The Cap-Tans

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A vocal group from Washington, DC, USA, the original members were Harmon Bethea (lead), Sherman Buckner (lead), Floyd Bennett (first tenor), Alfred Slaughter (second tenor, bass) and Lester Fountain (guitar,…
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A vocal group from Washington, DC, USA, the original members were Harmon Bethea (lead), Sherman Buckner (lead), Floyd Bennett (first tenor), Alfred Slaughter (second tenor, bass) and Lester Fountain (guitar, baritone). The Cap-Tans, with their polished harmonies, represented the 40s pop tradition of African-American vocal harmony, exemplified by such groups as the Ink Spots, Charioteers, and Deep River Boys. The Cap-Tans came together when, in 1950, record label entrepreneur Lillian Clairborne pulled Bethea out of a veteran gospel group, the Progressive Four, and teamed up the fledgling Cap-Tans with a group called the Buddies. Their first hit, ‘I’m So Crazy For Love’ (1950), became a local sensation on Claiborne’s DC label, but after Dot Records picked it up, it enjoyed sales across the country. The next release, on Dot, paired a prototype rock ‘n’ roll song, ‘Chief Turn The Hose On Me’, with another smooth pop styling, ‘With All My Love’, and both sides received good airplay in early 1951. Of all these songs, most looked back to the past in their smooth pop style; only ‘Chief, Turn The Hose On Me’ exhibited a hard R&B style. The original group started to dissolve in 1951, when Fountain was drafted and replaced by Ray Reader. A few more releases on the Gotham and Coral labels appeared without success, and the group disbanded in 1953. Harmon Bethea resurrected the Cap-Tans in 1958, but the magic of the original group was gone, and this outfit folded in the early 60s. Around 1967 Bethea formed Mask Man And The Agents.