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

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