The Dappers

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The Dappers were among the many projects spearheaded by doo wop stalwart Gregory Carroll, best known for his stint with the legendary Orioles. Born John Carroll on Baltimore's northwest side, he first…
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The Dappers were among the many projects spearheaded by doo wop stalwart Gregory Carroll, best known for his stint with the legendary Orioles. Born John Carroll on Baltimore's northwest side, he first surfaced with Savoy Records doo wop act the Four Buddies, who in 1951 reached number three on the Billboard R&B chart with "I Will Wait." After the Four Buddies split, Carroll signed on with the Orioles in the spring of 1953, replacing George Nelson in the second tenor spot. He joined the group in time to record the immortal "Crying in the Chapel," and following their breakup in the spring of 1955 he turned to a career in production. By year's end Carroll reunited with fellow Four Buddies alum Larry Harrison to form the Dappers, recruiting baritone Zeke Puzey and bass Jerome Robinson to complete the lineup. In early 1956, the quartet signed to RCA to cut a single, "Unwanted Love," but the Dappers split even before the record was released on the label's Groove subsidiary. Carroll quickly set about assembling a new Dappers lineup, first enlisting bass/baritone Al Showell and then luring soprano Pat Williams and alto Joy Wright from the Sweethearts, a group that recently claimed top honors at the Apollo Theater's famed amateur showcase. Puzey also returned to duty in time for the Dappers' first session for the Rainbow label. "Bop Bop Bu" hit retail in late 1956, but Rainbow's financial problems conspired to squash any planned promotion and the record went nowhere. The Dappers nevertheless toured across the East Coast, even making a handful of television appearances before Wright's pregnancy forced her to resign. The remaining group quickly splintered, and Carroll next teamed with singer/guitarist Peggy Jones, recording "Honey Bunny Baby" for the Ro-Nan label as Greg & Peg. (Jones later signed on with rock & roll legend Bo Diddley, earning the sobriquet Lady Bo.) Carroll went on to join Dappers alumni Harrison and Puzey in the Cues, producer Abel DeCosta's go-to session vocalists, and in 1960 produced a session for former Orioles frontman Sonny Til. Soon after Carroll and Al Showell formed the gospel quartet the Halos with Doc Wheeler and a then-unknown Doris Troy. In 1963, Carroll co-wrote and produced Troy's solo classic "Just One Look," a Top Ten crossover hit and one of the enduring soul records of its era. Carroll subsequently toured with latter-day incarnations of the Orioles and the Ink Spots.