Saturday, December 8, 2012

Can The Drifters Survive The New Musical Trends

There are many Ideas on that very question weather a 60 year old
musical group or brand so to speak can survive the ever changing
musical trends in this progressive world of music as it is.

Now there's no doubt you can find a Drifters group somewhere
out there on any given day performing to audiences somewhere
on planet earth Owing to the continued amount of trademark
infringement that takes place on a daily basis both by would be
wannabes and former members alike.

All this in many ways keeps the brand name alive but also
weakens it on the bigger picture as serious investment by major
concerns might find it a risky business venture in placing capital
behind a product that is so out of control.

Turning to the musical aspect of the brand The Drifters has always
been know for it's rich sound as far as the wholesome strong voices
that was required by the record executives back in the 50s into the
60s and 70s which was the hallmark of all the the great acts out of
those periods.

The roots lie much in solid gospel background foundation on into
Rhythm and Blues, which for the most part has been a missing
element in some of the acts in this new generation of performers.

On the other end the new generation of music listeners are brought
up on this new light sound and electronic generated music that drifts
away from the universal heart beat which in itself lends to an
unnatural feel.

The Drifters in this day in time is currently being re-branded for
a new generation of music listeners who have know knowledge
of the glorious rich sounds of the the past. So the question remains
can the brand separate from it's true roots and survive in these new
musical trends.

History has always shone us that there is some danger in trying to
move to far from the center or that of your root. It has been tried
before under the label of (New Music) and has met a terrible fate.

"Drifter fans, historians and enthusiast I much would like to hear your
feed back on this."


For more info on The Drifter Legends log into the link below:

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Drifters Legend Performs Canada

Here's a recent performance from Canada featuring Drifters Legend
Rick Sheppard and his Drifters.

Rick as many of you fans out there know performed with the official
lineup back in the 60s along side of the legendary Johnny Moore,
Charlie Thomas, Bill Fredricks and Abdul Samad.

Ricks show is one of the better Drifters show in the current market
place, keeping close to the traditional format and sound that The
Drifters were noted for. An exciting fast moving slickly choreographed
outfit will surely get you dancing on your feet.


For more on the Drifters Legends log into the link below:

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Atlantic, Bell/Arista Perspective

There has been much down play of the Bell/Arista period as
if this era in The Drifters history didn't count. Much coming
from quarters of who's interest aren't served by reporting the
facts as they really stand.

One distortion duly noted is this play on original Drifters vs
Non original Drifters.

Who were the original Drifters? You might begin here with
Clyde McPhatter, Bill Pinkney, Willie Ferbee Gerhart and
Bubba Thrasher.

Duly noted this lineup is known as the classical group of the
early fifties and this lineup produced the first hit on Atlantic
Records "Money Honey"

Yet duly recorded another lineup existed before the above
group of Drifters which McPhatter put the together who
didn't pass the grade as far as the executives were concerned
at Atlantic. This lineup consisted of pals from his old church
group, The Mount Lebanon Singers. They were "William
(Chick) Anderson, David Baldwin, James (Wrinkle) Johnson,
and David (Little Dave) Baughan.

Moving on after much discontent among the group over
money issues the Drifters began to splinter. Bill Pinkney
formed a new group calling it Bill Pinkney and the Original
Drifters. Much of this was to keep the Drifters name alive.
Clyde by this time had sold his interest in the group to
then George Treadwell who notably paid the group low
wages which contributed to the cycle of personnel changes.

The Apollo Theater 1958, Treadwell fire his group of
Drifters and approach Lover Patterson who then was the
manager of of the Five Crowns. Treadwell had a years
worth of bookings at the Apollo and the Five Crown
became The Drifters. This lineup was then headed by
Ben E. Nelson better know as Ben E. King. but also
featured Charlie Thomas, Doc Green, Elsbeary Hobbs
and James (Poppa) Clark.

This lineup what you might call the true classical golden
age group of Drifters released several singles that became
big hits with King as lead but "Lets be clear" are not the
Original Drifters of History. Original of the period "Yes"
This brief golden age lasted only two year before
personnel changes began to plague the act as it had
in the earlier years.

There are those out there who truly blur this distinction
in classifying who's who in Drifter lineup history.

Now you come to the post Atlantic period which is
better known as the Bell/Arista period or derogatorily
categorized as the British Drifters who for the most
part stayed together from early 1970 til the end of
1974 who produced 4 now classical albums and a
number of hit singles through the mid 70s.

Let it be noted this continued to be  a Treadwell family
line of Drifters. Let it also be noted according to
Wikipedia it states!

According to The Vocal Group Hall Of Fame Through
turmoil and changes The (Original) Drifters managed to
set musical trends and give the public 13 chart hits,
most of which are legendary recordings today.
Matching that feat more or less The Non-Original
Drifters managed to give the public 13 Hot 100
Top 30 chart hits.

This lineup featured legendary song stylist Johnny Moore,
Bill Fredricks, Butch Leake, Grant Kitchings, Clyde
Brown and Joe Blunt on through the mid 70s.

To be continue (The Atlantic, Bell/Arista Perspective

For more on the Drifters Legends log into link below


Monday, November 26, 2012

The Drifter Wars/Blurred Perspectives

I know at this point there are some people who are not resting
very well in there graves.

As we race into the 60th anniversary in 2013, The Drifters as
a whole is one of the most imitated acts in the music industry.

What has happened to say the least is mind boggling as the
proliferation of bogus groups so called tribute acts and
every other hybrid copy cat organization competes for identity
and recognition.

The official line that is Drifter management and owners seem
to have know control over this situation as it gets more out
of hand as each year passes by.

A most sophisticated form of identity theft has taken place
here and it seems as if there is no solution to this problem.

In fact we are dealing with such blurred perspectives that
the  official line doesn't matter any more to many out in the
market place. That is to include segments of the public
who may have never seen the original members or
weren't around during the golden eras.

The fact that the official line for many doesn't have any
original recording members plays into much of the
strategy of these organizations. Mean while there
are original recording members who are out there
on the sidelines watching all of this madness take place.

It is interesting some of these groups are quite good so
to speak and boast in many ways they are better than
the official line and even that of the originals.

They all make the claim such as the above act who
go under the name the Ultimate Drifters that there  are
no more recording Drifters around! (Of cost we know
better) and that after Johnny Moore's demise that
was the end of the Drifters as we knew them.

With all that the position that is taken now we have a
license to bite off the service mark in a very sophisticated
and legal way which by the way deprives the public of
facts relating to the real history of the organization which
can only be told by the real members who know the facts,
the historians who have traveled with the official Drifter
lineups over the years and the official line management.

For more on the Drifters Legends log into the link below:


Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Drifter Wars/Loyalties & Priorities

Now that the new year is upon us and we approach 2013
the specter of the future is a never ending question which
haunts our thoughts.That is where is my future going and
who are the key players that impact the decisions that one
It seems for me at least my loyalties and the priorities that
I have set for myself are coming under constant
bombardment from outside forces on various levels of my
daily life.

Which bring me to the professional side of my life which
for the most part has been tied up with the Drifters org,
in one way or the other.

Recently the question was asked what ever happened to
The Drifters Legends? The person who was inquiring
was making reference to all the fanfare that was made
about forth coming tours both here and abroad.

It was pointed out that not much of anything is heard
about you guys anymore and what there is, is old hat so
to speak.

Well the individual is right and there hasn't been much of
anything going on with the legends for quite sometime now.
I pointed out that many of the original ideas relating to the
legends had been abandoned. Much due to conflict of
interest. There are loyalties and priorities on all sides of
the fence.

Lets be clear for those who want to know where I stand
on all of this. I've been committed too the preservation
of the history of this organization and to the members who
truly made the Drifters what it is today and hopefully for
what ever it is tomorrow. Though The Drifters is a brand
name and it has been since conception in reality I don't
except it as being bigger than it's members as for the 
most part it was used over the years as a tool for
cruel exploitation. Further my commitment is to the era in
which I had my tenure with the group and the members
who have passed on and who are alive today with me.
No one will supplant that fact now or in the future.
Our legacy will go on and our story will continue
to unfold here and abroad.

The Bell/Arista period was unique in the  history
of the Drifters Organization as it became the Resurrections
for the brand after it's demise towards
the end of the 60s and it is noted as being the 3rd Golden
period in the organizations history.

Like the Clyde McPhatter and the Ben E. King era we
had our songs which were uniquely tailored to the
Bell/Arista group of Drifters. That is the men of that
era Johnny Moore, Butch Leake, Grant Kitchings,
Bill Fredricks, Clyde Brown and Joe Blunt.

Make know mistake who were the pioneers of
that period.

Right/ Joe Blunt

Right/ Clyde Brown


For The Drifter Legends Club House log into the link below:

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Drifter Wars/Internal Conflict

A sign of internal conflict! You be the Judge.
Drifters Legend Bobby Hendricks performs on the regular here
in the United States as a number of other Drifter groups,
Charlie Thomas Drifters, Pickneys Original Drifters, Rick
Sheppards Drifters and a host of other wannabe acts who poach
off the name.

Hendricks Drifters though according to posted claims has a legal
license from the Treadwell estate to do so. Now in the UK there
is PMG Music UK and as last reported holds the worldwide
license right to The Drifters service mark and currently manages
the only licensed Drifters group.

Yet non of the above US acts except Pinckneys Original Driftes holds
a distinctive service mark filed at the United States Patent &
Trademark Office in Washington DC.

Their are those out there who say Charlie Thomas won his right
against Treadwell to use The Drifter name but there is know data
at least immediately visible except the fact for the most part
Charlie is given grace because he is one of the last surviving
members from the latter 50s/60s lineup and is well liked.

He did win a royalty case against Treadwell in the earlier years.

Charlies service mark was abandoned back around 2006 after
proof it was obtained fraudulently during the Treadwell vs
Marshak legal case.

Yes there is the Truth in music legislation which says that there
has to be at least one original member in the act, group etc. to
make it legit but that document was very loosely drawn up as
both Pinkneys Drifters and Herb Reeds Platters who that bill
for the most part was drawn around don't have any original
members at this time but still perform on a regular basis here
in the US.

Hendricks in fact was licensed at one period under Treadwell
during the time when Luderman & Company were active with
a former Treadwell Drifter group in the UK which went sour
and ended up in litigation in the British High Courts.
Writs were filed in 2006 at the High Court in London and in
2008 Treadwell and PMG won there case for control over
The Drifters name.

Weather Hendricks has a license or not it remains to be seen
if there will ever be an end to the controversy around who's
who in The Drifter Wars.


For more related information in The Drifters History
Log into The Drifters Legends Club House over at facebook.
The address there is:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Drifters/A Unique Club

There is much criticism and mis-understanding about the status
of the Drifters the organization and what it's trying to
do now that we have reached the 60th Anniversary of it's existence.

There are those who just will not wake up to the reality that
many of the members of yesteryear are no longer with us and
much of the work that these men did in creating the Drifter
Legend is part of history and will always be honored.

The Drifters as a hold has always been a brand since
Clyde McPhatter sold his stake in the name back in the early
50's to George Treadwell.

Though we all have our favorite Drifter groups and have our
personal preferences as far as the individual members, the
organization now has become an institution and the preservation
of history an distribution of that history to new generation
of fans an people in general is the real criteria and ultimate
purpose in this new millennium.

Yes there has been much controversy about who are the Drifters,
who should be a Drifter, who are the better Drifters etc.but
one thing for sure who owns the Drifters or meaning that of
the name, it is Treadwell and if you didn't come through that
family tree you do not count.

Now there is other criteria as far as the music industry is
concerned and not knocking others who have served in one
capacity or the other their historical contributions will be
duly noted.

Recording has become one of the main standards on who is real
and who isn't. You should have at least sung on one song or
more in any musical band and that sets up who is legitimate
and who's not.

The Drifters is Unique in that there have been more than 60-65
personnel who came through its lineup over the years. Obviously
their are those who are significant and then there are those
who haven't made it to the foot note in it's history.

This meaning they never recorded, never made it to any of the media
that is around such as television, magazines, books, news papers etc.

The Drifters have a long and extensive musical catalogue and the
reality the members did not record on all those songs with the
exception of legendary members like Johnny Moore who sang lead on
many of The Drifters greatest hits and holds the title as the longest
serving member in this unique club.

So those of you out there who have some problem with the current
generation of Drifters remember they are trying to carry on the
Drifter Legacy like us older member here that form The Drifters
Legends. We are all dedicated to carry on and distribute that
illustrious history......Butch Leake

For more on the Drifters Legends Log into The Drifters Legends Club
House over on facebook. The address there is or

For matters relating to The Drifters and The Drifters Legends Log

The Drifters and The Drifters Legends are licensed through
(PMG) Prism Music Group UK

(Corner Talk Report)

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Drifters Legends Club House

The Drifters Legends Club House is currently an open group.
You may post relative info, questions, thoughts, ideas, pictures
and discussions etc. relating to The Drifters and The Drifters Legends.

Please be kind but be frank in your enquires... Feel free to
recommend people who you feel are interested in participating
in the group.

They will have to be approved but for the most part we will not
bar anyone from taken part in our discussions.

This is an historical group site dedicated to the body of work that
has been left and the men who came through the rank of the
brand during the different periods of it's tumultuous history.

The Drifters as a brand is currently heading towards it's
65 Anniversary in 2013 and we will love to share with you all
the great history that is attached to this group and organizations.

At the Drifters Legends Club house we have profound historians
who for the most part can tell you anything you like to know that
is Drifter related. Passion loving fans who in there own right
carry a treasure trove of information which they love to share with
anyone who is a Drifter Legend fan or casual enquirers.

Then there is The Drifters Legends themselves who will drop by
and answer anything that you might want to know.

Further you can tune in to all updates on what going on with the
Drifters Legends and the brands organization.

Yes for continued up dates on all matters, just log in here at
Corner Talk Report.......Butch Leake

For the Drifters Legends Club House log in to the link below....


Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Guinness Book Of British Hit Singles Bell/Arista Years

Guinness Book Of British Hit Singles
For those who doubt the importance of the British songs that were written
and performed by the Bell/Arista Drifters. The Guinness book of British Hit
Singles seals the fact that The Drifters Brand continued to record and perform
great songs long after the Atlantic Record period.

By the end of the 60s Atlantic had long ceased to promote the group except
for earlier songs which continued to be packaged and released through various
media outlets.

In 1972, The Drifters Brand moved to a new recording home in Great Britain
Bell Records.

The Brand signed on to Greenway Music under the prolific writing team of
Roger Greenway, Roger Cook, Tony McCauley and Barry mason and turned
out a number of hits which propelled the group back into the charts
throughout the rest of the 70's and 80's.

This was also termed the 3rd Golden era of the Drifters music making history.

This history making lineup was now headed by veteran Drifter Johnny Moore,
Bill Fredricks, Butch Leake and Grant Kitchings and later from the mid 70's
new additions to the lineup Joe Blunt and Clyde Brown all who are the voices
you hear on the great songs of that period.

Today The Legacy, The Music are preserved through the surviving members
of that period Butch Leake, Joe Blunt and Clyde Brown who are The Drifters Legends and the current Drifters lineup for this day and time.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Drifter Wars/A Reality Check

There would be those who Deni the credibility of the "Drifters
Legends" as just another pirate or fraudulent group like many
who claim to be the only legitimate group yet have no original
members or do but are in denial of the real history of the brand.

It amazes me all those out there who just don't get it that the
Drifters is a brand name and further has never been owned by
any of it's vocal singing members.

It's astonishing that with the hundreds of Drifters recordings
that any segment of the Drifter family members that anyone of
them think that the Drifters began with them and ended with
their era.

The truth is you need a reality check! you can claim and rightfully so
that you performed on A to Z recordings under the Drifters
brand and performed within the lineup during a particular
period in it's history but you can never claim rightful ownership
in the brand name and that's a fact.

Many of you tried and look what it got you, absolutely nothing.

Yes and you know who you are that have Drifter groups out there
and continue to degrade the brand and hood wink the public
weather a former official member or some wannabe who never has
or ever will be part of this unique organization.

For those who promote there favorite Drifter! Agent, Writer,
Radio Station etc. The scenario is I wonder who you will promote
after their demise since many members unfortunately move on to
higher life.

Extraordinary the misinformation and distortions which continue to surface
after so many years.

This is why the need to continue to set the record straight and
untangle the mess that has been going on for so many years and
this is what the "Drifters Legends" is truly all about.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Butch Leake /On The Campaign Trail

Butch with campaign organizers and volunteers at Campaign headquarters Philadelphia PA. 

Philadelphia PA Sept 23rd 2012
C.T.R. Update!
Drifters Legend Butch Leake was back on the campaign trail with the
committee to reelect the president.

 The push is on he says to get more people registered before deadline
 sometime around the 9th of October.

At that time things will change over to getting the vote out for the
November elections.......

Butch with dearest friend Melissa Magal far left and Kimberly Conway Chief Campaign Organizer at Obama headquarters Philadelphia PA.
Butch Leake on the campaign trail / Obama campaign headquarters Philadelphia PA. 
Butch hear with friend Melissa Magal at Obama Headquarters Philadelphia PA. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Drifters Legend/Campaigning For Obama....

                                        Center Butch Leake with campaign officials

C.T.R. update! This week Drifters Legend Butch Leake will be
in Philadelphia continuing his support for the reelection of the

Earlier this summer he spent much of his time in Pennsylvania
canvassing the townships to get out and vote and pointing
out the importance in having proper identification which has
been a problem among the poorer voting population....

In his own words he says it's great to get out among other people
in the country to here there views as far as where they think the
country is headed. People are concerned what life is going to
be like for them and their families in the future.

Yes jobs are a critical issue in this campaign and we gave the
last president 8 years to get us in the mess we are in, then we
should give this current president 8 years to try and fix it all! It's
the least we can do......


Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Drifter Wars/American Or British Brand

There has been much confusion around what writers and media
coined as the British Drifters even down to characterizing the entity
as a disco act.

In fact by the late 60s The Drifters ceased to be a charting entity
with maybe one song release in a year from 1967 to 1971 none
reaching to the top 100 in the charts.

Atlantic Records the home company of the Brand ceased much of 
the promotion on the group except for earlier songs which continued
to be packaged and sold through the existing media outlets.

Group members by this time had begun to resign for various reason
due to internal disputes with the then Drifters Incorporate the
management arm of the organization.

The final breakup was in early 1970, the group member then were
Johnny Moore, Bill Fredrick's, Rick Sheppard and Don Thomas.

Moore, Sheppard and Thomas attempted to go it alone but nothing
came of it. Fredrick's stayed on with management.

Shortly after Moore and Thomas returned and Sheppard joined
the police dept. but continued performing with his own review.

Early 1970 Butch Leake was drafted into the brand to replace

On the Contrary through most of the early 70s it was Treadwells
Drifters who were playing most of the venues along the Eastern
seaboard from New York to Florida, playing such  prestigious
venues as the Waldorf Astoria in New York City and the Fountain
Blu in Miami Florida.

On the west coast, Treadwells  Drifters were regulars at hot spots
like Art Laboes in Hollywood and played yearly at the Sahara Hotel
in Las Vegas Nevada.

Again the fact is it was Treadwells Drifters who were The official
Drifters of the period and though the Group were making 
appearances abroad in the far east and in Europe they were and
American Brand.

1972, back in the studios with a new record company The Drifters
saw new life with a string of  hits under the British writing team
of Roger Greenway, Tony McCauley, Roger Cook and Barry Mason
which propelled the group back into the charts throughout the 
70s era.

Though the songs for the most part never were released in the 
United States. They found their way here through imports
and became popular in the southern part of the United States
and became part of what is characterized as beach music.

For continued happenings in the Drifter Wars Log in here
at Corner Talk Report.

For info on the Bell Record Era music here in the United States
Log into: Beach Music Hall Of Fame/

Visit and join us at The Drifters Legends Club House over at facebook

For info on The Drifters Legends and it's history log into

The Drifters Legends are exclusively licensed through Prism Music Group

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Drifter Wars/A Note

Just a note.... I've always been about history and a most of you know
or may not know history is the key to most things in understanding man 
his life and accomplishments on the planet.

yet there are those out there who pervert and publish misinformation
for one reason or the other which brings me to the history of The Drifters.

My goal is to try and bring you the facts as they present themselves
past, present, and future to set the record straight on the the continued
controversy around the 60yr old organization.

This is why in part I started The Drifter Wars series and have decided to
enter this on going debate.

It is quite sad after all these years the prostitution of The Drifters name
goes on by would be wannabes, uninformed writers, promoters, agents
and all those who simply just want to capitalize on the name with out
regard for the true people who made it happen over the years.

One thing for sure I'm here to talk about you and that I will do.
So be warned!

For continued happening in The Drifter Wars log into "Corner Talk Report"

(Corner Talk Report) For related info on The Drifters Legends log into

The Drifters Legends website:

The Drifters Legends are licensed through Prism Music group(PMG) UK

For other related data on The Drifters Legends and it's history Log into

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Drifter Wars/Internal Strife

Internal strife has played a role inside the Drifter camp
for years.

Management for the most part created an atmosphere of
hostility which when you look at it closely helped
maintain a level of control over the organizations
bottom line.

Under the brand hiring, firing became a standard
practice and all members who came through it's ranks
were expendable.

The brand itself was the Drifters, management would
make no bones that they were the Drifters and you were
just a hired employee.

A variance in pay scales was maintained in side the
camp which for the most part kept conflict on going
between it's members to include bonuses where

Equality never stood a chance in the design of the brand
as strife between members for lead spots was a consistent

Though you had legendary lead voices which surfaced over
the years you were never paid what you were truly worth
and members argued for the positions they held or didn't

For the most part all recognition went to the brand
never to individual members and once terminated you were
never to be honored to have been with the act as far as
the management eyes were concerned.

Though on the surface your name and likeness were forever
part of the media in it's sales of product, the illusion
was that you never existed and contracts were designed
for members to sign to try an force this illusion.

These practices have left much bitterness among the members
and continues to do so today, hints the continued divide in
it's ranks.

Mending these problems have been a focus of the new
management today but still pose a difficult and challenging
task to conquer.

For continued happening in the Drifter Wars log in here at
"Corner Talk Report"

(Corner Talk Report) For related info on The Drifter Legends:

The Drifters Legends Website:

The Drifters Legends are licensed through Prism Music Group (PMG)

For other relative data on the Drifters Legends and it's History log in:

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Drifter Wars/Stolen Legacy

A manager of a group know as the Drifters files a suit against
a former member (Doc Green) charging the defendants use of the name
constituted infringement of registered trademark.

In December 17, 1976 Doc Green together with Charles Thomas and
Elsbeary Hobbs filed in the United States Patent and Trademark
office a service-mark application in the name of "The Drifters",
a partnership composed of all three.

For the record these three were some of the men who were the voices
on some of The Drifters greatest hits throughout the 60s and who's
pictures were noted on album covers but were not the first know
group of Drifters to record in history or the last.

Shortly there after all three men assign all their rights, Title
and interest in the pending application to manager on the agreement
that he would continue as their manager and be vigilant in
stopping others from using "The Drifters" name.

Thomas, Hobbs and Green continued to perform under management agreement
until June of 1979, when green disgruntled an no longer happy with
groups financial arrangements breaks away and forms another group
using the name "The Drifters"

Under this charade all parties were aware that others out there
were using "The Drifters" name but gave false testimony to the
Patent and Trademark Office to the fact.

In the long run all four parties lost and came out with nothing but
heartache in laying claim to something that wasn't theirs in the
first place.

This scenario continues today as would be Drifter groups continue
to surface claiming legitimacy to the legacy under the brand and rogue
agents, promoters etc. continue to aid and abet these fraudulent practices.

Today Thomas performs under the title Charlie Thomas and the Drifters
but does so under violation in that he is not licensed to do so. Green
an Hobbs are now deceased.

Bobby Hendricks performs with his own set of Drifters but not under license.

Rick Sheppard performs with his group of Drifters but currently holds a
Trademark in Canada and does not work under license in the United States.

The Original Drifters perform under a service mark originally owned by
Original Drifter member from 1953 the late Bill Pinkney but non of the
four men in that group have ever performed on any Drifter records.

The official Drifters group are currently performing in Europe and are the only
legitimate Drifters out there today.

Then there is the Drifters Legends former members who are the the only licensed
performing group also out there today.

PMG (Prism Music Group) currently holds the worldwide licensing of The Drifters an
the Drifters Legends. The name is owned by the Treadwell family.

For continued updates on the Drifters Wars log into Corner Talk Report.

(Corner Talk Report) Fro related info on the Drifters Legends:

The Drifters Legends Website:

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Drifter Wars/ The Drifters Brand

Butch Leake & Joe Blunt with Lynn Kopp (Marketing) and John Jackson (Vice President) A&R Sony Music

Ironic after almost 60 years come 2013 an 60 or so members
through it's lineup The Drifters as a brand is still going

Since the days when Treadwell acquired the name the Drifters
the Idea of a brand was forever apart of the legacy.

It's competing members unknowingly today continue to
add to the concept of the brand through in fighting
as each try to usurp their superiority along with the numerous
pirate groups as the legitimate Drifter group.

The fact is the group was a dead issue towards the end of the
60s, Atlantic records which was the home of the Drifters during the
early years had ceased to promote the brand as a viable entity.

It wasn't til the early 70s an what became known as the Bell/Arista
Record period that The Drifters brand received new life with a
number of top 10 hits under the prolific British songwriting and productions
of Greenway music headed by Roger Greenway, with writers Tony Mccauley
and Barry Mason.

Though the songs for the most part were never released here in the
United States they did manage to get in through imports.

Recently some of those songs again have gone gold through release
with Sony Music who currently is the custodian of the Bell/Arista

In brief ceremonies in the UK and here in the United States living
members of those years received Gold awards from Sony Music for the
current sales of the CD album titled The Drifters "Up On The Roof"
The Very Best Of.

This CD also included new tracks performed by the current Official
Drifters Group today....

In the continuing Drifter Wars you have Charlie Thomas and his Drifters
who a long with Ben E. King were featured on many of the 60s  Drifters
songs claiming to to be the only legitimate Drifters alive today.
Yet there is Bobby Hendricks who came along before any of them in the
early 50s who they don't want to recognize.

Johnny Terry A Drifter member who is still a live and who lives in
the Detroit area of the country was also a known member out of
the early years.

Rick Sheppard also who worked with Charlie during the 60s is never
mentioned and given credit for his contributions.

Now there are the Drifter Legends which for the most part should be
all of these former members but sadly Charlie Thomas and Ben E. King
turned downed the proposal to return to this fold so as to set the
record straight on who are the legitimate members of this 60 year brand.

The current Legends lineup are now Joe Blunt, Butch Leake, Clyde Brown
and Rick Sheppard.

For continued updates on the Drifter Wars log in here at

(Corner Talk Report) for related info on the Drifters Legends:

The Drifters Legends Website:

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Drifter Wars/Marshak vs. Sheppard

May 11, 1987 saw another action in US District Court
New York when Drifters member Rick Sheppard
moved for stay in favor of prior state court action
pending between him and Larry Marshak." Motion Denied"

The district Court, Milton Pollack, Senior District
Judge, held that no exceptional circumstances existed
that would warrant stay on abstention grounds,
particularly in view of dormancy of prior parallel
state action.

In the backround of this case the Plaintiff known as
Larry marshak at the time a manager of another
performing group known as The Drifters claimed to be
owner of a federally registered trademark for vocal
and instrumental music rendered by the group and
for the goodwill associated with the name The Drifters.

Marshak filed his suit on December 31 1986.
In his Amended Complaint he made three claims:
for infringement of his trademark in violation of the
Lanham Act,

The Lanham Act of 1946, also known as the Trademark Act (15 U.S.C.A. § 1051 et seq., ch. 540, 60 Stat. 427 [1988 & Supp. V 1993]), is a federal statute that regulates the use of Trademarks in commercial activity. Trademarks are distinctive pictures, words, and other symbols or devices used by businesses to identify their goods and services. The Lanham Act gives trademark users exclusive rights to their marks, thereby protecting the time and money invested in those marks. The act also serves to reduce consumer confusion in the identification of goods and services.

The Lanham Act was not the first federal legislation on trademarks, but it was the first comprehensive federal legislation. Before the Lanham Act, most of trademark law was regulated by a variety of state laws.

for unfair compettition; and for infringment under state law.

Marshak at the time made several request for declaratory and
injunctive relief, plus damages.

He requested a decree of the court that defendant Sheppard
had infringed upon his trademark and that they had falsely
promoted their entertainment services.

He further requested that the court would enjoin the
defendant and his associates from using the name The Drifters
or simular words to promote their own services. Lastly
he asked for treble damages and cost to be paid.

In an Amended answer to the Amended complaint, Sheppard
admits at the time he was engaged in the live entertainment
industry as a performer in a group known as Rick Sheppard
and The Drifters.

Sheppard interposes several affirmatives defenses to the
allegations by Marshak.

Sheppard claimed that Marshaks trademark was invalid in that
it was first obtained under false pretenses and then
granted "incontestability" status pursuant to U.S.C.1065
under further false pretenses.

He also asserted the defense of laches that he had allegedly
used th name "Rick Sheppard and the Drifters" openly and
continuously for over a period of ten years.

Lastly Sheppard asserted that the plaintiff, Marshak with
anothe filed two suits against him and another in New York State
Court in 1975 and 1978, over  essentially the same subject matter.

In all this Sheppard had asserted eight counter claims against
plainfiff marshak to include violations of antitrust, trademark
law, unfair competition, malicious prosecution, defamation,
inducement to breach of contract, and interference with business

(Corner Talk Report) for related info on the Drifters Legends:

The Drifters Legends Website:

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Drifter Wars/Goodwill

For the record it's quite disturbing this claim that those
who continue to contend for right to use the Drifters mark
make accusations against ligitimate members who have more rights
under the brand then them.

They tend to challenge through what they call the goodwill
which they report to bring by way of the goods and services
and reputation in the market place.

Obviously for the most part I'm speaking of Managers, agents
those with proprietary interest in the name.

It is particularly the above who have claimed in the past that
the singers who have become the faces of the brand had nothing
to do with it's establishment.

It's no mystery that the nature of trademark is in it's use and
continued use in commerce.

This in fact is the key in establishing the ownership.

The Drifters as an entity has never ceased in commerce since it's
conception no matter who claimed ownership.

What ever form it took, that of record sales, merchandizing, use
of it's name by members etc. it has continued on as an entity til
this day.

The real goodwill in the Drifters service mark is owned by all
who have contributed to it's success living or dead for our
names and likeness continue to hold it up as an viable brand.

An intangible asset which provides a competitive advantage
such as a strong brand, reputation, or high employee morale.
In an acquisition, goodwill appears on the balance sheet
of the acquirer in the amount by which the purchase price
exceeds the net tangible assets of the acquired company.

The Drifters at this stage in history is an institution which is
larger than any current entity that seeks rights in ownership.

It's goodwill an service is beyond any market value one
might attache to it.

Yet it can be measured by what positiveness it brings to
history and musical culture.

Stay tuned to this continuing series on The Drifter Wars here at
Corner Talk Report.

(Corner Talk Report) for related info on the Drifters Legends read:

The Drifters Legends Website:

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Drifter Wars/Trademark issue

The Bell/Arista Drifters

In a July 30, 1999 decision with far reaching implications for
the entertainment industry a U.S. District Court in Newark N.J.
overturned a jury verdict that found Drifters manager an owner
Faye Treadwell abandoned the Drifters after the group ceased
performing regularly in the United States in the mid-1970s.

The Nature of Action and Parties. A plaintiff-Appellant,
Larry Marshak at the time sought a declaration of rights
acquired both through federal trademark registration, and through
more than 25 years of common law use of the mark in issue, to
the exclusive use in the United States of the mark "Drifters",
to identify live singing performances of "Oldie" songs associated
with the 1950s and early 60s.

The Defendant-Appellee Faye Treadwell at the time counter-claimed
alleging that she possessed common law rights to the exclusive
and superior use of the mark.

Subject of controversy both parties claimed there exclusive right
to use the mark in the United States.

Summary of facts as they pertain to the early years a group by
the name of The Drifters recorded songs as contracted employees
of one George Treadwell. By the mid 1960s, due to the diminishing
popularity of the music style and or that of the group, promotion
of Drifter recordings ceased. Mr.Treadwell passed away in 1967.

In overturning the verdict, it was ruled that uninterrupted and
continued royalties from ongoing recording sales and airplay
of original Drifter songs constituted continued commercial use
of the Drifters name in the United States, and therefore no
abandonment had occurred.

The Drifters Brand is and has been an on going entity since the 50s
due to it's unique music style, lead vocalist and it's over all
marketing concepts.

There are those who attempt to type cast the act in a given period
such as the 60s when you had the great songs such as "There Goes
My Baby and "Save The Last Dance" came along with the artist who
recorded the song of that time.

Yet Drifters songs were recorded before that period and long after
that period up through the 80s, with Drifters who continue to keep
the brand alive today.

It fact it was the Bell Arista group featuring the late Johnny Moore,
Bill Fredricks, Grant Kitchings, Butch Leake (still living) Joe Blunt                                          
(Still Living) and Clyde Brown (Still Living) along with management                                         and the prolific production team of Greenway music which brought back                                  the brand from the grave in the early 70s.

Today the worldwide licensing rights for The Brand is held by PMG
Prism Music Group UK and the ownership is still with the Treadwell

The 60s Atlantic group had by the early 70s had all but disappeared
off the radar, when 3 former members of the brand Charlie Thomas,
Doc Green, Elbeary Hobbs along with there management one Larry Marshak
filed for a Drifters service mark under the Drifters partnership
Registration No. 1,081,338 for The Drifters which was issued in 1978
by The patent & Trademark Office in Washington DC.

Eventually this mark was revoked as it was proven in the courts that
it was obtained fraudulently knowing that there was another mark
which was still in commerce held by the original management the
Treadwell family.

Stay tuned to this continuing series on The Drifter Wars here at
Corner Talk Report.

(Corner Talk Report) for related info on the Drifters Legends read:

Monday, June 4, 2012

"The Drifter Wars" Atlantic/Bell, Arista Years

In 1969 saw the Drifters in a very much
declined state.

Relegated down to playing mom an pop shows along the eastern
seaboard with it's ever changing lineup. Atlantic Records long had stopped
looking at the group as a viable recording entity.

Atlantic Records had only been releasing one record a year on the group                                          
from 1967 through 1971, non making it to the top 100 in the charts.

Though the songs continued to remain popular among the die hard Drifter
fans and management continued to reap most of the rewards from record
sales. The brand splintered off into a number of factions.

Charlie Thomas an former members Doc Green and Elsbeary Hobbs formed
a Drifters group and soon began to challenge the treadwell ownership.

Through there mis-adventure in filing for a Drifters service mark
in Washington DC. under the Drifters partnership they allied with
Larry Marshak long known to be somewhat dubious in the business of
acquiring trade mark names.

On the other end of matters Treadwell who owned the name since the
Clyde McPhatter days along with Johnny Moore, The late Bill Fredricks,
Grant Kitchings and Butch Leake signed new recording contracts in 1972
with then UK based Bell Records who later became Arista.

Due to this signing an the hit records which came out of it, the Drifters
brand as an entity was back on the map again under the successful writing
and production team of British Producer/writer Roger Greenway, Tony Macaulay
and Barry Mason.

It was under this team at Greenway music and the then Bell Record president
Dick Leahy which sent the group back to the top of the charts to rule the                               airwaves.

On the dark side of matters the battles were heating up on who should
own the Drifters service mark between the Treadwells an the Marshaks.

Bill Pickney who filed for a service mark under the Original Drifters                                            
had also entered the Frey trying to establish his prominence had on                                            
going legal battles with Treadwell and Marshak.

Later others would enter the market place. Rick Sheppard Drifters,
Don Thomas and his Drifters both former members of the latter 60s
group under Treadwell.

In Europe Billy Lewis former replacement member of the 70s group
formed a group under the title Nu Drifters.

To add to the melee scores of pirate groups surfaced to claim a spot
to the Drifters fame who had no recorded history with the act at all.

Stay tuned to this continued series on The Drifter Wars here at
Corner Talk Report.

(Corner Talk Report) For related info on the Drifters Legends Read:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Drifter Wars

Well it seems that the mis-information relating to The Drifters
continues to show it's scruples head as competing factions
continue to fight for title to be the legitimate Drifters
act in the market place.

So who is who on the playing field? 

Well you have The Original Drifters! The Drifters group
formed by the late Bill Pickney who was among the the first
lineup along with Clyde Mc Phatter and the Thrasher brother
Bubba & Gayhart Thrasher.

This Group continues to perform yet none of these men have ever
recorded on any of the Drifters songs from the period and after.

You have Bobby Hendricks and his Drifters Bobby of cost came
out of an early lineup of the the Drifters during the fifties
and had the solo hit song Itchy Twitchie feeling.

You then have Charlie Thomas and his Drifters. Charlie came
a long in the early 60s along with Ben E. King and Rudy Lewis
who's voices were heard on some of the memorial songs that the Drifters
were noted for during that period.

Charlies claim according to his current web site and booking
agents and promoters he works with are that he is the only legitimate Drifter
who is alive to day on all the songs recorded since 1958.

Quote from charlies web site: [Unfortunately, today there are only two                                 Drifters still living. Ben E. King who likeClyde McPhatter went solo after a short while with the Drifters and of course the only voice on all the Drifters recordings since 1958, the voice of Charlie Thomas.]

On the contrary there are Drifters alive from the period like Johnny Terry
who resides in the Detroit area of the country who know longer perform today.
and Drifters songs have continued to be recorded since 1958 way into the
70s & 80s which Charlie Thomas had nothing to do with.

Further down the line you have Rick Sheppard and his Drifters. Mr Sheppard
currently holds a Canadian Trade Mark for the Drifters and has performed
there and around the United States since the 70s.

Then there is the Drifters Legends former members who also recorded some
of the Drifters biggest his hits during the 70s & 80s. and who even to day
have Charted again with Gold Disks being awarded to them yet currently are
not performing anywhere in the main stream arena of the industry.

This dismay is through political infighting as the acts, there handlers,
conflict of interest and media etc. continue the mis-information.

The Drifters Legends are Butch Leake, Joe Blunt, Clyde Brown and Rick Sheppard.

These are the bonafied Drifters who come out of the Treadwell family of Drifters
who can be verified through records, books, film, video contracts and documents
recorded in Washington DC.etc.and other archives world wide.

The Original Drifters are not and have never been part of the Treadwell lineup
of Drifters apart from there founding member Bill Pickney who is now deceased.

On the peripheral there are counteless pirate groups who truly have no claim
to the Drifters legacy and are performing out there to day under rogue agents
and promoters.

Currently the Drifters trade Mark is still owned by the Treadwell family but is
exclusively licensed world wide through PMG (Prism Music Group) UK England.

Yet there is some confusion there as the Charlie Thomas, Bobby Hendricks and
Rick Sheppard Groups are or have been licensed in the past or presently by Treadwell                 yet Treadwell does not control the licensing.

For continues update in the Drifter Wars log into Corner talk Report or Butch Leake at

(Corner Talk Report)

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Drifters Legends

For booking information contact management Kathy Mashadi Prism Music Group
or log into

(CORNER TALK REPORT) A Division Of Butch Leake Entertainment & Productions

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Whitney Houston 1963-2012/Corner Talk Report

Weather you new her or not, Whitney Houston the Goddess of song
has touched us all.

A success story. She won two Emmys, six Grammys, 30 Billboard
Music Awards and 22 American Music Awards.

This larger than life woman with the voice that made your hair stand
on ends who understood what she sang about and could deliver
it's meaning deep to your soul.

It's painful when one has to say goodby to such a moving force in our 
lives. She surely was in mine.

Now that's she's gone please be kind to her regardless of what you feel
about her personal problems.

May you rest in peace Princess.......We Love you


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Who's Who's on Drifters Exploitation

Trust me the list is long. Yet those who have any knowledge of the history
of this musical institution can tell you everyone is in the game on making
money on the Drifters trademark.

They know who they are from pirate groups, former group members, agents
and promoters all compete for this lucrative mark.

Management many years ago started the trend on what was to be a sad story
in the history of the this most notable musical group.

Leaving all of it's members for the most part broke and with no recognition 
no work for all the time served in establishing the name.

Exploitation is the name of the game and it continues in this day and time.

Amazing the wanabees that are around. Just the other day standing in Port
Authority New York listening to a conversation of some individuals particularly
from one who claimed to sing with the group for a number of years even claiming
his performance on songs out of the 60s. What a joke when I inquired about his 
claims and his subsequent tirade I new nothing about Drifters history.

Let's dont for get some of the commentators and writers of the history who truly
have a distorted understanding of this Drifters Brand which has been a Brand
since the day management acquired the name from Clyde McPhatter  back
in the early 50s.

The stupidity of those who think the group was no more after the 50s period or
the 60s and that of the 70s and it's members who claim to be the last living
Drifter. Maybe for there era, granted, but not for the Brand. That continues and
will continue into the future.

Butch Leake  for (CORNER TALK REPORT)

For continuing updates on the Drifters Legacy Log in here at or my notes over at
You can also log into

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sony Gold Awards/The Drifters Legends

Gold Awards at Sony Music NY Front: Butch Leake, Lyn Koppe (Marketing) Joe Blunt
Rear: John Jackson, (Vice President) A&R and content development....

January 24th 2012 NYC

After 27 years of absence from the musical charts the Drifters Brand
has gone Gold with a Sony Music release in the UK  of a CD titled 
"The Drifters the very best of"                                                                    .
Selling over 100,000 units the timed released has pushed the 60yr.
brand back into the spotlight prior to it's Anniversary in 2013.

The CD is a compilation early Bell/Arista and Atlantic tracks with two
new tracks recorded by the current Drifters lineup in the UK. but it's
the strong back catalog particularly of the Bell/Arista years which is the 
foundation for the success of this CD.

Most of the Bell/Arista tracks have never been released in the United States but
were available through imports from Virgin record stores for a number of years
yet many US Drifter fans were not aware of them.

January 24th The Drifters Legends Joe Blunt, Butch Leake and Clyde Brown
all living members of the The Drifters from the 70s through the 80s received
Gold awards for their musical contributions to the catalog during those years.

The Drifters Legends to include Rick Sheppard a member from the latter
Atlantic Record period are currently gearing up to possibly return to the
stage late 2012 into 2013.

Under new guidance by PMG Music after these many years of fraudulent 
groups passing themselves off as the real thing and former member violation
of trademark issues to include  management negligence of the group over
the year has successfully Re-branded The Drifters for the future to include
introduction to a younger generation of fans.

As far a the PR campaign the Legends are looking at inroads here in the
United States to finally establish the legitimate performing act under 
"The Drifters Legends"

(CORNER TALK REPORT) A division of Butch Leake Entertainment and Productions

For info e-mail Butch Leake at /Tel-9173254424

Booking info please contact management Kathy Mashadi
or log into