James Dixon

Checker 1017

The recording on Checker 1017 by James Dixon was the subject of a legal action against Chess by Duke/Peacock Records of Houston, who alleged that the recording was by the Rev. Robert Ballinger, who was at the time under contract to them.

The Magnificents

The Magnificents were a well known vocal group but the recording issued on Checker 1016 does not appear to be by the vocal group usually known as The Magnificents and issued on other labels.

Marv Goldberg, in his article on The Magnificents, notes that the Checker record credits Kansoma as the copyright owners, so Chess Treasures has contacted Bobby Poe, the current copyright owner for Kansoma (BMI).

Mr. Poe had never heard of the record! He does have the copyright of “Do You Mind” which he has registered as being written by Johnny Dubas. Johnny Dubas was the bass player for Big Al Downing and The Rhythm Rockers at the time and later was bass player for The Chartbusters. The song copyright was registered with BMI on December 31, 1960. The song “The Dribble Twist” is not currently listed by BMI as a Kansoma copyright, which confirms the information printed on the label, as seen in photos. There is a possibility that “The Dribble Twist” is by completely different artistes from a completely separate source.

Mr Poe advises us that “The Magnificents” on this recording may have featured Johnny Dubas and Vernon Sandusky, but the record might also have been by Big Al Downing and his band, of which they were members; and the recording was probably first released on his father’s Kansoma Records label.

We would like to thank Mr. Poe for his invaluable help. We are trying to track a copy of the recording so that we can listen to it and identify the artists involved, if possible. If anyone else has further information to the identity of “The Magnificents” on Checker 1016 or has a copy of the record, please leave us a comment. Thank you!

Danny Hargrove


Danny Hargrove LP Cover | Danny Hargrove | tc267

Danny Hargrove is a country and rock singer who was born in Kentucky but whose family moved to Detroit when he was two. His first recordings were made for Chess and released on the Checker label in 1961. In the mid 1960s he left the music world and went to work for an insurance company. He continued to write songs and is understood to be still recording.

Danny Hargrove’s official web site

The Megatons


Billy Lee Riley | Los Angeles Times | tc588

The Megatons’ “Shimmy Shimmy Walk” is known for its UK release on Sue WI 327, but it was also leased to Chess for distribution in the US. Originally on the Dodge label, The Megatons were Billy Lee Riley, Pat O’Neil, James Van Eaton, Jimmy Wilson and Martin Willis and this record was recorded at Pepper Tanner studios in Memphis in 1961. The record was used as a theme by a number of radio disc jockeys in America. (Pepper and Tanner produced and sold jingles to radio stations.)

There have been a number of other groups who have used (and still use) the name The Megatons, which adds to the confusion.

Billy Lee Riley, singer, song writer and record producer, was born on October 5, 1933 and died on August 2, 2009.

Doug Brown


Douglas Fontaine Brown in 2007 | Del Shannon.Com | tc268

Douglas Fontaine Brown, born 1942, was raised in Detroit and graduated from school in 1959. He then attended College and the University of Michigan. In 1961 Detroit record producer Ollie McLaughlin and Leonard Chess recorded a single at Chess Records’ studio, and the record, Blue Night, was issued on Checker 1001. Brown is mainly associated with rock music and artists including Del Shannon and Bob Seger. Fontaine Brown is understood to still be active in music.

The Christland Singers


Christland singers LP Cover | Copyright control | tc269

The Christland Singers are a gospel group which was formed in 1949 by the Rev. Leroy Taylor, Jimmy Johnson and Dr. R. H. Harris, who were also former members of the Original Soul Stirrers. The group have been recording since 1950. The group is still performing. The group is famous, and has won many awards. Past members have included the Rev. J.P. Washington, Jimmy Johnson, the Rev. J. P. Washington, Dr. R.H. Harris, the Rev. Gatemouth Moore, Johnny Chandler, Roe Dino Harvey Young and Clarence Smith.

Official website

The Impalas


The Impalas | Copyright control | 14638-tc270

The Impalas were a soul vocal group and were Sandra Bears, Margie Clark, Carrie Mingo and Grace Ruffin. They were discovered by Bo Diddley who enabled them to sign for Chess. There was another New York group with the same name which caused some confusion. After the first release the name of the group was changed from The Impalas to The Four Jewels. Grace Ruffin was a cousin of Billy Stewart.