James DeLoache

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It was an essential time in early rock history and the MGM label had hired shrewd, artistically savvy A&R men to comb the streets looking for the most vital rhythm and blues and vocal group talent. The…
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It was an essential time in early rock history and the MGM label had hired shrewd, artistically savvy A&R men to comb the streets looking for the most vital rhythm and blues and vocal group talent. The overall importance of James DeLoache in these times can be gauged by royalty statements from the early '50s. The three other members of the Blenders were paid $60 each in one such statement, while De Loache was given a whopping $80. With salary levels seeming to need another quick run through an actual blender, the fame of DeLoache's ensemble was magnified considerably following a debut at Harlem's important Apollo Theater. An MGM--at that time still Decca--contract was signed during the glowing fallout from this event.

Whether Joe Davis brought the group to the attention of the big label or the other way around is still in debate amongst doo-whop pundits. But it is for sure that music business Davis-of-all-trades produced a session with DeLoache and other bandmembers at which a superb rhythm section was assembled including bassist Milt Hinton, pianist Gil Stevens and guitarist Everett Barksdale. Regrettably, a novelty item the band recorded under pressure from Davis got more play than any of the Blenders' finest musical efforts. In one of his naughty periods, Davis created an alternate version of what was originally a typically innocent romantic trifle. It became "Don't Fuck Around With Love", marketed in the early '60s to the tune of obscenity proceedings and then revived a decade later. By then the free speech revolution made the item seem quite tame but DeLoach apparently never overcame his digust for this particular record. Ray Johnson eventually replaced him in the group.