Previous Vocal Group Record of the Week
#743 (Week of 2/4/12 - 2/10/12)


"You Gave Your Love"/"What'll I Do"
by The Park Avenue Jesters
Tenor Solo by Ray Reynolds
on 20th Century 2028 b/a
released in 1947


Above: Clipping of The Park Avenue Jesters from The Billboard dated 6/19/48. It is unclear how this Philadelphia group relates to the one on the 20th Century label (located in Philadelphia). The Park Avenue Jesters also show up on Claude, another Philly label, in 1947 with "Tenor Solo Ray Reynolds" (label image and audio near bottom of this page). On the flip of Claude, the lead singer is "Joe Lento," who is also lead on at least one of the "comedy-musical" group releases on DeLuxe (1948) and one on Click (1948). On the other hand, the sound of these two "personas" is very different. Can anyone provide information regarding this puzzle?

"A Plausible Theory" (From Marv Goldberg)....
Here's a guess: They were a music/comedy group. They might have done parodies of the Ink Spots on stage (many, many acts did in those days). However, a visual parody is different than a recorded parody and when it came time to record, most of their fun routines either wouldn't have made sense without being seen or would have been just plain insulting. Therefore, they may have just decided to play it straight. It looks like Ray Reynolds was associated with them for only a short time (1947); he might have been capable of sounding black. Maybe they wanted to see if a white group could give the Ink Spots a run for their money.

"More Possibilities" (From Götz Alsmann)....
I have two 78s by them from the early 50s on small Philly labels:
OSCAR 104 - No Money In De Pocket b/w Luigi by "Al Antonio & The Park Avenue Jesters."
This one contains typical Italian-American vaudeville humor.
ARCADE 127 - Marie b/w Night Train by The "Park Avenue Jesters featuring on soprano and baritone sax: Joe Rinaldi."
This one is instrumental and straight Boogie/Jump. The Arcade label was at that time, to the best of my knowledge, part-owned by Bill Haley. Could Joe Rinaldi and Ray Reynolds have been the same person? (At about the same time Haley's saxophonist Joey Di Ambrosia changed his name to "Joe Ambrose".)
Concerning the "other" Jesters (see clipping and comments below):
They were indeed a hillbilly trio, performing in three part harmony singing cowboy style and playing in the then also very typical instrumentation of accordion, guitar and bass fiddle. They could be very swinging if they wanted. In the mid-40s they were quite frequently heard on V-Discs. One of their most popular tunes was their rendition of "Egyptian Ella."


Above Left: Clipping dated 1/24/48. Note there is another group named "The Jesters" in the same ad, who appear to be country and western and recorded for the 20th Century label.

Above Right: Column dated 5/21/49. This is surely the "comedy-musical" group and shows Joe Lento as a member.

Above: Label image of 20th Century 2028. Ray Reynolds is lead tenor on both sides. The name of who performed the talking bass part (on both sides) is not known. Reynolds was lead singer on another side by this group, on the Claude label (scroll down for label image and audio).

The Billboard, December 7, 1946: Philadelphia: ....Park Avenue Jesters signed for six sides with 20th Century Records here.
(Anyone know if the other four sides were released or are available?)

The Billboard, February 15, 1947: ....20th Century diskery signed Mac Ceppos as recording director and added the Jesters and crooner Dick Todd to its talent roster.
(NOTE: Mac Ceppos was an orchestra leader who recorded for various labels, including 20th Century while he was there. The Jesters in this announcement may have been a different group, see the Ballen ad further up on this page.)

Listen to this week's selections by The Park Avenue Jesters on 20th Century 2028 from 1947:
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]

     A. Stream RealAudio...
          1. You Gave Your Love
          2. What'll I Do
          BOTH played in sequence

     B. Download RealAudio...
          1. You Gave Your Love
          2. What'll I Do

     C. Stream/Download Media Player...
          1. You Gave Your Love
          2. What'll I Do

     [To download audio files, right-click on link and then select "Save (Link) Target As..."]

Don't Turn Your Back On Me - The Park Avenue Jesters - Claude 1A - 1947

RealAudio Stream.... Download or Media Player Stream/Download

(This song, which was composed by Eddie Carter, was released by his Eddie Carter Quartet, a Philadelphia group, in 1953.)


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