Previous Vocal Group Record of the Week
#804 (1/3/14 - 1/16/14)


"Mr. Blues"/"Don't Cry, Darling"
by The Masterkeys
on Abbey 3017
released in 1950

Above: Appearance notice for The Masterkeys from Kingston Daily Freeman newspaper dated 1/9/48. The photo shown is actually from a very early aggregation of the group (see photo just below).

Click HERE for an article about The Master Keys by Marv Goldberg.
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[The above photo provided by Paul Ressler.]
Above: Photo of The Masterkeys, circa 1945, (L-R) Melvin Colden (baritone), Norman "Crip" Harris (2nd tenor), J.B. Nelson (bass), and Johnny Moore (1st tenor); (Bottom) Claude Chandler (guitarist). This is the exact same line-up, left to right, as shown in the above Penguin clipping. This very early grouping had two releases on the Top label (located in NYC) in 1945.

By late 1945, J.B. Nelson and Norman "Crip" Harris had been replaced by Phillip White (second bass) and Clarence Roberts (second tenor).

In conversation with George Moonoogian, Therman Ruth believed that The Master Spiritual Singers (Hub label-1946) were probably The Masterkeys. Ruth was with The Selah Jubilee Singers in 1944, along with Colden, Harris and Nelson.

Above: Another Penguin clipping, from the Kingston Daily Freeman dated 2/15/47, showing the same picture of The Masterkeys, this time extolled as "CBS Radio and Recording Artists."

Above: Yet another Penguin clipping, from the Kingston Daily Freeman dated 4/23/48, now showing an updated picture of the group.

At Left: From New York Age dated 12/24/49....
"The Masterkeys, who recently returned from England, strut their stuff."

This is most likely the line-up of The Masterkeys that recorded for Abbey,
as their first release on that label was early in 1950. Abbey, like Top, was a
New York City label.

Above: Clippings from The Billboard dated (Left) 1/26/52 and (Right) 2/23/52. Among Abbey's successes were player piano records by Lawrence "Piano Roll" Cook in 1950 and the above record in the popular field in 1952.

The Billboard (7/28/51): "....Pete Doraine, of Abbey, announced inking of Nellie Hill, Detroit blues singer; Sister Dorothy Rivers, New York gospel group; h.b. [hillbilly] units headed by the Warren Brothers of New Jersey, and Danny Herdman, Pennsylvania group."
(NOTE: Nellie Hill had a release on Abbey over a year before this announcement was made. She also had an Abbey release in August 1951.)

Links to Abbey label Records of the Week:
ABBEY 3001—The Cabineers—1949
ABBEY 3003—The Cabineers—1949
ABBEY 3008—Nellie Hill (And Quartet)—1949 (or early 1950)
ABBEY 3030—Joan Shaw and Billy Ford—1951
ABBEY 15064—King Odom Four—1952

Above: Clipping from The Billboard dated 5/14/55.

Above: Label image of Abbey 3017 released in 1950. The label design now exhibits a lace wing on either side of the encircled abbey. This is the second of two records by The Masterkeys on Abbey (both in 1950). The first was as "The Master Keys."

"Don't Cry, Darling" was one of many excellent songs composed by The Four Tunes' William "Pat" Best. The Four Tunes backed Savannah Churchill on this song in 1950 and later did it on their own in 1954. It was also done by The Mystery Quartette in 1950.

Trade Magazine, March 1950: "...For smooth vocalizing that juke ops and their customers are sure to appreciate, we recommend the new pairing by the Master Keys on Abbey Records, "Don't Talk Darling" and "It's Time To Kiss Goodnight." Both ends of this platter have the taint of juke box coin play about them, and should do very well in the boxes. Tunes are slow melodic sides that make for most pleasurable listening...."

Listen to this week's selections by The Masterkeys on Abbey 3017 from 1950:
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]

          1. Mr. Blues
          2. Don't Cry, Darling
          BOTH played in sequence

     B. Download RealAudio...
          1. Mr. Blues
          2. Don't Cry, Darling

     C. Stream/Download Media Player...
          1. Mr. Blues
          2. Don't Cry, Darling

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

(Above link will open in a separate window)


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