The origins of vocal group the Dootones can be traced to Fremont High School in Los Angeles, California, USA, where singer and multi-instrumentalist H.B. Barnum played in a jazz band with his drumming friend Ronald Barrett. The Dootones were subsequently formed in 1954 when the duo added Charles Gardner and Marvin Wilkins. Their initial employment was as backing singers/musicians to the Meadowlarks and Penguins. They were titled the Dootones in 1955 by their manager, Dootsie Williams, and made their debut with ‘Teller Of Fortune’ in April. A pop-orientated take on R&B, it attracted local airplay, while further exposure came with Californian tours with Etta James and Jackie Wilson. Afterwards, Williams put the quartet together with Vernon Green, formerly of the Medallions, for a Canadian tour, and made his intentions to remodel the band as the new Medallions clear. The existing Dootones were evidently unhappy with this turn of events, and disbanded without issuing any further recordings. Barrett teamed up with the Meadowlarks, Gardner persevered with Green as yet another version of the Medallions, while Barnum joined the Robins, later working as an arranger with artists including Ray Charles and Lou Rawls. Charles Gardner became a minister in Pasadena. The Dootones recorded ‘Down The Road’ in 1962. Originally recorded in 1955, it backed a track entitled ‘Sailor Boy’ by a second, entirely different version of the Dootones assembled by Dootsie Williams. That formation had earlier released a single entitled ‘Strange Love Affair’.
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