Previous Vocal Group Record of the Week
#797 (9/28/13 - 10/11/13)

"It's Like Taking Candy From A Baby"/
"Within Your Heart"
by The Caldwells
on RCA Victor 20-3179-A/B
released in 1948

"My Man Friday (On A Saturday Night)"/
"I Wanna Do What I Wanna Do (When I Wanna Do It)"
by The Caldwells
on RCA Victor 20-2906-B/A
released in 1948


From the Pittsburgh Courier newspaper dated 1/17/48:

"The Caldwells are rated by the Note Book as the most sensational new act to hit Broadway in years. Voice and instrumental, the group has ben working in Philadelphia since coming East from East St. Louis, Ill. Each member plays bass fiddle and guitar and has a distintive style of singing the blues. Most of their numbers are originals and composed by Alex Caldwell, in the background. Others are, seated, Helen Stewart, John Dennis and Aleatha [sic} Granger."

        
(At Left: From The Billboard dated 1/25/47.)

The St. Louis Four changed their name to The Caldwells by the summer of 1947.

The songs listed became "I Don't Worry Anymore"/"I Gotta Move" on RCA Victor 20-2613, released in 1947 and "I Just Found Out" on Rainbow 10094, released in 1949.

The Caldwells consisted of Alex Caldwell (lead baritone), Helen Stewart (lead), Oleatha Grangel (tenor), and John Dennis (bass/baritone). This was a self-contained singing/instrumental group.

From The Billboard 7/6/46: CAMDEN, N.J.óBilly Starr and Harry Fazzie reopen their refurbished Blue Mirror Room here this week. Spot uses two units, starting with the Lenny Payton Trio and the St. Louis Four.



(At Right: From Pittsburgh Courier dated 2/6/54.)

Picture of Oleatha Granger. "....It says here that Lionel Hampton is interested in the Caldwells, a fine and foxy singing group. Oleatha Granger, known as "pretty face," is one of the big lures in Alex Caldwell's outfit. I'd say she was beautiful and let it go at that....










(From a January 1948 RCA Victor Advertisement)





Above Left: Clipping from the Windsor Daily Star Newspaper (Canada) dated 4/27/51. Comparison to The Inks Spots might be to the "talking parts (by a female in this case). To the King Cole Trio could be the self-contained unit. But The Mills Brothers? They must have been just extolling the fine quality of The Caldwells!

Above Right: Clipping and column from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette Newspaper dated 1/30/53. Note that Van (should be Val) Thompson has replaced John Dennis.

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The following information about THE CALDWELLS is provided by Marv Goldberg (7/31/14):

A January 17, 1948 Pittsburgh Courier article said that they were from East St. Louis, Illinois and had been working in Philadelphia before coming to New York. The members were Alex Caldwell, Helen Stewart, John Dennis, and Aleatha Granger (should be Oleatha). It claimed that each one plays both bass fiddle and guitar.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has them at Bill Green's Route 51 niteclub in January 1953. Alex Caldwell, Van Thompson (should be Val Thompson), Oleatha Granger, and Helen Stewart.

Another Pittsburgh Courier article from May 16, 1953 called her Oleatha (Whispering) Granger. Helen Stewart is still there too. The others weren't named.

A third Pittsburgh Courier article from May 30, 1953 named them as Alex Caldwell (bassist), Helen Stewart (guitar, tom toms, maracas), Oleatha Granger (guitar, tom toms, maracas), and Val Thompson (piano). They were at the Joyce Room of the Flamingo (in Pittsburgh) and were being held over.

A September 6, 1980 article in the Afro-American said that Ahmad Jamal (as "Mr. Jones" - his real name was Fritz Russell Jones) had been pianist for the Caldwells:







By the time of a January 2, 1954 Afro-American article, Helen Stewart was no longer there. It was the Caldwells Trio: Alex Caldwell, Oleatha Granger, and Neil Watters (piano). Said they were together for eight years (therefore 1945).

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Label image of RCA Victor 20-2906 recorded on December 20, 1947 and released in May 1948. Helen Stewart sings lead on this side and Alex Caldwell has the honor on the flip-side. There were eight songs recorded in this same session, with four of them released (all four featured on this Record of the Week).

The Billboard Review (6/19/48):

THE CALDWELLS
I Wanna Do What I Wanna Do
(75) Group handles both vocal and instrumental chores ably, featured by hushed warbling lead, then solo patter with choral background.
My Man Friday (74) Caldwells show versatilty with chirp taking over solo honors aided by group harmony thruout.

(NOTE: Ratings had a range of 0-100 with 70-79 as "good.")


(The label image and audio for this record provided by Andrew Bohan.)




Above: Label image of RCA Victor 20-3179 recorded on 12/20/47 and released in November 1948. Both sides feature Oleatha Grangel on the "talking" part and Helen Stewart doing the "falsetto" singing. The flip-side "Within Your Heart" was composed by Alex Caldwell.

The Caldwells first record was on the Algene label (1947). They had three releases on RCA Victor (1947-48), followed by three releases on Rainbow (1949). The Rainbow records are as "Helen Stewart Featuring The Caldwells" or just "Featuring The Caldwells."

The Billboard Review (12/4/48):

THE CALDWELLS
It's Like Taking Candy From A Baby
(73) Pashy prose intro leads into falsetto piping on a pleasing plug ditty. (NOTE: "Pashy" means passionate or lustful.)
Within Your Heart (74) Same sexy switch on the familiar Ink Spots formula. For dimly lighted spots.

(NOTE: Ratings had a range of 0-100 with 70-79 as "good.")

Listen to this week's selections by The Caldwells on RCA Victor from 1948:
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]

     A. Stream RealAudio...
 
          1. It's Like Taking Candy From A Baby
          2. Within Your Heart
          3. My Man Friday
          4. I Wanna Do What I Wanna Do
 
          ALL FOUR played in sequence

     B. Download RealAudio...
 
          1. It's Like Taking Candy From A Baby
          2. Within Your Heart
          3. My Man Friday
          4. I Wanna Do What I Wanna Do

     C. Stream/Download Media Player...
 
          1. It's Like Taking Candy From A Baby
          2. Within Your Heart
          3. My Man Friday
          4. I Wanna Do What I Wanna Do


(Kingston Daily Freeman 2/8/52)
     [To download audio files, right-click on link and then select "Save (Link) Target As..."]


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