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Jimmy A

The Vows V.i.p

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they were a west coast group the lead singer was Morris Chestnut (to darn soulful) and if i remember right his brother was in the group as well.

they were also called The Vowels they recorded on several labels befor morris went solo

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The group is from LA. There is a confusing list of exact members in each group, but the Vowels on Lebam, Vows on Markay ("I wanna chance"), and Vows on VIP are all related but none is the exact same group. Some group members had later connections to the Younghearts and Attractions. I think the specific info is detailed in Steve Propes' book about LA Vocal groups.

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Got an interesting acetate without any credits on it. The tune is Tell Me, but different format, totally right for the scene. Maybe Frank Wilson on vocals. Will try to get Pete S to post up as I would not have a clue!

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There is a Frank Wilson take but thought that was from tapes? I have it at home on a tape or cd.

The Vows was recorded on he West Coast. Check Don't Forget The Motor City for the details.

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Frank Wilson confirmed he sang this song on the Searling interview Soul Supply released on CD, he added they must have taken his voice off, put the vows vocals on..when he decided to be a writer / producer.

He and Marc Gordon appear in the writing credits of course

M

Edited by Mal.C.

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Morris Chestnut sang "Tell me" at Prestatyn Jim.On 2 different VIP labels.One lined,one plain.

...Ah, but which label variation did he sing, Kev? :wicked:

Edited by TONY ROUNCE

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...................... After his discharge from the Services, Morris Chestnut ended up in Los Angeles where he met up with members of the doo wop group, the Vows. His cousin Ralph was a member of the group that had a record released on Markay in 1961, this being produced by George Motola. Via the Vows, Morris got to know Motola, who impressed, signed Morris to his L&M label. Using the Vows on backing vocals, Motola cut Morris on a song he had written himself, "I Need Somebody", this being released under the name of James Washington Lee. Musical styles were moving on though and the line-up of the Vows was revised, Morris became a member and the group hooked up with Jobete Music's LA office team. They cut some demos of songs the team had written and these were forwarded onto Detroit to be considered by Motown's hit acts as future recording material. If these songs were rejected, the LA team had a deal with Motown that allowed them to cut them locally and release them on a LA based label. This arrangement resulted in a Vows 45 being issued in 1964 on the Tamara label. Using the revised name of the Vowels, Morris also fronted an outfit that had a couple of singles released on the Le Bam label.

Motown hadn't given up all interest in the Vows though and in 1965 they were signed to a deal, cut some tracks and enjoyed a 45 release on the VIP label, "Tell Me" (# 25016 -- May 1965). Promotion of this single was only half-hearted and it sank without a trace. Unfortunately this was to prove to be their only Motown release and so the group moved on. Morris had already teamed up with Roy Haggins, David & Robert Jones to form the Sound Masters. Herman C Allen signed the group to Julet Records and the 45 "Lonely, Lonely" (Julet # 102) was released. Morris' stay with the group was to be short lived however. Next he teamed up with Jones, Bledsoe & Smith to form the Attractions. The group secured a contract with Bell Records, their first release being "Destination You" (# 659) in January 1967 (also issued on Renfro). Two further 45's followed later that year, "That Girl Is Mine" (# 674) in June and "Why Shouldn't A Man Cry" (# 690) in September. Morris must have been extremely busy that year as around April his NS anthem "Too Darn Soulful" was released on Amy (# 981), another of the Bell Record's family of labels. None of these records enjoyed any great measure of commercial success and no more of the group's releases were to escape on Bell. By 1971, under the revised name of the Hollywood Attractions, they had a last release on the Sugar Shack label ..................

Edited by Roburt

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that hollywood attractions is so good but so hard to find. i've never heard a copy that didn't play with some styrene fuzz at spots though. wish there was a vinyl version.

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...................... After his discharge from the Services, Morris Chestnut ended up in Los Angeles where he met up with members of the doo wop group, the Vows. His cousin Ralph was a member of the group that had a record released on Markay in 1961, this being produced by George Motola. Via the Vows, Morris got to know Motola, who impressed, signed Morris to his L&M label. Using the Vows on backing vocals, Motola cut Morris on a song he had written himself, "I Need Somebody", this being released under the name of James Washington Lee. Musical styles were moving on though and the line-up of the Vows was revised, Morris became a member and the group hooked up with Jobete Music's LA office team. They cut some demos of songs the team had written and these were forwarded onto Detroit to be considered by Motown's hit acts as future recording material. If these songs were rejected, the LA team had a deal with Motown that allowed them to cut them locally and release them on a LA based label. This arrangement resulted in a Vows 45 being issued in 1964 on the Tamara label. Using the revised name of the Vowels, Morris also fronted an outfit that had a couple of singles released on the Le Bam label.

Motown hadn't given up all interest in the Vows though and in 1965 they were signed to a deal, cut some tracks and enjoyed a 45 release on the VIP label, "Tell Me" (# 25016 -- May 1965). Promotion of this single was only half-hearted and it sank without a trace. Unfortunately this was to prove to be their only Motown release and so the group moved on. Morris had already teamed up with Roy Haggins, David & Robert Jones to form the Sound Masters. Herman C Allen signed the group to Julet Records and the 45 "Lonely, Lonely" (Julet # 102) was released. Morris' stay with the group was to be short lived however. Next he teamed up with Jones, Bledsoe & Smith to form the Attractions. The group secured a contract with Bell Records, their first release being "Destination You" (# 659) in January 1967 (also issued on Renfro). Two further 45's followed later that year, "That Girl Is Mine" (# 674) in June and "Why Shouldn't A Man Cry" (# 690) in September. Morris must have been extremely busy that year as around April his NS anthem "Too Darn Soulful" was released on Amy (# 981), another of the Bell Record's family of labels. None of these records enjoyed any great measure of commercial success and no more of the group's releases were to escape on Bell. By 1971, under the revised name of the Hollywood Attractions, they had a last release on the Sugar Shack label ..................

Shouldn't that read: ":The Attractions were signed by Anthony Renfro to his Renfro Records. Their Renfro releases "Destination You" (Renfro 659), and "That Girl Is Mine" (Renfro 674) were leased to Bell Records for national distribution."?

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The Vows were brought to Motown by Marc Gordon and The Pipkin Brothers (Chester and Gary) to work in Jobete Music's L.A. office, writing songs for Motown and creating demos for their artists. Ostensibly, The Vows were used as background singers on some of the L.A. demos, and, as a group working with The Pipkin Brothers and Marc Gordon and Frank Wilson, were hoping for a group/artist contract with Motown. They also wrote some songs. The Vows had four unreleased Motown recordings that I know of. The two cuts on Tamara Records were songs they had originally written to submit to Motown, but, for some reason were not bought by them, and their demos failed to gain The Vows a Motown artists' contract. So, Marc Gordon and/or Hal Davis published the songs on their own, Finesse Music, and released the 2 cuts as a single on Tamara records. Interestingly, William Powell apparently also a writer/producer at L.A. Jobete Music, produced a single by The Cinderellas on Tamara with 2 songs he'd already sold to Jobete Music, but Motown didn't want to use first for their own artists. I assume that this was not the same William Powell who was a member of The O'Jays.

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Robb, of course you are right about the Renfro 45 coming 1st ... but my piece had to be kept down to a max length (in 'number of words' terms).

So I chose to write a couple of sentences focusing on the group's Bell releases and just added the info on Renfro as an aside.

Writing a piece on an artist that is restricted in max length (because the space allocated for it has already been determined) can be very difficult at times. If a old soul artist only had a couple of releases then it's easy. But if a singer was in a number of groups & sang solo (as Morris Ch did), then you have to skip some of the detailed explanations on one topic to ensure all the major issues still get mentioned.

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Chalky, I have enough to do already (mag articles + a book) without going back to 'improve' old pieces I have done in the past (which must number in the 100's by now).

The wife sometimes expects me to do stuff around that house that doesn't just involve my sitting in front of a keyboard.

Plus Robb has elaborated on the full facts, so everyone interested will know now anyway.

Edited by Roburt

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Got an interesting acetate without any credits on it. The tune is Tell Me, but different format, totally right for the scene. Maybe Frank Wilson on vocals. Will try to get Pete S to post up as I would not have a clue!

i have this and it's credited to the versitiles along with another r'n'b type track ,it sounds similar to chalky's version so who knows ,maybe there's 3 versions of tell me ???

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That doesn't sound ANYTHING like Frank Wilson's voice (EITHER Frank Wilson, for that matter). That sounds much more like The Versatiles (but not their regular male lead).

Possibly is Robb. This came on a cd with some other Motown unissued stuff years ago and has been sat on the PC for years as well.

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Frank Wilson version of Tell me.....

[media=]http://soundcloud.com/chalkster/frank-wilson-tell-me-baby

Right I will try to get this right. The version posted is different to mine BUT it sounds like the same lead singer. On mine the girls/backing are no where near is full. Mine sounds "unfinished" compared to this and this has an extra verse. Yet mine sounds ok without the extra verse!

As near as dammit its nearly the same. Good stuff and I love this site for this type of thing.

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I see Richard Parker wrote the Sta-Set Vows 45 and D Peoples which I think is a pseudonym of him co-wrote the Lost In The City on Big 3 both of which are Chicago labels I think so were there two groups? Boba may well know. Parker is fascinating, I'm guessing he worked between LA and Chicago, he certainly cut Fred Hughes for V-J in LA,  but I'd love to know more about his career.

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I see Richard Parker wrote the Sta-Set Vows 45 and D Peoples which I think is a pseudonym of him co-wrote the Lost In The City on Big 3 both of which are Chicago labels I think so were there two groups? Boba may well know. Parker is fascinating, I'm guessing he worked between LA and Chicago, he certainly cut Fred Hughes for V-J in LA,  but I'd love to know more about his career.

The Sta-Set and Big 3 group is a Chicago group who were also known as The Major's, and who later became The Majors and Major IV on Mickey Stevenson's Venture Records.  Richard Parker worked in Chicago with Mercury/Philips and VJ, worked in Detroit with Ric Tic (Golden World), and (I guess) worked in L.A. at least. for VJ.

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The Sta-Set and Big 3 group is a Chicago group who were also known as The Major's, and who later became The Majors and Major IV on Mickey Stevenson's Venture Records.  Richard Parker worked in Chicago with Mercury/Philips and VJ, worked in Detroit with Ric Tic (Golden World), and (I guess) worked in L.A. at least. for VJ.

Yes the LA vocal groups has the LA outfit down as the Majors but has no mention of Richard Parker. The two Parker connected records I mentioned were Chicago recorded so was it the same group or two separate outfits or a group that changed and travelled a lot!

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People get the two separate, completely unrelated groups mixed up because George Motola's L.A. group were from L.A, and The Chicago Vows/Major's/Majors/Major IV ended up recording last, for an L.A. label (Venture Records).  But, the 2 groups had no connection.  The L.A. Vows were formed by James Moore, and also had Ralph Chestnut (Morris Chestnut's cousin) in the group, as well as Helen Simpson (who led on "I Wanna Chance") and later married Moore, and, I believe that her brother (also named Simpson) was in the group at one time, as was Morris Chestnut, and they had a few more members at other times (from L.A.).  We had a complete list on a Soulful Detroit thread, but I can't find it now.  The Chicago group was led by Larry Montgomery, and also included Burl(Berl) Bynum , Lawrence Bibbs and Joe "Fuzzy" Buckner.  They had a couple later members, Kirk Davis, and a guy named Lester.  We had a few threads on Soulful Detroit (which I can't now find).  Larry's nephew (adopted son) is a good friend of mine. He knew all the group members. They recorded for Ran-Dee Records, and Leo Austell's and Bob Lee's Sta-Set Records as The Vows, Bob Lee's Big 3 Records as The Major's, and Mickey Stevenson's Venture Records as The Majors and The Major IV.  They never lived in L.A., but only recorded there for Venture.  Ruth Moore was their manager. Bob A has a great interview with Vows/Major's members.    They also sang backgrounds on several Chicago and a few Detroit recording sessions of famous artists.

Edited by RobbK

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Larry Montgomery did not lead the Chicago group, Joseph Buckner did. That's why they even had a record crediting Fuzzy and the Majors on Mickey's People label. It's "Berl" short for "Berlyn". Lawrence "Snake" Bibbs (who was in the studio for the interview) sadly passed away last year. 

 

William Kirk Davis joined when Berl was drafted, Kirk was previously in the Traits. Kirk is on the Major IV records. They did live in LA for months at a time when they were working with Mickey Stevenson, I know Kirk stayed for a while at Mickey's house and also stayed for a while at Johnny Nash's house (I'm pretty sure they're the backup on Nash's "I'm so proud you're my baby").

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Richard Parker is 100% from Chicago, he was half of the Dutones on Columbia who had the big hit "The Bird". He did a bunch of work in Chicago mainly in the early '60s (he wrote for a few artists) but had a few random recordings later in his career, i think the last one being released on Commonwealth United Records. The other half of the Dutones was Jerry Brown, who had a solo record as Jerry Townes on Nickel and who sang lead on the Perfections on Twinight.

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Larry Montgomery did not lead the Chicago group, Joseph Buckner did. That's why they even had a record crediting Fuzzy and the Majors on Mickey's People label. It's "Berl" short for "Berlyn". Lawrence "Snake" Bibbs (who was in the studio for the interview) sadly passed away last year. 

 

William Kirk Davis joined when Berl was drafted, Kirk was previously in the Traits. Kirk is on the Major IV records. They did live in LA for months at a time when they were working with Mickey Stevenson, I know Kirk stayed for a while at Mickey's house and also stayed for a while at Johnny Nash's house (I'm pretty sure they're the backup on Nash's "I'm so proud you're my baby").

Yes, I just meant that they didn't buy houses or rent apartments there (in other words, uproot themselves from Chicago) like The Parliaments left New York to live in apartments in Detroit.  Now I remember that Larry wrote several of the songs, but Don always talked him up so much as the "leader" of the group that I confused that.  I guess he meant "creative leader (e.g. songwriter).

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People get the two separate, completely unrelated groups mixed up because George Motola's L.A. group were from L.A, and The Chicago Vows/Major's/Majors/Major IV ended up recording last, for an L.A. label (Venture Records).  But, the 2 groups had no connection.  The L.A. Vows had Roger Chestnut (Morris Chestnut's cousin) in the group, as well as Helen Simpson (who led on "I Wanna Chance"), and, I believe that her brother (also named Simpson) was in the group at one time, as was Morris Chestnut, and they had a few more members (from L.A.).  We had a complete list on a Soulful Detroit thread, but I can't find it now.  The Chicago group was led by Larry Montgomery, and also included Burl(Berl) Bynum , Lawrence Bibbs and Joe "Fuzzy" Buckner.  They had a couple later members, Kirk Davis, and a guy named Lester.  We had a few threads on Soulful Detroit (which I can't now find).  Larry's nephew (adopted son) is a good friend of mine. He knew all the group members. They recorded for Ran-Dee Records, and Leo Austell's and Bob Lee's Sta-Set Records as The Vows, Bob Lee's Big 3 Records as The Major's, and Mickey Stevenson's Venture Records as The Majors and The Major IV.  They never lived in L.A., but only recorded there for Venture.  Ruth Moore was their manager. Bob A has a great interview with Vows/Major's members.    They also sang backgrounds on several Chicago and a few Detroit recording sessions of famous artists.

,

There's a group called Majors which had some (euro-only?) 70s releases on Major Minor. Do they tie in with any of the US Majors groups?

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,

There's a group called Majors which had some (euro-only?) 70s releases on Major Minor. Do they tie in with any of the US Majors groups?

 

No connection. I have at least one of those 45s on the German Magnet label with a pic sleeve, it's okay.

 

Robb, you might be interested in the fact that Richard Parker co-wrote Barbara Green's Young Boy.

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No connection. I have at least one of those 45s on the German Magnet label with a pic sleeve, it's okay.

 

Robb, you might be interested in the fact that Richard Parker co-wrote Barbara Green's Young Boy.

On my record he's shown as the only writer.  Did Barbara co-write it?  I've read that Bunky Sheppard was the producer, and the session run at Universal.  I would have guessed that Richard Parker was involved in the recording session. i know he also wrote "A Lover's Plea" and Our Love Is No Secret Now".

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On my record he's shown as the only writer.  Did Barbara co-write it?  I've read that Bunky Sheppard was the producer, and the session run at Universal.  I would have guessed that Richard Parker was involved in the recording session. i know he also wrote "A Lover's Plea" and Our Love Is No Secret Now".

 

i was looking at the later pittsburgh renee boot, they must have changed the credits

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i was looking at the later pittsburgh renee boot, they must have changed the credits

Yes.  I wonder who D. Brooks was.  Surely not pop singer Donny Brooks.  Barrett Strong co-wrote "I Should Have Treated You Right".  I wonder if Cal Carter and Richard Parker, and Barrett Strong were all at the session along with Bunky?  I never asked him, as while he had the office suites next to us (Airwave Records) for 5 years, I didn't know that he was the producer.  I read that later, after I left the Record business.

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Yes.  I wonder who D. Brooks was.  Surely not pop singer Donny Brooks.  Barrett Strong co-wrote "I Should Have Treated You Right".  I wonder if Cal Carter and Richard Parker, and Barrett Strong were all at the session along with Bunky?  I never asked him, as while he had the office suites next to us (Airwave Records) for 5 years, I didn't know that he was the producer.  I read that later, after I left the Record business.

 

here is the '64 copyright entry for what it's worth. i can look in copyright to see if the pittsburgh label had the balls to recopyright it in addition to bootlegging it:

 

YOUNG BOY; w & m Richard Parker. © Conrad
Pub. Co., Inc.; 12Nov64; EU853023.

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no, it's not in the two 1968 books

So, it appears that Parker didn't sell half the rights to Brooks for that release.  Well, VJ wasn't around to sue in 1968.  Who owned Conrad Music at that time?  VJ International?-who were leasing out their recordings to oldies labels?

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