Dale Hawkins


Public domain | tc001

Delmar Allen “Dale” Hawkins was born on August 22, 1936 and died on February 13, 2010 of cancer. He was a cousin of singer Ronnie Hawkins. He recorded Susie Q in Shreveport in 1956 (at a radio station) and it was placed with Chess for distribution. The song has become an all time rock classic. After a string of successful record releases, Dale Hawkins became a successful record producer whose hits included “Western Union” by The Five Americans.

Full discography for Dale Hawkins


The Coronets


The Coronets | Uncle Marv | tc002

The Coronets were Sam and William Griggs, Lester Russaw, Charles Carruthers and George Lewis, and in 1953 they signed with Chess Records who had been sent some demo discs. They were not happy with the band or arrangements that came out of their recording session, but it yielded a hit: Nadine, later covered by The Dells. The group did not stay with Chess Records.

The Monotones


Public domain | tc003

The Monotones only hit single was “The Book of Love”. The Monotones formed in 1955 and were Charles Patrick, Warren Davis, George Malone, John Smith, John Ryanes and Warren Ryanes. Book of Love was recorded in 1957 and the master leased to Chess for national distribution, being released on Argo in February 1958, going on to sell a million copies and attract a number of foreign cover versions.

The Sensations

Updated 15 July 2019


The Sensations | Liveauctiongroup | tc004

The Sensations formed in 1954 as the Cavaliers but disbanded in 1957. In 1961, bass singer Alphonso Howell persuaded Yvonne Mills Baker that the group should re-form. They were signed to Chess’ Argo label. “Music, Music, Music” and “Let Me In” were big successes but the success was not sustained. Yvonne Baker has since enjoyed a solo career. The line up was Yvonne Baker, George Minor, Richard Curtain and Alphonso Howell.

Alphonso Howell died on May 7, 1998.

Pigmeat Markham


Public domain | tc005

Dewey (sometimes “David”) “Pigmeat” Markham was born on April 18, 1904 and died on December 13, 1981 of a stroke, and is best known as a comedian but was also a singer, dancer, and actor, including in films. His ‘Judge’ routine was performed for years. Markham is regarded as a forerunner of rappers and a creator of hip-hop. His song “Here Comes The Judge” was an international hit in 1968.

Cash McCall


Cash McCall | Public Domain | tc006

Maurice Dollison Jr. (Cash McCall) was born in New Madrid, Missouri on January 28, 1941 and died in Merillville, Indiana aged 78 years old on April 20, 2019 from lung cancer. He sang with the Gospel Songbirds with Otis Clay (for whom he wrote the song “That’s how it is”). He is known for a few records on Checker Records, which were not over successful but are still much loved. McCall became a session regular at the Chess studios and played on many of the Chicago recordings. For a time he had been living in Memphis, Tennessee.

Jazz News

Updated 3 December 2019

The Knight Brothers


knightbrothers | Earshot| tc007

The Knight Brothers were Richard Dunbar, who was born on 31 May 1939 and James Leon Diggs who was born on 11 October 1938. (We are not sure who is who in the photo: can anyone help, please?) They first recorded in 1958 as part of a vocal group called The Starfires. They signed to Checker Records in 1963, achieving major success with “Temptation’s about to get me” in 1965. They left Checker in 1968. Dunbar continued singing with The Orioles.

Clarence Frogman Henry


Clarence Frogman Henry | Bradford Timeline | tc008

Clarence “Frogman” Henry was born on March 19, 1937, and was influenced by Fats Domino and Professor Longhair’s music. In 1956 he signed to Argo records. His debut song was the catchy “Ain’t got no home” but the addition of his frog voice made it irresistible and it became his first major hit. He has enjoyed a long career, still performs, and has been enrolled in the Rockabilly, and Louisiana, Halls of Fame.

Dave “Baby” Cortez

Updated 15 July 2019


Dave Baby Cortez | Discogs | tc009

David Cortez Clowney was born on August 13, 1938. His recording career started in 1956, singing with The Pearls and The Valentines, but it was his 1959 recording “The Happy Organ” which made history, becoming the first instrumental to make number one on America’s pop charts. Gary Hammond played drums and Jimmy Spruill played guitar on the recording. Clowney then signed with Chess records and his 1962 recording “Rinky Dink” became well known, being used as a signature tune used widely in television and radio. Clowney’s last recording was issued in 2011. His Chess masters are understood to have been destroyed in the 2009 Universal warehouse fire.

The Flamingos

Updated 15 July 2019


The Flamingos, 1961: Uncle Marv | tc010

The Flamingos were formed by Jake and Zeke Carey in around 1952. After short periods with other labels they signed with Chess records in 1955, and immediately had a huge hit with “I’ll be home” (covered by Pat Boone) and other hits with “The Vow” and “Would I be crying”. In 1956 singer Tommy Hunt joined the group. They left Chess records in 1957 and continued a long and successful career, winning many awards.

Tommy Hunt is now the lone surviving member of the Chess group.

Please help: Can anyone please identify a picture of The Flamingos in their Chess line-up. Thankyou.

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