The Carpets

Biography by

Kansas City, MO-based doo wop group the Carpets formed in 1954. According to Marv Goldberg's profile in the December 1998 issue of Discoveries, tenor James Gadson and his baritone brother Thomas lived…
Read Full Biography

Artist Biography by

Kansas City, MO-based doo wop group the Carpets formed in 1954. According to Marv Goldberg's profile in the December 1998 issue of Discoveries, tenor James Gadson and his baritone brother Thomas lived across the street from bass Lonnie Triplett, and with the additions of tenor Elmer Powell (the oldest member at 15) and his cousin Herbert Anthony, also a tenor, the original lineup was complete. Initially calling themselves the Velvetones, the quintet soon learned of a rival group with the same name and adopted the Carpets moniker in response. By late 1955, both Triplett and Anthony resigned, with their responsibilities assumed by bass John King and tenor Charley Tillman. In early 1956 their manager, local radio personality Jimmy Jones, scored the Carpets an audition with Federal Records A&R exec Ralph Bass, who immediately extended a contract offer. "Why Do I," featuring James Gadson on lead, appeared that February at virtually the same time as James Brown's "Please, Please, Please," which proved the recipient of all of Federal's marketing muscle. "Lonely Me" followed in the spring, and when it too went nowhere, Federal terminated the Carpets' contract. In 1957, Powell joined the U.S. Marines, King abruptly quit, and James Gadson mounted a solo career before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force. When Gadson returned to civilian life four years later, he reunited with brother Thomas in a new incarnation of the Carpets that also featured saxophonist Walter Chisolm, guitarist Tom Gadson, bassist Harold Rice, and drummer Harry Wilkins. Prior to cutting its 1962 single "Any Old Way" (issued on Nat King Cole's KC label), the group adopted a new name, the Derbys. Following a tour stop in Florida, James Gadson resigned in order to join the Midnighters, where he remained for about a year. In 1972 he cracked the R&B Top 40 with a solo single, "I Got to Find My Baby," and also enjoyed a career as a producer and session drummer.