#950 (8/28/23)

PARROT & BLUE LAKE RECORDS - PART TWO

BY TONY FOURNIER




Above: Al Benson and his crew at a display for his WGES radio show in Chicago. Benson is at left-center with the thin tie, without a suit jacket. He was the owner of Parrot and Blue Lake Records.


BILLBOARD & CASH BOX CLIPPINGS:

THE BILLBOARD, May 10, 1947:
....Miracle Records, independent race label (in Chicago), has started sponsoring a 15-minute disk jock spot by Al Benson weekly over WGES....

THE BILLBOARD, September 20, 1947:
....Al Benson, Negro disk jockey, joined the staff of WJJD last week with a 15- minute platter show across the board for Canadian Ace beer, making the first time a major independent has used a Negro jock show locally....

THE BILLBOARD, January 17, 1948:
....Disk jockey Al Benson, Negro freelance jock, is starting his own booking office....

THE BILLBOARD, April 10, 1948:
....Al Benson, free-lance Negro Chicago jockey, had 1,931 dancers at $1.50 per on a dance promotion at the Savoy Ballroom, Chicago, March 29....

THE BILLBOARD, May 29, 1948:
....Al Benson, an ex- minister, took time off from mike duties recently to perform a wedding....

THE BILLBOARD, December 14, 1948:
....Al Benson, Chicago Negro jockey, is sponsoring a basketball team....

THE BILLBOARD, January 29, 1949:
RECORD LABEL SWINGMASTER IN WAX SWEEPSTAKES
CHICAGO—A new record label, Swingmaster, made its appearance here this week. Swingmaster's moniker comes from its dedication to Al Benson, local Negro platter pilot, who uses that pseudonym, but the label's general manager, Leonard Davis, ex Mercury purchasing manager, denied that Benson was financially interested.

First items for release on Swingmaster are race and jazz items from the now defunct Vitacoustic operation. First releases are by Kitty Stevenson, Howard McGhee's All-Stars, the Four Shades of Rhythm, and Christine Randall, with others set by Miss Cornshucks, Johnny Bothwell, and Ed McAfee. Davis is currently lining up national distribution.


THE BILLBOARD, March 26, 1949: CHICAGO DEALERS FIGHT CHISELING
CHICAGO— ....Al Benson, a powerful disk jockey and terrific force in race record sales, plugs his own shop at 40th and State Streets on his radio shows, which dealers contend is hurting the South Side record store business because of the terrific coverage he gets on race listeners with his eight hours and 50 minutes daily, with one hour of that time on WJJD and the remainder on WGES.

The South Side district ops also contend that the one-third of a day Benson airs race platters has cut into sales because record fans have cut down their platter buying to listen to Benson's shows.

Shop owners in the district contend that Benson has a financial interest in Swingmaster label, a new Chicago race label, and that he is overplugging his own disks to the detriment of other disks....

"I have not interfered with them (the retailers) and I don't want them interfering with me," Benson declared. He said Swingmaster label is owned by Master Record Company, record pressing subsidiary of United Broadcasting Company, operated by Egmont Sonderling.

The label, he said, was called Swingmaster in his honor and Leonard Davis had already denied his connection and said the label was dedicated to Benson....

THE BILLBOARD, March 31, 1951:
....WGN-TV is putting a Negro variety show in the Wednesday 7 -8 p.m. spot, starting next week. Featuring top Chicago Negro disk jockey Al Benson, it will have a regular Negro cast, plus guests. Canadian Ace Beer and Bart-Tels apparel store sponsor....

CASH BOX, November 24, 1951:
....AL BENSON Chicago D. J. beginning a commutes Disc Jockey Show between Chicagoís WGES and New York Cityís WHOM. New eastern show will hit early in December with Jock planing between towns....

CASH BOX, January 16, 1954:
....The other day, Al Benson mentioned on a couple of his broadcasts that on Tuesday, The "5" Royales would appear on his show, originating from his record shop, and would be happy to sign autographs and photos.

Ernie Leaner, who distributes the Apollo label here, brought the boys, complete with 150 photographs, to Alís shop. Inside of one hour, Ernie reports, the pix were gone. And the shop was so jammed that it was necessary to completely empty the store for another shift.

He estimated a crowd of well over 400 people. Certainly proving the popularity of The "5" Royales, who have had one hit record after another, over the past several months.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE, June 26, 1948: CHICAGO'S FAVORIE DISK JOCKEY IS—AL BENSON!
Chicago's favorite disk jockey is the lean, hard-working Negro record spinner, Al Benson! With his loyal South Side strongly behind him, and with fans from all over the city backing him with petitions, the 38-year-old Benson romped to a runaway triumph over a field of 26 ambitious platter players....

(NOTE: Benson received 17,211 votes, almost 10,000 more than the second place finisher.
Dave Garroway, later to become the host of NBC-TV's Today Show, garnered only 89 votes.
At the time, Benson had radio shows on both WGES and the 50,000-watt WJJD.
)

AL BENSON "TRIBUTE" RECORDS:

As we've learned, Al Benson had his finger in the pie all over the South Side of Chicago. It's amazing that he had the time for Parrot & Blue Lake Records, which he basically ran by himself.

His influence on the record buying public was tremendous. Record companies, not only in Chicago, but throughout the East, wanted to be in good favor with him.

At the time, it was common practice to have instrumental "tribute" records dedicated to popular disk jockeys. Al Benson was at the top of the list.

  • Bouncing With Benson - Paul Williams Sextet - Savoy 664-A - 1947
  • Benson Alley - Sir Charles And His All Stars - Apollo 796 - 1947
  • Benson's Groove - Big Jay McNeely And His Bluejays - Savoy 682-A - 1948
    ("Theme Song Al Benson Chicago Disk Jockey")
  • Benson's Boogie - Lionel Hampton Orchestra - Decca 24574 B - 1949
  • South Side Saturday Night - C. Johnson & Band - Danceland 400 - 1949
    ("Dedicated to Al Benson, Chicago")
  • Jump For Al Benson - Max Miller Quartet - Life 1005 - 1951
  • Easy, Mr. Benson - Tabb Smith Orchestra - Chess 1501 - 1952


CASH BOX — DECEMBER 13, 1947

LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
1. "Bouncing With Benson" - Paul Williams Sextette - Savoy 664-A - 1947.
2. "South Side Saturday Night" - C. Johnson & Band - Danceland 400 - 1949.
3. "Easy, Mr. Benson" - Tabb Smith Orchestra - Chess 1501 - 1952.
4. "Benson's Groove" - Big Jay McNeely And His Bluejays - Savoy 682-A - 1948.

ALL THREE SONGS played in sequence.


THE FIVE THRILLS

Above: Photo of The Five Thrills, a Chicago vocal group, consisting of Gilbert Warren (lead tenor), Fred Washington (baritone), Obie Washington (second tenor), Oscar Robinson (baritone), and Levi Jenkins (bass).

Fred and Obie were brothers. Jenkins also played piano for the group. (NOTE: Disco-File shows James Bradley as another member of the group.) Also, in 1955, Warren had two releases on Parrot with The Orchids (covered in Part One of this article).

Above Left: Label image for Parrot 796, recorded in October 1953 and released in January 1954. It's the group's first record.

The side shown is an exact copy of The Four Buddies' song, "My Summer's Gone". Note that "My Baby's Gone" is never sung as part of the song. The flip-side, "Feel So Good", is a blatant steal of The Five Keys' "Serve Another Round", with The Five Thrills' Fred Washington given composer credit on the label.

Above Right: The Five Thrills had two records on Parrot. The second, "Gloria"/"Wee Wee Baby", on Parrot 800, was recorded in 1953 and released in May 1954. The above shown label credits a group member, Gilbert Warren, as composer. The flip-side label shows "Turner", which is blues singer Joe Turner. Joe's co-composer for this song, piano player Pete Johnson, is incorrectly not included on the label.

Paul Bascomb's band backs the group instrumentally on all four of their released sides.

At Right: THE BILLBOARD, January 9, 1954.

CASH BOX, February 6, 1954:
....McKee Fitzhugh sponsored "The Flamingo Concert" last Friday. Held at the Corpus Christi Auditorium, the show starred The Five Flamingos and featured a total of eleven acts, including the Five Echoes and Five Thrills. This was one of the most lavish concerts ever staged on Chicagoís South Side....

(NOTE: All three of the above mentioned acts had records released on either the Parrot or Blue Lake label, indirectly in the case of Walter Spriggs of The Five Echoes. )

LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
1. "My Baby's Gone" - The Five Thrills - Parrot 796 - 1954.
2. "Feel So Good" - The Five Thrills - Parrot 796 - 1954.
3. "Gloria" - The Five Thrills - Parrot 800 - 1954.
4. "Wee Wee Baby" - The Five Thrills - Parrot 800 - 1954.

ALL FOUR SONGS played in sequence.


MABEL SCOTT

Above: Photo of Mabel Scott.

Inscription: "To Jockey Jack My real pal - One of the finest D.J.'s in the business. Thanks again for spinning my records. Your Pal, Mabel Scott".

Jockey Jack (Gibson) was a disk jockey on WMBM in Miami Beach, FL, in 1953; moving to WFEC in Miami, FL, later in 1953; and then to WERD in Atlanta, GA, in 1954.

Click HERE for an article about MABEL SCOTT by Marv Goldberg. (Will open in a separate window)

Above Left: Label image for Parrot 794, released in January 1954. This is the second of two records that Mabel had on the Parrot label (1953-1954).

BMI.com gives composer credit for both sides to "David Charles Williams". This is the same Dave Williams who was a member of The Kalvin Brothers (Royal Roost), The Five Bills (Brunswick), and Four Brothers And A Cousin (Jaguar).

Above Right: CASH BOX, January 9, 1954.

Cash Box Review (1/30/54):

MABLE SCOTT — Parrot 794
Fool Burro (B+) Mable Scott gives this middle tempo Latin beat everything and comes up with an exciting deck. Mable tells of her troubles with her fool mule and does so in a manner that is just great. Given enough exposure this side should cause plenty of action.
Do The Thing (C+) Flip is a moderate bounce in which Miss Scott gives good advice set to music.
(NOTE: A rating of C+ was considered as "good" and B+ as "excellent".)

LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
1. "Fool Burro" - Mable Scott - Parrot 794 - 1954.
2. "Do The Thing" - Mable Scott - Parrot 794 - 1954.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.

Above Left: WORLD-HERALD (Omaha, Nebraska), July 21, 1949:
Mabel Scott, the famous Elevator Boogie girl, known from coast-to-coast for her best selling recordings, night club, and theater appearances, will lend her talent in the Rochester Hollywood Variety Revue, Saturday night.

Mabel is noted for drawing encore after encore, but when she does her famous Elevator Boogie, the audience goes wild.... (NOTE: "Rochester" is Eddie Anderson from the Jack Benny Show.)

Above Right: Mable Scott (apparently wearing the same dress, probably the same photo session).


EXTRA RECORDS — MABEL SCOTT

Above Left: Label image for Exclusive 67x, released in January 1949. BMI.com and ASCAP.com credit Mabel Bernice Scott as the lone composer of the above shown side. The flip-side label also shows "Joe Greene". Is it possible that "Joe Greene" was an alias for Mabel?

Above Right: Label image for Exclusive 83x, released in March 1949. Again, both BMI.com and ASCAP.com credit Mabel Bernice Scott as the lone composer of the above shown side. Leon René was the owner of Exclusive Records and a successful songwriter.

At Right: CASH BOX, March 19, 1949.

The Billboard Review (4/2/49):

MABEL SCOTT — Exclusive 83x
Give Me A Man (84) This is more like it—a groovy blues with strong impact lyrics, and Mabel gets off a heart-and-soul rendition that should make this a leading race platter in the coming weeks.
(NOTE: Ratings had a range of 0-100 with 80-89 considered as "very good".)

LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
1. "Right Around The Corner From Basin Street" - Mabel Scott - Exclusive 67x - 1949.
2. "A Bippity Be Bop Pony" - Mabel Scott - Exclusive 67x - 1949.
3. "Give Me A Man" - Mabel Scott - Exclusive 83x - 1949.

ALL THREE SONGS played in sequence.


CASH BOX — JANUARY 22, 1949


J. B. LENORE

Above: Photo of J. B. Lenore (known on some Parrot labels as "J. B. Lenoir"). He was a blues singer, guitar player, and songwriter. In the 1950s, J.B. recorded for various record companies in Chicago, including J.O.B., Parrot, Chess, and Checker. He had four records released on Parrot (1954-1955).

Above Left: Label image for Parrot 802, recorded in March 1954 and released a month or two later.

Above Right: Label image for Parrot 809, recorded on October 6, 1954 and released in January 1955.

Cash Box Review (1/15/55):

J. B. LENORE — Parrot 809
Man Watch Your Woman (C+) J. B. Lenore wails a slow blues chant. J. B. advises one to keep your good woman by your side. You can never tell when she might he swayed away from you.
Mamma Talk To Your Daughter (B) Flip is a rhythmic quick beat jump energetically sung by Lenore. Engaging side that could sell well.
(NOTE: A rating of C+ was considered as "good" and B as "very good".)

At Right: J. B. Lenore at the microphone.

The Billboard Review (1/15/55):

J. B. LENORE — Parrot 809
Mamma Talk To Your Daughter (74) The Southern blues singer does a pleasant job on this story about a man's love for a stubborn woman. The kind of wax that could get loot on Southern boxes.
Man Watch Your Woman (72) Any man that has a good woman should keep her by his side, advises Lenore, or else she's apt to wander. Another side for the Southern routes.
(NOTE: Ratings had a range of 0-100 with 70-79 considered as "good".)

CASH BOX, May 7, 1955:
...."Mama, Talk To Your Daughter", on Parrot by J. B. Lenore, has been flirting with the charts for quite some time now. It has broken sporadically all over the country but has never sustained its push in all cities long enough to hit the national chart....

CASH BOX, September 3, 1955:
....Due for Sept. 2 week is the A1 Benson Regal Theatre production starring the Buddy Johnson ork, Ella Johnson, A1 Savage, Lou Mac, J. B. Lenore, The Five Orchids, Spaniels, Four Fellows, and Floyd Ryland. Benson will act as m.c.
(NOTE: Ella Johnson and Floyd Ryland were the female and male vocalists with Buddy Johnson's orchestra.)

CASH BOX, December 3, 1955:
....Al Benson seeking talent for his Parrot label. Al telling how he discovered J. B. Lenore working in a small tavern on Wentworth Avenue here in Chicago. "You never can tell," remarks Al, "where the next great R&B discovery is going to come from. Youíve got to keep searching."

LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
1. "Eisenhower Blues" - J. B. Lenoir - Parrot 802 - 1954.
2. "I'm In Korea" - J. B. Lenoir - Parrot 802 - 1954.
3. "Mamma Talk To Your Daughter" - J. B. Lenore - Parrot 809 - 1955.
4. "Man Watch Your Woman" - J. B. Lenore - Parrot 809 - 1955.

ALL FOUR SONGS played in sequence.






EXTRA RECORD — J. B. LENORE

Above Left: Label image for J.O.B. JOB 1012, released in mid-1953.

Above Right: J. B. Lenore performing with his band. That's Willie Dixon playing the bass fiddle behind Lenore.

The Billboard Review (5/16/53):

J. B. LENORE — J.O.B. 1012
How Can I Leave (72) Ork sells a throbbing beat here with an above-average backing. Vocal is full of power.
The Mojo (66) Lenore tells all about the Mojo as his combo fills in with a boogie backing.
(NOTE: Ratings had a range of 0-100 with 60-69 considered as "satisfactory" and 70-79 as "good".)

LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
1. "The Mojo" - J. B. Lenore And His Combo - J.O.B. JOB 1012 - 1953.
2. "How Can I Leave" - J. B. Lenore And His Combo - J.O.B. JOB 1012 - 1953.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.


THE BILLBOARD — MAY 2, 1953

CASH BOX — MAY 16, 1953


THE FLAMINGOS

Above: 1953 photo of The Flamingos (Top Left) Solly McElroy; (Bottom Right, L-R) Jacob Carey, Paul David Wilson, Ezekiel Carey, and Johnny Carter. This is the line-up for Chance CH 1145, Parrot 808, and Parrot 811 ("I Really Don't Want To Know").

The Flamingos had three records released on the Parrot label (1954-1955).

Click HERE for an article about THE FLAMINGOS by Marv Goldberg. (Will open in a separate window)

Above Left: Label image for Chance CH 1145, recorded in August 1953 and released the following month. Composers are Bunkie Redding (a friend of the group) and Johnny Carter (a member of the group).

Above Right: Label image for Parrot 808, recorded in July 1954 and released in August 1954. A new version of "Dream Of A Lifetime" was recorded by The Flamingos for Checker Records in 1956 and released on that label in 1959.

CASH BOX, January 17, 1953:
The Flamingos, first mentioned in this column about six weeks ago, have signed to record with Chance label. The group is busy looking for what their manager thinks is the right material. Many good tunes have been submitted, but to-date nothing seems to exactly satisfy.

The boys are really good, and if they can sell themselves half as well on records as they do in person, then they are in like Flynn. This is primarily a sight act, but I believe the group can project their personality to the public throughout the medium of records.

THE BILLBOARD, March 7, 1953: CHANCE RECORDS SIGNS BUMPER TALENT CROP
CHICAGO—Art Sheridan, Chance prexy, announced the recent signing of a host of artists. Vocalists signed are Bobby Prince; the Flamingos, a five-man vocal group; Chubby Newsome (vocalist formerly on King); Anita Brown, vocalist formerly on Decca; and Big Boy Spires, a country blues singer formerly with Chess. Also signed was the Al Smith orchestra.

CASH BOX, October 24, 1953:
....Art Sheridanís "Golden Teardrops" may be replaced with some gold by the Flamingoís, if the record continues to go the way it started.... (NOTE: Sheridan owned Chicago's Chance Records.)

The Billboard Review (10/31/53):

THE FLAMINGOS — Chance 1145
Carried Away (85) A very powerful side that builds and builds. It's a hand-clapper with a solid beat. Group turns in a solid performance. Watch this one; it can be a big winner.
Golden Teardrops (75) Tempo slows way down on this side. Lead carries this one, with the group chiming in behind.
(NOTE: Ratings had a range of 0-100 with 70-79 as "good" and 80-89 as "very good".)

The Billboard Review (1/15/55):

THE FLAMINGOS — Parrot 808
Dream Of A Lifetime (78) A mighty attractive new ballad is handed a smooth and listenable performance here by The Flamingos over a pretty backing. This is a good entry that has a chance for action. Watch it.
On My Merry Way (75) Mild rocker receives a good reading from the group, while the combo backs them with a fair beat. Good coupling for the boxes, but the flip is stronger.
(NOTE: Ratings had a range of 0-100 with 70-79 considered as "good".)

Cash Box Review (1/22/55):

THE FLAMINGOS — Parrot 808
Dream Of A Lifetime (B+) A slow dreamy pretty that has a lot of sales potential. The lads blend well and the lead is good.
On My Merry Way (B) The Flamingos do a fair job on a middle tempo bouncer.
(NOTE: A rating of B was considered as "very good" and B+ as "excellent".)

LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
1. "Golden Teardrops" - The Flamingos - Chance CH 1145 - 1953.
2. "Carried Away" - The Flamingos - Chance CH 1145 - 1953.
3. "Dream Of A Lifetime" - The Flamingos - Parrot 808 - 1954.
4. "On My Merry Way" - The Flamingos - Parrot 808 - 1954.

ALL FOUR SONGS played in sequence.

Above: The Flamingos from Jet Magazine dated February 4, 1954.
(L-R) Paul Wilson (baritone), Jake Carey (bass), Sollie McElroy (tenor, in back), Johnny Carter (tenor), and Zeke Carey (tenor).













GOLDEN TEARDROPS — THE FLAMINGOS — OCTOBER 1953
(TOP L-R) Paul Wilson, Sollie McElroy, Zeke Carey, (BOT L-R) Jake Carey and Johnny Carter)


Above: 1955 photo of The Flamingos (L-R Back) Jake Carey, Johnny Carter, Paul Wilson, (L-R Front) Nate Nelson and Zeke Carey. This is the line-up for Parrot 811 ("Get With It"), Parrot 812, and Checker 815.

Above Left: Label image for Parrot 811, recorded in July 1954 and released in December 1954. The flip-side, "Get With It", was re-issued as the flip-side of "A Kiss From Your Lips" on the Checker label in 1956.

Above Middle Label image for Parrot 812, recorded in November 1954 and released in January 1955.

Above Right: Label image for Checker 815, recorded in March 1955 and released the following month.

This looks like sequential numbering because it is. At this time, Parrot and Checker shared the same numbering system. The Checker label was used to release masters obtained from Parrot Records. However, this record is an original recorded by Chess/Checker.

At Near Right: CASH BOX, April 23, 1955.

At Far Right: CASH BOX, April 30, 1955.

CASH BOX, April 23, 1955:
....Leonard Chess reports nice things happening on the Flamingosí "Thatís My Baby" b/w "When". Looks like the boys have a big one here....

THE BILLBOARD, April 30, 1955: REVIEW SPOTLIGHT ON... When/That's My Baby - Checker 815
The boys warble "When", a poignant ballad, with appealing warmth and a relaxed charm. "That's My Baby" has plenty of drive both on the vocal and instrumental sections. Fine for the boxes. Watch this one. It could be a two-sided hit.

Cash Box Review (5/5/55):

THE FLAMINGOS — Parrot 812
Ko Ko Mo (B+) The Flamingos dish up a solid version of the pop and r & b hit. Should sell well in areas not already smothered by the original versions.
I'm Yours (B) The Flamingosí chant the hit of a couple of years ago and do a smooth bit of vocalizing. This wax might revive the tune for a fair bit of action.
(NOTE: A rating of B was considered as "very good" and B+ as "excellent".)

LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
1. "I Really Don't Want To Know" - The Flamingos - Parrot 811 - 1954.
2. "Get With It" - The Flamingos - Parrot 811 - 1954.
3. "I'm Yours" - The Flamingos - Parrot 812 - 1955.
4. "Ko Ko Mo" - The Flamingos - Parrot 812 - 1955.
5. "That's My Baby" - The Flamingos - Checker 815 - 1955.
6. "When" - The Flamingos - Checker 815 - 1955.

ALL SIX SONGS played in sequence.






CASH BOX — JANUARY 29, 1955



CASH BOX REVIEW — APRIL 30, 1955


EXTRA RECORD — DREAM OF A LIFETIME — BILL JOHNSON AND HIS MUSICAL NOTES

Above Left: Label image for RCA Victor 20-2498-B, recorded in August 1947 and released in October 1947. Label states vocal is by "Gus Gordon And Trio". The other RCA Victor record labels by them show "Gus Gordon And Quartet."

Above Right: Bill Johnson And His Musical Notes (Back) Bill Johnson, (Front L-R) Clifton Best, Egbert Victor, Gus Gordon, and Jimmy Robinson. This is the grouping that recorded "You're The Dream Of A Lifetime". (Photo courtesy of Paul Ressler.)

At Direct Right: BUFFALO EVENING NEWS, March 26, 1947.

FREE LANCE STAR, August 20, 1947: Bill Johnson and his Musical Notes have gone so far in so short a time that they probably have a lot of other "cocktail units" wondering what the trick is. Organized only eighteen months ago, they've played some of the best jobs around the East and landed an RCA Victor recording contract....

Born in 1913 in Georgia, Bill spent most of his youth in Florida. His father taught harmony and theory, but Bill got his education at Marquette University and the Conservatory of Wisconsin, studying harmony, arranging and piano; he'd picked up sax and clarinet at high school, too. To pay his way through college, he worked with George Abernathy's band.

After two years back home in Florida, he went to New York in 1935, worked with Baron Lee's Blue Rhythm Band and Tiny Bradshaw's band for a few months each, and was with Erskine Hawkins playing lead alto from '36 until '43....

Then he toured the South Pacific as a member of Snub Mosely's band. While on the tour he conceived the idea of forming a small unit in which every man could sing part-harmony as well as playing an instrument. Very few groups (other than the Musical Notes) have done this successfully....

Click HERE for an article about Bill Johnson & The Musical Notes by Marv Goldberg.
(Will open in a separate window)

LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
"You're The Dream Of A Lifetime" - Bill Johnson And His Musical Notes - RCA Victor 20-2498-B - 1947.


EXTRA RECORD — I'M YOURS — VARETTA DILLARD

Above: Photo of Varetta Dillard from 1952. Varetta was born in Harlem, New York, and grew up in New York City. In 1951, she won two amateur competitions at The Apollo Theater, drawing the attention of Savoy Records, who signed her to a contract that year.

Her last recording session at Savoy was in May 1955. In early 1956, Varetta joined Groove Records, a subsidiary of RCA Victor.

Click HERE for an article about Varetta Dillard by Marv Goldberg. (Will open in a separate window)

Above: Label image for Savoy 851-B, recorded on May 24, 1952 and released 1952. Robert Mellin, shown at BMI.com as "Robert Milton", composed this song. BMI credits Mellin with 618 titles. Don Cornell, Toni Arden, and Eddie Fisher all had hits with their versions in 1952.

At Left: CASH BOX REVIEW, September 6, 1952.

NEW YORK AGE, October 17, 1953:
....Varetta Dillard is still another of the gifted youngsters who attribute their rise to the Apollo's "Amateur Night In Harlem" show. Her first records, "Them There Eyes", "Easy Easy Baby", "Hurry Up", and "A Letter In Blues" have elevated her to stardom in a short period....

LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
"I'm Yours" - Varetta Dillard - Savoy 851-B - 1952.


CASH BOX — JUNE 7, 1952


EXTRA RECORDS — KO KO MO — GENE & EUNICE; MARVIN & JOHNNY; ETC.

Above Left: Photo of Gene And Eunice.

Above Right: CASH BOX, January 29, 1955.

ARIZONA SUN (Phoenix, AZ), March 25, 1955:
When you put your nickels in juke boxes around town to listen to that new record, "Ko-Ko-Mo," you might hear it by the Crew Cuts or Perry Como. . . .
The song was also recorded and co-written by a former Carverite, Eunice Russ.

After Eunice left Phoenix, she went to the Coast and things have been in her favor ever since. While in Los Angeles, she met a young man by the name of Gene Wilson who also liked to sing. They teamed together and are known as "Gene and Eunice". They have worked in some of the top clubs on the Coast.

Their big break came when they appeared at the Shrine auditorium in Los Angeles, Calif., for the big "Rock and Row Jamboree" along with some of the top names in show business.

Shortly thereafter, they began to record for Combo Recording Company. Their first record was "Ko-Ko-Mo" and on the other side was "You and Me". Ko-Ko-Mo went over big and so did Gene and Eunice.

Eunice received most of her experience by singing at different churches and social affairs with a quartet before leaving Phoenix. She also played the piano for Union Baptist Church where her father was pastor. You may remember Miss Russ when she sang at the Elk's Club here on weekends.

At this writing Gene and Eunice have recorded two more records "This Is My Story" and "Move It Over". According to Frank Pollack who is on TV and writes daily columns in the paper, one of the songs may turn out to be another big hit as did "Ko-Ko-Mo".

Above Left: Label image for Combo 64-A, released in September 1954.

Above Right: Label image for Aladdin 3276, recorded in January 1955 and released that same month. The songs on both sides of Combo 64 were re-recorded for this Aladdin record.

An educated guess is that "Johnny's Combo" is Johnny Moore's Three Blazers using a name to match up with "Jonesy's Combo" on the Combo record. Can anyone confirm or disprove?

Note that the composer credits shown on the above labels changed. BMI.com gives the composer names as "Forrest Wilson", "Eunice H. Frost", and "Jake Porter". It seems that these are Gene Forest and Eunice Levy (of Gene And Eunice) along with Jake Porter, owner of Combo Records. An educated guess is that "V. Haven" is an alias for Vernon "Jake" Porter.

Gene And Eunice's "Ko Ko Mo" and their follow-up hit, "This Is My Story", were released on Imperial 015 in 1962. As this was their only record on the Imperial label, these were probably purchased masters.

At Right: THE BILLBOARD, January 29, 1955.
(NOTE: See Billboard article dated January 29, 1955 below.)

The Billboard Review (1/15/55):

GENE AND EUNICE — Combo 64
Ko Ko Mo (82) Disk started to kick up fuss as soon as released and could make it in the rhythm and blues field. More, the ditty sounds like the kind which could make it in the pop field. The "Sh-Boom" type material fits right into the current sales pattern. Mighty good wax this; watch it. (Flip-side is "You And Me".)
(NOTE: Ratings had a range of 0-100 with 80-89 considered as "very good".)

THE BILLBOARD, January 29, 1955: GENE, EUNICE'S ALADDIN DISK
HOLLYWOOD—Gene and Eunice, vocal team who originally cut the fast rising "Ko Ko Mo" on Combo Records. were pressed into service again this week to record the song for Aladdin Records.

Unique situation came about when Aladdin exercised a contract they hold with the team, a pact which Leo Mesner of the Aladdin firm, reported takes precedence oves any agreement Gene and Eunice may have held with the Combo firm.

Mesner indicated the contract also called for the publishing rights to original music penned by Gene Forrest, who cleffed "Ko Ko Mo". Tune was purchased by Buddy Morris' Meridian Music last week.

LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
1. "Ko Ko Mo" - Gene And Eunice - Combo 64-A - 1954.
2. "Ko Ko Mo" - Gene And Eunice - Aladdin 3276 - 1955.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.

OTHER VERSIONS:

THE BILLBOARD, January 15, 1955:
....The "Ko Ko Mo" story is another of an r.&b. tune breaking loose from r.&b. to pop. First put out on the Combo label, it hit big in New York and Chicago very quickly.

A version on the Tampa label by the Dooley Sisters broke loose last week in Pittsburgh. The E. H. Morris Publishing Company, getting wind of the excitement, bought the tune this week for an advance of better than $5,000.

RCA Victor, Mercury, and Label "X" were rushing out their versions....

THE BILLBOARD, January 15, 1955:
KO KO MO—The flurry of "covers" on this disk indicates the kind of excitement it has stirred up in its first few weeks. Kicked off in a big way in New York, the record went on to sweep Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Atlanta, and Los Angeles.... XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

OTHER VERSIONS of the song on record are by The Flamingos, Marvin And Johnny, Perry Como And The Ray Charles Singers, The Crewcuts, The Dooley Sisters, The Hutton Sisters, Bill Darnell And Betty Clooney, The Charms, Louis Armstrong And Gary Crosby, Tito Rodriguez Orchestra, Gayle Lark And The Rhythmaires, Andy Griffith, Jack Richards, The Four Jacks, J. Caldwell, H. Hawkins, Goldie Hill And Red Sovine, Loren Becker, and Bobby Powers Orchestra.

THE BILLBOARD, January 22, 1955:
Out of the numerous competing versions of this tune, the Crewcuts and Perry Como have taken decisive leads. The Crew Cuts enjoyed a head start in several areas, but Como's TV shot earlier in the week narrowed down the groups margin. Both disks are getting excellent initial reaction. The Mercury record, with another top rhythm & blues tune on the coupling (Earth Angel), is proving to have potent appeal for operators....


Above Left: Photo of Marvin And Johnny. In the photo is (Top) Marvin Phillips and (Bottom) Emory Perry. The actual members on "Ko Ko Mo" are Marvin Phillips and Jesse Belvin.

Above Right: Photo of Jesse Belvin.

Click HERE for an article about MARVIN AND JOHNNY by Marv Goldberg. This is a detailed discography identifying the members of the varying "duets". (Will open in a separate window)

Above Left: Label image for Modern 949, released in December 1954.

Above Middle: Label image for RCA Victor 20-5994, recorded in January 1955 and released in 1955.

Above Right: Label image for "X" X-0087, released in 1955.

LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
1. "Ko Ko Mo" - Marvin And Johnny - Modern 949 - 1955.
2. "Ko Ko Mo" - Perry Como And Ray Charles Singers - RCA Victor 20-5994 - 1955.
3. "Ko Ko Mo" - Bill Darnell And Betty Clooney - "X" X-0087 - 1955.

ALL THREE SONGS played in sequence.

Above Left: Johnny Otis With Marvin And Johnny. Otis was a deejay at KFOX in Long Beach, California, serving the Los Angeles area.

Above Right: THE BILLBOARD, January 29, 1955.
NOTE: As shown, Modern Records released back-to-back records by Marvin And Johnny. They were a hot commodity after their "Cherry Pie"/"Tick Tock" was a hit record in 1954.


PERRY COMO (CENTER) AND THE RAY CHARLES SINGERS

KO KO MO - PERRY COMO AND THE RAY CHARLES SINGERS:

THE BILLBOARD, January 15, 1955:
Perry Como's ultra-relaxed warbling style is a natural for the current rhythm and blues trend in the pop field; so it shouldn't come as any surprise that his waxing of the new r.&b. smash "Ko Ko Mo" is one of the best pop versions of the tune yet released....

CASH BOX REVIEW (1/15/55):
PERRY COMO — RCA Victor 20-5994 — Ko Ko Mo
Perry Como comes up with a rhythm and blues tune on his latest release. Itís an exciting and driving novelty with a good beat and is tagged "Ko Ko Mo (I Love You So)". Itís Comoís first waxing of an R & B item and it should be a big one. Watch "Ko Ko Mo". Should be the first big one in í55.

Some "Pop" covers of R&B songs are as good as the R&B versions, as long as they are taken for what they are, popular renditions. Examples are The Diamonds' "Little Darlin'", The Fontane Sisters' "Hearts Of Stone" (which, by the way, has two excellent sax breaks), and Eddie Fontaine's "Rock Love".

Perry Como's "Ko Ko Mo", ably assisted by the Ray Charles Singers, is another one in this category. Joe Reisman prepared an excellent "pop" arrangement for the song. The result is a very good version with a sound quite different from the original.

Trivia Question: Who sang "Ko Ko Mo", backed up by the Ray Charles Singers, on the March 2, 1955 Perry Como TV Show?
Answer: Julius LaRosa, who was filling in for Perry on the show.


Above Left: Photo of Betty Clooney. Betty, the sister of Rosemary, was a singer, dancer, and radio/early TV personality.

Above Right: Photo of Bill Darnell, who was the vocalist in the Bob Chester orchestra in the early 1940s. Later in the 1940s, he was with Jimmy Lunceford's and Kay Kyser's orchestras. In 1954, Bill had the first record on RCA Victor's "X" label.

Betty and Bill's "Ko Ko Mo" is an example of a well done "popular" rendition, but keeping the rhythm and blues arrangement.

Cash Box Review (1/22/55):

BETTY CLOONEY & BILL DARNELL — "X" X-0087
Ko Ko Mo (B) Another big R&B item is belted out by the duo. Song is being widely covered by top names. Should do well in the pop field.
(NOTE: A rating of B was considered as "very good".)

THE BILLBOARD — JANUARY 15, 1955


DUSTY BROWN

Above: Photo of Dusty Brown, who was a harmonica player, band leader, and songwriter. Born in Mississippi, he moved to Chicago in 1946. His recorded output was very small, the Parrot record featured here was his first.
Above Left: Label image for Parrot 820, recorded in October 1955 and released in November 1955. On this record are Dusty Brown (harmonica), Little Son Joe (vocals and guitar), Johnny Sturdivant (drums), and Henry Gray (piano). This is his only record on the Parrot label.

Clement Tripplet (Dusty Brown's real name) is credited as composer on both sides.

Above Middle: CASH BOX, November 12, 1955.

Above Right: Photo of Dusty Brown.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE, November 27, 1955: ROCK AND ROLL REVUE ON REGAL STAGE
A rock and roll jamboree, featuring some of the top rhythm and blues recording stars, is occupying the stage of the Regal theater this week. Headlining the list of performers are Chuck Berry and his trio; Red Prysock, tenor saxman and his orchestra; vocalist Nappy Brown; two singing groups, the Nutmegs and the Cardinals; songstress Lurleen Hunter; Dusty Brown, swing harpist and singer; and Al Benson, disk jockey, master of ceremonies.

LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
1. "He Don't Love You" - Dusty Brown - Parrot 820 - 1955.
2. "Yes She's Gone" - Dusty Brown - Parrot 820 - 1955.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.


THE BILLBOARD — DECEMBER 17, 1955


ST. LOUIS JIMMY

Above: Photo of St. Louis Jimmy, who was a blues singer, piano player, and songwriter. He teamed with Roosevelt Sykes in St. Louis for several years, both of them moving to Chicago in the early 1930s.

In the 1940s, Jimmy recorded for Bluebird, Bullet, Opera, RCA Victor, Miracle, Aristocrat, J.O.B., and Mercury. In the 1950s, he recorded for Apollo, Herald, Duke, and Parrot.

In 1949, he partnered with Joe Brown to form J.O.B. Records in Chicago. Jimmy had the first record for the label. J.B. Lenore and Sunnyland Slim were two of the other blues singers that had records on the J.O.B. label.

Above Left: Label image for Parrot 823, recorded in April 1956 and released in May 1956. Composers credited on the label are John Burton, the new owner of Parrot Records, and James Burke Oden aka "St. Louis Jimmy". Confirmed at BMI.com.

Above Right: Label image for Aristocrat 7001 A, recorded in October 1948 and released in 1949. Chicago's Aristocrat label changed its name to Chess Records in 1950. Sunnyland Slim's Blue Lake record is covered in the next part of this article.

At Direct Right: CASH BOX, June 23, 1956.

CASH BOX, June 9, 1956:
....Joe Burton of Parrot Records sees even bigger things from his "Murder In The First Degree" and "Going Down Slow". He claims it could be a two-sided-hit for the new company....

CASH BOX, June 16, 1956:
....Parrot Records disking of "Going Down Slow" certainly isnít. John Burton claims this side, coupled with "Murder In The First Degree", sung ably by St. Louis Jimmy, is a real hot item....

(NOTE: John Burton had bought Parrot/Blue Lake a few months earlier. This St. Louis Jimmy record is the first produced by him as the new owner.)

CASH BOX, June 30, 1956:
....St. Louis Jimmy is sentenced to a top seller, "Murder In The First Degree", informs John Burton, the Parrot Records president....

Cash Box Review (5/7/49):

St. LOUIS JIMMY — Aristocrat 7001 Florida Hurricane/So Nice And Kind
Pair of sides in the country blues manner by St. Louis Jimmy, and the set-up of "Florida Hurricane" and "So Nice And Kind" in the offing for music ops. Both sides of this platter weave slow tempo, with Jimmy strumming some heavy guitar throughout.

Itís real low-down blues, the kind that draws consistent play in phonos throughout the land. Music ops should listen in to these sides and then get íem on the boxes.

(NOTE: Muddy Waters is playing the guitar on this record.)

LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
1. "Going Down Slow" - St. Louis Jimmy - Parrot 823 - 1956.
2. "Murder In The First Degree" - St. Louis Jimmy - Parrot 823 - 1956.
3. "So Nice And Kind" - St. Louis Jimmy - Aristocrat 7001 A - 1949.
4. "Florida Hurricane" - St. Louis Jimmy - Aristocrat 7001 B - 1949.

ALL FOUR SONGS played in sequence.





Above Left: Photo of Muddy Waters And St. Louis Jimmy, (L-R) Muddy Waters, St. Louis Jimmy, Chris Barber, and Ottilie Patterson, taken in Chicago in 1959.

Above Right: Photo of St. Louis Jimmy.

PARROT RECORDS heavily promoted St. Louis Jimmy's disk in both The Billboard and Cash Box magazines.
(See the ads below)

The sides were recorded shortly after Al Benson had sold the company to John Burton, a music publisher and attorney-at-law in Chicago. Note the new "32 North State Street" address shown in the below ads. Also note the publisher on the record label (see further above) is "Burton Ltd."

Burton planned growth for the Parrot and Blue Lake labels, including heavier promotion. However, after a few more releases, the company sadly closed its doors.


CASH BOX — 6/2/56

THE BILLBOARD — 6/2/56

CASH BOX — 6/16/56


VARIOUS OTHER PARROT ARTISTS:
JO JO ADAMS, ERNEST LEWIS, AND ALBERT KING

Above: JO JO ADAMS: Photo—(L-R) Little Miss Cornshucks, Melvin Scott, Tiny Bradshaw, and Jo Jo Adams. WJOB is a radio station in Hammond, Indiana. Jo Jo was a singer, comedian, and dancer. He had only one record on the Parrot label.

Above Left: ERNEST LEWIS: CASH BOX, January 9, 1954.
NOTE: Ernest, a blues singer, guitarist, and songwriter, had just one record on the Parrot label. He also recorded under the name "West Texas Slim".

Above Right: ALBERT KING was an electric guitarist, blues singer, and songwriter. He also had only one record on the Parrot label.

Above Left: Label image for Parrot 788, recorded in September 1953 and released in November 1953.

Above Middle: Label image for Parrot 791, released in November 1953. These sides were from masters obtained from the defunct Swing Time label.

Above Right: Label image for Parrot 798, recorded in November 1953 and released in March 1954.
This is Albert King's first record.

The Billboard Review (11/21/53):

JO JO ADAMS — Parrot 788
Rebecca (73) Lend me your your love sings Jo Jo, because you can't take it with you. This is the r.&b. switch on "Gather Your Rosebuds While You May". Ditty Is traditional blues in construction, with interesting lyrics.
Call My Baby (72) Jo Jo Adams sings a good blues on this side. Vocalist and band backing him achieve a swinging relaxed effect.
(NOTE: Ratings had a range of 0-100 with 70-79 considered as "good".)

Cash Box Review (11/28/53):

JO JO ADAMS — Parrot 788
Call My Baby (B+) Jo Adams, with a distinctive and pleasing styling, sings a middle tempo blues bounce against a background of solid orking. Etching a peppery deck that moves.
Rebecca (B) Adams handles a chuckley item with light hearted advice to his gal. Suggestive, but not too much so.
(NOTE: A rating of B was considered as "very good" and B+ as "excellent".)

Cash Box Review (12/5/53):

ERNEST LEWIS — Parrot 791
No More Lovin' (C+) Ernest Lewis etches a southern type blues with guitar accompaniment in the style of Lightnin' Hopkins. Waxing should find strong reception in the southern markets.
West Coast Blues (C+) A similar item with similar comments.
(NOTE: A rating of C+ was considered as "good".)

LITTLE MISS CORNSHUCKS AND JO JO ADAMS
LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
1. "Call My Baby" - Jo Jo Adams - Parrot 788 - 1953.
2. "Rebecca" - Jo Jo Adams - Parrot 788 - 1953.
3. "No More Lovin'" - Ernest Lewis - Parrot 791 - 1953.
4. "West Coast Blues" - Ernest Lewis - Parrot 791 - 1953.
5. "Bad Luck Blues" - Albert King - Parrot 798 - 1954.
6. "Be On Your Merry Way" - Albert King - Parrot 798 - 1954.

ALL SIX SONGS played in sequence.


CONCLUSION OF THE PARROT LABEL PORTION OF THIS ARTICLE:

(UPCOMING PART THREE WILL COVER PARROT'S SUBSIDIARY LABEL, BLUE LAKE RECORDS.)


AL BENSON'S FIRST PARROT RECORD:

Above (Top Left/Bottom Right): Label images for Parrot 1050, released in early November 1952.

The record immediately took off, but Al Benson could not meet demand and did not have distribution capability to handle the hit. Hence, the masters were sold to Chess Records. The Billboard dated November 29, 1952 shows it was released on Checker 1050 (a subsidiary label of Chess). The Cash Box of the same date shows it as Chess 1531.

Chess 1531, "I Don't Know", first hit The Billboard R&B chart at #2 (12/20/52), then #1 (12/27/52), staying in that position for eight weeks before dropping to #2 (2/21/53).

Above (Top Right): Willie Mabon.

Above (Bottom Left): Label image for Chess 1531, released in 1952.

At Direct Right: CASH BOX, December 13, 1952.

CASH BOX, January 24, 1953:
....Itís actually a return to old time dramatic shoutiní tune presentation in Willie Mabonís disk, "I Donít Know", thatís causing all the hullabaloo. The analyzation can be crystalized into one word: Ďsuspenseí. This comes with the breakósilenceóthe hum-óand then the bangeroo start.

Listen to it carefully. Then recall how the late and very great A1 Jolson used to pull this same dramatic suspense in singing many of his tunes....

LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
1. "Worry Blues" - Willie Mabon And His Combo - Parrot 1050 - 1952.
2. "I Don't Know" - Willie Mabon And His Combo - Parrot 1050 - 1952.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.

Above Left: CASH BOX, January 10, 1953.

Above Right: CASH BOX REVIEW, December 6, 1952.

Above Left: Photo of Willie Mabon.

Above Right: CASH BOX COVER, January 24, 1953:

INSCRIPTION: Willie Mabon, currently the hottest artist in the Rhythm and Blues field with his waxing of "I Donít Know" on the Chess label, gets down on his knees to ask his wife, "What did 1 do to make you mad this time baaaaaaaa-by?" Of course, her answer is "I Donít Know."

Last week the record was number one in every city on The Cash Box Hot Charts, thereby hitting a mark attained by very few other disks.


"I DON'T KNOW" ANSWER RECORDS::

CASH BOX, January 31, 1953: "I DON'T KNOW" GETS ANSWER
LOS ANGELES—The phenomenal success of the Chess disking of "I Donít Know" by Willie Mabon took a new twist here this past week, when John Dolphinís Recorded In Hollywood label copped a beat on the disk by releasing the sequel to the song in the person of "Yes I Know".

Platter, recorded by thrush Linda Hayes, is reported off and flying to exceptionally high sales marks throughout the nation. Locally, distributor Jimmy Warrenís Central Record Sales Co. was swamped with orders following what was comparatively minor disk jockey activity.

Franklin Korte, president of the Hollywood firm, reported similar reaction to the recording in New York, Chicago, Cincinnati, Detroit, and Dallas. The plattery is already backlogged with orders, and arrangement for additional pressing facilities throughout the nation are now being made.

CASH BOX, March 11, 1953:
....Comes up now the third in the fabulous series started by Willie Mabon when he waxed "I Donít Know" for the Chess label. Mabonís meteoric rise is now ancient history, and after one of the most sensational reactions ever accorded an r&b tune, is slowing up although still racking up strong sales.

Linda Hayesí answer "Yes I Know" on the Recorded In Hollywood label is equally "hot" and is at this moment nestling in the upper slots in most rhythm and blues cities. Almost every city lists both tunes in the "Most Played" lists, indicating the tremendous interest aroused by this pair of novelties.

Now comes the third in the series, "You Canít Bring Me Down", and two versions of this answer have already been received by this office. Class, a new entry in the r&b field, and sponsored by Leon Rene, releases an etching by Oscar McLollie with Paul Clifton on the vocal end. Recorded In Hollywood jumps into the derby with their ace vocalist, Little Caesar.

Both versions are top rate and bid fair to keep the public interest alive. Who will now provide the answer to the answer to the answer? Tune in next week and find out....

THE BILLBOARD, April 4, 1953:
....Republic's (music publishing company) "I Don't Know", following the Willie Mabon smash on Chess, was recorded via license by Bill Darnell on Decca, Tennessee Ernie on Capitol, and Buddy Morrow on RCA Victor. It appeared in answer versions on various labels, including: "Yes I Know", cut by Linda Hayes, on Recorded in Hollywood; "You Can't Bring Me Down", by Oscar McLollie on Class; "You Can't Bring Me Down", by Little Caesar on Recorded in Hollywood; and "I Don't Know Yes I Know", by Johnny Moore's Three Blazes on Aladdin.... (NOTE: "Yes I Know" was also released by Annisteen Allen on the King label.)

Above Right: THE BILLBOARD, February 28, 1953.

At Left: Label image for Recorded In Hollywood 244 AA, released in 1953.

Linda's "Yes! I Know" entered the Billboard R&B chart at #3 (2/14/53), its highest ranking.

THE BILLBOARD, January 31, 1953:
The Recorded in Hollywood label has rushed out a disking by thrush Linda Hayes titled "Yes, I Know" (What You're Putting Down) the long-awaited reply to the smash Willie Mabon slicing of "I Don't Know" on Chess, which has swept the r.&b. field and invaded the pop market as well. The RIH disk is the same tune as the original Chess waxings and the thrush tells her man the score....

Cash Box Review (2/7/53):

LINDA HAYES — Recorded In Hollywood 244
Yes! I Know (B+) It had to happen and here it is. The answer to the nationís number one r&b novelty. Tune is the same and lyrics are almost the same. Will go as a natural tie-in with the original. Backing supplied by Red Callender Sextette.
(NOTE: A rating of B+ was considered as "excellent".)

The Billboard Review (2/7/53):

LINDA HAYES — Recorded In Hollywood 244
Yes! I Know (85) The Willie Mabon hit, "I Don't Know", is answered with feeling on this powerful reply. Linda Hayes chants the ditty with great ability. Material and performance make this an effort that can't miss. Loot will be plentiful.
(NOTE: Ratings had a range of 0-100 with 80-89 considered as "very good".)

LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
"Yes! I Know" - Linda Hayes - Recorded In Hollywood 244 AA - 1953.


AL BENSON'S LAST PARROT RECORD:

(NOTE:The above label image and corresponding audio files provided by Dan Kochakian.)

This record looks like it was thrown together by Al Benson to get it released prior to his record company changing hands. The "Benson—Ogletree" on the label is actually the composer credits. The artist is trumpet player Louis Ogletree's Orchestra.

Note the change in address between the above two ads. "Cottage Grove" is Benson's office address, while "State Street" is the new owner's address.

The following is taken from Robert Campbell's website (regarding this record):
The goal (for the Parrot record) may have been to commemorate the larger band that Ogletree fronted for Benson in 1948, during the last days of the Savoy Ballroom.... Apparently no one bothered to note down the personnel, but Ogletree rounded up several of the usual suspects, including Sax Mallard on alto sax, Cliff Davis on tenor sax, Earl Washington on piano, and Red Saunders at the drums.

CASH BOX, January 28, 1956:
....The Parrot brass is high on Louis Ogletreeís "Tell It Like It Is" b/w "Uptown Storm" [sp], a new waxing.....

LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
1. "Uptown Stomp" - Louis Ogletree Orchestra - Parrot 822 - 1956.
2. "Tell It Like It Is" - Louis Ogletree Orchestra - Parrot 822 - 1956.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.

CASH BOX, March 24, 1956: JOHN BURTON BUYS PARROT, BLUE LAKE
CHICAGO—John Burton, music publisher and an attorney in this city, has taken over full ownership of the Parrot and Blue Lake labels. The Burton Ltd. publishing concern is seven years old. It has been associated with Chess and Checker.

"Last year," according to Burton, "our top hit was ĎEvery Day (I Had The Blues)í". Burton was also associated at one time with Gene and Harry Goodman in Arc Music, which published such tunes as "Maybelline" and "Sincerely".

Burton plans greater growth for Parrot and Blue Lake. More artists are to be signed. Heavier promotion is reported to be in the offing.

(NOTE: Burton would produce just two more records, St. Louis Jimmy on Parrot 823 and Lu Mac on Blue Lake 119, before Parrot/Blue Lake would fade away into the night. Both of these records were released in 1956.)












CASH BOX — 6/30/56

PARROT AND BLUE LAKE RECORDS - PART ONE FEATURES THE PARROTS, THE CHOCOLATEERS, CURTIS JONES, COLEMAN HAWKINS, LOWELL FULSON, THE ROCKETTES, THE PELICANS, THE VICTORETTES, PAUL BASCOMB-MANHATTAN PAUL, THE ORCHIDS, AND JOHN BRIM.

ALSO INCLUDED IS A LARGE SECTION ON AL BENSON, CHICAGO DEEJAY AND OWNER OF PARROT/BLUE LAKE RECORDS.

PARROT AND BLUE LAKE RECORDS - PART THREE (BLUE LAKE RECORDS - PART ONE) FEATURES RED SAUNDERS, JOE WILLIAMS, ANN CARTER, KING FLEMING QUINTETTE, SUNNYLAND SLIM, THE VETERAN SINGERS, AND BABY BOY WARREN.

ALSO INCLUDED IS "WHO IS AL BENSON" BIOGRAPHY PIECE AND THE SPOTLIGHTED SONG "WHEN THE SUN GOES DOWN".

PARROT AND BLUE LAKE RECORDS - PART FOUR (BLUE LAKE RECORDS - PART TWO) FEATURES LOU MAC, WALTER SPRIGGS AND THE FIVE ECHOES, THE MAPLES, THE FASCINATORS, LITTLE WILLY FOSTER, THE FIVE CHANCES, LITTLE PAPA JOE (JODY WILLIAMS), AND LEON TARVER.


Listen to all of this article's audio selections using Windows Media Player:

          AL BENSON RELATED SELECTIONS:

          1. "Bouncing With Benson" - Paul Williams Sextette - Savoy 664-A - 1947.
          2. "South Side Saturday Night" - C. Johnson & Band - Danceland 400 - 1949.
          3. "Easy, Mr. Benson" - Tabb Smith Orchestra - Chess 1501 - 1952.
          4. "Benson's Groove" - Big Jay McNeely And His Bluejays - Savoy 682-A - 1948.

          PARROT ARTICLE RELATED SONGS:

          1. "My Baby's Gone" - The Five Thrills - Parrot 796 - 1954.
          2. "Feel So Good" - The Five Thrills - Parrot 796 - 1954.
          3. "Gloria" - The Five Thrills - Parrot 800 - 1954.
          4. "Wee Wee Baby" - The Five Thrills - Parrot 800 - 1954.
          5. "Fool Burro" - Mable Scott - Parrot 794 - 1954.
          6. "Do The Thing" - Mable Scott - Parrot 794 - 1954.
          7. "Right Around The Corner From Basin Street" - Mabel Scott - Exclusive 67x - 1949.
          8. "A Bippity Be Bop Pony" - Mabel Scott - Exclusive 67x - 1949.
          9. "Give Me A Man" - Mabel Scott - Exclusive 83x - 1949.
        10. "Eisenhower Blues" - J. B. Lenoir - Parrot 802 - 1954.
        11. "I'm In Korea" - J. B. Lenoir - Parrot 802 - 1954.
        12. "Mamma Talk To Your Daughter" - J. B. Lenore - Parrot 809 - 1955.
        13. "Man Watch Your Woman" - J. B. Lenore - Parrot 809 - 1955.
        14. "The Mojo" - J. B. Lenore And His Combo - J.O.B. JOB 1012 - 1953.
        15. "How Can I Leave" - J. B. Lenore And His Combo - J.O.B. JOB 1012 - 1953.
        16. "Golden Teardrops" - The Flamingos - Chance CH 1145 - 1953.
        17. "Carried Away" - The Flamingos - Chance CH 1145 - 1953.
        18. "Dream Of A Lifetime" - The Flamingos - Parrot 808 - 1954.
        19. "On My Merry Way" - The Flamingos - Parrot 808 - 1954.
        20. "I Really Don't Want To Know" - The Flamingos - Parrot 811 - 1954.
        21. "Get With It" - The Flamingos - Parrot 811 - 1954.
        22. "I'm Yours" - The Flamingos - Parrot 812 - 1955.
        23. "Ko Ko Mo" - The Flamingos - Parrot 812 - 1955.
        24. "That's My Baby" - The Flamingos - Checker 815 - 1955.
        25. "When" - The Flamingos - Checker 815 - 1955.
        26. "You're The Dream Of A Lifetime" - Bill Johnson And His Musical Notes - RCA Victor 20-2498-B - 1947.
        27. "I'm Yours" - Varetta Dillard - Savoy 851-B - 1952.
        28. "Ko Ko Mo" - Gene And Eunice - Combo 64-A - 1954.
        29. "Ko Ko Mo" - Gene And Eunice - Aladdin 3276 - 1955.
        30. "Ko Ko Mo" - Marvin And Johnny - Modern 949 - 1955.
        31. "Ko Ko Mo" - Perry Como And Ray Charles Singers - RCA Victor 20-5994 - 1955.
        32. "Ko Ko Mo" - Bill Darnell And Betty Clooney - "X" X-0087 - 1955.
        33. "He Don't Love You" - Dusty Brown - Parrot 820 - 1955.
        34. "Yes She's Gone" - Dusty Brown - Parrot 820 - 1955.
        35. "Going Down Slow" - St. Louis Jimmy - Parrot 823 - 1956.
        36. "Murder In The First Degree" - St. Louis Jimmy - Parrot 823 - 1956.
        37. "So Nice And Kind" - St. Louis Jimmy - Aristocrat 7001 A - 1949.
        38. "Florida Hurricane" - St. Louis Jimmy - Aristocrat 7001 B - 1949.
        39. "Call My Baby" - Jo Jo Adams - Parrot 788 - 1953.
        40. "Rebecca" - Jo Jo Adams - Parrot 788 - 1953.
        41. "No More Lovin'" - Ernest Lewis - Parrot 791 - 1953.
        42. "West Coast Blues" - Ernest Lewis - Parrot 791 - 1953.
        43. "Bad Luck Blues" - Albert King - Parrot 798 - 1954.
        44. "Be On Your Merry Way" - Albert King - Parrot 798 - 1954.
        45. "Worry Blues" - Willie Mabon And His Combo - Parrot 1050 - 1952.
        46. "I Don't Know" - Willie Mabon And His Combo - Parrot 1050 - 1952.
        47. "Yes! I Know" - Linda Hayes - Recorded In Hollywood 244 AA - 1953.
        48. "Uptown Stomp" - Louis Ogletree Orchestra - Parrot 822 - 1956.
        49. "Tell It Like It Is" - Louis Ogletree Orchestra - Parrot 822 - 1956.
 
          ALL FORTY-NINE ABOVE SONGS played in sequence.

          ALL THIRTY ABOVE PARROT LABEL SONGS played in sequence.


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Last Update: August 28, 2023

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