Monday, March 05, 2012

Vinyl Obscurities 11 - The Twisters

The Twisters - Turn The Page/ Dancing Little Clown. Released in 1960 on Capitol 15167. Mint value £8.
I found this obscure doowop 45 in a charity shop today and was surprised to discover that it's worth a mere £8. Maybe that's because it presumably got little airplay at the time and the group's background is little known. It was the only release by The Twisters - cashing in on the dance craze of the time - but far from the only piece of doowop magic featuring its song writers Carl Spencer, Arthur Crier and Harold Johnson. Members of the group turned up in a wide range of doowop groups in the late 50s/early 60s, beginning with the Gay Tones, a New York street corner group which included baritone Arthur Crier, which changed its name to the Chimes and released A Fool Was I on the Royal Roost label in 1953, and also released Rosemarie under the name of the 5 Chimes (even though there were only four of them) on Betta. Arthur moved on to The Hummers and joined Harold Johnson among others and recorded Gee What A Girl, which was recorded for Old Town but never released. The next group to involve Arthur was The Mellows, which cut some sides for Celeste and also backed up future Twister Carl Spencer. In 1960 Arthur and Carl did a version of Alley Oop for Edsel, calling themselves the Pre-Historics, and it must have been soon after that the sole Twisters 45 was released, with Buddy McRae joining Arthur, Harold and Carl. Arthur's biggest success came with The Halos, comprising JR Bailey, Harold Johnson, Al Cleveland and Arthur Crier, which hit it big with Nag. The Halos were a prolific backing group, working with Curtis Lee, Barry Mann and Ben E King among others, and also had a record released under the name The Craftys, after producer Morty Craft. Arthur continued to have a varied career and died in 2004. I am indebted to Marv Goldberg's R & B Notebooks for the above information and for a much fuller resume of Arthur Crier's career check out
As for the Twisters record itself, the A side is a comic slowie about Little Orphan Annie, who refuses to grow up and is urged to 'turn the page', and features Tarzan yells and Superman references, as well as an excellent sax break. Dancing Little Clown is an Olympics style dancer - not really a twist song but good fun. All in all an excellent double sider.


At 1:31 pm , Blogger Nick said...

Nick Sands pointed out that the Rare Record Guide lists a second Twisters record - Peppermint Twist on the Aral/Windsor label. I haven't heard it and in fact never seen any record on Aral/Windsor, and I am dubious that it is by the same group. It's not listed in the Arthur Crier article that I quoted. I've a feeling it's two totally different groups.

At 6:53 am , Blogger john marriott said...

Thanks for posting this - I'd completely forgotten iits existence. I've always collected this type of group record plus ones where Carl Spencer is involved. I knew about it many many years ago but just forgot about it so it was onto trusty Gemm and picked up an ex copy Uk demo for £10.
What is truly rare though is the Lewis Lymon Oriole 45 you listed a few posts back. Never seen that ever. Had a long chat with him at the Nov 2011 long Island doo wop feat and he doesn't know it came out here.


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