazz group the Cosmic Rays. Calvin had connections to Leonard Allen (of United Records) who introduced the group to the Leaner Brothers, who owned One-Derful! and M-Pac records. The group signed to M-Pac records after being together for only a few months and immediately recorded a few songs.

M-Pac released one single on the group as the Twilites -- No Greater Thing Than Love / My Love. Despite having a nice sound, the record was not promoted or distributed and is extremely rare. Perkins thinks that the record may have even only been released after the group's second single got play in Chicago. Adding to the mystery of the group's M-Pac recordings is another recording on the official label discography as by a group called the Rainbows -- Come Rain, Come Shine / My Love. Perkins remembers "The Rainbows" as a name that Andre Williams came up with for the group and "Come Rain, Come Shine" as an answer record to the Shirelles' "Soldier Boy." However, the record has exactly the same catalog number as the Twilites record and it's not clear whether it was actually even released.

Given the failure of the recordings and the fact that the group was only together for a short time specifically for the purpose of recording, the original lineup of the group disbanded. The members from the 4 Gents left the group and were replaced by other members from the Cosmic Rays and another member from the Sheppards. The new lineup of the group produced their own single "Bashful Boy" / "Moments like this" for a small independent record label Har-low records. The record was released under the name "Calvin and the Twilites". "Moments like this" became a local hit in Chicago due to DJ Bill Butterball Crane flipping the record over and playing it. The group did some local shows off the strength of the record but soon disbanded due to internal disputes.

After the Twilites broke up, Perkins formed a new group called the Shadows with a couple of members who were affiliated with different lineups of the Twilites. Perkins also formed the Shadows specifically with the intention of recording a song he had written that he had been unable to record with the Twilites. Perkins produced a record by the Shadows -- "No other love" / "My love is gone". Leonard Allen (who had previously ran the United Record label) started the Golden Sound label to release the Shadows record. "No other love" got play in Chicago and even got picked up for national distribution by the USA record label. However, due to a conflict with another DJ who wanted to push the record on another label, the record did not get the promotion it needed and did not break nationally. The Shadows did shows locally and stayed together for a few years before disbanding in the early-to-mid 70s.

In the late 70s Perkins got involved with managing and producing groups. Perkins initially managed and produced a self-contained band/group from Chicago/Peoria called the Force of Music. He recorded and released a record on the group on Chicago's Four Brothers record label (a nice ballad and anice uptempo track) but the record did not receive any airplay. In the early 80s Perkins formed his own record label, Piper records, releasing a Gospel LP and a blues record by an artist named Tony Reed, "Where you been baby", that received local radio play.

You can check out my interview at the bottom of my interviews page at:

http://www.sittingin...interviews.html

thanks,

Bob

Edited by boba

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Bob, thanks a lot for the write up. Will check out the interview tonight.

Calvin & Twilites is a big big favourite of mine (both sides). Any chance of picture of the group?

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Bob, thanks a lot for the write up. Will check out the interview tonight.

Calvin & Twilites is a big big favourite of mine (both sides). Any chance of picture of the group?

he said that they did take a picture but that they he it. he's trying to contact calvins family (Calvin passed in the '90s) for a photo. He does have a photo of some of the shadows.

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On 12/17/2009 at 04:19, Benji said:

Bob, thanks a lot for the write up. Will check out the interview tonight.

 

Calvin & Twilites is a big big favourite of mine (both sides). Any chance of picture of the group?

Calvin was my father, I have been searching for his music for years until now. Thank you for this article...

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