The Frisco Singers


Willie Walters (left) and Pearlstine “Perk” Badger (right) | Sir Shambling | tc562

“The Frisco singers” released on US Chess 2039 in 1969 is now known to have been Perk Badger, who also recorded under the name of Mr. Percolator, and sometimes as “The Soul Percolator”. Pearlstine “Perk” Badger was born on February 12th 1940, and sadly died in June 1996.

He continued to record through the 1960s to the 1980s but without national success, and was unaware of the interest abroad in his recordings, which is a shame. He also sang with gospel groups and is closely associated with gospel singer Willie Walters.

The Friendly Five


A Friendly Five LP Cover | Copyright control | tc468

The Friendly Five were a long running gospel vocal group formed by Rebert H. Harris, who was born on March 23, 1916 and died on September 3, 2000. The original group comprised his brothers and cousins. The line up on the Chess recording is not available.

Ray Frazier and the Shades of Madness


Ray Frazier and the Shades of Madness | Copyright control | tc467

Ray Frazier and the Shades of Madness were a California band active in the 1960s and 1970s. They made a number of recordings, one of which was leased to Chess. I do not have a line up for this group. Can anyone help, please?

Lee Eldred


A Lee Eldred Mercury label LP Cover | Copyright control | tc465

No biographical details are available for Lee Eldred. Looking at the LP cover available and at the track listing, and listening to some of the lyrics, it is thought that Lee Eldred was an act targeted at the 1970s gay market and Lee may have been a trans or drag performer. Does anyone have any further information, please?

Bo Diddley

In performance

Video from 1955.

James Dudley


James Dudley | Copyright control | tc464

James Dudley is a singer who is thought to have recorded under the alternative names Jimmy Dee and James Dee, but for whom there are no biographical details. He had a single release on the Chess label and also recorded for other labels in the mid 1960s. He is not related to a rockabilly performer called Jimmy Dee.

Can anyone provide any more information on this artiste, please.

Earl Dranes

Only sketchy information is available about Earl Dranes. He was understood to be a Chicago based blues musician, playing guitar and organ (with his feet, according to the “Blues Encyclopaedia”!) who accompanied other blues singers including Arthur Big Boy Spires and Lazy Bill Lucas, also from Chicago.

Lazy Bill Lucas noted in the book “Worlds of Music” that in 1946 he, Dranes and Willie Mabon joined the local musicians’ union and became professional musicians.

By 1950 Mabon and Dranes were recording for Chess as “The Blues Rockers”.

No biographical details or photo located for this artist.

Fontella Bass

In Performance

Charles Drain


Charles Drain | Copyright control | tc463

Singer Charles Drain was born on 31 May 1939 and died on 18 March 1995. He began singing when he was eight years old and was singing with a group when he was ten. He was at his most active in the mid 1960s when as well as having his own band, he was a popular session background singer on many Chicago recordings. His only solo LP was released in 1977.

Ramsey Lewis

In Performance

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