The Checkers - King 4581 (1952)

Take the Dominoes occasional lead singer AND their bass man who sang lead on the smash Sixty Minute Man and add a few young talented street corner singers and you get The Checkers.

While having a few regional hits, even in larger urban markets, they never broke nationally...a shame in my opinion.

I really like Let Me Come Back with bass man Bill Brown's vocals. Sounds like it would fit in nicely with the Carolina Beach Music crowd.

Blow Top Lynn & His House Rockers With Melvin Smith - RCA Victor 22-0139 (1951)

When you grown up in Atlanta next door to Billy Wright (a mentor to Little Richard), a few houses down from Larry Darnell, play hooky with Titus Turner, sing lead in a group with Chuck Willis' brother Pete, idolize Wynonie, Roy Brown and become pals with Jimmy cut 31 sides in a 3 year span for RCA Victor...none of 'em a hit and get dropped by the label...all by the time your 18.

Such is the case with Melvin Smith who was picked by local sax man Clyde "Blow Top" Lynn to front 8 sides when RCA Victor came to Atlanta looking for talent...I do believe this is the same time RCA discovered Little Richard and etched him in wax as well.

While Smith's records sold next to nothing, his sides were deemed worthy by Bear Family to release a cd compilation of his early 50s recordings.

Here is 15 year old Melvin Smith...

(The labels match but the kitchen lighting made them look different)

Clyde McPhatter - Atlantic 1199 (1958)

Here we have one of the most recognizable voices of not just the early rhythm & blues era, but any era. Clyde McPhatter, born in North Carolina, was responsible for the success of such early groups as Billy Ward & His Dominoes and the first incarnation of The Drifters, which he founded and assembled at the request of Atlantic Records' head, Ahmet Ertegun.

A Lover's Question was unarguably his greatest solo effort.

A secret for a long time, Ruth Brown acknowledged that McPhatter was the father of her son, Ron. Ron has acted in several movies and has portrayed The Platters' lead singer, Tony Williams...opposite Halle the Frankie Lymon biopic, Why Do Fools Fall In Love.

Frankie Lee Sims - Ace 524 (1957)

What a family tree!

Besides both parents being accomplished guitarists, Frankie Lee Sims was the nephew of Texas Alexander and the cousin of Lightnin' Hopkins.

Always excited to run across an Ace record outta Jackson, Mississippi.

Lucille Hegamin & The Dixie Daisies - Cameo 354 (1923)

Lucille Hegamin v / The Dixie Dasies ? Jules Levy, Jr. c / Ephraim Hannaford tb / Joe Samuels cl / Larry Briers p / bb.

Recorded in New York in March 1923.