Gloria Mann, The Jayhawks, The Three Chuckles, Sam “The Man” Taylor – Alan Freed’s Camel Rock N’ Roll Dance Party – July 31, 1956 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Another installment of the short-lived, but very important network rock n’ roll radio show, The Camel Rock N’Roll Dance Party featuring Alan Freed.
Early on, the show featured Count Basie as house band, but as time went on, Sam “The Man” Taylor took over for the rest of the run of the series.
Unless you’re a devotee of early Rock n’ Roll and R&B, almost none of the names will ring any bells to you, but these were artists who were popular at the time, with records on the charts and a goodly degree of success, despite Rock n’Roll being somewhat frowned upon by conventional mainstream media and the resistant music business.
Gloria Mann was an American pop singer born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She scored two hits on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in 1955. The first was a cover version of “Earth Angel”, which reached number 18. Later that year, “A Teenage Prayer” peaked at number 19; this featured Sid Bass leading the backing orchestra. Both were released on Sound Records. She died in 2001.
A group recording under several names, The Jayhawks were best known for the 1956 novelty hit, “Stranded In The Jungle”). Later known as The Vibrations’ best known songs include the dance hit “The Watusi” (1961) and “My Girl Sloopy” (1964). This group also had another hit song, “Peanut Butter” (1961), which they recorded as the Marathons.
Although designated rock & roll by contemporary observers, the sound of The Three Chuckles is closer to vocal pop, in hindsight. They formed around 1950, naming themselves after a popular candy of the day, and played East Coast establishments. Original accordionist/keyboardist Phil Benti left the group in the mid-1950s and was replaced with Teddy Randazzo, then a teenager. In 1954, they recorded a song called “Runaround”, written by a truck driver named Cirino Colacrai, and released it on Boulevard Records as the B-side to “At Last You Understand”. The single was picked up for national distribution by RCA Victor, and “Runaround” became a hit, peaking at #20 on the U.S. national charts.
This episode was first broadcast by CBS Radio on July 31, 1956.
And as always, everything is left in as broadcast – that includes periodic Camel Cigarette commercials – it’s what people did in 1956.