Talk about Washington/Baltimore vocal groups from the late '60s and '70s, and the name Skip Mahoney invariably pops up. Mahoney's surname, similar to Leo Gorcey's character in the Bowery Boys, is actually spelled Mahoaney; he dropped the "a" when the group signed with Nashboro Records. They were known as the Casuals until their debut recording on D.C. International Records appeared with the name Skip Mahoaney & the Casuals on the label, causing a rift between Mahoney and the other guys. The Casuals emerged on the Washington/Baltimore scene during the same era as the Choice Four, Dynamic Superiors, Frankie & the Spindells, the Whatnauts, Terry Huff & Special Delivery, the Vandals, the Softones, etc. Unlike those groups, the Casuals fame never spread regionally or nationally. Skip grew up in Washington D.C., but his parents "moved on up" to Seat Pleasant, MD, while he was still attending Cardoza High in the District. He started singing with street corner stars in Washington before the move, and returned to Washington every weekend -- staying with a sister -- to continue his harmonizing. He assembled the first Casuals after transferring to Central High in Maryland, and they took second place in a school talent show. A White band doing R&B covers took first, the two entities merged to do after-school and weekend gigs, the only mixed outfit in the area. They drifted apart after graduation, leaving Skip to assemble a new Casuals from guys he first sang with on the District's streets and alleyways. George Norris, Billy Jones, and Roger Chapman, are known as the original Casuals, though Mahoney had actually sung with other Casuals in high school. With composer James Purdie playing keyboards, the group did shows and opened for major concerts. A record deal was harder to come by, and every group in the area beat them to the punch. In 1971, Mahoney took a hiatus from the Casuals to work as the Fuzz's ("I Love You for All Seasons") road manager. He quit the gig in 1972 to write songs with Purdie in an effort to land the Casuals a recording deal. The record deal didn't happen until 1973, nine years after Mahoney first started singing under streetlights. "Your Funny Moods," the first single, should have been a joyous event, but the label, D.C. International Records, listed the group as Skip Mahoaney & the Casuals. Though Mahoney's shimmering falsetto was the focal point, they never wanted any individual name out front. The record hit locally and an album followed. The group disbanded shortly after seeing the album cover, the label didn't put the Casuals' picture on the album, nor were their names' mention anywhere, and the diss was too much to bear. After the D.C. International fiasco, and with new Casuals, Mahoney signed with Nashboro Records who released Land of Love, in 1976 which spawned two local hits: "Wherever You Go," and "Bless My Soul." This is when Mahoaney became Mahoney. Nashboro exited soul music to concentrate on gospel, leaving the group without a label. Unable to get a new deal, the Casuals broke up. Mahoney made a couple of solo ventures then sang with Third Generation before drifting out of music. In the late '90s, he reunited the original Casuals to perform on oldies R&B shows in the D.C. area. Hopefully, the new exposure will trigger some company to compile a long-overdue CD of Skip Mahoney & the Casuals' LP.
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