Five Du-Tones, The
- Andrew Butler -- lead vocals (1960-67)
- Willie Guest (RIP 1963) -- vocals, keyboards (1957-63)
- Robert Hopkins -- vocals (1957-60)
- Tommy Jamison -- guitar
- LeRoy Joyce (aka Leroy Tate) - vocals (1957-67)
- Frank McCurrey - tenor lead vocals (1960-)67
- David Scott (aka Tony Diamond) -- vocals (replaced
James West) (1963-67)
- Oscar Watson -- vocals (1957-60)
- James West (RIP 1863) -- vocals (1957-63)
- Chi-Lites (David Scott)
- The Exciters Band (Frank McCurrey and David Scott)
- South Shore Commission (Frank McCurry and David Scott)
Originally from St. Louis, Willie Guest, Robert Hopkins, LeRoy Joyce, Oscar Watson and James West came together while attending Patrick Henry High School. The five shared a common interest in doo-wop and by the late-1950s as The Five Du Tones they had begun to enjoy limited success on the city's club circuit. With Joyce's mother relocating to Chicago, the group decided to follow suit. With Hopkins and Watson electing to stay in St. Louis, 1960 found the Chicago line up supplemented by Andrew Butler and Frank McCurrey. Over the next two years the group held down a wide array of day jobs, while performing on the local club circuit at night. Efforts to attract the attention of local labels went nowhere, but in 1962 they finally got a break in the form of an introduction to One-derful owners George and Ernie Leaner.
Signed to One-derful, the group's first two singles did little, but with their third 'Shake a Tail Feather' b/w 'Divorce Court' (One-derful catalog number ) they hit the big time. A pop and R&B hit, the single sent the band on the road, including extensive tours throughout the East Coast, and even the South. Unfortunately life on the road exacted a heavy toll on the group in terms of creativity and mortality. Only 26, West died from heart failure in 1963. He was quickly replaced by David Scott who had been a member of The Five De-Tones touring backing band The Exciters.
The group continued to record for One-derful, releasing a stream of six ever more desperate dance-oriented numbers over the next two years. In 1966 One-derful dropped them from its recording roster, though the group continued to tour for another year. In 1967 they finally called it quits with Scott and McCurrey rejoining The Exciters Band, which promptly metamorphised into The South Shore Commission. Scott reappeared as a member of The Chi-Lites.
- James West -- vocals
|Titles||Shake a Tail Feather||Divorce Court|
|Writer(s)||James West - V. Rice - A. Tate||Hayes - Williams - V. Rice|
|Producer(s)||Hayes - Williams||Hayes - Williams|
|Grade||VG both sides play with some hiss, but no skips|
The 'A' side is one of those has-to-be-heard slices of soul madness. Propelled by Andrew Butler's manic lead vocal and Guest's sledge-hammer keyboards, it's simply one of the best dance songs ever recorded and remains the best version of the opt covered track.
In spite of the distinctive 1950s sound, the flip side was a surprisingly funny effort. Butler handled the role of the judge (judge Frank Chillipepper), while McCurrey's tenor was perfect handling the wife's part (Dulamae Heissenberger) and Guest the pathetic wandering husband (John Heissenberger). Live performances apparently saw the group act out the part in costume.
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