THE DU DROPPERS
The Du Droppers were one of the oldest recording vocal groups on the scene of the early fifties, with their ages averaging almost 40. When the group was formed in Harlem in 1952, all four members already had years of singing experience, mostly in the gospel field. The lead singer of the group was J.C. ("Junior" Caleb) Ginyard, born in 1910 in St. Matthews, South Carolina. He had sung with the Royal Harmony Singers in Florida as early as 1936, a group that developed into the Jubalaires in 1941. In 1946 he formed his own group the Dixieaires (chart hit : "So Long", # 9 R&B on Gotham in 1948) and when they disbanded in 1950 he came to New York. The other members were Willie Ray (tenor / baritone), Harvey Ray (tenor / baritone) and Eddie Hashew (bass).
The new group began practicing secular songs in the basement of Ginyard's apartment at 149th Street. An audition for Red Robin Records in late 1952 resulted in their first release, "Can't Do Sixty No More", one of several answer songs to "Sixty Minute Man". Sales were not so good, and soon after the group auditioned for RCA Victor, where they were signed up in early 1953. Hashew was then replaced by Bob Kornegay. The new combination scored with their first RCA single, "I Wanna Know (What You Do When You Go 'Round There)", a # 3 R&B hit. The follow-up was an answer to that song, called "I Found Out", which also went to # 3, in the summer of 1953. After three more RCA singles, the group was switched to the newly formed Groove subsidiary, where five singles and two EP's were issued. None sold well and after a number of personnel changes the group broke up in 1955. The 1954 line-up included high tenor Prentice Moreland, who would later contribute the famous "Great googa mooga, lemme outta here" line to the Cadets' version of "Stranded In the Jungle". Charlie Hughes, a later member of the Drifters, sang lead on the Du Droppers' penultimate session, on April 1, 1955.
Ginyard went back to his gospel roots and joined the Golden Gate Quartet, with whom he would stay until 1971. He took up residence in Switzerland where he died on August 11, 1978.
The Ray brothers formed a new short-lived group with Bill Brown (ex-Dominoes), David Baughn (ex-Drifters) and Edna McGriff, but they never got to record. Bass singer Bob Kornegay started a solo career and had minor success with two telephone songs : "The Man In the Phone Booth" (1957, cut for two different labels - Herald and Flair-X - under two different names!) and "Your Line Was Busy" (1959), which was credited to Big Bob and got a Top Rank release in Europe. The Du Droppers are an underrated group. They could do it all : sing blues, R & B, pop ballads and rock 'n' roll before that tag even existed. Most of their recordings were rockers and very good ones at that. Surprisingly, one of their best tracks, "Bamalam" (sometimes spelled "Bambalam") did not see a release until the 1990s, probably due to the risqué lyrics ("You should have seen what a girl of seventeen did to me!"). It is now available on at least four different CD compilations.
More info: http://home.att.net/~marvy42/Dudroppers/dudrop.html Further acknowledgements : Jay Warner, The Billboard book of American singing groups (1992), page 169-171.
There are two Du Droppers CD's available, with a considerable overlap: "Boot 'Em Up" (Acrobat, 2005). 23 tracks. "Golden Classics" (Collectables, 1997). 17 tracks. As the former is both more comprehensive and less expensive, the choice shouldn't be too difficult.
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