#862 (4/23/16 - 5/6/16)

"Just How Long"/"One More Time"
by The Mel-O-Dots
"Featuring Pat Ross"/"Featuring Ricky Wells"
on Apollo 1192
released in 1952

Above: The Mel-O-Dots. Earl "Ricky" Wells is at top with the guitar. Can anyone help identifying the other members in the above photo?

Ricky Wells had been with The Mystery Quartette in 1950 (see EXTRA AUDIO below). He also seems to have been with Deek Watson's Brown Dots, as he is pictured with them in a 1949 Cashbox "Race Disk Of The Week" feature. His brother, Billy Wells, is also in that Cashbox picture.

A column in the Evening Sun (Hanover, PA), dated January 30, 1953, name the Mel-O-Dots' members of this "vocal and instrumental quartet from New York" as "Ricky Wells, leader, and Tommy Mosley, Freddy Costa and C. J. Moore."

New York Age, June 21, 1930: "June Time" will be a summer revel at the Alhambra Theatre next week, starting Monday. A large cast is being assembled, including the popular Three Palmer Brothers whose crooning melodies have made them night club favorites. For two years the Palmer boys were a feature at Connie's Inn.
(NOTE: Both the Alhambra Theatre and Connie's Inn were located in Harlem, New York City, as was the "whites only" Cotton Club in 1930.)


Above: The Mel-O-Dots clipping from the Altoona (PA) Mirror dated October 11, 1951. The Logan Hotel was at the corner of Logan Avenue and West 10th Street in downtown Tyrone, PA.

(From Bristol [PA] Daily Courier dated 5/23/53)

(From The Evening Sun [Hanover, PA] dated 3/8/69)
Above: The above three Mel-O-Dots' clippings show the longevity of the group, at least from 1951 to 1969. Yet they managed to have only one released record in their career, that coming in 1952.

[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]

Above: (Left) The Mystery Quartette; (Right) Label for Essex 706, released in 1950. Note the "M Q" numbering system. The flip is M Q - 2.

Listen to "Don't Cry Darling" - The Mystery Quartette - Essex 706 - 1950.

Listen to "Mommy's Boy" - The Mystery Quartette - Essex 706 - 1950.

Per Disco-File, group members on this record consist of Ricky Wells (with guitar in above photo), Robby Wells, Mickey Dissaro, and Frank Squillace.

Pat Best, of the Four Tunes, composed "Don't Cry Darling." Irving Berman, owner of Manor Records, had no part in writing it. The Four Tunes backed Savannah Churchill on the song on a Manor side in 1950. When The Four Tunes released it on Jubilee in 1954, Berman's name had disappeared. The Masterkeys also had the song, on Abbey in 1950, the label showing both Best and Berman as composers.

Pat Best recalled seeing The Mystery Quartette perform at the Little Rathskeller, a club in South Philadelphia. "They were an excellent group with nice harmony. When they came onto the stage, it would be dark, except for Ricky's guitar which was fluorescent!"

The Mystery Quartette had one other release on Essex (#713) in 1950. There are two matrix numbers missing in the sequence, so there may be two unreleased songs by them.

[The above record was provided by Joe Marchesani.]

Above: Label image of Apollo 1192 recorded on March 17, 1952 and released in May 1952. This is the only known Mel-O-Dots' release from this time period. Two unreleased Apollo tracks became available on a Relic LP in 1988. All four sides were recorded in the same session.

Bess Music refers to Bess Berman, who, along with her husband, owned and operated Apollo Records in New York City. Her husband was not the afore-mentioned Irving Berman, who owned and operated Manor Records in Newark, NJ. The BMI website shows "Earl R Wells" and "Margaret E Gordon" as composers of both "Just How Long" and "One More Time." (This is a real stretch, but Jimmy Gordon, who was a member of the Four Tunes, had a wife named Margaret.)

Listen to this week's selections featuring The Mel-O-Dots on Apollo 1192 from 1952:
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]

          1. Just How Long
          2. One More Time
          BOTH played in sequence

     B. Download RealAudio...
          1. Just How Long
          2. One More Time

     C. Stream/Download Media Player...
          1. Just How Long
          2. One More Time
          BOTH played in sequence
          (The "m3u" file may need to be opened after it is downloaded)

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


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