Thursday, November 29, 2012
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
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
Butch Leake (CORNER TALK REPORT)
Monday, November 26, 2012
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
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:
Butch Leake (CORNER TALK REPORT)
Sunday, November 25, 2012
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
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
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
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
Right/ Joe Blunt
Butch Leake (CORNER TALK REPORT)
For The Drifter Legends Club House log into the link below:
Monday, November 19, 2012
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.
Butch Leake / CORNER TALK REPORT
For more related information in The Drifters History
Log into The Drifters Legends Club House over at facebook.
The address there is: