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The Ravens

The Ravens were one of the pioneering post-World War II R&B groups, and in addition among the initial R&B groups named for parrots. Both in their musicality and their nomenclature, they affected two decades of performers that adopted, in addition to sold plenty of information along the way. The Ravens originated with Jimmy Ricks (created 1924, Jackson, FL; passed away 1974, NY, NY), who began singing young. In 1945, he was used like a waiter in the 500 Tavern and later on at an establishment referred to as the L. Pub, both in New York’s Harlem. One of is own co-workers was a pal, Warren “Birdland” Suttles, and during occasions when the function wasn’t as well frantic, both began singing collectively, to tunes from the Printer ink Places, the Mills Brothers, the Delta Tempo Boys, along with other tranquility organizations whose music made an appearance for the club’s jukebox. They made a decision to try and type a genuine group, looking for two even more members that could constitute the requisite tranquility quartet. Both installed with Leonard “Zeke” Puzey and Ollie Jones, and upset their sound around music such as for example “Darktown Strutters’ Ball.” Selecting the name the Ravens, and therefore inaugurating the “parrot” group development in dark vocal groupings, these were booked in to the Membership Baton in Harlem, and demonstrated themselves sufficiently talented to price a nationwide tour, also picking right up Howard Biggs, who became their arranger as well as the composer of a lot of their primary repertory. The Ravens’ sound was uncommon for its period, featuring bass vocalist Ricks because the lead tone of voice — this might become their brand and one of the frequently emulated attributes on the following 10 years. The group was agreed upon to Hub Information in early 1946, and released their debut one, “Honey” b/w “Lullaby,” the last mentioned a Jones first that they’d been executing since piecing together their four-man lineup. Jones still left the group past due in 1946 to become listed on the Cues and was changed by Maithe Marshall. The Ravens’ agreement with Hub finished after twelve months plus they jumped towards the Country wide label, where they liked an immediate strike with their edition of “Ol’ Man River,” that was perhaps the greatest of a succession of eight TOP R&B hits on the following 10 years, including “Write Me a Notice” and “Send for me personally IF YOU WANT Me.” By 1948, the Ravens had been already an impact on dozens, probably a huge selection of R&B vocal groupings which were coalescing around all of the sounds that these were bringing towards the graphs. The Orioles, the Crows, the Swallows, the Swans, as well as the Wrens adopted immediately within their wake, as well as the pattern didn’t slacken in the 1950s, as clothes with names just like the Penguins continuing charting, however the Ravens was where it began. The group continuing carrying out and documenting for another seven years, with Marshall and Suttles regularly exiting the lineup at differing times, the second option changed by Joe Medlin and Louis Heyward, and Bubba Ritchie. Their label associations were almost as occupied as these lineup shifts, from Country wide to Columbia (and OKeh) in 1950, and to Mercury in 1951. Their proceed to the second option label led to a significant lineup switch as Jimmy Stewart been successful as the business lead tenor from Puzey, who jumped towards the Hi-Hatters — Marshall later on adopted him into that lineup, as do Heyward for a brief period. Whatever their lineup, the Ravens ascended to the very best of the field while at Mercury, although their graph placements didn’t usually reflect their position as a carrying out group. They just enjoyed one main chart strike, “Rock and roll Me FOREVER Very long,” which surely got to quantity eight around the nationwide R&B listings, however the group was commanding a charge of 2,000 dollars a night time for their shows during this time period. The group, comprising Ricks, Joe Truck Mortgage, Louis Frazier, and Stewart, shifted to Jubilee Information once their Mercury agreement finished in 1953. Their four Jubilee singles had been released through the period when rock and roll & move was increasing and several R&B acts had been put in the positioning of looking to attract a wider, whiter youngsters viewers than they’d previously considered reaching. “Green Eye” was their biggest strike on Jubilee, in middle-1955 — many of their tracks out of this period display the growing impact of rock and roll & roll, filled with noisy sax preparations and titles such as for example “Rockin’ on the Record Hop.” The start of the finish for the group emerged when Ricks started pursuing his objective of a single career. Their last singles were released acknowledged to “Jimmy Ricks as well as the Ravens” or “Jimmy Ricks as well as the Rickateers.” Ricks exited the group in 1956, as well as the group name was bought out by Van Mortgage, who bought the Ravens’ name together with their street supervisor, Nat Margo. Under Vehicle Loan’s management, the Ravens jumped to Chess Information’ Argo imprint that same 12 months. Ricks’ influence continued to be profound in to the past due ’50s, long following the Ravens ceased charting information — the Temptations’ Melvin Franklin, specifically, was heavily affected by Ricks’ performing. Ricks remained a dynamic solo performer, shifting between your Paris, Decca, and Personal labels before putting your signature on with Atlantic Information in 1961, where he documented with LaVern Baker and Small Esther. From the 1967, when he rejoined Jubilee Information, he’d exceeded through the Mainstream and Event Information rosters. Ricks reunited with Warren Suttles in 1971 and reformed the the Ravens, with Gregory Carroll and Jimmy Breedlove filling in the lineup. As a sign of the flexibleness of Ricks’ performing tone of voice as well as the respect he commanded also after a lot more than 25 years as an R&B vocalist, he became a member of the Count number Basie music group as its vocalist in the first ’70s, a capability where he was offering during his loss of life on July 2, 1974, at age 50. The Ravens under no circumstances recorded just as much as their primary rival group, the Orioles, and also have never received the type of extensive retrospective accorded the last mentioned group. Their documented legacies for Country wide, Columbia and OKeh, Mercury, and Jubilee can be found but dispersed among several produces on various brands.

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